Technique for Assessing Estuarine Sediment Pollutants

by Thomas F. Lytle, Gulf Coast Research Lab, Ocean, Springs, MS, USA,
Julia S. Lytle, Gulf Coast Research Lab, Ocean, Springs, MS, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '87


A technique was developed for the Mississippi Sound whereby all pertinent scientific data could be gathered and be assimilated in a format that would permit sediment pollution to be assessed and possible solutions to be evaluated. The areas of investigation were: determining levels of pollutants, measuring toxicity of pollutant-laden sediments, establishing resuspension properties of sediments, determining sediment disturbance potential and describing resilience of biological communities. After division of the Sound into 34 geographic segments, each was thoroughly studied and assigned a rating in each of the five categories with a combined rating called an environmental stress index. Only a few 'hot spots' emerged from the study, not surprisingly near discharge sites. What was surprising was the low ratings in some categories given to some industrialized regions that are subjected to routine maintenance dredging.

Subject Headings: Sediment | Estuaries | Pollutants | Toxicity | Ratings | Water pollution | Pollution | Biological processes | Mississippi | United States

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