Collecting sediment samples for analysis of contaminants–particularly in river systems–is not just a matter of going out with a bucket and shovel. In fact, it is much more complex than a water quality survey, aquatic biota survey, or any terrestrial sampling program. Monitoring of sediment contaminants frequently is done to determine whether the sediments are a sink or a source of the chemicals of interest, and to evaluate the effects of the contaminants on the aquatic ecosystem as a whole.
When contaminated sediments may be present there is the potential for very expensive liability payments by bank-side industries, so the sampling program must be absolutely of the highest caliber; that is, it must be technically sound and legally defensible. The costs of laboratory analyses can far exceed the costs of collection of materials to be analyzed1. This means that costs can greatly exceed budgets if sediments must be collected and analyzed again because the original samples were collected at inappropriate locations or did not adequately represent the area of interest. Other factors that influence the cost of the study include the selection and use of sediment sampling equipment, sample handling, storage, and transport to the analytical laboratory.
This work was originally published on the Applied Ecosystem Services, LLC web site at https://www.appl-ecosys.com/blog/sediment-sampling-analysis/
It is offered under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license. In short, you may copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format as long as you credit Dr. Richard Shepard as the author. You may not use the material for commercial purposes, and you may not distribute modified versions.