British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposia

The application of small-mammal analyses in terrestrial ecological risk assessment, former Yankee Girl.. Sevigny, J.; Dulisse, J.; Tinholt, M.; Stewart, Gregg G. (Gregg Gordon), 1961-; Sinnett, G. 2007

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THE APPLICATION OF SMALL-MAMMAL ANALYSES IN TERRESTRIAL ECOLOGICAL RISK ASSESSMENT, FORMER YANKEE GIRL MINE, YMIR, B.C.   J.H. Sevigny, Ph.D.1J. Dulisse, R.P.Bio.2M. Tinholt, P.Eng.3G. Stewart, P.Geo.4  G. Sinnett, P.Geo.4  1Iridium Consulting Inc. 812 Victoria Street Nelson, BC  V1L 4L5  2Masse & Miller Consulting Ltd. 513 Victoria Street Nelson, BC  V1L 4K7  3Morrow Environmental Consultants Inc. Member of the SNC-Lavalin Group 385D Baker Street Nelson, BC  V1L 4H6  4Ministry of Agriculture and Lands Crown Contaminated Sites Branch PO Box 9361 Stn Prov Govt Victoria, BC  V8W 9M2  ABSTRACT  A small mammal study was undertaken at the former Yankee Girl Mine, Ymir, B.C. (the “Site”) to determine if metals contaminated tailings and surface soil have resulted in adverse health effects to the terrestrial ecosystem and would require remediation to protect the environment.  A screening level Tier I ecological risk assessment conducted by a previous consultant yielded hazard quotients above the regulatory limit for the most sensitive terrestrial receptor at the Site (i.e., field mouse), suggesting the potential for adverse, population-level health effects.  The screening level model was calibrated here using new data collected as part of a Site-specific small mammal study (e.g., surface soil and deer mice tissue concentrations).  Despite orders of magnitude variations in soil concentrations, deer mice tissue concentrations were similar at all locations (1 control; 3 contaminated), and soil to deer mouse bioaccumulation factors were inversely correlated to soil concentration.  The calibrated model yielded hazard quotients well below the regulatory limit, suggesting that deer mice have not been adversely affected.  The significance of these findings with respect to remedial and/or management decisions at the Site will be discussed. INTRODUCTION  Theoretical exposure models that predict hazard quotients (HQs) are one technique used in the weight-of-evidence approach in ecological risk assessment (Golder Associates, 2006; Hull and Swanson, 2006).  Screening level models that have not been calibrated using empirical, site-specific data are commonly inaccurate due to inappropriate assumptions and input parameters.  Calibration involves refining assumptions and input parameters in an effort to return a more accurate risk prediction.  In order to make confident risk-based decisions that support sound remedial and/or management strategies, the screening level ecological model should be calibrated using site-specific data.  The purpose of a screening level assessment is twofold (ORNL, 1996).  The first is to identify the chemicals of potential concern, and the second is to identify receptors potentially at risk.  When a screening assessment predicts the potential for an adverse effect in an ecosystem, such as a hazard quotient (HQ) above a regulatory limit, additional work is required to validate the prediction, especially if remedial decisions will be risk-based.  Field-based studies are most commonly used to collect data for calibrating an ecological model.   Metal contaminated tailings and surface soil characterize the former Yankee Girl Mine, Ymir, B.C. (herein called the “Site”).  As part of the remediation program for the Site, URS (2005a) used the BCMELP (1998) Tier I methodology to calculate HQs for terrestrial and aquatic receptors.  URS (2005a) showed that deer mice were the most sensitive wildlife terrestrial receptor and suggested the potential for Site-wide population levels effects based on arsenic and cadmium HQs (12.3 and 1.5, respectively;  Table 1).      