Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

5-31-1990

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Science - (M.S.)

Department

Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and Environmental Science

First Advisor

Arthur Greenberg

Second Advisor

Peddrick Weis

Third Advisor

Richard B. Trattner

Abstract

The Hudson—Raritan Estuary, known as one of the worst polluted estuaries in the world, receives pollutants from many point sources. Treated municipal wastewater (TMW) counts for 13% of its total freshwater input and more than 98% of the chemicals classified as priority pollutants been infused. Because of the complexity of the input, treatment facilities cannot remove toxicants efficiently. In addition, generation of new compounds by water treatment such as chlorination occurs. Batch-to-batch variability in the chemistry of this effluent was reflected in the early life stage toxicity bioassays using mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus) and winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus) embryos.

TMW has been fractionated by XAD-2 resin into three organic portions: acidic, basic, and neutral. DMSO was applied as the solvent exchanger. Ten percent (10%) of both the TMW and acid fraction could result in high mortality and pre-mature hatching in H/R flounder, while the toxicity to the mummichog was restricted to the organic bases, which caused retardation of heartrate as well as increased abnormalities. Skeletal defects in flounders caused by TMW and its fractions were not significant. The reference flounder could not be analyzed due to high mortality. More toxic batch of TMW had been observed in H/R mummichogs. When one batch of TMW was reduced to 1%, mummichog development could be disturbed severely as 10% of other TMW batches did, but not 10% of its fraction. Reference mummichogs were more tolerant resulting from healthier condition. DMSO may be a toxic promotor in the mummichog study and need to be confirmed.

Although we cannot identify a consistent toxic pattern in TMW nor determine that flounders in the impacted polluted environment are under stress or developing tolerance, the results suggest that the variable batches of TMW can have impacts on these marine organisms and, indeed, this variability did not give the mummichog an opportunity to adapt.

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