, Volume 161, Issue 1-4, pp 439-451
Date: 26 Feb 2009

Comparison of a test battery for assessing the toxicity of a bleached-kraft pulp mill effluent before and after secondary treatment implementation

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Pulp and paper mill effluents may cause harmful effects to the aquatic environment due to the combined influence of physical factors, toxic compounds, and nutrient enrichment. In the present study, the effectiveness of secondary treatment in reducing the toxicity of an elemental chlorine-free bleached-kraft pulp mill effluent was evaluated. To characterize the toxicity of the effluent, before and after the implementation of secondary treatment, a battery of tests with organisms bearing different functions at the ecosystem level was used, namely Vibrio fischeri (5-min luminescence), Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata (72-h growth), Lemna minor (7-day growth), Daphnia magna (21-day reproduction and 24-h postexposure feeding), Chironomus riparius (9-day growth), and Danio rerio (28-day growth). For the effluent sample collected before the implementation of secondary treatment, P. subcapitata was the most sensitive organism followed by V. fischeri and D. magna, and no toxic effects were observed toward the other organisms. For the effluent sample collected after the implementation of secondary treatment, the effluent caused no toxic effects on any of the tested species. The present results demonstrated not only that secondary treatment efficaciously reduced effluent toxicity toward the selected test organisms but also the usefulness of a battery of tests to characterize the toxicity of pulp mill effluents.