Proceedings of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Sediment Workshop,
February 4-7, 1997
SEDIMENT AND PORE-WATER EVALUATIONS: CAPABILITIES
ByParley V. Winger, and Peter J. Lasier,
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center,
Georgia, Warnell School of Forest Resources,
Athens, GA 30602-2152,
Phone: 706-546-2146 Fax: 706-546-2109
firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Two research scientists and a technician at the Athens Field Station are
involved in physical, chemical and biological evaluations of freshwater
and estuarine (< 15 o/oo salinity) sediments. The research scientists
have broad expertise in (1) acute and (2) chronic whole-sediment toxicity
testing, as well as (3) contaminant bioaccumulation testing procedures.
In addition, they are deeply involved in (4) methods development for pore
water extraction and pore-water toxicity testing, (5) understanding
pore-water chemistry and contaminant bioavailability and (6)
bioassessment of aquatic ecosystems. The overall mission of this field
program is to provide, using scientifically valid and state-of-the-art
methodologies, information on the environmental effects of contaminants
that can be used for wise management of fish and wildlife resources.
Facilities at the Athens Station include a culture laboratory where (1)
Hyalella azteca (Amphipoda: Crustacea) are cultured in recycling systems
with biological filters (cultures range in salinity from 0 to 15 o/oo) and
(2) Lumbriculus variegatus (Oligochaeta), (3) Chironomus riparius
(Diptera) and (4) Ceriodaphina dubia (Cladocera: Crustacea) are maintained
in static cultures. The main laboratory is used for sediment and sediment
pore-water testing, chemical analyses, and sediment characterization.
This laboratory contains two environmental chambers (maintains
controlled temperatures and light for testing purposes), chemical hood,
water-renewal system for solid-phase sediment testing, U.V. light
exposure system, equipment used in sediment characterization (drying
oven, muffle furnace) and wet-chemistry equipment (pH, D.O., alkalinity,
hardness, conductivity, sulfide, chloride, ammonia, lead, copper, acid
volatile sulfides). An additional laboratory contains the water-renewal
system for contaminant-bioaccumulation studies and a Microtox Bioassay
system. A 23-foot mobile bioassay trailer is used for on-site
assessments of water and sediment from rivers and estuaries.
Research Interests and Capabilities
The research scientists at the Station have a long history of involvement
with assessment and toxicity testing of solid-phase sediment and pore
water. They have been deeply involved in the development of solid-phase
sediment (Winger and Lasier 1993a; Winger and Lasier 1993b; U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency 1994; Ingersoll et al. 1995) and pore
water testing procedures (Winger and Lasier 1991; Winger and Lasier 1993a).
Their research interests encompass fresh and estuarine (<
o/oo salinity) sediments and pore waters.
An inexpensive, but highly effective and versatile
pore-water extractor was developed that allows isolation of pore water
from sediments in situ as well as in sediments transported to the
laboratory (Winger and Lasier 1991). This vacuum extractor consists of a
fused-glass air stone connected to a 60-cc syringe with airline tubing.
To obtain pore water, the air stone is inserted into the sediment and the
plunger on the syringe braced in the retracted position. The volume of pore
water needed for testing and/or water chemistry determines the number
of extractors used. Several studies have been completed and are
underway comparing pore water collected with this method versus pore
water collected by centrifugation and peepers (Winger et al. 1994). The
vacuum extractor was used successfully in collecting pore water in situ
during a study of mercury distribution in the Okefenokee Swamp (Winger
and Lasier 1996a), but further evaluations are needed to demonstrate the
utility of this method for in situ collection of sediment pore water .
Pore-Water Chemistry and Contaminant Bioavailability:
The process of
extracting pore water from the sediment may influence the pore water.
Though the chemistries of pore water isolated by different procedures are
(for all practical purposes) similar, differences do occur and these are
sediment and ion specific (Winger et al. 1994). Disturbance (stirring) of
the sediment prior to extraction appears to influence the chemistry and
toxicity of the pore water (Winger and Lasier 1993; Lasier et al. 1994;
Lasier 1995). Recent studies demonstrated that toxicity generally
increases in pore water isolated from sediments that have been allowed
to equilibrate (stored at 4 oC for 10 d) compared to pore water extracted
immediately after stirring (Winger and Lasier 1996a). Oxidation of pore
water (which is often anaerobic in nature) generally causes flocculation
or precipitation of oxy-hydroxides which can scavenge ions from the
water column, thereby influencing pore-water chemistry and toxicity. The
influence of common ions in pore water (such as ammonia, alkalinity,
sulfide and borate) on toxicity of pore water needs further evaluation,
particularly with regard to toxicity identification procedures (Lasier and
Winger 1995; Lasier and Winger 1997).
