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Sampling Control Site Stations

SERIM Excerpt

Note: This blog is an excerpt from EPA/USACE’s Southeast Regional Implementation Manual (SERIM) concerning sampling control site stations.

4.4   Sampling Control Site Stations

Control sediment should be used in all bioassay and bioaccumulation tests.  Control sediment is distinguished from the reference sediment because it is selected to provide optimum conditions for the organisms.  Control samples are used to determine the general health of the test organisms during the bioassay and bioaccumulation tests, and to evaluate test protocols as part of the laboratory QA/QC program.  The coordinates of the control site or source of the control sediment should be documented in the SAP and approved by the appropriate USACE SAD district and EPA Region 4 prior to collection.

  • Control sediment shall be defined as:  "A natural sediment essentially free of contaminants and compatible with the biological needs of the test organisms such that the sediment has no discernible influences on responses being measured in the tests" (1991 Green Book, Section 1).
  • Control sediment is used in the whole-sediment bioassay tests to assess the overall health of the test species.  The average control test species mortality should not exceed 10% [30% for the zooplankton in the elutriate toxicity tests (see Appendix L)].  In the event these levels are exceeded, testing may need to be repeated.
  • The control sediment tests are not usually compared to the proposed dredged material as part of the analysis to determine whether sediments are suitable for ocean disposal.


USEPA/USACE.  2008.  Southeast Regional Implementation Manual (SERIM) for Requirements and Procedures for Evaluation of the Ocean Disposal of Dredged Material in South­eastern U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coast Waters. EPA 904-B-08-001. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Atlantic Division, Atlanta, GA. 2008.pdf

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