An improved method for calculating toxicity-based pollutant loads: Part 1. Method development

Rachael A. Smith, Michael St. John Warne, Kerrie Mengersen, Ryan D. R. Turner

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)
    36 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Pollutant loads are a means for assessing regulatory compliance and setting targets to reduce pollution entering receiving waterbodies. However, a pollutant load is often comprised of multiple chemicals, which may exert joint toxicity on biota. When the ultimate goal for assessing pollutant loads is to protect ecosystems from adverse effects of toxicants, then the total pollutant load needs to be calculated based on the principles of mixture toxicology. In this paper, an improved method is proposed to convert a pollutant load to a toxicity-based load (toxic load) using a modified toxic equivalency factor (TEF) derivation method. The method uses the relative potencies (RePs) of multiple species to represent the response of the ecological community. The TEF is calculated from a percentile of a cumulative distribution function (CDF) fitted to the RePs. The improvements permit the determination of which percentile of the CDF generates the most environmentally relevant and robust toxic loads. That is, environmental relevance ensures that a reduction in the toxic load is likely to result in a corresponding improvement in ecosystem health and robustness ensures that the calculation of the toxic loads is not biased by the reference chemical used. The improved methodology will therefore ensure that correct management decisions will be made and ultimately, a reduction in the toxic load will lead to a commensurate improvement in water quality. Publisher Statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Smith, RA, Warne, MSJ, Mengersen, K & Turner, RDR 2016, 'An improved method for calculating toxicity-based pollutant loads: Part 1. Method development' Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, vol 13, no. 4, pp. 746-753, which has been published in final form at https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ieam.1854. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)746-753
    Number of pages8
    JournalIntegrated Environmental Assessment and Management
    Volume13
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2016

    Bibliographical note

    This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Smith, RA, Warne, MSJ, Mengersen, K & Turner, RDR 2016, 'An improved method for calculating toxicity-based pollutant loads: Part 1. Method development' Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, vol 13, no. 4, pp. 746-753, which has been published in final form at https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ieam.1854. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

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