Contamination of soil and sediments by heavy metals and organic compounds poses significant environmental and economic concerns, particularly in floodplains and waterbodies. Due to associated health risks, these contaminants can limit agricultural activities, fishing, and recreational pursuits. Managing and disposing of contaminated soil and sediments requires accurate classification based on the pollution level. However, traditional survey programs often rely on a limited number of samples, and consequently, decisions often have to be made based on incomplete information. To address this challenge, gamma-ray sensors have emerged as a powerful tool for mapping the spatial variation in soil and sediment contamination, providing reliable and detailed information.
The Medusa Radiometrics gamma-ray spectrometers revolutionize the field of mapping soil and sediment by giving spatially detailed information on contamination levels at an unpreceded ease of use. Our extensive research over the past decades has demonstrated that radionuclide concentrations can serve as proxies for heavy metal and organic micro-contaminant levels. Our spectrometers generate quantitative contamination maps by conducting site-specific calibration with samples, offering unparalleled spatial detail. Whether mapping sediments with a towed detector behind a vessel or mapping soil with a sensor carried on a vehicle or drone, the diverse range of Medusa Radiometrics' gamma-ray spectrometers ensures suitability for various mapping applications.
The floodplains surrounding the Elbe river and its tributaries have experienced contamination from chemical industries' wastewater for many decades. A comprehensive site investigation was conducted in the Spittelwasser creek area, involving sampling and analysis of water, suspended sediments, and relevant organic parameters along every river section. Additionally, the quantity and quality of sediment in the Spittelwasser creek and Mulde river were examined. The contamination levels in the Spittelwasser floodplain were mapped using an MS-4000 gamma-ray spectrometer mounted on an ATV and an MS-1000 sensor mounted on a drone. The resulting maps revealed an entirely new picture of the status and the development of the surface water contamination in the Spittelwasser and its role in the Elbe river basin. This knowledge revealed the ineffectiveness of certain corrective actions, such as dredging sediments in the Spittelwasser creek, while other areas were identified as potential targets for future interventions.
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