High concentrations of potentially harmful toxic chemicals have been identified in the sediments of a number of urban-industrial bays in Puget Sound. In these areas, field studies have documented an increased frequency of fish disease, sediment toxicity, altered benthic communities, and significant bioaccumulation of harmful chemicals in the edible tissue of fish and shellfish. In response to this information, and a growing public concern about the health of the estuary, the Washington State Department of Ecology has established a comprehensive strategy for sediment management in Puget Sound. As a component of this strategy, the agency is now in the process of developing a suite of sediment management standards for use in a variety of regulatory programs. General sediment quality standards are now available in draft form. Once finalized and officially adopted, the standards will be used to identify and designate sediments that have adverse effects on biological resources or pose a health risk to humans. It is anticipated that the general sediment quality standards will also be used as a basis for limiting industrial and municipal discharges, thereby preventing future sediment contamination. Separate, but related, sediment management standards are also being developed for use in establishing cleanup goals for sediment remediation and in making environmentally safe decisions concerning the disposal of contaminated dredged material. The Department of Ecology will be using the apparent effects threshold approach, supplemented by the equilibrium partitioning approach, as the technical basis for the derivation of the sediment standards.