Table 1:  Deer Mouse Hazard Quotients Metal URS (2005a) This Study  Site-Wide M1 M2 M3 M4 Uncalibrated, Screening Level Model1As 12.3 0.7 0.6 13.1 12.8 Pb 0.5 0.1 0.1 0.5 2.7 Zn 0.6 0.0 0.0 0.8 0.2 Cd 1.5 0.1 0.1 2.7 0.5 Calibrated, Site-Specific Model2As ---- 0.014 0.012 0.016 0.019 Pb ---- 0.004 0.008 0.008 0.003 Zn ---- 0.022 0.038 0.037 0.030 Cd ---- 0.007 0.025 0.020 0.057 1Uses 95th percentile soil concentrations and published BAFs. 2Uses median soil concentrations and Site-specific soil to mouse BAFs. 12.3 = bolded values exceed the regulatory limit (i.e., 1.0). ---- = not applicable. M1 = control location; M2–M4 = contaminated locations.  This paper presents the results of a field-based small mammal study undertaken at the Site to refine earlier risk-based predictions using the screening level BCMELP (1998) Tier I methodology (URS, 2005a).  This study illustrates that despite orders of magnitude variations in soil concentrations, the metals concentration in deer mouse tissue was similar at the control and contaminated locations.  Soil to mouse bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) varied 2–3 orders of magnitude and were inversely correlated to soil concentration.  HQs predicted using the calibrated, Site-specific model were similar to the control and below the regulatory limit of 1 (Table 1).  These results were especially important for one location  where remedial action was not required to protect human health, but may have been considered using the uncalibrated, screening level model.   BACKGROUND   Historic land use and surface soil metals analyses (URS, 2005b; Morrow, 2007) were used to subdivide the Site into nine Areas of Concern.  Morrow (2007) identified remnant tailings and elevated metals along a former access road located in mature cedar-hemlock forest extending north of the Main Tailings.    The small-mammal trapping program was conducted between 28–30 June, 2006.  Trapping locations are shown in Figure 1 and include: • M1 - Northeast Tailings Area (control site);  • M2A/B - former access road north of the Northwest Tailings Area; • M3A/B - remnant tailings in the Northwest Tailings Area; and  • M4 - Former Mill Area.  Median measured concentrations of Pb, Zn, As, and Cd at the four trapping locations are illustrated in Figure 2.                        Figure 1:  Small-Mammal Trapping Locations 01,0002,0003,0004,0005,0006,0007,0008,000 Surface Soil (ug/g dw)M1 M2 M3 M4LeadZincArsenicCadmium Figure 2:  Median Surface Soil Concentrations at the Small-Mammal Trapping Locations    FIELD PROGRAM  Methodology  Deer mice and shrew were the target small mammals.  Only deer mice data will be discussed in this paper1.  Deer mice are sensitive indicators of exposure because their daily food ingestion rate is high relative to their body weight.  Deer mice are opportunistic and omnivorous, with a widely varying diet that consists primarily of plant matter (seeds, roots, fruits, fungi) and insects (arthropods) (Johnson, 1961).  Home range of the deer mouse is variable and is related to food supply (Stickel, 1968; Banfield, 1974).  Deer mice population densities vary dramatically, and have been shown to be correlated with food abundance (Taitt, 1981), plant moisture contents (Bowers and Smith, 1979), vegetation cover (van Horne, 1982), and season (Montgomery, 1989).    Twelve Bolton Traps were used at each sample site (Masse & Miller, 2006).  Frozen deer mice were provided to Iridium for inventory and processing.  Deer mice were submitted whole to the laboratory, with each animal submitted in a separate zip locked bag.  Tissue samples were placed on ice and couriered to ALS Laboratory in Vancouver, B.C. for analyses of moisture content and ICP-MS metals.  Results  Thirty-three deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) were captured over three nights of trapping.  