Low Cost, Low Technology Field Monitoring Assessment, 2016 Edition (I542E)

Published Date

November 2016

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Low Cost, Low Technology Field Monitoring Assessment, 2016 Edition (I542E)

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The publication provides practical information about low cost and low technology tools useful for monitoring of possible environmental impacts associated with disposal at sea of dredged material or inert, inorganic geological materials. The primary audiences are countries that are in the early stages of developing waste assessment and monitoring actions in concert with permit programmes for disposal of wastes and other matter at sea.

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The objective of this document is to provide guidance on monitoring techniques for countries that are developing capabilities to assess environmental impacts of the disposal of wastes or other matter into marine waters, but at this point in time are limited in their scientific, technical, and economic abilities to carry out comprehensive and state-of-the-practice monitoring programmes.


Guidance is provided for use of low cost and low technology sampling and analysis monitoring techniques for two categories of wastes and other matter, dredged materials and inert, inorganic geological materials.


This guidance is based on Annex 2 to the London Protocol and has been developed by parties to the London Protocol and the London Convention, the two primary international treaties protecting the world’s oceans from pollution. These treaties are managed under the International Maritime Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations. Waste Assessment Guidelines (WAG s) are available from the London Protocol and London Convention that provide robust procedures for assessment of wastes proposed to be dumped in the ocean; the WAG s include a section on monitoring of the environmental impacts at the disposal site and in the surrounding areas.



Abbreviations and glossary

Part 1 Introduction


Part 2 Monitoring plans and management actions

2.1 Development of monitoring plans

2.1.1 Who undertakes the monitoring?

2.1.2 What is a monitoring plan?

2.1.3 What is tiered monitoring?

2.1.4 What goes into the design of the tiered monitoring programme?

2.2 Key elements of monitoring: impact hypotheses and sampling design

2.2.1 What goes into preparing impact hypotheses?

2.2.2 How does using conceptual models of exposure assist in design of the monitoring programme?

2.2.3 What are key impact hypotheses?

2.2.4 What are the key elements in the sampling plan to test the hypotheses?

2.2.5 What Information is needed before sampling begins?

2.2.6 Design of the sampling plan

2.3 Evaluation, interpretation, and management actions

2.3.1 Apply the monitoring results to management actions

2.3.2 Evaluation and interpretation

2.3.3 Possible management actions

2.3.4 Bottom line

2.4 Case studies of sampling design using null hypotheses with management actions

2.4.1 Case study no. 1 – Monitoring video survey

2.4.2 Case study no. 2 – Monitoring sediment grain size


Part 3 Field sampling and evaluation techniques

3.1 Field sampling for physical characteristics

3.1.1 Physical effects

3.1.2 Physical monitoring techniques

3.1.3 Simple observations

3.1.4 Vessel considerations for monitoring

3.1.5 Measurement of Water Currents

3.1.6 Depth of the site/bathymetry

3.1.7 Sediment plume monitoring

3.1.8 Sedimentation monitoring

3.1.9 Sediment monitoring

3.1.10 Sediment monitoring: physical testing techniques of grab or core samples

3.2 Field sampling and analysis for chemical contamination and/or toxicity

3.2.1 Is monitoring for chemical contaminants and/or toxicity needed?

3.2.2 What chemical contaminants should be tested?

3.2.3 Is monitoring for chemical contaminants needed when inert, inorganic geological materials have been disposed of at dump-sites?

3.2.4 When dump-site chemical contamination is a concern, how can toxicity be tested?

3.2.5 Sampling and laboratory testing for chemical contaminants or toxicity

3.2.6 Sediment elutriate bioassay tests

3.2.7 Sending samples to out-of-the-country laboratories

3.2.8 Sampling, storage, handling, and analysis considerations for chemical contaminants/bioassays

3.3 Field sampling and evaluation techniques for biological health of sediments at the dump-site

3.3.1 Sampling and evaluation of the biological health of sediments

3.3.2 What marine life is in the proposed material to be disposed of?

3.3.3 Practical assessment of the habitat and species at the site before disposal

3.3.4 Simple evaluation of the benthic community

3.3.5 Sampling for fish — the otter trawl

3.3.6 Characterize the sediment habitat through image profiling




Annex 1 London Protocol and London Convention Waste Assessment Guidelines

Annex 2 Conceptual models of pathways of exposure

Annex 3 Subsampling and compositing of samples

Annex 4 Do-it-yourself: construct your own monitoring tools

Annex 5 Sediment sampling and analysis checklist

Annex 6 Sampling, storage, handling, and analytical considerations for evaluation of chemical contaminants

Annex 7 Example: Water and sediment sampling documentation form

Annex 8 Management actions: capping of marine dump-sites to isolate sediments causing unacceptable adverse impacts

A​​s a specialized agency of the United Nations, IMO is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted and universally implemented.  

In other words, its role is to create a level playing-field so that ship operators cannot address their financial issues by simply cutting corners and compromising on safety, security and environmental performance. This approach also encourages innovation and efficiency.

Shipping is a truly international industry, and it can only operate effectively if the regulations and standards are themselves agreed, adopted and implemented on an international basis. And IMO is the forum at which this process takes place.

Title: Low Cost, Low Technology Field Monitoring Assessment, 2016 Edition (I542E)
Number of Pages: 126
Product Code: MM1421K
ISBN: ISBN 13: 9789280116564, ISBN 10: 9280116568
Published Date: November 2016
Binding Format: Paperback
Book Height: 300 mm
Book Width: 210 mm
Book Spine: 8 mm
Weight: 0.60 kg
Author: IMO

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