Freshwater Sediment Assessment – Scoping Study
August 1995


The objective of this scoping study is to propose a regulatory framework for the assessment of freshwater sediment quality in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The need for such a scheme has been prompted by the presence of elevated levels of pesticides in some Scottish riverine sediments.

The recommendations given in the report are based on the current state of the art in sediment quality assessment and the current practices in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Current practices were determined by questionnaire responses. A Tiered strategy is proposed which measures chemistry, toxicity and biology (the sediment quality triad) of the sediments of concern. Sediments of concern are identified using a toxicological screening step.

Detailed recommendations are given for the measurement of each of the three components of the triad, and areas requiring further research are highlighted. Such areas include the development of a sensitive sublethal sediment toxicity test for use in screening, and the standardisation of sample collection, handling and analytical techniques across laboratories.

Information on the control options currently available, and the use of biota in monitoring, is given in the appendices.

KEY WORDS  sediment quality triad, freshwater, strategy.

Copies of the report are available from the Foundation, price £30.00, less 20% to FWR members.