ESOP collects largemouth bass and channel catfish along the Savannah River to determine the magnitude, extent and trends of radionuclide concentrations. These two species are common in the catch of local anglers and consumed in the study area, and studies have shown that these types of fish bioaccumulate measurable amounts of radionuclides. (We collect white catfish when channel catfish are not available).
We collect fish samples from locations upstream, downstream, and adjacent to SRS (Fish Monitoring locations). We also collect fish samples from a location not affected by SRS as a background sample. We use boat-mounted electro-fishing equipment to collect the samples.
Once collected, the fish are individually prepared and blended into edible filets and bone. One blended sample, known as a composite, consists of five fish of the same species by location. Edible composites are analyzed for gamma-emitting radionuclides, tritium, mercury, and select metals. Bone composites are analyzed for total strontium.
ESOP addresses concerns over potentially contaminated white-tailed deer and wild/feral hogs in the area near SRS. These target species are more widely hunted and consumed in greater quantities than any other local game (Game Monitoring locations).
We sample white-tailed deer and wild/feral hogs within a defined area adjacent to SRS. Samples from each animal harvested are analyzed for gamma-emitting radionuclides.