Information - HS24 Sediment tracing and risk assessment for sediment management
Sediments play a vital role in our rivers and water bodies in achieving good water and ecological quality. Sediment supply and transfer is a complex dynamic phenomenon that is often difficult to quantify or predict. Sediment particle sizes may change over time and space depending on their source and transfer pathways. In addition to these physical properties of sediment supply particulate matter may of itself be a potential contaminant, or may provide binding sites for contaminants. In the presence of organic matter sediment particles may flocculate and form complex aggregates within which chemical and biological interactions may continue. The rate and type of reactions depend on the environment in which the sediment is located, the presence or lack of oxygen is a key determining factor of the rate and type of change. Sediments may thus bind contaminants for long periods of time, and in interaction with the intermittent transfer of sediment through a river basin, this means that there is often a contaminant legacy in the sediment. When sediments are activated by high flow events contaminants can be released into the water column or sediment and contaminants can be deposited on flood plains. This session provides an opportunity to consider sediment and contaminant dynamics at a range of scales together with approaches to identify where problems may be focussed and techniques for assessment and remediation.
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