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Meaningful water quality standards or criteria must be expressed in terms of consumer needs. If these needs are based on chemical parameters, the criteria or standards should be based on chemical measurements. If consumer needs are based on biological factors, standards or criteria should be based on biological measurements. Methods have been developed in which Pacific oyster embryo bioassays measure water quality in terms of response by a type of animal (consumer) found in many of our bays and estuaries. The method has been successfully employed in the laboratory to measure relative toxicity of pulp and paper wastes. Both polluted and unpolluted water from bays and estuaries are routinely bioassayed with oyster embryos. Based on these bioassays, areas of acceptable and unacceptable water quality have been delineated relative to oysters. It is recommended that this method and similar bioassay techniques be adopted as part of the measurements employed in defining water quality standards and criteria.
water, water pollution, water quality, estuaries, bioassay, oysters, toxicity, molluscs, industrial wastes, pulp mills, paper mills, refineries
Woelke, C. E.
Washington State Department of Fisheries, Olympia, Wash.