Environmental Health

SREL’s scientists conducting research in ecotoxicology and contaminant biogeochemistry are recognized nationally and internationally for advancing understanding of the impacts of chemical contaminants on ecosystem health. SREL research programs assist the U.S. Department of Energy-Savannah River Site and SRS contractors in their mission of environmental management of the site. The lab’s research investigates the characterization of the landscape and the transport, fate, and effects of current and historical releases of radionuclide, metal, and organic contaminants to SRS aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

Examples are toxicological studies on the effects of metals on reptiles, amphibians, fish, and birds at multiple levels, including genomic, physiological, individual, and population levels. Biogeochemical studies have investigated the transport and fate of metals in groundwater under varying geochemical and hydrologic conditions, the effects of water chemistry on the bioavailability of metals to aquatic organisms, and the primary processes associated with metal sequestration in surface and groundwater systems. The data derived from these studies supports the DOE in maintaining environmental compliance with state and federal regulations, selection of cost-effective remediation technologies for clean-up and closure of contaminated sites, and determining potential threats to wildlife and humans on and near the SRS.