Of particular concern are impacts to living species in the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers: – Persisting water quality problems stemming from site pollution (including sedimentation) that enters surface water through stormwater runoff and other pathways. These problems include low Dissolved Oxygen that impinges on fish and other aquatic life, hydrocarbons such as benzene and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), along with other legacy pollutants that harm species and their habitats – Endangered species (i.e., Atlantic Sturgeon and Shortnose Sturgeon, both of which are federally endangered); both of these sturgeon species are greatly imperiled and use this part of the tidal Schuylkill and the tidal Delaware – Fish and fishlife and other vulnerable species such as mussels and migratory fish, known to live and utilize the river.
If contamination affects certain sensitive ecological receptors, such as threatened and endangered species, it must be addressed in the cleanup. This can be accomplished through a risk assessment or remedial measures. An ecological risk assessment that evaluates the ecological receptors that would be in the Schuylkill and on site has been completed already and will be submitted through the Act 2 process upon completion of the remedial investigation phase of the project. As part of this process, chemicals at the site were evaluated in relation to the species of concern, such as the Atlantic Sturgeon and Shortnose Sturgeon. Based on this assessment, chemicals at the site were not identified as likely to impact species of concern.