Accession Number:



Assessment for Soil Reuse Standards at McMurdo Station

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report,01 Jan 2019,31 Dec 2020

Corporate Author:

Engineer Research and Development Center Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory Hanover United States

Report Date:


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The soils at McMurdo Station in Antarctica contain hydrocarbons derived from accidental fuel spills and industrial development. The current practice for contaminated soils is to remove any material with concentrations greater than 100 mgkg of total petroleum hydrocarbons TPH and to transport them to the United States for disposal. Any soils that contain concentrations of TPH less than 100mgkg can be reused on-site. While this is the current standard practice, there remains little evidence to verify that 100 mgkg is an appropriate reuse standard. Moreover, the current practice is based on the guidelines for cleanup values in California the port of entry where the soils are currently shipped for treatment and disposal, which has few environmental similarities with Antarctica. In the present study, we investigate current regulations for cleanup and soil reuse in U.S. states, Canadian territories, and other countries with cold climates. We also discuss case studies from Arctic and Antarctic regions where soil has been reused after treatment. Additionally, we present a site conceptual model for risk assessment based on known site information and recommend future focus areas for addressing hydrocarbon-contaminated soils at McMurdo Station.

Subject Categories:

  • Solid Wastes and Pollution and Control
  • Environmental Health and Safety

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