NOAA has developed Screening Quick Reference Tables, or SQuiRTs, to help evaluate potential risks from contaminated water, sediment, or soil. This handy reference tool presents screening concentrations for inorganic and organic contaminants in various environmental media. The SQuiRTs also include guidelines for preserving samples and for analytical technique options.

NOAA designed the SQuiRTs as a set of double-sided, color cards, organized into the following sections:

  • Inorganics in freshwater and marine sediment
  • Inorganics in soil
  • Inorganics in water (groundwater and surface water)
  • Organics in sediment
  • Organics in water and soils
  • Analytical methods for inorganics
  • Analytical methods for organics
  • Guidelines for sample collection and storage
  • Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) composition
  • Toxic equivalency factors
  • Carbon range of hydrocarbon products

The SQuiRT cards were developed for preliminary screening. NOAA uses them to identify possible impacts to coastal resources and habitats potentially affected by hazardous waste sites. The SQuiRT cards also will be helpful to anyone who is measuring the potential risk from contaminated water, sediment, or soil.

The SQuiRT cards are intended for preliminary screening purposes only: They do not represent official NOAA policy and do not constitute criteria or cleanup levels. NOAA does not endorse their use for any purpose other than preliminary screening. Many of the benchmarks presented were originally published with similar caveats.

The SQuiRT tables provided here were developed in 2008 and are no longer being maintained. Please be aware that in some cases, they may contain outdated or broken links.

Download SQuiRT cards [PDF, 1.4 MB]