Identification of tire leachate toxicants and a risk assessment of water quality effects using tire reefs in canals

Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
By: , and 



Cover is an important component of aquatic habitat and fisheries management. Fisheries biologists often try to improve habitats through the addition of natural and artificial material to improve cover diversity and complexity. Habitat-improvement programs range from submerging used Christmas trees to more complex programs using sophisticated artificial habitat modules. Used automobile tires have been employed in the large scale construction of reefs and fish attractors in marine environments (D'Itri 1985) and to a lesser extent in freshwater (Johnson and Stein 1979) and have been recognized as a durable, inexpensive and long-lasting material which benefits fishery communities.

Recent studies by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Mueller and Liston 1991) have quantified the importance of tire reeds to enhancing freshwater canal fisheries in the southwestern United States. These studies have demonstrated that fisheries and aquatic macroinvertebrates are attracted to these structures, increasing species diversity, densities and biomass where reefs are places in canals. Potential benefits to fishermen are great in the form of recreational fishing. However, the use of tire reefs in aquatic environments which have relatively small volumes compared to marine or reservoir environments has raised water quality concerns. Effects of tires on water quality have not typically been studied in the part because of the obvious presence of fishes and other aquatic organisms that make use of tire reefs; the implication being that tires are intert and non-toxic.

Little information on effects of tires on water quality is contained in the literature. Stone et al. (1975) demonstrated that tire exposure had no detrimental effects on two species of marine fish while results of Kellough's (1991) freshwater tests were inconclusive, but suggested that some factor in tire leachate was toxic to rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Nozaka et al. (1973) found no harmful substances leached from tire material soaked in fresh water.

Because there are few data on toxicity associated with tires, this became the focus of our study. Toxicity Identification Evaluation (TUE) procedures developed by the EPA (1991) were used to evaluate water quality impacted by tires.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Identification of tire leachate toxicants and a risk assessment of water quality effects using tire reefs in canals
Series title Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
DOI 10.1007/BF00194146
Volume 52
Issue 4
Year Published 1994
Language English
Publisher Springer-Verlag
Publisher location New York, NY
Description 8 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
First page 574
Last page 581
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