Toxicity of Solid-Phase Sediment and Pore Water:
Toxicity is generally
more pronounced in pore-water exposures than in solid-phase sediment
exposures (Winger et al. 1993; Winger and Lasier 1995a; Winger and Lasier
1997b). A large data base, consisting of sediment chemistry and
toxicities from solid-phase and pore-water exposures from the same
sediment, is being compiled that will allow the exploration of
relationships between the toxicities of these two matrices (Winger and
Lasier 1997a). Preliminary evaluations suggest that inclusion of both
measurements of toxicity increases the ability to identify contaminated
U.V. Light Exposure to Identify PAH Contamination:
During the last two
years, animals surviving at the end of solid-phase sediment and pore
water tests have been exposed to U.V. light (Winger and Lasier 1997b).
This exposure has caused significant toxicity to animals tested with many
sediments and pore waters that did not show toxicity during the regular
testing procedures. These toxicities suggest that the animals were
exposed to PAHs during the testing period. PAHs have been shown to elicit
toxicity when the exposed animals are placed under U.V. light (Ankley et
al. 1994). The utility of this exposure as a toxicity identification
procedure that could be incorporated into the routine toxicity-testing
protocol needs further evaluation. Standard operating procedures for this
method also need to be developed.
Studies have shown that some contaminants
found in sediments accumulate in benthic organisms (U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency 1994). Bioaccumulation studies are particularly useful
in the laboratory using spiked sediments and evaluations of dynamics and
uptake of single contaminant exposures. However, the significance of
laboratory bioaccumulation studies to field bioassessments of habitat
quality needs to be established. Guidance needs to be developed for
interpreting laboratory bioaccumulation data from field samples that
normally contain a suite of contaminants.
Aquatic Bioassessments Using Benthos:
Both scientists at the Station
have experience (field collecting, identification and data interpretation)
in the use of benthic organisms in aquatic bioassessments in freshwater
(Lasier 1986; Winger and Lasier 1995b). The use of benthic assemblages
in conjunction with sediment and pore-water chemistry and sediment and
pore-water toxicity (Sediment Quality Triad) needs additional application
in freshwater systems. Guidance needs to be developed on which benthic
metrics are most suitable for use in these evaluations.
Recent Sediment and Pore-Water Studies:
Toxicity tests on sediments and
pore waters from Savannah River and Savannah National Wildlife Refuge
were used to evaluate habitat quality and potential impacts of industries,
harbor developments, municipal outfalls and runoff from dredge-disposal
areas on fish and wildlife resources (Winger and Lasier 1995a). Impacts
of major cities on the Mississippi River were evaluated using toxicity
testing of sediments collected upstream and downstream of the cities
(Cairo, Memphis, Vicksburg, Baton Rouge and New Orleans) (Winger and
Lasier 1996c). Toxicities of sediments and pore water from canals and
rivers flowing into Biscayne Bay are being compared to samples collected
from the estuary for NOAA's Status and Trends program (Winger and Lasier
1997b). Sediments from St. Andrew Bay, Brunswick Harbor (Winger et al.
1993), Charleston Harbor, Perdido Bay (Brim 1993) and Mobile River have
also been evaluated. Sediment and pore water were evaluated during a
three-year study of the fate and effects of contaminants (emphasis on
mercury and lead) in atmospheric deposition on Okefenokee National
Wildlife Refuge (Winger and Lasier 1996a). The influence of common ions,
such as ammonia and alkalinity, on the toxicity of sediments and pore
water have also been evaluated (Lasier and Winger 1995; Lasier and
Ankley, G.T., S.A. Collyard, P.D. Monson, and P.A. Kosian. 1994. Influence of
ultraviolet light on the toxicity of sediments contaminated with
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 13:1791-1796.
Brim, M.S. 1993. Toxics characterization report for Perdido Bay, Alabama
and Florida. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Resources, Atlanta, GA, Publ. No. PCFO
Ingersoll, C.G., G.T. Ankley, D.A. Benoit, G.A Burton, F.J. Dwyer, I.E. Greer,
T.J. Norberg-King, and P.V. Winger. 1995. Toxicity and bioaccumulation of
sediment-associated contaminants with freshwater invertebrates: A
review of methods and applications. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 14:1885
Lasier, P.J. 1986. The use of benthic macroinvertebrates as indicators of
acid sensitivity in headwater streams of the Southern Blue Ridge
Province. MS Thesis, University of Georgia, Athens, GA.
Lasier, P.J. 1995. Influence of physical and chemical factors on the
toxicity of sediment and pore water to Hyalella azteca. PH.D.
Dissertation, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Lasier, P.J. and P.V. Winger. 1995. Toxicity of alkalinity to Hyalella
azteca. Paper presented at the 16th Annual Meeting Society of Toxicology
and Chemistry, November 5-9, 1995, Vancouver, BC. (Manuscript in review)
Lasier, P.J. and P.V. Winger. 1997. Toxicity of ammonia to Hyalella
azteca. (Manuscript in preparation)
Lasier, P.J., P.V. Winger and B.P. Jackson. 1994. Effects of handling,
temperature and storage time on sediment and pore-water chemistry and
toxicity. Paper presented at the 15th Annual meeting of the Society of
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, October 30 - November 4, 1994,
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1994. Methods for measuring the
toxicity and bioaccumulation of sediment-associated contaminants with
freshwater invertebrates. EPA 600/R-94/024, Duluth, MN.
