Sediment contamination is one of the major end results of pollutant discharges into freshwater environments. For many toxic materials, sediments represent the primary repository and the principle source of contamination to the food chain. These toxic materials include numerous organic compounds and heavy metals that may bioaccumulate within benthic organisms and pose a threat to fish and wildlife as well as health hazards to humans.
Three general types of sediment sampling equipment (scooping devices, core samplers and grab samplers) may be used by sampling personnel depending on water depth, sediment characteristics and study objectives.
Determine if sediments contain trace substances in concentrations above established or proposed criteria.
Compare metals levels in sediments with data on distribution of metals concentrations in Missouri to determine background levels.
By analysis of soils and sediment data, determine if sediments are relatively enriched or poorer in metals than soils of the area.
Identify sediments with anthropogenic sources of metals and state the confidence level of that determination.