Detailed Presentation Abstract Schedule

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Tuesday 27 September 2016

Author / Presenter: Uwe Schneider
Affiliation: Water Quality in the 21 Century
Student: No

Session: Advances in Water Quality Guidelines and Benchmarks
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 08:00 – 08:20
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

The second International Conference on Deriving Environmental Quality Standards for the Protection of Aquatic Ecosystems (EQSPAE 2016) was held on June 18.-20. 2016 in Hong Kong. It was attended by over 120 scientists from four continents, presenting and discussing current issues of EQS development. In the first part of my talk, I will present some of these issues, results, and activities from EQSPAE relevant to the Water Quality Guidelines development in Canada. In the second part, I will compare some select WQS derivation methods from other countries relative to Canada, and point out some potential areas of cooperation, improvement, and problems with the CWQG.

Author / Presenter: Joanne Little
Affiliation: Alberta Environment and Parks
Student: No

Session: Advances in Water Quality Guidelines and Benchmarks
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 08:20 – 08:40
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) has been the primary interjurisdictional forum for development of Canadian environmental quality guideline (CEQG) development. CEQGs for the Protection of Aquatic Life are currently developed under the guidance of the Guidelines Project Team. Guidelines were recently published for silver and are currently under development for zinc, manganese and carbamazepine. The presentation will highlight some of the challenges in the development of these guidelines, including accounting for multiple toxicity modifying factors, nuances in the application of the CCME (2007) protocol, assessing the suitability of toxicity data, and ensuring an adequate level of protection. In addition, future priorities and challenges for guideline development, including use of novel endpoints, potential adoption of guidelines from alternate sources and incorporation of bioavailability, will be outlined.

Author / Presenter: Charlene Burnett-Seidel
Affiliation: Cameco Corporation
Student: No

Session: Advances in Water Quality Guidelines and Benchmarks
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 08:40 – 09:00
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

Water quality guidelines can be useful tools for assessing the potential risk to aquatic organisms. The review and re-derivation of guidelines have not kept up with the state of science for many substances. Some national guidelines, which are adopted by other jurisdictions in Canada, are nearly 30 years old. In some cases, data that formed the basis of a guideline are not reproducible using current standard procedures. The methods used to derive water quality guidelines have evolved. The use of a more robust approach like the species sensitivity distribution is now preferred over the use of the safety factor approach. As a result of these issues, many guidelines are out of sync with respect to the current risk context and decisions are being made with out of date guidelines. In many cases, studies to address gaps in toxicity data are typically routine and cost-effective. As we move towards a new era for water quality guidelines there is a need for a collaborative approach between industry, government, academia, and public to ensure guidelines are up-to-date and the potential risk to aquatic organisms is characterized and communicated appropriately. Using this collaborative approach in combination with new science and derivation methods, updating water quality guidelines can be accomplished successfully. The benefits of updating guidelines apply to all stakeholders (communities, companies, governments).

Author / Presenter: Doug Spry
Affiliation: Environment and Climate Change Canada
Student: No

Session: Advances in Water Quality Guidelines and Benchmarks
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 09:00 – 09:20
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

National Guidelines and Standards Office, Emerging Priorities Division, Science and Technology Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada, 351 boul St-Joseph, Gatineau, Quebec. Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the Government of Canada has the authority to develop Federal Environmental Quality Guidelines. FEQGs provide benchmarks for the quality of the ambient environment. Where the FEQG is met there is low likelihood of adverse effects on the protected use (e.g., aquatic life or the wildlife that may consume them). They are based on the toxicological effects or hazards of specific substances or groups of substances and do not take into account analytical capability or socio-economic factors. FEQGs follow the four existing CCME protocols for protection of aquatic life, sediment, soils and tissue residue to the greatest extent possible. FEQGs can play several roles. Many of these are closely related to the Chemicals Management Plan including: supporting federal water quality monitoring programs, risk assessments, risk management activities. FEQGs can aid in preventing pollution by providing targets for acceptable environmental quality, can help evaluate the significance of concentrations of chemical substances currently found in the environment (monitoring of water, sediment, and biological tissue), and can serve as performance measures of the success of risk management activities. The most recent group of FEQGs was notified in Canada Gazette on 28 May 2016. Included were chlorinated alkanes, vanadium, tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and along with earlier FEQGs are available at: http://www.chemicalsubstanceschimiques.gc.ca/fact-fait/feqg-recommand-eng.php The FEQG process will be discussed using BPA (Bisphenol A) as an example which is currently under development.

