Download Full Text (273 KB)

Document Type

Book Chapter


Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date


Book Title

Contaminated Marine Sediments: Assessment and Remediation


National Academy Press


Washington, D.C.


The James River in Virginia was contaminated by the pesticide kepone when the material entered the river as early as 1968 and continued until its discovery in 1975. The river became so contaminated that commercial fisheries were closed. In 1988, 13 years after closure, all fishing restrictions were lifted. The contaminated sediments have been diluted and covered enough by uncontaminated material that the kepone flux back into the water column has diminished. Kepone concentrations in organisms inhabitating the river are finally below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration action levels. Biological, chemical, physical and geological aspects of the contamination indicate that remedial actions to remove kepone would be expensive and environmentally unwise.

Publication Statement

Reprinted with permission from Contaminated Marine Sediments: Assessment and Remediation, 1989 by the National Academy of Sciences, Courtesy of the National Academies Press, Washington, D.C. Full report available at:

Kepone and the James River