The capture rate was 0.18 animals/trap night (i.e., 33 animals/180 trap nights).  Adult and sub-adult deer mice were collected with the number of females and males being approximately equal.  Average deer mice weights were similar and ranged from 16.5 ± 2.9 g (station M4) to 19.4 ± 3.6 g (station M3).  Deer mice were most abundant at station M4, as a result of favorable habitat (Masse & Miller, 2006).  Six deer mice                                                  1 Only 1 shrew was captured due to poor shrew habitat at the Site.   were collected from each station (except for 7 mice at station M2), and three were submitted for metals analyses.  Metals concentrations in deer mouse tissue are summarized in Appendix I.  Tissue concentrations are reported on a wet weight basis (mg/kg ww).  The concentration of Zn, expressed as the average ± 1SD (one standard deviation) at each trapping location is illustrated in Figure 3.  Zn was used as an example because it is one of the metals showing the largest variation (Figure 2).  When expressed at one standard deviation, there is no difference in Zn, Pb, As, or Cd concentrations in field mice tissue at stations M2–M4 relative to the control (M1). 27.838.537.330.70102030405060Zinc (mg/kg ww)         M1     M2       M3        M4 Figure 3:  Zinc Tissue Concentrations in Deer Mouse   Soil to deer mouse bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) were calculated for each metal on a dry weight basis as follows:   )]/([]4.3)/([dwkgmgCwwkgmgCBAFSDM ×= where:  BAF = soil to mouse bioaccumulation factor (unitless); CDM = average deer mouse tissue metal concentration at each trapping location expressed on a wet weight basis (mg/kg ww), 3.4 = wet weight to dry weight (dw) conversion factor; and CS = median metal concentration in soil within an assumed 0.1 ha deer mouse home range centered on a trapping location and expressed on a wet weight basis (mg/kg dw).  The soil to deer mouse BAFs calculation is illustrated using arsenic at location M3 (Northwest Tailings Area) as an example:   )/(517]4.3)/(036.0[00023.0dwkgmgwwkgmg ×=  Soil to deer mouse BAFs for trapping locations M1–M4 are summarized in Table 2, and are reported relative to the published BAF (calculated here as a single BAF using the assumed dietary composition).   A log-log plot showing deer mouse bioaccumulation factors for Zn, Pb, As, and Cd and as a function of soil concentration is shown in Figure 4.  Table 2:  Soil to Mouse Bioaccumulation Factors1Metal USEPA (1993) Measured (this study)   Published M1 M2 M3 M4 As 1.0E-01 4.0E-03 5.6E-03 2.3E-04 5.1E-04 Pb 5.5E-02 1.9E-02 1.4E-01 1.7E-03 4.4E-04 Zn 3.6E-01 1.9E-01 8.1E-01 1.6E-02 6.6E-02 Cd 7.4E-01 1.1E-01 1.6E+00 1.2E-02 5.7E-01 1Expressed on a dry weight basis.  This study assumed a deer mouse home range of 0.1 ha (Figure 1), which is on the lower end of reported ranges.  The measured BAFs are not sensitive to this assumption at M3 and M4 due to habitat considerations and soil sample size, but are sensitive to the home range assumption at M1 and M2. 0.00010.00100.01000.10001.000010.00001 10 100 1,000 10,000Soil Concentration (mg/kg)Soil to Deer Mouse BAFZincLeadCadmiumArsenic Figure 4:  Soil to Deer Mouse BAF vs. Soil Concentration  EXPOSURE MODELLING  Screening Level  The screening level model used by URS (2005a) followed the BCMELP (1998) Tier I methodology and used wildlife parameters from USEPA (1993), BAFs from the USEPA (1999), and toxicity reference values from ORNL (1996).  