Volume 4, Issue 2 (March 1976)
A Screening Bioassay Using Daphnia pulex for Refinery Wastes Discharged into Freshwater
A simple method using unsophisticated equipment is suggested for on-site toxicity testing of refinery effluents. This method will provide an inexpensive means of identifying problem materials and establishing priorities for coping with these materials. An arbitrary reference mixture, containing six common constituents of refinery wastewaters, was used for static toxicity tests on 15 species of freshwater invertebrates and 3 species of fish. Daphnia pulex was selected for further testing because it was the most sensitive of the animals tested, relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain, and a potential fish-food organism. If the reference mixture were representative of a refinery effluent, the Daphnia bioassay would be sufficiently sensitive to give reliable results within 48 h, whereas a fish bioassay would show no toxicity even after 96 h.
To assess the suitability of the Daphnia bioassay, tests were conducted by personnel at six petroleum refineries. Duplicate tests were in agreement. Results of tests using actual refinery effluents ranged from no toxicity after 96 h to a mean lethal concentration of 1.2% effluent after 48 h. The data presented show that the method was reproducible and that refinery personnel were able to perform the bioassay. Potential problems and advantages of the method are discussed.