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Industries that fail to meet NPDES permit requirements for effluent toxicity are required to identify the causes and sources of toxicity as part of a toxicity reduction evaluation (TRE). EPA's toxicity identification evaluation (TIEs) procedures have been successfully used to identify inorganic toxicants. Organic toxicant identification has been a different matter. At many industries, including specialty chemical, pulp and paper, and petrochemical facilities, TIE investigators must settle on identifying a category of toxicants instead of the toxic compound. In these cases, an alternative TRE procedure can be applied to rapidly and cost-effectively locate the source(s) of toxicity. This alternative allows toxicity control to be focused on the specific area of concern, rather than end-of-pipe treatment.

Three brief case studies illustrate the advantages of applying toxicity tracking methods to complex effluents. Two case studies describe the use of refractory toxicity assessment (RTA) procedures originally developed by EPA for use in municipal TREs. The RTA quantifies the “refractory” toxicity of the individual waste streams, which is the toxicity that is expected to pass through the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and cause effluent toxicity. The third case study describes the application of a novel tool for tracking organic toxicity.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2004

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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