In February 2010, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Memphis District, investigated the presence of inorganic elements and organic compounds in bed sediments of the lower Mississippi River. Selected sites were located in the navigation channel near river miles 737, 773, and 790 near Memphis, Tennessee. Bed-sediment samples were collected using a Shipek grab sampler mounted to a boom crane with a motorized winch. Samples then were processed and shipped to the U.S. Geological Survey Sediment Laboratory in Rolla, Missouri, the USGS National Water Quality Laboratory in Denver, Colorado, and to TestAmerica Laboratory, Inc. in West Sacramento, California. Samples were analyzed for grain size, inorganic elements (including mercury), and organic compounds. Chemical results were tabulated and listed with sediment-quality guidelines and presented with the physical property results. All of the bed material samples collected during this investigation yielded concentrations that were less than the Consensus-Based Probable Effect Concentration guidelines. The physical properties were tabulated and listed using a standard U.S. Geological Survey scale of sizes by class for sediment analysis. All of the samples collected during this investigation indicated a percent composition mostly comprised of sand, ranging from less than 0.125 millimeters to less than 2 millimeters.
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USGS Numbered Series
Bed-Sediment Sampling and Analysis for Physical and Chemical Properties of the Lower Mississippi River near Memphis, Tennessee