Contaminated Sediments

Explore the two Contaminated Sediments teams and resources below!

About the Guidance Document:

The CS-1 Online Guidance Document offers a compilation of the existing concepts, tools, and measures for assessing bioavailability, including communicating risk and the need for potential remedial action(s) to the public and other parties involved in the decision-making process. Case studies and examples of how these tools and measures have been used in decision-making are also included.

The intended users of this guidance are individuals who have a working knowledge of contaminated sediment management but seek additional information about bioavailability.

Team Background:

In 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that approximately 10% of the sediment underlying our nation’s surface water is sufficiently contaminated with toxic pollutants to pose potential risks to fish and to humans and wildlife that eat fish. This represented roughly 1.2 billion cubic yards of contaminated sediment. According to average costs for managing contaminated sediments, this volume of material could have cost several trillions of dollars to dredge. 

One important question that the ITRC Contaminated Sediments – Bioavailability Team received from state agencies was, “How can we effectively manage and limit exposure to contaminated sediments (i.e., capping)?” Accurately characterizing potentially contaminated sediments (i.e., developing a conceptual site model) and understanding the bioavailability of chemical constituents in sediments can aid in selecting a remedial process and developing a management plan that best minimizes exposure. The principal objective of bringing bioavailability considerations into sediment risk management is to reduce the extent of cleanup required while still being protective of human health and the environment. In addition, incorporating bioavailability information in the calculation of risk can be an important factor in balancing the risks caused by remedial action with those addressed by the remedial action.

Contaminated Sediments - Remediation

Remedy Selection for Contaminated Sediments  (CS-2)
August 2014

Supplemental Training:

Remedy Selection for Contaminated Sediments Online Training Webinar 
Archived from January 2018

About the Resources:

The CS-2 Online Guidance Document assists decision-makers in identifying which contaminated sediment remedial technology is most favorable for a site based upon an evaluation of site-specific physical, sediment, contaminant, and land and waterway use characteristics. The decision framework and supporting technology overviews of monitored natural recovery, enhanced monitored natural recovery, in situ treatment, capping (conventional and amended), and removal (excavation/dredging) allow the user to understand up-to-date information about each technology, its relationship to the decision framework, and relative performance monitoring parameters. 

Online Training Webinar assists in applying the technical and regulatory guidance as a tool to overcome the remedial challenges posed by contaminated sediment sites.

Team Background:

The sediments underlying many of our nation’s major waterways are contaminated with toxic pollutants from past industrial activities. Cleaning up contaminated sediments is expensive and technically challenging. The goal of this project was to assist the user with the identification and selection of a cleanup approach for contaminated sediments.