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Sediment Quality Objectives

Sediments in bays and estuaries are often contaminated with a variety of pollutants stemming from sources including industrial and agricultural discharges, municipal wastewater treatment plants and storm water. Exposure to contaminated sediments can have a significant effect on the health, diversity and abundance of invertebrates such as clams and worms. Foraging fish and birds may also be exposed by ingesting contaminated invertebrates or sediments. In turn, those organisms consuming contaminated fish may be exposed to toxic pollutants. These effects underscore the need to develop sediment quality objectives that protect aquatic ecosystems and human health.

The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) intends to develop and adopt sediment quality objectives (SQOs) for enclosed bays and estuaries. This process will require approximately four years to complete. This page contains links to information on the State Water Board's progress.

New! Notice of Public Hearing
Staff is proposing to amend the Water Quality Control Plan for Enclosed Bays and Estuaries - Part 1 Sediment Quality. The proposed amendments will only apply to surficial sediments within enclosed bays and estuaries of California. The proposed amendments consist of a narrative sediment quality objective to Section IV of Part 1 that protects resident finfish and wildlife from the detrimental effects caused by exposure to pollutants in sediment, a process for implementing these narrative objective, addition of new definitions in the glossary in support of the proposed narrative objectives, and corrections to omissions and typographical errors. The following documents are available for public review

Enclosed Bays and Estuaries of California - Water Quality Control Plan
The State Water Board will hold a public hearing September 16, 2008 to seek comments on the Water Quality Control Plan for Enclosed Bays and Estuaries of California, Sediment Quality Objectives. The State Water Board may take final action on the Plan at the conclusion of the hearing, or the State Water Board may defer final action to a subsequent, publicly-noticed board meeting.

Draft Staff Report and Draft Water Quality Control Plan for Enclosed Bays and Estuaries - Part 1 Sediment Quality (July 18, 2008)

Enclosed Bays and Estuaries of California - Water Quality Control Plan
The State Water Board will hold a public hearing November 19, 2007 to seek comments on the proposed Water Quality Control Plan for Enclosed Bays and Estuaries of California, Sediment Quality Objectives.

Draft Staff Report and Draft Water Quality Control Plan for Enclosed Bays and Estuaries - Part 1 Sediment Quality

Questions or Comments?

Please email Chris Beegan, Division of Water Quality.

 

(Updated 7/30/13 )