John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Application of sediment toxicity identification evaluation techniques to a site with multiple‐contaminants


Sediment TIEs are conducted to determine causes of adverse effects observed in whole sediment toxicity tests. However, in multiple contaminant scenarios, it is problematic to partition contributions of individual contaminants to overall toxicity. Using data from a site with multiple inputs and contaminants of concern, we describe a quantitative approach for the TIE process by tracking toxic units (TUs) to determine whether all toxicity is accounted for. The initial step established the level of toxicity associated with the whole sediment, and then partitioned sources of toxicity into general contaminant classes (e.g., ammonia, metals, non‐polar organic compounds). In this case, toxicity was largely due to non‐polar organics, so the sediments were extracted and the extracts added back into dilution water and tested to confirm recovery of toxicity. Individual fractions were then generated using a solvent gradient and tested for toxicity. Fractions of interest were evaluated with GC/MS to identify specific constituents associated with toxicity. TUs associated with these constituents were then evaluated to determine probable associations with cause, and whether all toxicity was accounted for. The data indicated that toxicity was associated with two contaminant classes, representing legacy compounds and contaminants of emerging concern, with the contribution of each varying across the site. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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