The model assumed that deer mice: • were exposed to soil concentrations at the upper 95th percent confidence limit; • dietary composition was 2% soil, 37% plant, and 61% soil invertebrates; • soil to plant and soil to invertebrate uptake was linear over a range of metals concentrations; and • metals bioavailability was 100%. Metals dose to the deer mouse from incidental ingestion of soil and ingestion of plants and soil invertebrates in the diet were calculated as follows:  02.0)( ××÷= Ssoil CBWFIREXP   37.0)( ×××÷= BAFCBWFIREXP Splant   61.0)( ×××÷= BAFCBWFIREXP Steinvertebra   where:  EXPpathway = exposure dose via the different pathways (mg/kg bw day); FIR = food ingestion rate (kg/day); BW = deer mouse body weight (kg); CS = 95th percentile metal concentration in soil across the Site (mg/kg)2; BAFpathway = bioaccumulation factors for plants and soil invertebrates expressed on a dry weight basis (unitless); and 0.02, 0.37, and 0.61 = assumed dietary fractions for soil, plants, and soil invertebrates.  As an example, exposure doses were calculated as follows for soil, plant, and soil invertebrates, respectively, using arsenic at location M3 (Northwest Tailings Area):  [])(02.0)/(929)(021.0)/(004.0)/(54.3 unitlesskgmgbwkgdaykgdaybwkgmg ××÷=   )(37.0036.0)/(929)(021.0)/(004.0)/(36.2 unitlesskgmgbwkgdaykgdaybwkgmg ×××÷=   [] )(61.011.0)/(929)(021.0)/(004.0)/(87.11 unitlesskgmgbwkgdaykgdaybwkgmg ×××÷=   The HQ was calculated as follows using arsenic at location M3 (Northwest Tailings Area):  TRVEXPEXPEXPHQteinvertebraplantsoil∑++=   )/(36.1)/(87.1136.254.31.13daybwkgmgdaybwkgmg∑++=   where:  HQ = hazard quotient (unitless); EXPpathway = exposure dose via the different pathways (mg/kg bw day); and TRV = toxicity reference value expressed at the lowest-observed-adverse-effects-level (LOAEL; mg/kg bw day).                                                  2 The Site-wide metals concentrations was dominated by the Main Tailings.  Screening level HQs calculated on a Site-wide basis (URS, 2005a), and at locations M1–M4 for comparison, are summarized in Table 1.   Model Calibration  The screening level model described above was calibrated as follows using (listed in order of importance) the following:  • soil to deer mouse BAFs; • median soil concentrations; and • measured deer mouse weight (0.0163 kg; n=25 animals) along with the corresponding food ingestion rate (0.003 kg/day) calculated using the Nagy (1987) allometric equation for rodents.  The calibrated model is a simpler version because it uses a single, empirical BAF for all routes of exposure.  This BAF accounts for all exposure routes, including those not considered in the screening level model (e.g., dermal, water ingestion), and accounts for metals bioavailability (assumed to be 100% in the screening level model).  As an example, the arsenic HQ was calculated as follows at location M3 (Northwest Tailings Area):  TRVBAFCBWFIRHQS ××÷=)(  [])/(36.1)(00023.0)/(517)(0163.0)/(003.0016.0daybwkgmgunitlesskgmgbwkgdaykg ××÷=   where:  HQ = hazard quotient; FIR = food ingestion rate (kg/day); BW = deer mouse body weight (kg); CS = median metal concentration in soil within an assumed 0.1 ha deer mouse home range centered on a trapping location (mg/kg); BAF = soil to mouse bioaccumulation factor expressed on a dry weight basis (unitless); and TRV = toxicity reference value expressed at the LOAEL (mg/kg bw day).  RESULTS AND DISCUSSION  HQs calculated using the screening level and calibrated models for locations M1–M4 are summarized in Table 1.  HQs for the limiting metals As and Cd are illustrated in Figure 5.  The calibrated model yielded hazard quotients 1–3 orders of magnitude lower than previous values and below the regulatory limit of 1, suggesting that the deer mouse (and higher tropic level mammals) have not been adversely affected at the population level.    The reasons for the discrepancy between screening and calibrated models are numerous but generally involve the inability of the screening model to account for difference in diet, bioaccumulation, bioavailability, etc3.  The soil to deer mouse BAF had the strongest influence on the model calibration followed by the use of the median soil concentration. 