The purpose of this framework document is to present topics that should or could be addressed in the sediment quality objectives implementation policy under development. This document is to be used as a tool to focus dialogue on policy topics that could be considered during policy development. This document as written does not present proposed policy nor does it reflect direction or the opinion of SWRCB Management or Board Members.
Definitions of key terms such as:
Bays and Estuaries
Sediment is naturally occurring particulate material that has been transported to a body of water.
Common Beneficial Uses (that could be affected by contaminated sediments)
Numeric and narrative objectives will be developed to protect benthic communities for the following reasons (EPA, 2000):
benthic infauna are typically sedentary and therefore most likely to respond to local environmental impacts;
benthic infauna are important components of the food chain and often act to transport not only nutrients but also toxicants to the rest of the system;
monitoring benthic infauna provides an in situ measure of relative biotic integrity and habitat quality; and
benthic infauna have the strongest supporting database for effects in the field.
Human health: narrative objectives
The California Water Code requires that the SWRCB develop SQOs that are protective of human health. Do to the complexity of relating sediment contaminant loading and potential human health affects and the resources required to develop state wide objectives the SWRCB will rely on narrative objectives and explore site specific tools. Tools such as food chain models and their ability to predict higher trophic level impacts reliably from contaminants in sediment will be evaluated.
Fish and wildlife: narrative objectives (See 220.127.116.11)
Habitats/samples that they apply to:
Bays, estuaries, surface sediments, subsurface sediments(?), etc.
General description of how compliance with objectives will be evaluated
Examples or list of proposed objectives
The concentration of chemical substances in enclosed bays and estuarine sediment shall not adversely impact beneficial uses,
The concentration of chemical substances in enclosed bays and estuarine sediment shall not increase to levels that would degrade aquatic life, and
The concentration of chemical substances in fish or other enclosed bays and estuarine resources used for human consumption shall not bioaccumulate from sediment into living resource to levels that are potentially harmful to human health.
Purpose and characteristics of objectives
Identify contamination levels protective of benthic macrofauna community