An evaluation of the whole effluent toxicity test method

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Whole effluent toxicity (WET) testing has become increasingly more important to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the States in the permitting of wastewater discharges from industry and municipalities. The primary purpose of the WET test is to protect aquatic life by predicting the effect of an effluent on the receiving stream. However, there are both scientific and regulatory concerns that using WET tests to regulate industrial effluents may result in either false positives and/or false negatives. In order to realistically predict the effect of an effluent on the receiving stream, the test should be as representative as possible of ... continued below

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21 p.

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Osteen, D.V. December 17, 1999.

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Description

Whole effluent toxicity (WET) testing has become increasingly more important to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the States in the permitting of wastewater discharges from industry and municipalities. The primary purpose of the WET test is to protect aquatic life by predicting the effect of an effluent on the receiving stream. However, there are both scientific and regulatory concerns that using WET tests to regulate industrial effluents may result in either false positives and/or false negatives. In order to realistically predict the effect of an effluent on the receiving stream, the test should be as representative as possible of the conditions in the receiving stream. Studies (Rand and Petrocelli 1985) suggested several criteria for an ideal aquatic toxicity test organism, one of which is that the organism be indigenous to, or representative of, the ecosystem receiving the effluent. The other component needed in the development of a predictive test is the use of the receiving stream water or similar synthetic water as the control and dilution water in the test method. Use of an indigenous species and receiving water in the test should help reduce the variability in the method and allow the test to predict the effect of the effluent on the receiving stream. The experience with toxicity testing at the Savannah River Site (SRS) has yielded inconclusive data because of the inconsistency and unreliability of the results. The SRS contention is that the WET method in its present form does not adequately mimic actual biological/chemical conditions of the receiving streams and is neither reasonable nor accurate. This paper discusses the rationale for such a position by SRS on toxicity testing in terms of historical permitting requirements, outfall effluent test results, standard test method evaluation, scientific review of alternate test species, and concerns over the test method expressed by other organizations. This paper presents the Savannah River Site position that the EPA test is neither reasonable nor accurate and thus cannot adequately establish the impact of NPDES outfall discharges on receiving streams.

Physical Description

21 p.

Notes

INIS; OSTI as DE00750123

Medium: P; Size: 21 pages

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  • Other Information: PBD: 17 Dec 1999

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  • Report No.: WSRC-RP-99-00868
  • Grant Number: AC09-96SR18500
  • DOI: 10.2172/750123 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 750123
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc712345

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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Creation Date

  • December 17, 1999

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 12, 2015, 6:31 a.m.

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  • April 7, 2017, 7:20 p.m.

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Osteen, D.V. An evaluation of the whole effluent toxicity test method, report, December 17, 1999; South Carolina. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc712345/: accessed September 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.