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The disposal of industrial and domestic wastes into the estuarine and marine environment is feasible and practical. Properly designed disposal systems can distribute wastes so that the other beneficial uses of the aquatic environment are not harmed. A prerequisite to the planning of the disposal system is a knowledge of the life history and ecological requirement of the important aquatic species which utilize these environments. The estuarine environment is an extremely variable one, and the organisms that utilize this habitat have specialized life histories that have enabled them to adapt to these conditions. Some fish, the salmonids, migrate throught the estuary at certain limited times of the year, and water quality must not impede free migration. Shrimp reproduce in the open ocean and feed in the estuaries. Some fish species use the estuaries only for a spawning and nursery area for their young, and only utilize the estuary at certain times of the year. Oysters remain in the estuary throughout the year; the shelled adults can close their shells and survive a toxicity episode, but their free-swimming larvae are very sensitive, and a population can be destroyed readily by toxic effluents. A good deal of material on the ecological requirements of the important marine species is available and should be applied by those responsible for waste discharges in the estuarine and marine environment in order to protect the important biological communities.
water, water pollution, waste disposal, estuaries, aquatic organisms, fishes
University of Washington, Seattle, Wash.
Woelke, C. E.
Washington State Department of Fisheries, Olympia, Wash.