Contaminated sediments are receiving increasing recognition around the world, leading to the development of various sediment quality indicators for assessment, management, remediation, and restoration efforts. Sediment chemistry represents an important indicator of ecosystem health, with the concentrations of contaminants of potential concern (COPCs) providing measurable characteristics for this indicator. The St. Louis River Area of Concern (AOC), located in the western arm of Lake Superior, provides a case study for how numerical sediment quality targets (SQTs) for the protection of sediment-dwelling organisms can be used to support the interpretation of sediment chemistry data. Two types of SQTs have been established for 33 COPCs in the St. Louis River AOC. The Level I SQTs define the concentrations of contaminants below which sediment toxicity is unlikely to occur, whereas the Level II SQTs represent the concentrations that, if exceeded, are likely to be associated with sediment toxicity. The numerical SQTs provide useful tools for making sediment management decisions, especially when considered as part of a weight-of-evidence approach that includes other sediment quality indicators, such as sediment contaminant chemistry and geochemical characteristics, sediment toxicity, and benthic macroinvertebrate community structure. The recommended applications of using the numerical SQTs in the St. Louis River AOC include: designing monitoring programs, interpreting sediment chemistry data, conducting ecological risk assessments, and developing site-specific sediment quality remediation targets for small, simple sites where adverse biological effects are likely. Other jurisdictions may benefit from using these recommended applications in their own sediment quality programs.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
W. Ahlf U. Förstner (2001) ArticleTitleManaging contaminated sediments. I. Improving chemical and biological criteria. Journal of Soils and Sediments 1 30–36
S.E. Apitz E.A. Power (2002) ArticleTitleFrom risk assessment to sediment management: An international perspective. Journal of Soils and Sediments 2 1–6
Apitz, S.E., Davis, J.W., Finkelstein, K., Hohreiter, D.L., Hoke, R., Jensen, R.H., Jersak, J.M., Kirtay, V.J., Mack, E.E., Magar, V., Moore, D., Reible, D., Stahl, R. (2002) Critical issues for contaminated sediment management. MESO-02-TM-01. Marine Environmental Support Office, United States Navy, San Diego, California, 77 pp. (http://meso.spawar.navy.mil/meso/Docs/MESO-02-TM-01.pdf)
G.F. Birch S.E. Taylor (2002) ArticleTitleApplication of sediment quality guidelines in the assessment and management of contaminated surficial sediments in Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour), Australia. Environmental Management 29 860–870
J. Brils (2001) ArticleTitleDemand-driven European sediment research network SedNet: Achievements 2001. Journal of Soils and Sediments 1 204
J. Brils (2002) ArticleTitleThe SedNet mission. Journal of Soils and Sediments 2 2–3
S.R. Carr E.R. Long H.L. Windom D.C. Chapman G. Thursby G.M. Sloane D.A. Wolfe (1996) ArticleTitleSediment quality assessment studies of Tampa Bay, Florida. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 15 1218–1231
CCME. (1996) A framework for developing ecosystem health goals, objectives, and indicators: Tools for ecosystem-based management. Water Quality Guidelines Task Group, Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 24 pp.
CCME. (1999) Canadian environmental quality guidelines. Guidelines and Standards Division, Environment Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
P.M. Chapman R.N. Dexter E.R. Long (1987) ArticleTitleSynoptic measures of sediment contamination, toxicity and infaunal community composition (the sediment quality triad) in San Francisco Bay. Marine Ecology Progress Series 37 75–96
P.M. Chapman M. Cano A.T. Fritz C. Gaudet C.A. Menzie M. Sprenger W.A. Stubblefield (1997) Workgroup summary report on contaminated site cleanup decisions. C.G. Ingersoll T. Dillon G. R. Biddinger (Eds) Ecological risk assessment of contaminated sediments SETAC Press Pensacola, Florida 83–114
Crane, J.L. (1999) Assessment of contaminated sediments in Slip C, Duluth Harbor, Minnesota. EPA-905-R-99-007. Great Lakes National Program Office, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Chicago, Illinois, 73 pp + appendices.
