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Manual provides standards for analyzing contaminated marine sediments

A newly published manual provides a standard method for measuring the chronic and sub-lethal effects of contaminated marine and estuarine sediments using an amphipod crustacean. The manual, published by EPA’s Office of Research and Development and Office of Water, represents the work of scientists at the Western Ecology Division, Office of Water, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Battelle Corp., and several universities. This toxicity test is suitable for assessing sediments from marine or estuarine environments or sediments that have been chemically spiked in the laboratory. The method involves exposing newborn cultured amphipods of the species Leptocheirus plumulosus to test and control sediments for 28-day periods, after which the survival, growth rate, and reproduction of the amphipods are measured. These test methods can be used by EPA and other agencies to assist in making decisions in situations such as disposal of dredged materials, registration of pesticides, assessment of new and existing industrial chemicals, assessment of Superfund sites, and the assessment and cleanup of hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities. Use of uniform, standardized testing procedures by EPA programs is expected to increase data accuracy and precision, facilitate test replication, increase the comparative value of test results and, ultimately, to increase the efficiency of regulatory processes requiring sediment toxicity tests. (Contact T.H. DeWitt, 541-867-4029; dewitt.ted@epa.gov)

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