Aquatic and Sediment Toxicology Laboratory

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Environmental Effects Testing

EcoAnalysts Port Gamble laboratory offers bench-scale environmental effects testing. Compliance and applied research areas include:

  • Whole Effluent Toxicity Testing

  • Compliance Monitoring and Testing

  • Toxicity Identification Evaluations (TIE)

  • Methods Development

Technical Support

A nationally accredited aquatic and sediment environmental laboratory in the Pacific Northwest, our Port Gamble laboratory focuses on technology-based solutions and bench-scale environmental effects testing, which it combines with classical field sampling and environmental data analysis. EcoAnalysts staff offer clients a unique application of field sampling, marine, estuarine and freshwater aquatic testing, data interpretation, and technical consulting services.

A wide variety of freshwater and saltwater taxa are used to evaluate toxic effects and/or bioaccumulation of chemicals under controlled experimental conditions. In addition to routinely conducting standardized tests on an array of freshwater and marine organisms, we also develop and employ test methodologies with unique endpoints (such as edema differentiation using early life stages of fish) and new test species (Pacific herring, Arctic cod, the copepod Calanus glacialis, and freshwater mussels). These services have been provided under a variety of regulatory formats, including USEPA and numerous state NPDES permits, as well as international programs necessitating the use of other test protocols.

Specialized Capabilities

Unique in its design with the ability to provide a continuous flow of natural, filtered seawater, the Port Gamble laboratory has specialized capabilities to replicate environmental conditions from tropic to arctic climates. Our scientists support laboratory testing for a variety of industries and municipalities. We follow rigorous guidance related to permit criteria for permit holders. Additional services include logistics for sample collection and shipping, development of testing programs for proposed methodologies or test species, and communication and coordination with regulatory agencies.

Project Highlights: Oil and Gas Exploration and Refining

Chukchi Sea Environmental Assessment and Drilling Discharge Monitoring

EcoAnalysts conducted a study focused on the evaluation of shipboard discharges for compliance with national discharge guidance following the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) for oil and gas exploration lease areas in the Chukchi Sea, Alaska. Our scientists performed a series of rapid screening and chronic toxicity tests of selected discharges collected from remote locations with stringent 72 hour holding time requirements for sample testing. Samples eliciting a toxic response were further investigated using toxicity identification evaluation (TIE) procedures to identify the cause of any observed toxicity.

As part of the environmental assessment, EcoAnalysts also conducted a baseline benthic community assessment and post-drilling monitoring study. Primary objectives were to analyze benthic communities within the lease area before and after drilling to determine if a measurable impact on the benthos occurred that could be attributable to drilling activities, the level of such impact and its spatial effect on community structure, and the extent and timeline of recovery potential that can be expected at effected locations. Our staff were involved in every phase of the community assessment program, including field collection of samples, sample sorting, specimen taxonomy, statistical analysis, final reporting and presentation of results to the client.

Western States Petroleum Association Agreed Order Herring Study

Four refineries of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and the Washington State Department of Ecology prepared an Agreed Order to complete chronic bioassay testing of Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) to determine if existing Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) testing methods and standard WET species are adequate and protective of the state’s Pacific herring populations.

EcoAnalysts served as an independent laboratory hired to conduct side-by-side comparison testing to evaluate the sensitivity of embryonic and larval life stages of Pacific herring alongside standard EPA test species (echinoderm, topsmelt, mysid, and inland silverside). Embryo test endpoints compared survival and development while larval test endpoints compared survival and growth between species. After four years of comparative testing and analysis, our results have indicated that the larval echinoderm development test is more sensitive than those conducted with embryonic and larval herring. The results of this testing program may help to inform future permit requirements for effluent discharges in Puget Sound.

Ecological Services

EcoAnalysts Port Gamble laboratory has provided dredged sediment toxicity assessments and monitoring for clients nationwide. Our focus is on technology-based solutions and bench-scale environmental effects testing, combined with classical field sampling.  Services include:

  • Marine and Freshwater Dredged Material and Contaminated Sediment Testing

  • Bioaccumulation/Bioavailability Studies

  • Compliance Monitoring and Testing

  • Toxicity Identification Evaluations (TIE)

  • Methods Development

  • Tier III & Tier IV Laboratory Capabilities

  • Sediment collection (Vibrocore, Piston core, and grab sampling)

Accreditation and Methodologies

Our laboratory is nationally accredited for a suite of marine and freshwater sediment bioassays used to evaluate toxic effects and/or bioaccumulation of chemicals under controlled experimental conditions. In addition to routinely conducting standardized tests on an array of freshwater and marine organisms, we also develop and employ test methodologies with unique end-points, such as edema differentiation using early life stages of fish, and new test species (Pacific herring, Arctic cod, and freshwater mussels).

Specialized Capabilities

The Port Gamble laboratory has specialized capabilities to replicate environmental conditions from tropic to arctic climates. Our scientists support laboratory testing for a variety of ports and harbors as well as private clients. We have conducted testing for clients in many different US Army Corps (USACE) districts and understand the different guidelines required by specific regional testing manuals along with the national guidelines instituted by US EPA and USACE.

Additional services include logistics for sample collection and shipping, development of testing programs for proposed methodologies or test species, and communication and coordination with regulatory agencies.

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Project Highlights

Multiple Award Task Order Contract for Proposed Dredged Materials: US Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle, District

EcoAnalysts was part of a team of consultants working on a multiple award task order contract (MATOC) for the USACE Seattle district concerning dredged material sediment characterization in Grays Harbor, Duwamish River, Quilllayute River, and Port Townsend, WA. For each project location, EcoAnalysts staff developed the sampling analysis plan, led and coordinated all field activities, collected sediments via grab or core sampling, reviewed and interpreted data validation report for the analytical chemistry and conducted interpretive reporting of the results.

In addition, EcoAnalysts performed biological testing of full Tier III requirements under the Green Book (USACE 1991) and PSEP guidelines. Testing included sediment toxicity on amphipod and polychaetes species; water column testing on fish, mysids, and larval development.

Lower Newport Bay Dredged Material Management and Marina Park EIR: City of Newport Beach, CA

EcoAnalysts staff has worked closely with the Newport Bay Harbor Resources Department on many sediment related issues since 2000. Our scientists assisted the City in developing a bay-wide coordinated plan for areas that had previously been managed separately by the City and the Corps of Engineers.

The dredged material management program has provided the necessary data for a staged harbor-wide maintenance dredging program to return channel depths to design depth, as well as maintaining the City’s regional general permits.  This complex program has included: sediment evaluations following USEPA and USACE “Green Book” guidance for dredged-material evaluation, as well as site-specific evaluations of contaminant availability, determination of the nature and extent of contaminants in the Bay, and toxicity-identification-evaluation (TIE) studies.

Dredge material evaluation: North East Region

EcoAnalysts has conducted Tier III investigation for dredge material that was under consideration for ocean disposal at the Historic Area Remediation Site (HARS). The toxicology studies followed US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Environmental Protection Agency Region II Testing Manual along with the Ocean Testing Manual and the Inland Testing Manual.

Dredge material evaluation: South East Region

EcoAnalysts conducted many Tier III investigation for dredge materials in the South East Region that were under consideration for ocean disposal. The toxicology studies followed US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Environmental Protection Agency Region IV Testing Manual along with the Ocean Testing Manual and the Inland Testing Manual.