ASTM E1706 - 05(2010)

    Standard Test Method for Measuring the Toxicity of Sediment-Associated Contaminants with Freshwater Invertebrates

    Active Standard ASTM E1706 | Developed by Subcommittee: E50.47

    Book of Standards Volume: 11.06

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    Significance and Use


    Sediment provides habitat for many aquatic organisms and is a major repository for many of the more persistent chemicals that are introduced into surface waters. In the aquatic environment, most anthropogenic chemicals and waste materials including toxic organic and inorganic chemicals eventually accumulate in sediment. Mounting evidences exists of environmental degradation in areas where USEPA Water Quality Criteria (WQC; (65)) are not exceeded, yet organisms in or near sediments are adversely affected (66). The WQC were developed to protect organisms in the water column and were not directed toward protecting organisms in sediment. Concentrations of contaminants in sediment may be several orders of magnitude higher than in the overlying water; however, bulk sediment concentrations have not been strongly correlated to bioavailability (67). Partitioning or sorption of a compound between water and sediment may depend on many factors including: aqueous solubility, pH, redox, affinity for sediment organic carbon and dissolved organic carbon, grain size of the sediment, sediment mineral constituents (oxides of iron, manganese, and aluminum), and the quantity of acid volatile sulfides in sediment (40, 41). Although certain chemicals are highly sorbed to sediment, these compounds may still be available to the biota. Chemicals in sediments may be directly toxic to aquatic life or can be a source of chemicals for bioaccumulation in the food chain.

    The objective of a sediment test is to determine whether chemicals in sediment are harmful to or are bioaccumulated by benthic organisms. The tests can be used to measure interactive toxic effects of complex chemical mixtures in sediment. Furthermore, knowledge of specific pathways of interactions among sediments and test organisms is not necessary to conduct the tests (68). Sediment tests can be used to: (1) determine the relationship between toxic effects and bioavailability, (2) investigate interactions among chemicals, (3) compare the sensitivities of different organisms, (4) determine spatial and temporal distribution of contamination, (5) evaluate hazards of dredged material, (6) measure toxicity as part of product licensing or safety testing, (7) rank areas for clean up, and (8) estimate the effectiveness of remediation or management practices.

    A variety of methods have been developed for assessing the toxicity of chemicals in sediments using amphipods, midges, polychaetes, oligochaetes, mayflies, or cladocerans (Section 13 and 14; Annex A1 to Annex A5; (2), (4), (356), (390). Several endpoints are suggested in these methods to measure potential effects of contaminants in sediment including survival, growth, behavior, or reproduction; however, survival of test organisms in 10-day exposures is the endpoint most commonly reported. These short-term exposures which only measure effects on survival can be used to identify high levels of contamination in sediments, but may not be able to identify moderate levels of contamination in sediments (USEPA (2); Sibley et al., (54); Sibley et al., (55); Sibley et al., (69); Benoit et al., (70); Ingersoll et al., (56)). Sublethal endpoints in sediment tests might also prove to be better estimates of responses of benthic communities to contaminants in the field (18). The previous version of this standard (Test Method E1706-95b) described 10-day toxicity tests with the amphipod Hyalella azteca and midge Chironomus dilutus (formerly known as C. tentans; Shobanov et al. 1999.(1), (see Section 13 and 14). This version of the standard now outlines approaches for evaluating sublethal endpoints in longer-term sediment exposures with these two species (Annex A6 and Annex A7).

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers procedures for testing freshwater organisms in the laboratory to evaluate the toxicity of contaminants associated with whole sediments. Sediments may be collected from the field or spiked with compounds in the laboratory.

    1.1.1 Test methods are described for two toxicity test organisms, the amphipod Hyalella azteca ( H. azteca) (see 13.1.2) and the midge Chironomus dilutus (formerly known as C. tentans; Shobanov et al. 1999.(1) (see 14.1.2). The toxicity tests are conducted for 10 days in 300-mL chambers containing 100 mL of sediment and 175 mL of overlying water. Overlying water is renewed daily and test organisms are fed during the toxicity tests. Endpoints for the 10-day toxicity tests are survival and growth. These test methods describe procedures for testing freshwater sediments; however, estuarine sediments (up to 15 ppt salinity) can also be tested with H. azteca. In addition to the 10-day toxicity test method outlined in 13.1.2 and 14.1.2, general procedures are also described for conducting 10-day sediment toxicity tests with H. azteca (see 13.1.2) and C. dilutus (see 14.1.2).

    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D1129 Terminology Relating to Water

    D4387 Guide for Selecting Grab Sampling Devices for Collecting Benthic Macroinvertebrates

    D4447 Guide for Disposal of Laboratory Chemicals and Samples

    E29 Practice for Using Significant Digits in Test Data to Determine Conformance with Specifications

    E105 Practice for Probability Sampling of Materials

    E122 Practice for Calculating Sample Size to Estimate, With Specified Precision, the Average for a Characteristic of a Lot or Process

    E141 Practice for Acceptance of Evidence Based on the Results of Probability Sampling

    E177 Practice for Use of the Terms Precision and Bias in ASTM Test Methods

    E178 Practice for Dealing With Outlying Observations

    E456 Terminology Relating to Quality and Statistics

    E691 Practice for Conducting an Interlaboratory Study to Determine the Precision of a Test Method

    E729 Guide for Conducting Acute Toxicity Tests on Test Materials with Fishes, Macroinvertebrates, and Amphibians

    E943 Terminology Relating to Biological Effects and Environmental Fate

    E1193 Guide for Conducting Daphnia magna Life-Cycle Toxicity Tests

    E1241 Guide for Conducting Early Life-Stage Toxicity Tests with Fishes

    E1295 Guide for Conducting Three-Brood, Renewal Toxicity Tests with Ceriodaphnia dubia

    E1325 Terminology Relating to Design of Experiments

    E1367 Test Method for Measuring the Toxicity of Sediment-Associated Contaminants with Estuarine and Marine Invertebrates

    E1391 Guide for Collection, Storage, Characterization, and Manipulation of Sediments for Toxicological Testing and for Selection of Samplers Used to Collect Benthic Invertebrates

    E1402 Guide for Sampling Design

    E1525 Guide for Designing Biological Tests with Sediments

    E1688 Guide for Determination of the Bioaccumulation of Sediment-Associated Contaminants by Benthic Invertebrates

    E1847 Practice for Statistical Analysis of Toxicity Tests Conducted Under ASTM Guidelines

    E1850 Guide for Selection of Resident Species as Test Organisms for Aquatic and Sediment Toxicity Tests

    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 07.100.20 (Microbiology of water)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 77101501(Risk or hazard assessment)

    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/E1706-05R10

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    Citation Format

    ASTM E1706-05(2010), Standard Test Method for Measuring the Toxicity of Sediment-Associated Contaminants with Freshwater Invertebrates, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2010,

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