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Publication Detail
The use of simulated whole effluents in toxicity assessments: A review of case studies from reverse osmosis desalination plants
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
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  • Authors:
    Falkenberg LJ, Styan CA
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  • Pagination:
    3, 9
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  • Keywords:
    Brine, Ecotoxicology, Environmental impact, Marine, Wastewater
Seawater desalination is an increasingly common means to meet the demand for freshwater. Resulting wastewater discharges can, however, impact biota of the surrounding environment. Concern exists that interactive effects specific to the outputs of each desalination plant may result in unique impacts difficult to predict by studying existing plants or assessing the effects of individual chemicals found in waste streams. Given this, we highlight an alternative approach to assess potential toxicity of desalination outfalls. Specifically, we review three recent case studies from Australia in which simulated whole effluents were used in toxicity assessments before desalination plants were constructed. This approach enabled potential toxic effects of wastewater to be considered before the plants became operational and, in one case, even facilitated consideration of potential effects of different treatment processes and suppliers. As in many whole effluent toxicity assessments, the time required for testing and restricted range of species considered were limitations. Given the benefits of this method, however, the use of simulated whole effluents is a development that could facilitate an improved capacity to forecast impacts of proposed desalination plants.
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