A toxicity identification evaluation (TIE) was conducted on effluent from a major industrial discharger. Although initial monitoring typically showed only slight, intermittent, chronic toxicity to Ceriodaphnia dubia, a later sample showed substantial acute toxicity to C. dubia (48-h ℓ c50=9%). Acute phase I toxicity characterization tests were conducted on this acutely toxic sample; none of the phase I manipulations reduced sample toxicity. The toxic effluent sample was then treated with activated carbon, and cation, anion, and mixed-bed ion exchange. Acute toxicity was not reduced by treatment with activated carbon or cation exchange, but was completely removed by anion and mixed-bed ion exchange. Based on these data, we concluded that the causative toxicant(s) was likely an inorganic anion(s); chemical analysis detected hexavalent chromium (Cr[VI]) at concentrations sufficient to account for the observed acute toxicity. Although Cr[VI] could clearly explain the presence of acute toxicity, subsequent confirmation testing was designed to determine whether Cr[IV] was responsible for the low-level chronic toxicity more typical of the effluent. Concurrent chronic tests conducted on unaltered and anion-exchanged effluent showed that the presence of chronic toxicity was associated with chronically toxic concentrations of Cr[VI]. The source of Cr[VI] in the effluent was traced to a malfunctioning heat exchanger; after this malfunction was corrected, neither chronic toxicity nor appreciable Cr[VI] was observed in the effluent again.
- Ceriodaphnia dubia
- Effluent toxicity
- Hexavalent chromium
- Ion exchange
- Toxicity identification evaluation