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A biological index to predict pulp mill pollution levels

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The species diversity of mid to low rocky intertidal beaches along the protected coast of British Columbia, Canada, increases significantly as exposure to pulp mill effluent decreases. Species were categorized according to hardiness and ranked as either pollution tolerant, sensitive, or intolerant. Indicator species whose presence or abundance is highly correlated to exposure to mill effluent were discovered. A biological index (Bioindex) was developed to predict a rocky shore's exposure to mill effluent by analyzing the hardiness of the resident biota. The Bioindex is useful to evaluate the environmental stress from pulp mills, to pinpoint depleted beaches for cleanup, and to evaluate pristine areas to be protected.

The Howe Sound mills were found to have the most detrimental and widespread effect on rocky shore beaches of all regions surveyed, followed, in order of decreasing severity, by the Crofton mill, the Prince Rupert mill, and the Powell River mill.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1998-01-01

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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