Sediments are an essential component of aquatic ecosystems that must be assessed and managed properly. The use of quantitative environmental quality standards derived from consideration of sediment quality guidelines (SQGs) can be effective as part of a tiered risk assessment approach. In Part I of this 2-part paper addressing sediment quality assessment and dredged material management in Spain, different SQG methods are used to evaluate sediment quality in the Bay of Santander, located in the Cantabric Sea along the northern coast of Spain, and to guide development of empirically derived SQGs for marine sediments. The results of the study indicate a great heterogeneity of SQGs, both with regard to the numeric values for a particular chemical and the number of substances for which SQGs have been derived. The analysis highlights the scarce development of empirical SQGs for priority substances identified in current European Union water policy. Nonetheless, the application of SQGs makes it possible to classify different zones of sediment quality in the Bay of Santander. Part II of this 2-part paper considers the environmental impacts of dredged material disposal. Legislation and criteria used to regulate dredged material disposal at sea in different European countries are reviewed, and action levels derived by different countries were used to evaluate management of dredged sediments from Cádiz Bay, located on the South Atlantic coast of Spain.
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Vol. 3 • No. 4