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Use of bioassays for the assessment of industrial wastewaters

Micropollutants can enter the environment from a variety of sources. In addition to substance inputs from agriculture or households, discharges from industry and commerce into water bodies play an important role. So far, little is known about the amount, the composition and the impact of industrial and commercial wastewater in Switzerland.

In combination with chemical analyses, bioassays are an important complement to toxicity detection in industrial wastewater. Bioassays can indicate both mixture toxicity and the effects of micropollutants that have not been specifically investigated chemically and can reveal ecologically relevant effects of toxic wastewater on various organisms (e.g. algal, insect or fish toxicity).

Within the project "Biotest and Industry" on behalf of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) , we developed an investigation concept for the characterization of industrial wastewater (Abbautest Biotest Industrieabwasser Screening ABIScreen). The ABIScreen tool proposes a combination of degradation tests and a bioassay battery to identify problematic wastewater with persistent and toxic residues. The tool has already been in use for various wastewater samples of industrial origin and is currently undergoing application testing for largescale use in practice.

Institute for Ecopreneurship

FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland School of Life Sciences, Institute for Ecopreneurship Hofackerstrasse 30 CH - 4132 Muttenz
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