Author / Presenter: Aimee Brisebois
Affiliation: British Columbia Ministry of Environment
Student: No

Session: Advances in Water Quality Guidelines and Benchmarks
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 09:20 – 09:40
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

Many of the numerical environmental quality standards listed in British Columbia’s Contaminated Sites Regulation (the Regulation) have not been updated since the Regulation came into effect in 1997. Although eight of the nine previous amendments to the Regulation have included changes to some of the numerical standards, these changes have generally reflected the addition of new standards to address new environmental media (e.g. addition of sediment quality criteria in 2004 and vapour quality standards in 2009) or the addition of standards for new substances not previously regulated (e.g. new human health soil quality standards and drinking water standards for the substances of Schedule 10 of the Regulation), and none of the previous revisions to the standards have constituted a comprehensive review. Over the past two years, the Land Remediation Section has completed the first comprehensive review, revision and re-verification of all the standards of the Regulation conducted since the Regulation came into effect. This work has addressed new science, including new: human and ecological toxicology modifiers, toxicity reference values, exposure scenarios, hydrogeological modelling and new scientific methodology related to the toxicological derivation of updated new environmental quality standards for water, vapour and soil for use in the management of contaminated sites in the Province under a proposed 10th amendment to the Regulation. In our presentation we will provide an overview of some of the successes and challenges faced in revising and updating the environmental quality standards for the proposed Stage 10 Amendment to the Contaminated Sites Regulation and offer some important “lessons learned”. We will also highlight both some of the substances and the methods and steps used to derive proposed new environmental quality standards for several “emerging contaminants of concern” which have been proposed for inclusion in the Stage 10 amendment.

Author / Presenter: Angeline Tillmanns
Affiliation: BC Ministry of Environment
Student: No

Session: Advances in Water Quality Guidelines and Benchmarks
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 10:10 – 10:30
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

Species sensitivity distributions (SSDs) are probabilistic models that estimate species sensitivities to a contaminant of concern. The modeled distribution allows the extrapolation of a hazard concentration that can be considered protective of 95% of species (HC5). Nationally, SSD is the primary method used to develop water quality guidelines. The method has also been adopted by multiple international jurisdictions including the European Union, Australia and New Zealand. As with all models, there are a number of assumptions and uncertainties in the SSD approach. Different jurisdictions have taken slightly different approaches to SSD highlighting the latitude available in the multiple steps that go into developing a final HC5. These steps include selecting data, identifying an appropriate model and calculating uncertainties. A major assumption of the first step is that laboratory generated toxicity data are representative of field conditions. This is an assumption of all methods to generate guidelines but the SSD offers unique opportunities to include the intra-specific variation of a species by including data for unique genotypes. A second major assumption is that species sensitivity data follow a single continuous distribution. In the CCME protocol, univariate toxicity data are fit to a number of potential distributions by inferring a plotting position (location on the y-axis) and then using regression type methods to assess the goodness of fit and select a continuous probability distribution. An alternative approach is to use maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) techniques to estimate parameters directly and then assess goodness of fit for a number of distributions. MLE utilizes the data directly so there is no need to decide on a plotting position for the y-axis. Also, given the small datasets, a number of distributions may fit equally well. Using MLE and information theoretic methods a weighted average can be generated to combine multiple models. Model and extrapolation uncertainties can also be calculated using MLE. The widely utilized free statistical package, R, allows the use of modern statistical methods to determine the best model(s) and calculate uncertainty estimates. Fitting distribution models to species sensitivity data is an evolving science. In this presentation a number of new ideas are explored with the intention of reducing the potential error associated with underlying assumptions and associated uncertainties.

