Comparison of on-site and laboratory toxicity tests: derivation of site-specific criteria for un-ionized ammonia in a Colorado transitional stream

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
By: , and 

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Abstract

Acute tests with fathead minnows (Pimephales prornelas Rafinesque), johnny darters (Etheostoma nigrum Rafinesque), white suckers (Catostomus commersoni Lacépède) and acute and chronic tests with Ceriodaphnia dubia were conducted to evaluate whether characteristics of the St. Vrain River in Colorado would ameliorate or enhance toxicity of un-ionized ammonia compared to laboratory (well) water and LC50 values found in the literature. Concurrently, tests were conducted on dilutions of Longmont, Colorado, wastewater to evaluate its toxicity in differing ammonia concentrations. Tests were conducted at two temperatures (approximately 6 and 20°C) to simulate seasonal differences.


LC50s for fishes in the St. Vrain River water were similar to LC50s in laboratory water, indicating there was no site water effect. LC50s derived for fishes tested in warm conditions were within a factor of about two or three of literature values. However, the constituents in or characteristics of the wastewater appeared to enhance ammonia toxicity. Literature values (LC50s) for resident aquatic organisms and the new LC50 value for johnny darters tested on-site were used to derive site-specific criteria for un-ionized ammonia. Greater sensitivities of species to ammonia at cold versus warm temperatures suggests that colder, low-flow conditions may be a critical period for warm-water aquatic communities with regard to ammonia toxicity.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Comparison of on-site and laboratory toxicity tests: derivation of site-specific criteria for un-ionized ammonia in a Colorado transitional stream
Series title Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
DOI 10.1002/etc.5620081211
Volume 8
Issue 12
Year Published 1989
Language English
Publisher Elsevier Science
Publisher location New York, NY
Description 13 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
First page 1177
Last page 1189
Country United States
State Colorado