Development of an Integrated Database for the Management of Accidental Spills
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This project aims at developing a database, amendable for interpretation, providing reliable, easy to interpret and up-to-date information on marine specific issues. The most important parts will be the direct and indirect effects on marine biota and the data quality assessment.

The project can be divided in 4 distinct phases:

Phase 1: Identification and selection of the most important contaminants at the Belgian coast, the Belgian Continental Shelf and the Westerschelde estuary.

In the first phase, 400 priority contaminants will be listed to be included in the database. Selection will be performed based on criteria such as bioaccumulation potential, toxicity, persistence, frequency of involvement in accidental spills, frequency of transport over sea and volumes transported. This list will be compared with other existing priority lists.

Phase 2: Gathering of physico-chemical and ecotoxicological information regarding the selected contaminants.

In the second phase an extensive literature search will be performed to gather all information necessary for the database. Most data on acute, subacute and chronic effects at different trophical levels will be gathered from international scientific literature. Next to peer reviewed literature, existing databases, national and international reports, research programs… will be used.

Phase 3: Evaluation and interpretation of the gathered data.

In the third phase quality and relevance of the gathered data will be assessed. The data will be classified based on the availability of the following information: performance of the tests according to internationally accepted procedures, information on the 'control', information on the test concentration range, availability of information on test characteristics, statistical analysis and analytic performance. Only relevant data that meet high quality standards will be used in the database. Procedures for risk management will also be included. The most important part will be the sub-module on effects for the marine environment. A broad range of organisms and endpoints will be assessed, but if no data for the marine environment are available, results from freshwater studies will be used. Further, biodegradation, metabolism, detoxification and bioaccumulation will be considered.

Phase 4: Development of an integrated database with a graphical user interface.

In the fourth phase the relational database with a graphical user interface will be developed. Data will be stored in a relational Access database and will be retrievable in many ways via the internet. In case of accidental spills, all end-users,public services, media and the general public will be able to easily gather objective, quality-assured information.

Supported by
the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office

General coordination: Bram Versonnen, Marnix Vangheluwe
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