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Foreword U. Borgmann National Water Research Institute, Environment Canada, Burlington, Ontario L7R 4A6, Canada. Why sediments? What makes them so special and in need of “Quality Assessment”? Human activity has resulted in extensive contamination of the environmentonwhichlife,andultimatelywe,depend.Someofthesecontaminants arenaturalcomponentsoftheearth,butmobilizedandredistributedinpotentially toxic forms through our industrial activities (e.g. metals), and others are manmadeandhavenotexistedpreviouslyinthenaturalworld .Withtheexceptionof some,whicharevolatileordegraderapidly,manyofthesecontaminantsultimately wash into the aquatic environment. Furthermore, a great many of these have a strong tendency to adsorb to particulate matter and settle into the sediments of lakes, oceans, and the slower regions of our streams and rivers. As a result, the highestconcentrationsofcontaminantsareoftenfoundinsediments,ratherthan dissolved in the water. It is here that we can often most easily identify the geographic origin and temporal changes in contamination. Sediments are the ultimate sink for many non- or poorly-degraded contaminants. Sediments, and the organisms associated with them, are, therefore, one of the most informative indicatorsofenvironmentalcontaminationandpotentialecologicalimpacts.This makes sediments one of the key environmental components deserving our attention. Inrecognisingtheimportanceofunderstandingsedimentcontaminationand itspotentialecologicalimpacts,theAquaticEcosystemHealthandManagement Society (AEHMS) has sponsored a series of Symposia on Sediment Quality Assessment.Theirpurposeistobringtogetherresearchersfromaroundtheworld, includingNorthandSouthAmerica,Europe,Asia,andAfrica,todiscusscurrent issues and advances in sediment assessment methods, in research findings and data interpretation, and in management. Sediment contamination is an issue of concern throughout the world, and a major goal of the AEHMS has been to encourage the exchange of scientific knowledge and experiences on a worldwidebasis .Thisisreflectedintheglobaldistributionofpaperspresentedinthis book,whichsummarizesthekeyfindingsoftheFourthInternationalSymposium xvi onSedimentQualityAssessment,heldinOtsu,Japan,inOctober2000.Included are papers which demonstrate how sediments, and the organisms living in sediments,provideanindicationofspatialandtemporaltrendsincontamination, how bioaccumulation is used to measure the bioavailable fraction of these contaminants,howtoxicitytestscanbeusedtomeasureenvironmentalimpacts, and how the cause of these effects can be identified. Also included are papers discussingtheroleofsedimentsassinksandsourcesofnutrients,andtheproblems associatedwitheutrophication.Otherpapersdiscusssedimenttreatmentoptions. Several overview papers on sediment assessment and treatment precede, and lay the groundwork for, more site specific studies. Overall, a broad range of topicsarecoveredfromsitesaroundtheworld.Wehopethatthisbookprovides the reader with both a better appreciation of the current state-of-the-art in sedimentassessments,andsomeinsightintothesediment-relatedissuesofconcern in different parts of the world today. ...


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