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Homepage>ASTM E3344-22 - Standard Guide for Selection of Background Reference Areas for Determination of Representative Sediment Background Concentrations
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Released: 01.08.2022

ASTM E3344-22 - Standard Guide for Selection of Background Reference Areas for Determination of Representative Sediment Background Concentrations

Standard Guide for Selection of Background Reference Areas for Determination of Representative Sediment Background Concentrations

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Standard number:E3344-22
Keywords:background reference area; representative background concentrations; sediment;

1.1 This guide focuses on the selection of sediment background reference areas from aquatic environments for the purpose of determining representative sediment background concentrations. These concentrations are typically used in contaminated sediment corrective actions performed under various regulatory programs, including the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). Although many of the references cited in this guide are CERCLA oriented, the guide is applicable to remedial actions performed under local, state, tribal, federal, and international cleanup programs. However, this guide does not describe the requirements for each jurisdiction.

1.1.1 The sediment background reference areas chosen using this guide will need to be approved by the regulatory agency having jurisdiction (or they should take no exception to the areas chosen), especially if the representative background sediment concentrations will potentially be used to develop sediment remedial criteria.

1.2 This guide provides a framework to select appropriate sediment background reference areas for collection of sediment data in the determination of representative sediment background concentrations. It is intended to inform, complement, and support, but not supersede, local, state, tribal, federal, or international guidelines.

1.2.1 This guide is designed to apply to contaminated sediment sites where sediment data have been collected and are readily available. Additionally, it assumes that risk assessments have been performed, so that the potential contaminants of concern (PCOCs) that exceed risk-based thresholds have been identified. This guide can be applied at multiple points within the project life cycle (such as site assessment and remedial design).

1.2.2 Furthermore, this guide presumes that the identified risk-based thresholds are low enough to pose corrective action implementation challenges or that the sediment site is subject to recontamination from ongoing anthropogenic or natural sources that are not controlled. In either case, representative sediment background concentrations are useful for determining the extent of corrective remedial actions (when used as remedial goals), evaluating risks posed by representative background concentrations, and establishing appropriate post-remedial monitoring plans.

1.2.3 A case study for selecting a background reference area using a tiered decision analysis approach is presented in Appendix X1. It compares various characteristics of a hypothetical sediment site associated with a former manufactured gas plant (MGP) facility to three candidate background reference areas and identifies the reference area that best satisfies the decision analysis objectives.

1.3 Methodologies used to determine representative background concentrations at contaminated sediment sites are not discussed in this guide—refer to Guide E3242 for a discussion of these methodologies.

1.4 Related ASTM Standards—This guide is related to Guide E3242, which provides a framework for determination of representative sediment background concentrations, including statistical and geochemical considerations. This guide is also related to Guide E3164, which addresses corrective action monitoring before, during, and after sediment remediation activities, as well as Guide E3163, which concerns sediment sampling and analytical techniques used during sediment corrective action projects. Guide D4823, which concerns sediment core sampling, is also related to this guide.

1.4.1 Specifically, this guide is intended to be used in conjunction with the framework to calculate representative background values outlined in Guide E3242, to help ensure appropriate background reference areas are chosen for use in representative background concentration calculations.

1.5 Units—The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. No other units of measurement are included in this guide.

1.6 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.7 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.