Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 30–36

Managing Contaminated Sediments

Review Articles

DOI: 10.1007/BF02986467

Cite this article as:
Ahlf, W. & Förstner, U. J Soils & Sediments (2001) 1: 30. doi:10.1007/BF02986467


Management of contaminated sediments, i.e. linking risk assessment and problem solutions, needs both quality criteria respecting recent findings on the bioavailability of pollutants and in-depth knowledge on processes controlling their particular hydrological and biogeochemical dynamics.

To understand bioavailability is the key issue for managing contaminated sediments. Therefore, scrutiny of the geochemical situation, toxicity, and biodegradability is needed. The first part of this review refers to the new insights into ‘diagenetic’ mechanisms on particles including ageing and their effects on biological interactions.

Chemical and physical methods are described to quantify the retarded desorption behaviour of hydrophobic organic substances and toxic metals. Results of analyses on the extractability of particle-bound pollutants (e.g. solid phase micro-extraction) can be correlated with the bioavailability. Some techniques recently developed to mimic bioavailabilty are briefly summarised. As can be derived from this review, there is a clear need to refine bioavailability models including equilibrium partitioning.

A set of bioassays is a powerful supplement to assess sediment quality. Consequently, a paradigm shift should be initiated for the evaluation of biological data. All information of a survey have to be implemented in an assessment scheme. Multivariate statistics and fuzzy mathematics provide promising means to interpret multiple data pattern.


Acid volatile sulfide (AVS)ageingbioavailabilitycontaminated sedimentsequilibrium partitioningirreversible adsorptionmanagement of contaminated sedimentsporewaterreview articlessediment toxicity

Copyright information

© Ecomed Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science and TechnologyUniversity of Technology Hamburg-Harburg, TU Hamburg-Harburg, Arbeitsbereich UmweltschutztechnikEissendorferstr. 40HamburgGermany