Sediment quality assessment is of crucial ecological and toxicological importance for all those activities related to removal and management of such materials. Economic implications are also relevant, since political decisions on management choices are greatly influenced by the technical assessment of their quality and the associated risks. Nonetheless, the definition of sediment quality can be highly controversial and normative guidelines on risk assessment procedures often vague. Students will be introduced to main issues related to sediment quality characterization and management options especially in harbour areas and in highly polluted sites subjected to remediation activities. Beside methodological and instrumental approaches, sampling strategies adopted within harbours or complex industrialized sites will be presented, including choice of geographical grids, transects and core depth. Physico-chemical, chemical, microbiological and toxicological characterization of sediment samples will be presented, with the main parameters typically analyzed, Sediment Quality Guidelines (SQGs) and Environmental Quality Standards (EQSs). Classification of sediments will be discussed using integrated approaches, which allow assignment in different quality classes. More frequently adopted management options will be illustrated, including the necessity to suggest mitigation procedures during dredging operations, and monitoring actions before, during and after the end of different phases. Recent case-studies will be presented.
At the end of the course, students will:
Organize a sampling strategy for sediments in harbours and industrialized areas.
Choose the most appropiate chemical analyses and toxicological test, depending on different SQGs, EQSs and management objectives.
Integrate different typologies of data to classify sediments quality and propose management options.
Definginh procedures to mitigate dredging operations and plan adequate monitoring actions.
Communicate sediment quality classifications and the risk to decision makers.
Students will be evaluated on the basis of class participation and discussion (30%), presentation of a seminar (30%) and oral examination (40%).