Author / Presenter: James Elphick
Affiliation: Nautilus Environmental
Student: No

Session: Advances in Water Quality Guidelines and Benchmarks
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 10:30 – 10:50
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

Derivation of water quality guidelines requires the use of results from laboratory toxicity tests. In Canada, long-term exposure guidelines are ideally calculated using a Species Sensitivity Distribution of “no effect” concentrations from chronic toxicity tests conducted in the laboratory. The preferred endpoint from these tests is the IC10 or EC10 value; however, there is often considerable uncertainty in the derivation of these point estimates, which are in the tail of the concentration-response curve. Furthermore, these endpoints are not readily available for many data sets. This presentation discusses aspects of study design to optimize the value of the information obtained from toxicity tests; addresses challenges in calculation of IC10 values and discusses alternative approaches to calculating no effect levels; and provides recommendations on methods for inclusion of exposure and toxicity modifying factors in water quality guideline derivations.

Author / Presenter: James Elphick
Affiliation: Nautilus Environmental
Student: No

Session: Advances in Water Quality Guidelines and Benchmarks
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 10:50 – 11:10
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

A revised long-term guideline was calculated for molybdenum using the species sensitivity distribution (SSD) approach and based on an updated database of freshwater toxicity data. This data set included information available in the scientific literature that met good scientific standards, as well as new data produced for the oligochaete Tubifex tubifex to validate a low acute endpoint reported in the literature, and for brown trout (Salmo trutta) to produce novel data for a second salmonid species. The T. tubifex test was a 96-h survival test, whereas the brown trout test was an 85-d development test that investigated the effects of molybdenum over the embryo, alevin and fry life-stages. Results from the T. tubifex test suggested that previous results may have overestimated the toxicity of molybdenum to this species, as a 96-h LC50 of 2,782 mg/L was determined, two orders of magnitude higher than the original test. Brown trout were also determined to be relatively insensitive to molybdenum, and produced an EC10 value for growth of 202.5 mg/L. A new long-term guideline was determined using the 5th percentile of an SSD that included data for eleven species, including three species of fish, five invertebrates, two plants/algae, and one amphibian. Based on these results, a new long-term guideline of 26 mg/L is proposed.

Author / Presenter: Anthony Knafla Anthony Knafla
Affiliation: Equilibrium Environmental Inc.
Student: No

Session: Advances in Water Quality Guidelines and Benchmarks
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 11:10 – 11:30
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

In 2011 the Canadian national water quality guidelines for chloride were revised to incorporate new toxicological research including assays conducted on sensitive Pelecypoda lifestages. While water harness was identified by CCME as an important factor modifying chloride toxicity, it was not incorporated based in part on a lack of suitable data. A supplementary literature review was conducted covering years up to 2016, and additional studies were identified for incorporation into chloride guideline calculations as well as assessing the effects of hardness. This additional literature data were further supplemented with new toxicity testing assays that were commissioned, using several sensitive aquatic species. Revised short-term and long-term toxicity benchmarks were subsequently derived using a species sensitivity distribution (SSD) approach. The results suggest that current Canadian chloride guidelines for the protection of aquatic life may be insufficiently protective in soft water environments, while being too conservative in moderately hard to very hard conditions. Furthermore, there are aspects of toxicity related to different combinations of cations, which should be considered when evaluating adverse effects associated with chloride exposure to aquatic life species, in the presence of varying water hardness.

Author / Presenter: Ali Azizishirazi
Affiliation: University Of Lethbridge
Student: No

Session: Advances in Water Quality Guidelines and Benchmarks
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 11:30 – 11:50
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

Copper is one of the most well studied contaminants globally due to its geographic ubiquity, abundance, and toxic effects that occur at relatively low concentrations. Copper guidelines in Canada are almost 30 years old. Both CCME and BC’s water quality guidelines (WQG) were published in 1987 and are hardness based. Since 1987 many papers have been published on different aspects of copper toxicity and our knowledge about adverse effects of copper has changed significantly. As an example, many studies have demonstrated that the ameliorative role of water hardness is variable depending on a variety of other water quality factors such as alkalinity. In addition, many other water quality factors (such as DOC, alkalinity and pH) have been demonstrated to affect copper toxicity. Furthermore, knowledge on sub-lethal effects of copper at environmentally relevant concentrations has been enormously expanded. Therefore, there is a simultaneous need and opportunity to review the toxicological literature in support of updating copper guidelines. In the process of conducting the review, more than 6000 studies investigating adverse effects of copper to aquatic organisms have been screened against BC Ministry of Environment inclusion criteria, which resulted in more than 1200 papers flagged for detailed review. These papers were categorized on the basis of taxonomic group. Representative studies for some taxa were surprisingly lacking (i.e. amphibians). About 320 papers were categorized as “primary” or “secondary” based on screening criteria. Despite the sheer number of investigations published since 1987, there are still knowledge gaps in our understanding of copper toxicity to aquatic organisms, and recommendations will be provided to researchers to fill them.