Crane, J.L. (2001) Quality assurance project plan (QAPP): GIS-based contaminated sediment database for the St. Louis River Area of Concern. Environmental Outcomes Division, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, St. Paul, Minnesota, 45 pp + appendices. (http://www.pca.state.mn.us/water/sediments/databaseqapp.pdf)
Crane, J.L., Schubauer-Berigan, M., Schmude, K. (1997) Sediment assessment of hotspot areas in the Duluth/Superior Harbor. EPA-905-R97-020. Great Lakes National Program Office, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Chicago, Illinois, 155 pp + appendices. (http://www.pca.state.mn.us/water/sediments/94mudpuppy.pdf)
Crane, J.L., MacDonald, D.D., Ingersoll, C.G.., Smorong, D.E., Lindskoog, R.A., Severn, C.G., Berger, T.A., and Field, L.J. (2000) Development of a framework for evaluating numerical sediment quality targets and sediment contamination in the St. Louis River Area of Concern. EPA 905-R-00-008. Great Lakes National Program Office, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Chicago, Illinois, 107 pp + appendices. (http://www.pca.state.mn.us/water/sediments/sqt-slraoc.pdf)
Crane, J.L., Smorong, D.E., Pillard, D.A., MacDonald, D.D. (2002a) Sediment remediation scoping project in Minnesota Slip, Duluth Harbor. EPA-905-R-02-002. Great Lakes National Program Office, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Chicago, Illinois, 157 pp + appendices. (http://www.pca.state.mn.us/sediments/mnslipreport.pdf)
J.L. Crane D.D. MacDonald C.G. Ingersoll D.E. Smorong R.A. Lindskoog C.G. Severn T.A. Berger L.J. Field (2002b) ArticleTitleEvaluation of numerical sediment quality targets for the St. Louis River Area of Concern. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 43 1–10
L.J. Field D.D. MacDonald S.B. Norton C.G. Severn C.G. Ingersoll (1999) ArticleTitleEvaluating sediment chemistry and toxicity data using logistic regression modeling. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 18 1311–1322
Hartig, J.H. (ed.). (1995) Practical steps to implement an ecosystem approach in Great Lakes management. United States Environmental Protection Agency and Environment Canada in cooperation with the International Joint commission and Wayne State University, 41 pp. (http://www.ijc.org/boards/wqb/toc.html)
S. Heise W. Ahlf (2002) ArticleTitleThe need for new concepts in risk management of sediments. Historical developments, future perspectives and new approaches. Journal of Soils and Sediments 2 4–8
IJC. (1989) Great Lakes water quality agreement of 1978 (as amended by Protocol signed November 18, 1987). International Joint Commission, Windsor, Ontario, 44 pp. (http://www.ijc.org/agree/quality.html)
IJC.(2002) Eleventh biennial report on Great Lakes water quality. The challenge to restore and protect the largest body of fresh water in the world. International Joint Commission, Windsor, Ontario, 88 pp. (http://www.ijc.org/comm/11br/english/report/index.html)
C.G. Ingersoll P.S. Haverland E.L. Brunson T.J. Canfield F.J. Dwyer C.E. Henke N.E. Kemble D.R. Mount R.G. Fox (1996) ArticleTitleCalculation and evaluation of sediment effect concentrations for the amphipod Hyalella azteca and the midge Chironomus riparius. Journal of Great Lakes Research 22 602–623
C.G. Ingersoll G.T. Ankley R. Baudo G.A. Burton W. Lick S.N. Luoma D.D. MacDonald T.B. Reynoldson K.R. Solomon R.C. Swarz W.J. Warren-Hicks (1997) Workgroup summary report on uncertainty evaluation of measurement endpoints used in sediment ecological risk assessment C.G. Ingersoll T. Dillon G.R. Biddinger (Eds) Ecological risk assessment of contaminated sediments SETAC Press Pensacola, Florida 297–352
C.G. Ingersoll D.D. MacDonald N. Wang J.L. Crane L.J. Field P.S. Haverland N.E. Kemble R.A. Lindskoog C. Severn D.E. Smorong (2001) ArticleTitlePredictions of sediment toxicity using consensus-based freshwater sediment quality guidelines. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 41 8–21
C.G. Ingersoll D.D. MacDonald W.G. Brumbaugh B.T. Johnson N.E. Kemble J.L. Kunz T.W. May N. Wang J.R. Smith D.W. Sparks D.S. Ireland (2002) ArticleTitleToxicity assessment of sediments from the Grand Calumet River and Indiana Harbor Canal in northwestern Indiana, USA. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 43 156–167
IT Corp. (1997) Remedial investigation data report, sediment operable unit, St. Louis River/Interlake/Duluth Tar site. Volume 1 of 5. Prepared for the Interlake Corporation, Lisle, Illinois.
