Long-term effects of dredging operations program. Assessing bioaccumulation in aquatic organisms exposed to contaminated sediments




Clarke, J.U.
McFarland, V.A.

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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


This paper synthesizes previous work on bioaccumulation to provide a working document for the environmental assessment of impacts on the aquatic environment due to bioaccumulation of sediment contaminants resulting from dredging operations and dredged material placement. Emphasis is placed on explanation of basic concepts concerning, and factors influencing, sediment contaminant bioaccumulation and bioavailability. The paper presents several numerical methods for assessing bioaccumulation, including a simple method for estimating theoretical bioaccumulation potential (TBP) from sediment chemistry for neutral organic chemicals. Methods are also given for projecting contaminant concentrations in organism tissues when steady state is achieved, based on laboratory or field exposures to contaminated sediments. These assessments are presented in the context of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's tiered testing approach for dredged material evaluation. The various numerical methods for bioaccumulation assessment are illustrated and compared using step-by-step example calculations with hypothetical and actual data.


86 p.


aquatic organisms, bioaccumulation, kinetics, organic compounds, pollutants, sediments, thermodynamics, steady state, dredging, dredge spoil