Author / Presenter: Guy Gilron
Affiliation: Borealis Environmental Consulting
Student: No

Session: Expecting the Unexpected: Case Studies in Responding to Spills and Unintentional Releases
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 15:20 – 15:40
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

There is a general paucity of information regarding the environmental impact of accidental spills of raw, washed coal in freshwater ecosystems. The January 2014 derailment of 3 coal-containing rail cars in Burnaby, BC resulted in coal being deposited throughout Silver Creek and Burnaby Lake, including an area located immediately offshore of Western Painted Turtle (and other species’) nesting locations. By May 2014, remedial efforts in both waterbodies resulted in >90% removal (by volume) of the accessible spilled coal. The remediation undertaken at and adjacent to Turtle Beach involved the salvage of juveniles and coal removal immediately offshore of the nesting beach at the confluence of Silver Creek and Burnaby Lake. In order to evaluate residual impacts from any unrecovered coal downstream of the spill area and associated temporal effects, aquatic impact assessments of the receiving environment were conducted in the spring of 2014 and 2015. The assessments focused on potential short- and long-term water and sediment quality impacts, using a weight-of-evidence approach. Study elements included evaluations of: chemical tracers of the spilled coal, water and sediment quality, sediment/porewater toxicity, bioaccumulation potential of sediment contaminants, and direct measures of remaining coal. Concentrations of constituents measured in water were below applicable aquatic life guidelines. Concentrations of various metals and PAHs measured in sediment collected just downstream of the recovery area exceeded both sediment quality guidelines and concentrations in reference areas. Relative concentrations of low versus high molecular weight PAHs in downstream sediments were consistent with those measured in metallurgical coal, implying that coal was present in downstream sediments. Evaluation of aquatic invertebrate toxicity/bioaccumulation test data provided more specific information regarding bioavailability and potential for biological impact and temporal improvements, post-remediation. For both years and all locations – except for one station – site sediments/porewater were non-toxic to the species tested. Although this latter station yielded toxicity to midge and amphipod survival in 2014, no toxicity was observed in 2015. Similarly, although 2014 bioaccumulation potential test results for freshwater oligochaetes indicated that sediment PAHs downstream of the derailment site had slight potential to bioaccumulate, the same was not evident in 2015. These results suggest that the remediation efforts were successful in sufficiently reducing coal in sediment to concentrations posing a low potential for adverse impacts to aquatic receptors. Based on these results, it was recommended that sediments be left in place for the residual coal to attenuate naturally, as any further sediment removal would likely pose greater risks to aquatic receptors, through habitat disturbance and re-suspension and transport of residual coal particles over a broader area.

Author / Presenter: Ramin Memarian
Affiliation: CanmetENERGY
Student: No

Session: Expecting the Unexpected: Case Studies in Responding to Spills and Unintentional Releases
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 15:40 – 16:00
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

From the viewpoint of ecotoxicity, crude oils are of most concern because they contain complex chemical compositions of hydrocarbons and non-hydrocarbons. When spilled in the ecosystems, multiple fate and transport pathways occur; each has a different toxicity level to the biota and to the living environment, which could further create secondary impact in terms of bioaccumulation. Basically, the uniqueness of the toxic oil product problem lies in the potential transfer of specific hydrocarbons, BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes) to organisms through two principal routes: ingestion from the water and from contaminated aquatic foodstuffs. However, exposure to larger hydrocarbons such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) may not always result in significant harm to organisms immediately. Nevertheless, those are important agents in causing chronic effects when present over long periods of time. Advances in characterizing crude oils have provided more information on chemical composition, which needs to be considered for the assessment of ecotoxicology results, with a focus on biomarkers. The log Kow (octanol-water partition coefficient) values presented in the paper of Di Toro et al. 2007, are taken to build a hierarchical model of PAHs to reveal the similarities in terms of bioconcentration factors. Toxic units (TUs) are applied to reflect acute toxic potential of PAHs for fish, according to the acute lethality model suggested by McCarty, 1991. The TUs model will be applied to compare the difference between selected PAHs of fresh and weathered diluted bitumen and conventional crude. Keywords: Crude oils, Ecotoxicity, Biomarkers, Octanol-water partition coefficient Di Toro D M, McGrath J A, Stubblefield W A, 2007. Predicting the toxicity of neat and weathered crude oil. Toxic potential and the toxicity of saturated mixtures. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 26(1): 24?36. McCarty, L.S., 1991. Toxicant body residues: implications for aquatic bioassays with some organic chemicals. In: Mayer, M.A., Barron, M.G. (Eds.), Aquatic Toxicology and Risk Assessment, ASTM STP1124, vol. 14. American Society of Testing Materials, Philadelphia, pp. 183?192.

