EPA Updates Information on Sediments

The EPA is releasing an updated Report to Congress on National Sediment Quality that assesses and describes the quality of aquatic sediments in rivers, lakes, oceans and estuary bottoms in the United States from 1980 to 1999.

This report is an update to the 1997 National Sediment Quality Survey that also assesses changes in sediment contamination over time where data is available. EPA evaluated sediment contaminant data from previously published documents at 19,398 sampling stations and found either a decrease or no change in sediment contamination on a regional level.

This report is intended only to be an inventory of sediment sampling since the samples were not taken uniformly, were complied by different groups and do not cover the entire country. The data in the report cannot be used to determine trends in areas of the country where data is absent.

To help manage localized problems of contaminated sediment, EPA is working with other Federal agencies and State and local authorities to reduce the sources, abate contamination problems, manage dredged sediments, and develop scientifically sound management tools. General information about sediments and the report entitled "The Incidence and Severity of Sediment Contamination in Surface Waters of the United States: National Sediment Quality Survey, Second Edition" are available at: http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/cs .