02468101214Hazard QuotientSite-WideM1M2M3M4ArsenicUncalibratedCalibrated0.00.51.01.52.02.53.0Hazard QuotientSite-WideM1M2M3M4CadmiumUncalibratedCalibrated Figure 5:  Comparison of Arsenic and Cadmium Hazard Quotients Derived using Screening Level and Calibrated Models   The results of this study are important when viewed with respect to remedial and/or management decisions at the Site.  Results from the screening level ecological model could be interpreted to suggest that remediation of the Former Mill Area and the Northwest Tailing Area would be required to protect the terrestrial ecosystem.  The human heath risk assessment (Iridium, 2007) suggested that remediation of the Former Mill Area would be required to protect toddlers, but that remediation of remnant tailings at the Northwest Tailing Area would not be required.  Results from the calibrated model avoid unnecessary remediation at the Northwest Tailing Area, which is located in mature cedar-hemlock forest.        CONCLUSIONS  A screening level Tier I ecological risk assessment conducted by a previous consultant yielded hazard quotients above the regulatory limit for the most sensitive terrestrial wildlife receptor at the Site (i.e., field mouse), suggesting the potential for adverse, population-level health effects.  The screening level model was calibrated here using new data collected as part of the small mammal study (e.g., surface soil and deer mice tissue concentrations).  Despite orders of magnitude variations in soil concentrations, deer mice tissue concentrations were similar at all locations (1 control; 3 contaminated), and soil to deer mouse bioaccumulation factors were inversely correlated to soil concentration.  The calibrated model yielded hazard quotients 1–3 orders of magnitude lower than previous values, suggesting that deer mice have not been adversely affected.  Results from the calibrated model avoid unnecessary remediation at the Northwest Tailing Area, which is located in mature cedar-hemlock forest.                                                         3 Bioaccumulation and bioavailability may reflect metabolic controls on the cellular level. REFERENCES  Banfield, A.W.F. 1974. The Mammals of Canada. The University of Toronto Press, Toronto.                pp. 438 p.  British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Lands, and Parks. 1998. Guidance and Checklist for Tier I Ecological Risk Assessment at Contaminated Sites in British Columbia.  Bowers, M.A. and H.D. Smith. 1979. Differential habitat utilization by sexes of the deer mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus. Ecology. Vol. 60, No. 5. pp. 869–875.  Golder Associates Ltd., 2006. Guidance for Detailed Ecological Risk Assessments in British Columbia.  Report prepared for the Science Advisory Board for Contaminated Sites in British Columbia. Golder File No. 05-1421-040.  Hull, R.N. and Swanson, S. 2006. Sequential analysis of lines of evidence – an advanced weight-of-evidence approach for ecological risk assessment. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management. Vol. 2, No. 2. pp. 302–311.   Iridium (Iridium Consulting Inc.) 2007. Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment, Yankee Girl Tailings, Ymir, BC. Report prepared for Morrow Environmental Consultants. File #IR772701.  Johnson, D.R. 1961. The food habits of rodents on rangelands of southern Idaho. Ecology. (Vol. 42. No. 2). pp. 407–410.  Masse and Miller Consulting Ltd. 2006. Yankee Girl Tailing Site-Ecological Risk Assessment: Biological Inventory and Field Sampling Report.  Report prepared for Iridium Consulting Inc.   Montgomery, W.I. 1989. Peromyscus and Apodemus: patterns of similarity in ecological equivalents.  Advances in the study of Peromyscus (Rodentia). Ed. G.L. Kirdland and J.N. Lane. Texas Tech University Press, Lubbock, Texas. pp. 293–366.    Morrow Environmental Consultants. 