Author / Presenter: Colin Cooke
Affiliation: Alberta Environment and Parks
Student: No

Session: Expecting the Unexpected: Case Studies in Responding to Spills and Unintentional Releases
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 16:00 – 16:20
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

On October 31, 2013, a catastrophic release of approximately 670,000 m3 of coal process water occurred as the result of the failure of the wall of a post-processing settling pond at the Obed Mountain Mine near Hinton, Alberta. A highly-turbid plume entered the headwaters of the Athabasca River approximately 20 km from the mine, markedly altering the chemical composition of the Athabasca River as it flowed downstream. Over the next four weeks, the released plume traveled approximately 1100 km downstream eventually reaching Peace-Athabasca Delta (a Ramsar Wetland of International Significance located within Wood Buffalo National Park) and Lake Athabasca. The plume itself was tracked both visually and using real-time measures of river water turbidity within the Athabasca River. The plume initially contained high concentrations of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), metals, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs); some Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environmental (CCME) Guidelines were exceeded in the initial days after the spill. Aerial imagery assessment was used to identify 487 potential sediment depositional areas along the mainstem of the Athabasca River. A subset of these areas were surveyed in May 2014, and material from the release material was easily identified visually. Samples were collected for geochemical analysis and compared to source material from the mine. The released material contained elevated concentrations of both metals (arsenic, lead, mercury, selenium, and zinc) and PAHs (acenaphthene, fluorene, naphthalene, phenanthrene, and pyrene). The spill has the potential to exert negative long-term impacts especially in impacted areas closest to the mine.

Author / Presenter: Natalie Kromrey
Affiliation: Alberta Environment & Parks
Student: No

Session: Expecting the Unexpected: Case Studies in Responding to Spills and Unintentional Releases
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 16:20 – 16:40
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

From Aug 12 to Aug 22, 2014, one hundred and fifty-five water samples were taken from mainstem rivers, major tributaries and wastewater facilities (that continuously discharge to a mainstem river) in the South Saskatchewan River Basin of Southern Alberta. Samples were taken in an upstream to downstream fashion from the headwaters of the Red Deer, Bow and Oldman Rivers to their eventual confluence in the South Saskatchewan rivers as a hydrologically calculated time of travel (synoptic) survey. Samples were analyzed for physical & biological parameters, nutrients, bacteria, pesticides and total & dissolved metals. Higher than expected results were found for metals (total: mercury, methyl mercury, arsenic, copper, molybdenum, selenium etc.) and pesticides (2,4-D, dicamba, MCPA, MCPP and 13 other pesticides) in wastewater effluents while higher than expected metals results were found in particular tributaries (total: mercury, arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, copper, lead, manganese, nickel, selenium, silver, thallium, uranium, zinc, etc.). Further investigations successfully determined (and rectified) the source of high mercury and metals for one facility while the high frequency of pesticide detections in multiple wastewater effluents has yet to be fully understood. Additionally, high tributary metal concentrations sparked a reassessment of certain fish consumption limits, but the contributing cause has yet to be identified. The nature of these parameters, how often they are present in continuously discharged effluent and major tributaries, and at what concentrations are currently not adequately characterized. More work is needed to understand the cumulative impact on the receiving water environment. These unexpected results support this style of monitoring and stimulate reflection on requiring all facilities to monitor for unpredicted parameters as part of their operating approval. Moreover, sampling for the unexpected in the ambient environment and being surprised is just as important as only sampling to find answers to predetermined questions.