Lake Superior Binational Program. (1999) Protecting Lake Superior—lakewide management plan, Stage 2, load reduction targets for critical pollutants. Superior Work Group: Chemical Committee, Thunder Bay, Ontario and Chicago, Illinois, 162 pp. (http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/lakesuperior/stage2lamp.html)
E.R. Long D.D. MacDonald (1998) ArticleTitleRecommended uses of empirically derived, sediment quality guidelines for marine and estuarine ecosystems. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment 4 1019–1039
E.R. Long C.J. Wilson (1997) ArticleTitleOn the identification of toxic hot spots using measures of the sediment quality triad. Marine Pollution Bulletin 34 373–374
E.R. Long L.J. Field D.D. MacDonald (1998a) ArticleTitlePredicting toxicity in marine sediments with numerical sediment quality guidelines. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 17 714–727
E.R. Long D.D. MacDonald J.C. Cubbage C.G. Ingersoll (1998b) ArticleTitlePredicting the toxicity of sediment-associated trace metals with SEM-AVS concentrations and dry weight-normalized concentrations—A critical comparison. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 17 972–974
MacDonald, D.D., Ingersoll, C.G. (2000) An assessment of sediment injury in the Grand Calumet River, Indiana Harbor Canal, Indiana Harbor, and the nearshore areas of Lake Michigan. Volume I. Prepared for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bloomington, Indiana, 238 pp. (http://midwest.fws.gov/GrandCalumetRiver/FinalDraft.pdf)
MacDonald, D.D., Ingersoll, C.G. (2002a) A guidance manual to support the assessment of contaminted sediments in freshwater ecosystems. Volume I—an ecosystem-based framework for assessing and managing contaminated sediments. EPA-905-B02-001-A. Great Lakes National Program Office, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Chicago, Illinois, 71 pp. + appendices. (http://www.cerc.usgs.gov/pubs/sedtox/VolumeI.pdf)
MacDonald, D.D., Ingersoll, C.G. (2002b) A guidance manual to support the assessment of contaminated sediments in freshwater ecosystems. Volume III—Interpretation of the results of sediment quality investigations. EPA-905-B02-001-C. Great Lakes National Program Office, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Chicago, Illinois, 170 pp. + appendices. (http://www.cerc.usgs.gov/pubs/sedtox/VolumeIII.pdf)
MacDonald, D.D., Sobolewski, A. (1993) Recommended procedures for developing site-specific environmental quality remediation objectives for contaminated sites. Report prepared for EcoHealth Branch, Environment Canada, Ottawa, Canada, 85 pp.
D.D. MacDonald R.S. Carr F.D. Calder E.R. Long C.G. Ingersoll (1996) ArticleTitleDevelopment and evaluation of sediment quality guidelines for Florida coastal waters. Ecotoxicology 5 253–278
D.D. MacDonald C.G. Ingersoll T.A. Berger (2000a) ArticleTitleDevelopment and evaluation of consensus-based sediment quality guidelines for freshwater ecosystems. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 39 20–31
D.D. MacDonald L.M. DiPinto J. Field C.G. Ingersoll E.R. Long R.C. Swartz (2000b) ArticleTitleDevelopment and evaluation of consensus-based sediment effect concentrations for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB). Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 19 1403–1413
C.A. Menzie (1997) Perspectives on sediment ecological risk analysis for hazardous waste sites. C.G. Ingersoll T. Dillon G.R. Biddinger (Eds) Ecological risk assessment of contaminated sediments SETAC Press Pensacola, Florida 73–82
MPCA, WDNR. (1992) The St. Louis River system remedial action plan. Stage One. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, St Paul, Minnesota and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, Wisconsin. (http://www.stlouisriver.org/rap.html)
M.A. Nord (2001) ArticleTitleRecommendations for the implementation of a national sediment quality policy in the United States. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment. 7 641–650
NYSDEC. (1999) Technical guidance for screening contaminated sediments. Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, New York, 39 pp. (http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/habitat/seddoc.pdf)
Redman, S., Janisch, T. (1995) Newton Creek system sediment contamination site characterization report. PUBL-WR-433-95. Sediment Management and Remediation Techniques Program, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, Wisconsin, 167 pp.
Royal Commission on the Future of the Toronto Waterfront. (1991) East Bayfront and Port Industrial Area: Pathways: Towards an ecosystem approach. Royal Commission on the Future of the Toronto Waterfront, Toronto, Ontario, 165 pp.
