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Significance and Use
Contaminated sediments may affect natural populations of aquatic organisms adversely. Sediment-dwelling organisms may be exposed directly to contaminants by the ingestion of sediments and by the uptake of sediment-associated contaminants from interstitial and overlying water. Contaminated sediments may affect water column species directly by serving as a source of contaminants to overlying waters or a sink for contaminants from overlying waters. Organisms may also be affected when contaminated sediments are suspended in the water column by natural or human activities. Water column species and nonaquatic species may also be affected indirectly by contaminated sediments by the transfer of contaminants through ecosystems (7, 8).
The procedures described in this guide may be used and adapted for incorporation in basic and applied research to determine the ecological effects of contaminated sediments. These same methods may also be used in the development and implementation of monitoring and regulatory programs designed to prevent and manage sediment contamination.
Sediment tests with aquatic organisms can be used to quantify the acute and chronic toxicity and the bioavailability of new and presently used materials. Sediment toxicity may also result from environmental processes such as ammonia generation, pH shifts, or dissolved oxygen fluctuation. In many cases, consideration of the adverse effects of sediment-associated contaminants is only one part of a complete hazard assessment of manufactured compounds that are applied directly to the environment (for example, pesticides) and those released (for example, through wastewater effluents) as by-products from the manufacturing process or from municipalities (7).
Sediment tests can be used to develop exposure-response relationships for individual toxicants by spiking clean sediments with varying concentrations of a test chemical and determining the concentration that elicits the target response in the test organism (Guide E 1391
Sediment tests can provide valuable information for making decisions regarding the management of contaminated sediments from hazardous waste sites and other contaminated areas. Biological tests with sediments can also be used to make defensible management decisions on the dredging and disposal of potentially contaminated sediments from rivers and harbors. ((7, 8), Test Method E 1706.)
1.1 As the contamination of freshwater and saltwater ecosystems continues to be reduced through the implementation of regulations governing both point and non-point source discharges, there is a growing emphasis and concern regarding historical inputs and their influence on water and sediment quality. Many locations in urban areas exhibit significant sediment contamination, which poses a continual and long-term threat to the functional condition of benthic communities and other species inhabiting these areas (1). Benthic communities are an important component of many ecosystems and alterations of these communities may affect water-column and nonaquatic species.
1.2 Biological tests with sediments are an efficient means for evaluating sediment contamination because they provide information complementary to chemical characterizations and ecological surveys (2). Acute sediment toxicity tests can be used as screening tools in the early phase of an assessment hierarchy that ultimately could include chemical measurements or bioaccumulation and chronic toxicity tests. Sediment tests have been applied in both saltwater and freshwater environments (2-6). Sediment tests have been used for dredge material permitting, site ranking for remediation, recovery studies following management actions, and trend monitoring. A particularly important application is for establishing contaminant-specific effects and the processes controlling contaminant bioavailability (7).
1.3 This guide is arranged as follows:
|Summary of Guide||5|
|Significance and Use||6|
|Sediment Test Types||8|
|Experimental Design Considerations||11|
1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. The values given in parentheses are for information only.
1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use. For specific hazard statements, see Section 7.
2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.
D1129 Terminology Relating to Water
D4447 Guide for Disposal of Laboratory Chemicals and Samples
E724 Guide for Conducting Static Acute Toxicity Tests Starting with Embryos of Four Species of Saltwater Bivalve Molluscs
E729 Guide for Conducting Acute Toxicity Tests on Test Materials with Fishes, Macroinvertebrates, and Amphibians
E943 Terminology Relating to Biological Effects and Environmental Fate
E1023 Guide for Assessing the Hazard of a Material to Aquatic Organisms and Their Uses
E1367 Test Method for Measuring the Toxicity of Sediment-Associated Contaminants with Estuarine and Marine Invertebrates
E1383 Guide for Conducting Sediment Toxicity Tests with Freshwater Invertebrates
E1391 Guide for Collection, Storage, Characterization, and Manipulation of Sediments for Toxicological Testing and for Selection of Samplers Used to Collect Benthic Invertebrates
E1563 Guide for Conducting Static Acute Toxicity Tests with Echinoid Embryos
E1611 Guide for Conducting Sediment Toxicity Tests with Polychaetous Annelids
E1676 Guide for Conducting Laboratory Soil Toxicity or Bioaccumulation Tests with the Lumbricid Earthworm Eisenia Fetida and the Enchytraeid Potworm Enchytraeus albidus
E1688 Guide for Determination of the Bioaccumulation of Sediment-Associated Contaminants by Benthic Invertebrates
E1706 Test Method for Measuring the Toxicity of Sediment-Associated Contaminants with Freshwater Invertebrates
ICS Number Code 13.080.30 (Biological properties of soil)
UNSPSC Code 77101501(Risk or hazard assessment)
ASTM E1525-02(2008), Standard Guide for Designing Biological Tests with Sediments, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2008, www.astm.orgBack to Top