Winger, P.V. and P. J. Lasier. 1991. A vacuum-operated pore-water
extractor for estuarine and freshwater sediments. Arch. Environ. Contam.
Winger, P.V. and P.J. Lasier. 1993a. Sediment toxicity testing: Comparison
of methods and evaluation of influencing factors. Pages 640-662 In: J.W.
Gorsuch, F.J. Dwyer, C.G. Ingersoll and T.W. LaPoint, Eds., Environmental
Toxicity and Risk Assessment: 2nd Volume, American Society for Testing
and Materials, Philadelphia, PA, STP 1216.
Winger, P.V. and P.J. Lasier. 1993b. Age and size of Hyalella azteca for
sediment toxicity testing. Paper presented at the 14th Annual Meeting of
the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, November 14-18,
1993, Houston, TX. (Manuscript in preparation)
Winger, P.V. and P.J. Lasier. 1995a. Sediment toxicity in Savannah Harbor.
Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 28:357-365.
Winger, P.V. and P.J. Lasier. 1995b. Rocky Creek Bioassessment-1995.
Report Submitted to Textiles, Merchandising and Interiors, University of
Georgia, Athens, GA, Consortium on competitiveness for the Apparel,
Carpet, and Textiles Industries.
Winger, P.V. and P.J. Lasier. 1996a. Fate of airborne contaminants in
Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. Preliminary Report submitted to U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, Region IV, Atlanta, GA, Cooperative Agreement
14--26-0009-1551, Research Work Order Number 21.
Winger, P.V. and P.J. Lasier. 1996b. Toxicity of fresh versus equilibrated
pore water. Paper presented at the 17th Annual Meeting of the Society of
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, November 17-21, 1996,
Winger, P.V. and P.J. Lasier. 1996c. Toxicity of sediment collected
upriver and downriver of major cities along the lower Mississippi River.
Preliminary Report Submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region
IV, Atlanta, GA (Manuscript in preparation)
Winger, P.J. and P.J. Lasier. 1997a. Comparison of toxicity of Hyalella
azteca exposed to solid-phase sediment and pore water. (Manuscript in
Winger, P.J. and P.J. Lasier. 1997b. Toxicity of sediment from Dade
County, Florida to Hyalella azteca. (Manuscript in preparation)
Winger, P.J., P.J. Lasier and H. Geitner. 1993. Toxicity of sediments and
pore water from Brunswick Estuary, Georgia. Arch. Environ. Contam.
Winger, P.V., P.J. Lasier and B.P. Jackson. 1994. Influence of extraction
method on pore-water chemistry. Paper presented at the 15th Annual
Meeting, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, October 30
November 3, 1994, Denver, CO (Manuscript in preparation)
Parley V. Winger, USGS-Biological Resources Division, Patuxent Wildlife
Research Center, University of Georgia, Athens Field Station, Athens, GA:
As an aquatic ecologist/toxicologist, current responsibilities include
identifying and evaluating contaminant impacts on aquatic resources in the
Southeast. Sediment and pore water are important matrices used in these
evaluations. Research conducted during the past 20 years has dealt
primarily with understanding the effects of human perturbations on aquatic
ecosystems. Studies have included: impacts of acid-mine drainage on
streams, influence of atmospheric deposition on streams in the Southern
Blue Ridge Province, contaminant impacts on National Wildlife Refuges,
significance of atmospheric deposition of mercury and lead on Okefenokee
National Wildlife Refuge, impacts of industry and dredge spoils on Savannah
River, methods for sediment and pore water testing.
Peter J. Lasier, Fishery Biologist, USGS - Biological Resources Division -
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Warnell School of Forest Resources,
University of Georgia, Athens, Ga 30602 2152. Serves as an aquatic
ecologist/toxicologist investigating contaminant impacts on aquatic systems
in the southeast. Expertises include water, sediment and pore-water
chemistry, and toxicity assessments of freshwater and estuarine sediments
and pore waters as well as municipal and industrial effluents. Recent
studies include sediment toxicity evaluations from the Savannah River, Ga,
freshwater canals entering Biscayne Bay, Fl, the lower Mississippi River,
Charleston Harbor, Mobile Bay, Al, and Perdido Bay, Fl, fate of trace
metals entering the Okefenokee Swamp via atmospheric deposition, physical
and chemical factors affecting sediment toxicity, and common ion (ammonia,
carbonate, sulfate, borate) toxicities to test organisms.
Contributions from Other Federal Agencies
Contribution from the USGS