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Sediment sampling and analysis

Find out how to apply for sediment sampling and analysis

Why might I need to carry out sediment analysis?

Before material can be deemed suitable for dredging or disposal at sea, it must first be analysed for a range of physical and chemical properties, in line with OSPAR guidelines

How do I know what analysis needs to be carried out?

Before you apply for a licence to dredge or dispose of dredged material, the sampling and analysis requirements will need to be agreed with us by requesting a sampling plan.

We facilitate the production of a plan using external advisors, and following this you will be required to carry out the sampling and analysis in line with this plan and submit the results with your application.

To request a sample plan, you need to complete the sediment sample plan request form and submit it to us along with the handling fee. The sample plan request form is available from our Marine licence application page.

How much will it cost to produce a sampling plan?

Please see our fees and charges regarding the cost of this service. Be aware the fee does not cover external scientific advisor's time, these will be charged for in addition to this fee. 

Where can I go to get my sediment samples analysed?

We must make sure that sediment analysis data submitted to support an application are consistent and comparable between separate applications and to the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science’s (Cefas) Action Levels. further detail regarding these action levels can be downloaded from this page. These Action Levels are used to determine the contaminant loading of the material and its suitability for disposal at sea.

Laboratories that have been validated to undertake sediment analysis to inform marine licence application can be found in the table below alongside the determinands they have been validated to analyse.

You must use a laboratory that has been validated for the determinands that your sampling plan requires you to carry out. If not you may have to carry out further testing.

 

Cefas

National Laboratory Service – Environment Agency

SOCOTEC

RPS

Ocean Ecology Limited

Kenneth Pye Associates Limited

Inorganics (inc. Trace Metals)

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Organotins (Tributyltin and dibutylin)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Brominated Flame Retardants

Yes

No

No

No

No

No

Total hydrocarbon content (THC)

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs)

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

No

Total Organic Carbon (TOC)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Particle Size Analysis (PSA)

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

How much will the sample analysis cost?

Sample analysis costs will vary depending on the bespoke sampling plans for the associated works. You will need to discuss and agree sample analysis costs directly with your chosen laboratory.

How do I submit the sediment analysis data?

You must use the results template downloadable from our Marine Licence application page to submit sediment analysis data in support of a marine licence application. Sediment results submitted in a different format will not be accepted.

Incomplete submission will be returned to you and this may delay the marine licence application process.

How are my sediment analysis data considered during the application process?

The sediment analysis data will make up part of the supporting information for the application. It will be shared with the application to our consultees and be available for members of the public to view.

We will likely be required to consult with external scientific advisors whose time will be chargeable, however we will provide you with a quote for this cost during the application process.

What happens if following production of a sample plan we make changes to our proposed works?

Any subsequent marine licence application should reflect the details you provided in your sample plan request form.

Should any changes be made, such as change in area to be dredged or dredged volume, confirmation should be sought that the sample plan produced is still applicable.

Failure to do so may result in delays, additional charges and the potential requirement to resample.

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