Sediment Testing

The TRE Environmental laboratory provides soil sediment testing services.

Sediment occupies an important ecological compartment in aquatic systems, acting as key habitat for hundreds of benthic species, refugia for water column organisms, and a sink and source of organic and inorganic materials that can have both positive and negative consequences to aquatic communities. A healthy and productive aquatic ecosystem depends on a benthic environment that is free of toxicants at concentrations and/or levels that could cause significant ecological impacts. Because sediments often accumulate chemical stressors, they can represent a sensitive component that may be assessed using ecotoxicological tools.

The academic and professional training of TRE scientists includes detailed studies of the fate and effects of contaminants in sediment in lotic and lentic ecosystems. Researchers at TRE are familiar not only with toxicity tests, but with the methods and intricacies of collecting sediment with a variety of devices including corers, grabs and dredges. In the laboratory, sediment toxicity tests are used to study existing conditions and, by spiking sediment with known contaminants, evaluate future consequences of chemical loading, and assess the bioavailability of the contaminant(s) of concern. Protocols for sediment testing are available through U.S.EPA, ASTM, OECD and other guidance documents. Sediment tests conducted at TRE include:

  • 10-day survival and growth with Hyalella azteca and Chironomus dilutus
  • Acute and bioaccumulation using Lumbriculus variegatus
  • Long-term survival, growth and fecundity with H. azteca and C. dilutus
  • Larval amphibian survival and growth using native anurans and African Clawed Frog (Xenopus sp.)
  • 14-day survival and growth in wetland soil/sediment with freshwater millet (Echinochloa crusgalli)
  • ┬áLong-term (up to several months) survival and growth of wetland emergent macrophytes (e.g., Pontederia)