Contaminated Sediments - Aquafund

Aquatic sediments tend to accumulate a variety of chemical constituents that represent potential threats to water quality. The issue of contaminants in sediment is of sufficient concern to potentially lead to a new national Superfund-like program - "Aquafund" - in which large amounts of money would be spent to investigate and remediate contaminated sediments. Drs. Lee and Jones-Lee have worked for many years in the evaluation of the water quality significance of contaminants in harbor and waterway sediments, including conducting more than $1 million in research on the significance of contaminants in waterway sediments associated with dredging projects.

There is considerable interest today in developing sediment quality criteria for regulating contaminants in sediments. Several approaches have been proposed for the evaluation of the water quality significance of chemical constituents in aquatic sediments. While chemical-concentration-based approaches, such as equilibrium partitioning and co-occurrence, are being used, such approaches tend to be unreliable in their assessment of the water quality significance of chemicals in aquatic sediments. Drs. Lee and Jones-Lee have published considerably on the technical issues of impacts of sediment-associated contaminants including factors that affect the availability of such contaminants. Their writings discuss many of the reasons that chemical-concentration-based approaches are not reliable for estimating sediment toxicity or bioaccumulation of sediment-associated chemicals into aquatic life. They recommend that biological effects-based approaches (sediment toxicity and actual bioaccumulation) be used. Many of Drs. Lee and Jones-Lee's publications concerning the evaluation and management of sediment-associated contaminants are available.

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