Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



The Virginia State Water Control.Board, in cooperation with the Department of Chemical Oceanography of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science has recently conducted periodic chemical surveys of organic pollutants in the sediments of the upper James River. The August 1983 survey showed elevated concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) at Stations ·4 and 7 (Figure 1 and Table 1). Although the reported concentrations were approximately one order· of magnitude lower than those reported in contaminated areas of the Elizabeth River, they were deemed high enough to warrant_ further study based on reported toxicity of Elizabeth River sediments (Hargis et al. 1984; Roberts et al. 1985).

The purpose of the present-study was to determine if the sediments from these two sites were contaminated to the extent that they would be acutely toxic to fish.