Calculation and uses of mean sediment quality guideline quotients: a critical review. Environmental Science and Technology

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Environmental Science and Technology (Impact Factor: 5.33). 04/2006; 40(6):1726-36. DOI: 10.1021/es058012d
Source: PubMed


Fine-grained sediments contaminated with complex mixtures of organic and inorganic chemical contaminants can be toxic in laboratory tests and/or cause adverse impacts to resident benthic communities. Effects-based, sediment quality guidelines (SQGs) have been developed over the past 20 years to aid in the interpretation of the relationships between chemical contamination and measures of adverse biological effects. Mean sediment quality guideline quotients (mSQGQ) can be calculated by dividing the concentrations of chemicals in sediments by their respective SQGs and calculating the mean of the quotients for the individual chemicals. The resulting index provides a method of accounting for both the presence and the concentrations of multiple chemicals in sediments relative to their effects-based guidelines. Analyses of considerable amounts of data demonstrated that both the incidence and magnitude of toxicity in laboratory tests and the incidence of impairment to benthic communities increases incrementally with increasing mSQGQs. Such concentration/response relationships provide a basis for estimating toxicological risks to sediment-dwelling organisms associated with exposure to contaminated sediments with a known degree of accuracy. This sediment quality assessment tool has been used in numerous surveys and studies since 1994. Nevertheless, mean SQGQs have some important limitations and underlying assumptions that should be understood by sediment quality assessors. This paper provides an overview of the derivation methods and some of the principal advantages, assumptions, and limitations in the use of this sediment assessmenttool. Ideally, mean SQGQs should be included with other measures including results of toxicity tests and benthic community surveys to provide a weight of evidence when assessing the relative quality of contaminated sediments.

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    • "We have shown that organic pollution in the Sydney area is linked to increased developmental instability for fish from the most polluted sites, with pollution characterized by the MERMQ approach (Long et al., 2006). Pollution can influence aquatic organisms on different levels (Newman and Clements, 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: The relationship between pollution level in estuarine sediment and fluctuating asymmetry (FA) of resident smooth toadfish Tetractenos glaber was evaluated. A total of 188 fish from Sydney and Hawkesbury River estuaries (5 locations from each) were analysed for 28 bilateral skull bone characters. Sediment pollution was quantified based on analysis of heavy metals (Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn) and organochlorine pesticides (DDT, DDD, DDE, chlordane, dieldrin, lindane). Sediment toxicity was characterized using the mean quotient approach (MERMQ) and ranged from low to moderate level for heavy metals and from low to severe for organochlorides. The mean shape and directional asymmetry of fish bones differed among locations, suggesting a response to local environments. FA was positively correlated with organochlorine pesticides across locations, but not with heavy metals. These results suggest that fish FA could be a useful estimator of stress caused by organic toxicity based on the MERMQ approach.
    Marine Pollution Bulletin 10/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.09.038 · 2.99 Impact Factor
    • "Methods for classifying contaminated sediments to protect and restore the quality of the nation's rivers, lakes, and estuaries continue to be refined and improved. Multiple investigation approaches—such as sediment quality guidelines (SQGs) (comparing bulk sediment concentrations against screening values); sediment toxicity testing (exposing one or more test organisms in a laboratory to an ex-situ sediment sample); equilibrium partitioning sediment benchmarks (ESBs) (estimating dissolved-phase chemical concentrations using bulk sediment chemical concentrations, sediment organic carbon, and assumed partitioning coefficients); direct pore water chemical measurements (measurements of the chemical concentration in the interstitial pore water of the sediment sample); and benthic macroinvertebrate community analysis (identification and counts of the in-situ benthic macroinvertebrate community)—have all been proposed as scientifically valid and accepted methods that can be used to assess sediment quality and predict ecological impacts (USEPA, 1992; 2005; Macdonald et al., 2000; Long et al., 2006; Burgess, 2009; McDonough et al., 2010). In-situ exposures using caged organisms have also been shown to provide assessment information that is complementary to traditional laboratory-based toxicity testing and reduce the uncertainties of extrapolating from the laboratory to field responses (Greenberg et al., 2002; Burton et al., 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: The sediment quality triad (SQT) assumes that three measurements (sediment chemistry, laboratory bioassay, and benthic macroinvertebrate counts) comprise an independent assessment of impact, which when integrated using a weight-of-evidence approach provides a comprehensive assessment of risk. An SQT assessment was conducted on 41 sediment samples collected adjacent to a manufactured gas plant site on the freshwater reach of the Hudson River in New York State. The assessment shows that the benthic macroinvertebrate data did not correlate with either sediment or pore water polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations, nor did these data show consistent relationships to the results of laboratory bioassay testing (Hyalella azteca 28-day survival or biomass). The benthic community across the site and reference areas was comprised of few taxa, all of which were pollution-tolerant organisms with tolerance values greater than or equal to five. Only in significantly impacted sediment samples with PAH concentrations in the thousands of milligrams per kilogram, pore water concentrations above 100 toxic units, and visible non-aqueous phase liquid present in the sample did the benthic macroinvertebrate data show a response. In contrast, sediment and pore water PAH measurements and H. azteca toxicity testing provided consistent interpretation of impact. These results illustrate that benthic macroinvertebrate data may contain less information value and be a more challenging line of evidence to interpret in triad studies conducted in certain ecological settings; in this case, a large-order river with a relatively depauperate benthic community dominated by species tolerant of PAHs.
    Soil and Sediment Contamination 10/2015; 24(7). DOI:10.1080/15320383.2015.1028024 · 1.04 Impact Factor
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    • "Looking at specific sites in more detail (Table 6), it can be seen that all 45 sites observed at least one determinant above 0.2 in their last sample year, indicating a decrease in benthic invertebrate richness. Further assessments on the biodiversity of UK estuaries effected by high levels of contaminants need to be carried out to see if similar biodiversity reductions as mentioned by Long et al. (2006) and Rygg (1985) would also apply to UK estuaries. This baseline study gave a good indication of the current contaminant levels in UK inshore areas highlighting that re-suspension of contaminants are still a threat to the marine environment. "
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    ABSTRACT: The environmental risks of 22 contaminants, comprising 6 metals, 10 PAHs and 6 PCB congeners occurring in UK estuaries and coastal waters were assessed as single substances. Sediment samples were taken within 12 nautical miles of the English and Welsh coastlines between 1999 and 2011. The measured environmental concentrations were compared to quality standards including ERL, ERM and EAC, all of which have been established internationally. Out of a total of 38,031 individual samples analysed, 42.6% and 7.7% exceeded the ERL/EAC and ERM values, respectively. The highest Risk Characterisation Ratios (RCRs) for metals, PAHs and PCBs were observed for copper, fluorene and CB118 (2,3',4,4',5-pentachlorobiphenyl). In general, the highest concentrations of PAHs and PCBs were observed in 2011 in the Lower Medway indicating a potential risk to the aquatic environment. This study suggests that re-suspension of contaminants banned over 20years ago is still an ongoing issue. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.
    Marine Pollution Bulletin 03/2015; 16(1). DOI:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.03.012 · 2.99 Impact Factor
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