Sediment Contamination Assessment Methods: Validation of Standardized and Novel Approaches

EPA Grant Number: R826200
Title: Sediment Contamination Assessment Methods: Validation of Standardized and Novel Approaches
Investigators: Burton, Jr., G. Allen , Clements, William , Krane, Daniel , Landrum, Peter , Stubblefield, William , Tiernan, Thomas
Institution: Wright State University - Main Campus , Colorado State University , NOAA / GLERL
Current Institution: Wright State University - Main Campus , NOAA / GLERL
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: January 1, 1998 through December 31, 2000
Project Amount: $449,448
RFA: Contaminated Sediments (1997) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Land and Waste Management


Objectives/Hypotheses: Determine whether freshwater sediment criteria and standard U.S. EPA acute and chronic toxicity and bioaccumulation tests are appropriate indicators of ecological risk. Develop an effective approach to evaluate sediment contamination which includes: 1) an in situ component for sampling and testing to reduce uncertainty in determinations of risk, and, 2) appropriate models for predicting sediment quality criteria.


The multi-phase study will evaluate the validity of various approaches or assessing sediment contamination, while identifying controlling factors, strengths, and limitations of each. Proposed U.S. EPA sediment criteria and chronic toxicity test will be compared with key physicochemical factors and biological responses in situ. Actual exposures will be defined and comparisons made between laboratory and in situ exposures. Spatial and temporal variability will be defined at several levels. The role of seasonal influence on contaminant bioavailability and associated controlling factors (e.g., AVS, organic carbon) in sediments will be determined, defining vertical depth profiles and flux to overlying water. Contaminant exposures will be defined spatially and temporally and compared via stratified in situ exposures and traditional core and dredge grab sampling. Biological measures will encompass a range of indicators from the biomarker to community structure level, including: benthic invertebrate community structure indices, benthic tissue residues, genetic diversity of benthic species, and in situ toxicity/tissue residue responses of Hyalella azteca, Chironomus tentans, Lumbriculus variegatus, Ceriodaphnia dubia, Pimephales promelas, Hydra littoralis, the bryozoan Lophopodella carteri, and the mayfly Centroptilum triangulifer. The project will focus on three streams extensively studied by the PI's which are contaminated by metals, PAHs, and/or PCBs.

Expected Results:

Several U.S. EPA program objectives will be addressed, including: 1) validation of proposed sediment quality criteria and chronic toxicity test methods and 2) development and validation of novel assessment approaches which combine laboratory and in situ measures of ecological responses to discern significant and specific stressors in contaminated sediment assessments. These approaches will elucidate site-specific spatial and temporal characteristics and sampling, testing and exposure issues which are the primary contributors to uncertainty.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 62 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 6 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

sediments, bioavailability, exposure, toxics, metals, organics, in situ, sediment quality criteria, stressors, bioassay, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Toxics, Waste, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecology, Toxicology, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecosystem Protection, Contaminated Sediments, HAPS, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Biochemistry, Ecological Risk Assessment, Ecology and Ecosystems, Biology, Ecological Indicators, ecological exposure, risk assessment, contaminant transport, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), predictive understanding, soil sediment, validation of models, sediment, contaminated sediment, benthic biota, sediment transport, transport contaminants, sediment contamination assessment, adverse human health affects, amphipod hyalella azteca, chemical contaminants, metal release, PAH, biota diversity, ecological impacts, PCB, assessment methods, benthos-associated organisms, ecology assessment models, heavy metal contamination, spatial & temporal scaling, validation, validation of approaches, aquatic biota, ecological transferability, metals, bioaccumulation

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1998
  • 1999 Progress Report
  • Final Report