2007. Supplemental Environmental Site Assessment and Risk Evaluation, Yankee Girl Tailing, Ymir, BC. Draft report prepared for Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Crown Contaminated Site Branch. Issued January 2007, Morrow File #130692.  Nagy, K.A.. 1987. Field metabolic rate and food requirement scaling in mammals and birds. Ecological Monographs. Vol. 57, No. 2. pp. 111–128.     Sample, B.E., D.M. Opresko and G.W. Suter II. 1996. Toxicological Benchmarks for Wildlife: 1996 Revision. Report prepared by the Risk Assessment Program, Health Sciences Research Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.   Report prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management, under budget and reporting code EW 20.  Stickel, L.F. 1968. Home range and travels. Biology of Peromyscus (Rodentia). Special Publication No. 2. Ed. J.A. King. The American Society of Mammalogists, Stillwater, Oklahoma. pp. 373–411.   Taitt, M.J., 1981. The effect of extra food on small rodent populations: I. deermice (Peromyscus maniculatus).  Journal of Animal Ecology. Vol. 50, No. 1. pp. 111–124.  URS (URS Canada), 2005a. Human Health and Tier I Ecological Risk Assessment, Yankee Girl Tailings, Ymir, British Columbia. Report prepared for the British Columbia Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management.  URS Project No. 39548537, dated 23 March 2005.   URS (URS Canada), 2005b. Detailed Site Investigation, Yankee Girl Tailings, Ymir, British Columbia. Report prepared for the British Columbia Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management. URS Project No. 39548537, dated 2 March 2005.  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1993. Wildlife Exposure Factors Handbook, Vols. I & II. Office of Science and Technology, Washington, DC. EPA/600/R-93/187a.  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1999. Screening Level Ecological Risk Assessment Protocol for Hazardous Waste Combustion Facilities. Office of Solid Waste.   Van Horne, B. 1982. Niches of adult and juvenile deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) in several stages of coniferous forest. Ecology. Vol. 63, No. 4. pp. 992–1003. APPENDIX I:  Metals Concentrations in Small Mammal Tissue  ID Moisture    Arsenic Cadmium Chromium  Cobalt  Copper Lead  Molybdenum  Nickel  Zinc    (%) (mg/kg)1(mg/kg)1(mg/kg)1(mg/kg)1(mg/kg)1(mg/kg)1(mg/kg)1(mg/kg)1(mg/kg)11M1 76.0 0.018 0.08 0.18 <0.020 2.67 0.49 0.217 0.12 29.7 1M2 72.3 0.034 0.27 0.12 <0.020 2.75 1.16 0.194 <0.10 27.2 1M3 76.3 0.033 0.27 0.10 <0.020 2.68 1.16 0.189 <0.10 26.4average 74.9 0.028 0.21 0.13 ---- 2.70 0.94 0.20 0.12 27.8 ±1SD 2.2 0.009 0.11 0.04 ---- 0.04 0.39 0.01 ---- 1.7 2M1 69.7 0.040 0.39 0.31 0.027 3.53 1.11 0.298 0.27 35.4 2M2 69.1 0.016 0.18 0.20 <0.020 2.92 0.68 0.248 0.17 28.8 2M3 75.9 0.025 1.70 0.27 0.046 3.64 1.31 0.268 0.32 51.4 2S1 69.0 0.043 1.91 0.21 0.032 5.98 2.29 0.197 <0.10 40.7average271.6 0.027 0.75 0.26 0.037 3.36 1.03 0.27 0.25 38.5 ±1SD 3.8 0.012 0.83 0.06 0.013 0.39 0.32 0.03 0.08 11.6 3M1 63.5 0.043 0.96 0.24 <0.020 2.93 4.44 0.470 0.19 37.1 3M3 65.9 0.030 0.16 0.19 <0.020 3.07 1.65 0.238 0.14 29.0 3M4 65.1 0.036 0.78 0.25 0.040 3.23 0.22 0.330 0.20 45.9average 64.8 0.036 0.63 0.23 0.040 3.08 2.10 0.35 0.18 37.3 ±1SD 1.2 0.007 0.42 0.03 ---- 0.15 2.14 0.12 0.03 8.5 4M2 72.6 0.052 0.25 0.20 0.030 2.74 0.38 0.273 0.24 27.2 4M3 69.1 0.028 0.13 0.19 0.027 3.00 0.59 0.255 0.16 27.5 4M4 73.6 0.042 0.15 0.22 0.054 2.88 1.23 0.332 0.17 37.4average 71.8 0.041 0.18 0.20 0.037 2.87 0.74 0.29 0.19 30.7 ±1SD 2.4 0.012 0.07 0.02 0.015 0.13 0.44 0.04 0.04 5.8 1 Concentrations expressed as milligrams per wet kilogram.   To convert to dry weight, multiply the metals concentration by 3.40.   2 Does not include shrew (2S1) concentrations.         ---- = not calculated.            

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