Author / Presenter: Sarah Bogart
Affiliation: University of Lethbridge
Student: No

Session: General Toxicological Effects of Contaminants in Aquatic Species
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 08:20 – 08:40
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

Although single metals have been demonstrated to impair fish olfaction of food, mates, and predators, our understanding of the effects of metal mixtures on the olfactory system is limited. As such, we characterized the acute, 2- and 3-way metal mixtures effects of Cd, Ni, and Cu on Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) olfaction at their respective, olfactory-based IC20 values. To construct olfactory-based impairment curves for IC20 calculations, fish were exposed to a geometric concentration series of single metals for 24 hrs and then their olfactory acuity was measured via electro-olfactography (EOG). Resultant EOG-IC20 values for Cd and Cu were 24.4 µg/L and 4.6 µg/L, respectively; however no IC20 could be calculated for Ni because it did not impair olfactory function at environmentally relevant concentrations. Thus, instead of an IC20 value, the Alberta (Canada), acute water quality guideline (WQG) for Ni (770 µg/L) was used in all mixtures exposures containing Ni. A binary mixture of Cd Cu produced a less than additive olfactory impairment while all other mixtures (Cd Ni, Cu Ni, Cd Cu Ni) resulted in more than additive olfactory impairment after 24 hrs of exposure. Interestingly, the EOG-IC20 value for Cu was 6 fold lower than the current Alberta acute WQG for Cu. Our results suggest that some of the criteria used for the protection of aquatic life, such as the acute Cu WQG, may not protect against adverse effects on the olfactory system of fish. Additionally, interactions between some contaminant mixtures, such as Ni with Cd or Cu, may increase the toxicity of the individual contaminants. We suggest that future WQG should consider the potential impact of metal mixtures interactions on fish olfaction.

Author / Presenter: Connor Pettem
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: General Toxicological Effects of Contaminants in Aquatic Species
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 08:40 – 09:00
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

Pettem, C,M.1, Weber, L.P.2, Janz, D.M.2 1Toxicology Graduate Program, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, 2Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK Selenium (Se) is an essential micronutrient involved in important metabolic functions for all vertebrate species. As Se is reported to have a narrow margin between deficiency and toxicity, there is growing concern surrounding the adverse effects of elevated Se exposure caused by anthropogenic activities. Oviparous vertebrate species, especially fish, are highly susceptible to elevated dietary Se exposure. Recent studies have reported that elevated dietary exposure of fish to selenomethionine (Se-Met), the primary form of Se in the diet, can alter metabolic capacity, energy homeostasis, swimming performance and cause a greater incidence of early life stage deformities and mortality. This study aims to further investigate mechanisms of Se-Met toxicity, particularly potential underlying cardiovascular implications of chronic exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of dietary Se-Met in adult zebrafish (Danio rerio). Adult zebrafish were fed either control food or Se-Met spiked food (10.27 or 28.81?g Se/g, dry weight) for 90 days at 5% body weight per day. Following exposure, high resolution B-mode and Doppler ultrasound was used to characterize cardiac and vascular function. Chronic dietary exposure to Se-Met caused significant decreases in blood velocity through the atrioventricular (AV) valve, reduced stroke volume and cardiac output, and impaired ventricular diastolic filling. These effects may lead to further cardiovascular complications. Metabolic endpoints investigated included muscle glycogen and triglyceride stores, and fish fed with Se-Met spiked food had elevated energy stores, suggesting impaired energy homeostasis and metabolic dysfunction. Expression of mRNA genes of interest was quantified by use of Real-Time Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qRT-PCR) and current findings are being examined. The results of this study suggest that chronic exposure to dietary Se-Met can alter both cellular and physiological responses, and such consequences could threaten fitness and survivability of fish.

Author / Presenter: Sylvia Chow
Affiliation: University of Lethbridge
Student: Yes

Session: General Toxicological Effects of Contaminants in Aquatic Species
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 09:00 – 09:20
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

