Evaluation of Ecotoxicological Sediment Quality: Recommendations for Switzerland
The Ecotox Centre is highly committed to the assessment of sediments because sediments are essential for aquatic ecosystems. Sediments play an important role for numerous organisms (as habitat, reproduction site, etc.) on the one hand, and may accumulate persistent pollutants and thus function as a long-term source of pollution of aquatic systems on the other. Sediment toxicity can be determined by chemical, biological and ecotoxicological analyses to detect and analyse contaminated sites and their inherent risk. According to the Swiss Water Protection Ordinance, sediments must not accumulate persistent pollutants in order to ensure the protection of aquatic life. However, no harmonised recommendations and quality standards for the in situ characterisation of sediment toxicity have been available to date.
The goal of the project is to provide a complete list of harmonised recommendations, from sampling methods to the interpretation of bioassay results. The project consists of several steps. The first step is to propose quality standards for sediments and their derivation method to be applied to Swiss sediments. The second step is focused on the currently available bioassays used for the evaluation of sediment toxicity (e.g. Bioassays with Chironomidae).