• Sediments;
  • Sediment quality guidelines;
  • Action levels;
  • Spain;
  • Cádiz Bay


When sediments are removed from aquatic bottoms, they turn into dredged material that must be managed, taking into account its environmental impact. In Part II of this 2-part paper addressing sediment quality assessment and dredged material management in Spain, legislation and criteria used to regulate dredged material disposal at sea in different European countries are reviewed, as are action levels (ALs) derived by different countries used to evaluate management of dredged sediments from Cádiz Bay located on the South Atlantic coast of Spain. Comparison of ALs established for dredged material disposal by different countries reveals orders of magnitude differences in the values established for the same chemical. In Part I of this 2-part paper, review of different sediment quality guideline (SQG) methods used to support sediment quality assessments indicated a great heterogeneity of SQGs, both with regard to the numeric values for a particular chemical and the number of substances for which SQGs have been derived. The analysis highlighted the absence of SQGs for priority substances identified in current European Union water policy. Here, in Part II, the ALs are applied to dredged sediments from Cádiz Bay (South Atlantic coast of Spain), evidencing that the heterogeneity of ALs implemented in the reviewed countries could determine different management strategies. The application of other measurements such as bioassays might offer information useful in identifying a cost-effective management option in a decision-making framework, especially for dredged material with intermediate chemical concentrations.