SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 2003

Characterization of Contaminated Sediments in Hamilton Harbour, Lake Ontario


Sediments in many harbors and connecting channels of the Great Lakes have been negatively impacted by industrial, agricultural and municipal discharges and by atmospheric deposition. Contaminated sediments may pose risks to both human health and to aquatic environments. All 42 U.S. and Canadian Areas of Concern (AOCs), designated by the International Joint Commission (IJC), have problems associated with the occurrence of contaminated sediments. Remedial Action Plans, which have been prepared for these areas, include sediment remediation plans. Appropriate and cost-effective sedimentological, geotechnical and geochemical investigations are required to determine the degree and extent of contamination. The methodology used in sediment characterization includes in-situ penetration tests, core sampling, acoustic bottom-classification systems, side-scan surveys and in-situ porewater samplers. Contaminated sediments are typically characterized for chemical concentrations of contaminants of interest in terms of both areal extent and vertical distribution. Site specific examples of sediment analyses and characterization for remediation projects are discussed for three sites within Hamilton Harbour, Ontario, where very heterogeneous sediments exist.

Author Information

Zeman, AJ
National Water Research Institute, Burlington, Ontario
Patterson, TS
National Water Research Institute, Burlington, Ontario
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 102–118
DOI: 10.1520/STP11557S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5485-8
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-3466-9