Long-Term Marine Sediment Monitoring Data Summaries, Findings, Publications

Summary of Findings 1989-2011

Annual monitoring of ten long-term stations selected to represent different habitats and benthic (sediment-dwelling) invertebrate communities has continued since 1989.  Statistical analyses of data from 1989 through 2011 are in progress; a report will be available later in 2013.

Summary of Findings 1989-2000

Contaminants were below the laboratory reporting limits (i.e., not detected) for two-thirds of almost 13,000 chemical measurements made. When contaminants were detected, most were well below state and national sediment regulatory limits.

Contaminants measured above Washington State Sediment Quality Standards were found at stations closest to human activity: Sinclair Inlet (mercury), Thea Foss Waterway (PAHs).

Changes over the period 1989 - 2000 included:

  • A decrease in metals concentrations.
  • An increase in PAH concentrations.
  • A significant increase in fine-grained sediments.

Other studies in Puget Sound and nationwide have shown similar trends in contaminant levels.

Changes in the types and numbers of benthic organisms at the Strait of Georgia monitoring site were observed.  These may be linked to above-average precipitation in 1996-1997.

Historical Monitoring 1989-1995

From 1989 through 1995, Ecology collected sediment samples from 76 stations throughout Puget Sound, Hood Canal, and the Strait of Georgia, of which 34 stations were sampled annually. The remaining 42 stations were sampled on a three-year rotational schedule in north, central, and south Puget Sound. The majority of these stations were intentionally located at a distance from known sources of contamination.

Summary of Findings

Chemical concentrations were generally low and below Washington State sediment regulatory standards. No consistent patterns were seen across years, with the exception of mercury in Sinclair and Dyes Inlets, with concentrations above standards for each of the seven years.

In general, the highest metal and organics concentrations were found in stations located in urban and industrial centers. Low metals concentrations were found in some rural and deep depositional areas. No obvious trends in sediment quality were detected over the seven years examined.

Sediment toxicity measured with a 10-day amphipod bioassay indicated significant mortality at some urban and rural stations, but no consistent patterns were observed. Compounding environmental variables (e.g., grain size) were not controlled for, and may have contributed to the test’s sensitivity. Chronic effects of chemical contamination on the life history of the test organisms were not assessed.

Sediment-dwelling invertebrate community composition appeared to be primarily related to sediment composition and water depth, secondarily to geographic location. The majority of organisms were not restricted to one substrate, but were broadly distributed with peaks of abundance in sand, mixed sediment, or mud. Some stations, located in upper reaches of inlets, semi-enclosed bays, and depositional locations associated with river plumes, displayed consistently low species richness and abundance. These locations have the potential for low dissolved oxygen episodes in bottom waters and accumulation of sulfide in sediments.

Spatial patterns in species abundance and composition appeared to be unrelated to contaminant concentrations at most sampling locations.


Publications

Sediment Quality - Long Term Monitoring (1989-2000)

Partridge, V., K. Welch, S. Aasen, and M. Dutch. 2005. Temporal Monitoring of Puget Sound Sediments: Results of the Puget Sound Ambient Monitoring Program, 1989-2000. Washington state Department of Ecology Publication 05-03-016. 267 pp + electronic appendices.
Dutch, M., V. Partridge, S. Aasen, and K. Welch. 2005. Changes and Trends in Puget Sound Sediments: Results of the Puget Sound Ambient Monitoring Program, 1989-2000. Washington State Department of Ecology Publication 05-03-024. 4 pp.

Sediment Chemistry - Long-Term Monitoring

Dutch, M., S. Weakland, and B. Chandramouli. 2011. Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products and Perfluorinated Chemicals in Puget Sound Sediments. Poster presentation - 2011 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference, October 25-27, 2011, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Poster. Publication 11-03-041.
Dutch, M., and S. Weakland. 2011. Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) In Puget Sound Sediments – A Baseline Update (2004-2011). Poster presentation - 2011 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference, October 25-27, 2011, Vancouver, BC. Poster. Publication 11-03-056.

Quality Assurance Project Plan - Long-Term Monitoring

Dutch, M., V. Partridge, S. Weakland, K. Welch, and E. Long. 2009. Quality Assurance Project Plan: The Puget Sound Assessment and Monitoring Program Sediment Monitoring Component. Washington State Department of Ecology Publication 09-03-121. 98 pp.
Dutch, M., V. Partridge, S. Weakland, K. Welch, and E. Long. 2010. Quality Assurance Project Plan Addendum 1: The Puget Sound Assessment and Monitoring Program Sediment Monitoring Component. Washington State Department of Ecology Publication 09-03-121 Addendum 1. 42 pp.

Sediment Quality - Historical Monitoring Summary Reports (1989-1995)

Llansó, R.L., S. Aasen, and K. Welch. 1998. Marine Sediment Monitoring Program - I. Chemistry and Toxicity Testing, 1989-1995. Washington State Department of Ecology, Olympia, WA. Publication No. 98-323. 101 pp. + appendices.
Llansó, R.L., S. Aasen, and K. Welch. 1998. Marine Sediment Monitoring Program - II. Distribution and Structure of Benthic Communities in Puget Sound, 1989-1993. Washington State Department of Ecology, Olympia, WA. Publication No. 98-328. 114 pp. + appendices.

Sediment Quality - Historical Monitoring Annual and Data Validation Reports (1989-1992)

Dutch, M., H. Dietrich, and P. Striplin. 1993. Puget Sound Ambient Monitoring Program 1992: Marine Sediment Monitoring Task Annual Report 1992. Washington State Department of Ecology, Olympia WA. Publication 93-87, 50 pp. + appendices.
EcoChem, Inc. 1993. Puget Sound Ambient Monitoring Program 1992: Marine Sediment Monitoring Data Validation Report. Prepared for Washington State Department of Ecology, Olympia, WA.  261 pp.
EILS. 1994. Puget Sound Ambient Monitoring Program: Marine Sediment Monitoring Task Annual Report 1991. Washington State Department of Ecology, Olympia WA. Publication 94-93, 491 pp.
BCI, 1991. Puget Sound Ambient Monitoring Program 1991: Marine Sediment Monitoring Data Validation Report. Prepared for Washington State Department of Ecology, Olympia, WA.
Striplin, P., P. Sparks-McConkey, D. Davis, and F. Svendsen. 1992. Puget Sound Ambient Monitoring Program, Marine Sediment Monitoring Program: Annual Report 1990. Washington State Department of Ecology, Olympia WA. Publication 92-47. 39 pp. + appendices.
PTI Environmental Services. 1991. Puget Sound Ambient Monitoring Program Quality Assurance Reviews of Chemical and Bioassay Analyses – 1990 Field Survey. Prepared for Washington State Department of Ecology, Olympia, WA. 109 pp. + appendices.
Tetra Tech, Inc. 1990. Puget Sound Ambient Monitoring Program 1989: Marine Sediment Monitoring. Washington State Department of Ecology Publication 90e76, Olympia WA. 262 pp. + appendices

Quality Assurance Project Plan - Historical Monitoring (1989-1995)

Striplin, P.L., 1988. Puget Sound Ambient Monitoring Program: Marine Sediment Quality Implementation Plan. Washington State Department of Ecology, Environmental Investigations and Laboratory Services Program, Olympia, WA. Publication No. 88e-37.