In June 2017, scientists at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) issued their latest report on kepone levels in fish in the James River. The VIMS researchers found that 35 percent of tissue samples from Striped Bass and White Perch taken in 2016 contained no detectable kepone, while 65 percent still contain detectable levels of the chemical. Kepone in the James is a legacy of illegal discharges by the former Allied Chemical operation at Hopewell, which resulted in a $13.2 million settlement in 1977.
VIMS researchers sampled James River fish for kepone levels annually from 1975 to 2000, then again in 2002, 2004, 2009, and 2016. Regarding the results from 2016, report co-author James Unger stated, “Kepone in fish tissues has continued to decline exponentially since 1980 and should be near or below the detection limit in all samples by 2020 or 2025 if current trends continue.”
Source: VIMS report offers mixed news on James River Kepone, William & Mary News, 6/12/17.