Royal Commission on the Future of the Toronto Waterfront. (1992) Regeneration: Toronto’s waterfront and the sustainable city: Final report. Royal Commission on the Future of the Toronto Waterfront,Toronto, Ontario, 530 pp. (http://www.waterfronttrail.org/files/pubs.htm#regeneration)
Schubauer-Berigan, M., Crane, J.L. (1997) Survey of sediment quality in the Duluth/Superior Harbor: 1993 sampling results. EPA 905-R97-005. Great Lakes National Program Office, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Chicago, Illinois, 134 pp + appendices. (http://www.pca.state.mn.us/water/sediments/93mud.pdf)
InstitutionalAuthorNameSedNet. (2002) ArticleTitleExpression of interest (EoI) for a network of excellence (NoE) on management of European sediment resources (SedNet-excel). Journal of Soils and Sediments 2 55–57
V.B. Serveiss (2002) ArticleTitleApplying ecological risk principles to watershed assessment and management. Environmental Management 29 145–154
D.S. Slocombe (1998) ArticleTitleDefining goals and criteria for ecosystem-based management. Environmental Management 22 483–493
St. Louis River Citizens Action Committee. (2002) Lower St. Louis River habitat plan. St. Louis River Citizens Action Committee, Duluth, Minnesota, 106 pp + appendices. (http://www.stlouisriver.org/habitatplan/habitatplan.html)
G.W. Suter II (1997) Overview of the ecological risk assessment framework. C.G. Ingersoll T. Dillon G.R. Biddinger (Eds) Ecological risk assessment of contaminated sediments SETAC Press Pensacola, Florida 1–6
G.W. Suter II (2001) ArticleTitleApplicability of indicator monitoring to ecological risk assessment. Ecological Indicators 1 101–112
US EPA. (1998) EPA’s contaminated sediment management strategy. EPA-823-R-98-001. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water, Washington, District of Columbia. (http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/cs/strategy.pdf)
US EPA. (2001) Draft report on the incidence and severity of sediment contamination in surface waters of the United States. National Sediment Quality Survey: Second edition. EPA-823-R-01-01. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Science and Technology, Washington, District of Columbia. (http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/cs/draft/survey.html)
US GAO. (2002) Great Lakes. EPA needs to define organizational responsibilities better for effective oversight and cleanup of contaminated areas. GAO-02-563. United States General Accounting Office, Washington, District of Columbia, 23 pp. (http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d02563.pdf)
US Policy Committee for the Great Lakes. (2002) Great Lakes Strategy 2002: A plan for the new millennium. United States Policy Committee, 37 pp. (http://www.epa.gov/grtlakes/gls/gls2002.pdf)
Walker, D.A., Hall, S. P. (1976) Duluth-Superior Harbor cultural resources study. Archaeology Department, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota, 151 pp.
Waterfront Regeneration Trust. (1998) 1997/1998 annual report. Waterfront Regeneration Trust, Toronto, Ontario. (http://www.waterfronttrail.org/graphics/whatnew/annwrtrp.pdf)
Wenning, R.J., Ingersoll, C.G. (2002) Summary of the SETAC Pellston workshop on the use of sediment quality guidelines and related tools for the assessment of contaminated sediments; 17-22 August 2002, Fairmont, Montana. Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC): Pensacola, Florida, 44 pp. (ftp://ftp.cerc.usgs.gov/Cerc/WG0%20SETAC%20SQG%20Summary.pdf)
M A. Zarull J.H. Hartig G. Krantzberg K. Burch D. Cowgill G. Hill J. Miller I. G. Sherbin (1999) ArticleTitleContaminated sediment management in the Great Lakes basin ecosystem. Journal of Great Lakes Research 25 412–422
We thank Gary J. Brierley, F. Douglas Shields, Jr., and an anonymous reviewer for their thorough reviews of this paper. Financial support for this project was provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO), Chicago, Illinois, through grant number GL985604-01. C. Bolattino, S. Cieniawski, and K. O’Connor were the successive GLNPO project officers for this work. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the MPCA or US EPA.
About this article
Cite this article
Crane, J., MacDonald, D. Applications of Numerical Sediment Quality Targets for Assessing Sediment Quality Conditions in a US Great Lakes Area of Concern . Environmental Management 32, 128–140 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-003-2646-x
- Contaminated sediments
- Sediment quality targets
- Sediment quality guidelines
- Great Lakes, St. Louis River
- Area of Concern