sed·i·ment / ˈsedəmənt/ • n. matter that settles to the bottom of a liquid; dregs. ∎ Geol. particulate matter that is carried by water or wind and deposited on the surface of the land or the bottom of a body of water, and may in time become consolidated into rock.• v. [intr.] settle as sediment. ∎ (of a liquid) deposit a sediment. ∎ [tr.] deposit (something) as a sediment: the DNA was sedimented by centrifugation | [as adj.] (sedimented) sedimented waste. DERIVATIVES: sed·i·men·ta·tion / ˌsedəmənˈtāshən/ n.
A mixture of sand, silt , clay, and perhaps organic components. Soil eroded from one location and deposited in another is identified as sediment. The sedimentary fraction has the ability to carry not only the mineral (sand, silt, and clay) and organic (humus ) components, but also other components that may be attached such as nitrogen compounds, herbicides, and pesticides. These riders are of high concern to those involved in environmental studies. Products applied to the soil in one location and beneficial to that system may be transported to other locations where the effect is detrimental to the habitat of other life forms. Care must be exercised: 1) when applying supplementary items to the soil, and 2) to develop systems that keep sediment from finding its way into the streams and water bodies.