Soil, sand, and minerals washed from land into water usually after rain, that pile up in reservoirs, rivers, and harbors, destroying fish-nesting areas and clouding the water so that needed sunlight might not reach aquatic plants. Careless farming, mining, and building activities will expose sediment materials, allowing them to be washed off the land after rainfalls.
Particulate material, including soil, sand, and minerals, transported and deposited by water or wind (see erosion). Waterborne sediments cloud the water diminishing sunlight available to aquatic plants; sediments deposited in reservoirs, rivers, and harbors destroy fish and wildlife habitat and may fill shipping channels. Farming, mining, and building and construction activities that expose soil to wind and rain are major sources of sediments.
Sediments are loose, unconsolidated accumulations of mineral or rock particles that have been transported by wind, water, or ice, or shifted under the influence of gravity, and redeposited. Sediments can also be materials that precipitated, either chemically or biologically, from chemicals dissolved in water.