Inasmuch as the process of dredging and disposing of dredged materials causes a resuspension of these materials and an increase in bioavailability of associated contaminants, we conducted a series of experiments to examine the potential accumulation by fish of contaminants from suspended sediments. In the first experiment we compared accumulation of contaminants by yellow perch of hatchery and lake origin and found that after 10 days of exposure to nonaerated sediments, fish of hatchery origin accumulated PCBs and Fe, while fish of lake origin accumulated As, Cr, Fe, and Na. Two additional exposures were conducted to evaluate the effects of aerating the sediments prior to measuring bioavailability of associated contaminants. Fish of hatchery origin exposed to nonaerated sediments for 10 days accumulated PCBs and Hg, while fish of hatchery origin exposed to aerated sediments for 10 days accumulated PCBs, DDE, Zn, Fe, Cs, and Se. These results demonstrated not only the potential for uptake of contaminants by fish as a result of dredging but also the potential utility of fish bioassays in evaluating proposed dredging operations.
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Accumulation by fish of contaminants released from dredged sediments