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

ERL Environmental, 3691 Cole Road South, Salem, Oregon 97306, USA.
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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    • "In some parts of the Luan River Estuary, petrogenic PAHs may contribute to PAH contaminations , which could come from gas, oil transportation and oil refineries discharges from ambient sea. Sediment quality guidelines (SQGs) developed on the basis of Biological Effects Database for Sediments (BEDS) are very useful for sediment assessments in marine environments (Long et al., 2006). SQGs provide two target values: effects range low (ERL) and effects range median (ERM), which are established using the 10th and 50th percentiles, respectively, in a database of increasing concentrations associated with adverse biological effects. "
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    ABSTRACT: The distribution, sources and risk assessment of 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) of surface sediments in the Luan River Estuary, China, have been investigated in the research. The results indicated that the total concentrations of 16 PAHs in surface sediments of the Luan River Estuary ranged from 5.1 to 545.1ngg(-1)dw with a mean value of 120.8ngg(-1)dw, which is relatively low in comparison with other estuaries around the world. The PAHs in the study area were mainly originated from pyrogenic sources. Besides, PAHs may be contaminated by petrogenic PAHs as indicated by the selected ratios of PAHs, the 2-tailed Pearson correlation analysis and principal components analysis at different sites. The result of the ecological risk assessment shows little negative effect for most individual PAHs in surface sediments of the Luan River Estuary, China.
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    • "PSEMP protocol entails recording field measurements for each sample site: water depth, temperature and salinity of the bottom water, sediment size, texture , color and odor ( Collection methods, reporting requirements, and quality control procedures are summarized in Dutch et al. (2009). The chemical analyses on sediments and interstitial water obtained for most of the field sites include concentrations of 140 metals and semi-volatile organic chemical contaminants, up to four invertebrate toxicity tests, and the abundance of infaunal macroinvertebrates identified to the lowest taxonomic level (Long et al., 2006; Dutch et al., 2009, Tables 8 and 10). Total organic carbon was analyzed from sediment samples collected; these analyses did not include measuring pH and dissolved oxygen levels (DO) of either the interstitial or overlying waters. "
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    ABSTRACT: Environmental monitoring in estuarine settings depends on sediment quality guidelines and standards (SQG and SQSs) developed using scientific investigation and analysis. The purpose of this study was to utilize benthic foraminifera as a proxy for assessing the health of two severely impacted embayments within the complex fjordal system of Puget Sound (Washington, United States of America) and testing the efficacy of the standards used in monitoring the Sound. The embayments, Sinclair and Dyes inlets, have been subjected to contamination by military, industrial, residential and agricultural effluents for over 100 years, resulting in some of the most toxic marine sediments in Puget Sound. Although the results of chemical tests were within acceptable limits of the State monitored SQSs, toxicity and biotic assessments were not. The present study found that benthic foraminiferal assemblages were notably of low species diversity and strongly dominated by species tolerant of various contaminants and dysoxia. Foraminiferal density and diversity deteriorated between 1974 and 2008, with Sinclair Inlet showing a near collapse of foraminiferal assemblages by 2008. A similar trend was seen in the benthic macroinvertebrates studied by the Washington State Department of Ecology. In addition, large numbers of calcareous foraminiferal tests showed signs of dissolution, particularly in Sinclair Inlet; these numbers increased in later sampling years, as did the number of samples that were barren of foraminifera. This suggests a need for re-examination of the metrics used to set environmental standards and the need for better understanding of the compounding effects of contaminants on the biota.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Marine Micropaleontology
    • "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.
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