The lower Athabasca River basin of northern Alberta travels through the bituminous rich deposits of the McMurray geologic formation and it is within this region where aquatic organisms are exposed to natural fluvial erosion of bitumen-rich oil sands. Extent and potentiality of natural selection through the scope of local adaptation of indigenous fish populations to natural and anthropogenic bituminous sources are not well known, but it is with this knowledge that environmental impact assessment of the industry may be improved upon. Following a reciprocal cross transplant between sites containing natural bitumen and downstream of industry, a 28 day chronic exposure experiment was conducted using a small forage fish, the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas). Reference fish olfactory acuity in response to social cues such as conspecific alarm cues and taurocholic acid was impaired to levels that were similar to fish downstream of industry after having been transplanted to either of the bituminous sites. Similarly, respiration rates were observed to decrease to levels that were detected in fish that resided in bituminous-toxicant containing waters prior to experimentation. Fish from downstream and natural bitumen sites had lower olfactory acuity and respiration rates than fish from upstream site who did not exhibit any changes in the two endpoints before and after the chronic exposure. Fish without pre-existing contact with bitumen – natural or otherwise – displayed impairment in olfaction and respiration to levels comparable to fish from within the oil sands region. Biomarker for toxicant exposure increased in the downstream fish population that was transplanted into the natural bitumen-containing tributaries. Fish from populations inhabiting bitumen-rich environments did not exhibit local adaptation in the measured physiological traits as was previously hypothesized. Physiological scope of fish from natural bitumen and downstream-of-industry waters may be limited in comparison to reference fish without previous bitumen exposure, which supports the lower survival rates observed in the former. Data in this study illustrate how differing toxicant loads will affect the ability of a forage fish population to cope with particular environmental stressors. Although no evidence of local adaptation was observed, the differences in physiological responses indicate an effect of oil sands related toxicants on these fathead minnow populations. Understanding that these forage fish populations exhibit a limited physiological scope can inform and improve reclamation and remediation efforts within Alberta’s oil sands region.

Author / Presenter: Pierre Yves Robidoux
Affiliation: AGAT Laboratories
Student: No

Session: General Toxicological Effects of Contaminants in Aquatic Species
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 09:20 – 09:40
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

In this study funded by Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s National Contaminants Advisory Group, the acute toxicity of diluted bitumen (“dilbit”) and dilbit altered was assessed using two fish species, rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas), and an invertebrate species, daphnia (Daphnia magna). Chronic toxicity was also evaluated on fathead minnow and an invertebrate species, the ceriodaphnia (Ceriodaphnia dubia). In tests carried out with the rainbow trout, dilbit demonstrated a significantly higher toxicity (LC50=5,66g/L) compared to the altered dilbit (LC50>18g/L). For fathead minnow, dilbit also demonstrated a significantly higher toxicity (LC50-96h=0.628g/L) compared to the altered dilbit (LC50-96h=2,06g/L). Chronic tests showed that fathead minnow lethality toxicity was also higher for dilbit (LC50-7d=0.593 g/L) compared to the altered dilbit (LC50-7d=1,31 g/L) whereas larval growth toxicity was lower for dilbit (IC25-7d=0.312 g/L) compared to the altered dilbit (IC25-7d=0.096 g/L). No mortality was observed during exposure in Daphnia exposed to the Water Accommodated Fraction (WAF) performed with dilbit-10g/L, but mortality was 27% in dilbit-32g/L. A lethal toxicity (LC50 = 6,43g/L) was observed in ceriodaphnia exposed to WAF performed with dilbit while no mortality was observed with the altered dilbit. The reproductive effects of ceriodaphnia is more important with the dilbit (IC25 <1.0) than with the altered dilbit (IC25 = 3.99 g/L). VOCs were present in significant concentrations in all different concentrations of WAF. VOC concentrations decreased significantly when the WAF is made from dilbit altered compared to dilbit. This reduction in VOC concentrations found in the WAF carried out with altered dilbit is probably due to the weathering of dilbit. Benzene and toluene are 91.7% to 93.8% VOC for WAF made from the dilbit, and 73.9% and 85.6% VOC when the WAF is made from altered dilbit. Generally, VOCs decrease significantly over time during the various toxicological tests. PAHs are not affected by the process of "weathering" since their concentrations are similar in both types of dilbit. Like the VOC, PAH concentrations decreased relatively quickly after 24 hours of exposure and similarly for the tests with Daphnia and ceriodaphnia. For trout assays under continuous aeration, PAHs concentrations decrease was even faster. Also, there seems to be a saturation of VOC and HAP beyond 10g/L of dilbit. In terms of TPH, their concentrations were very low in all WAF. Like the VOC, altered dilbit lead to a decrease in TPH concentrations.

Author / Presenter: Sarah Alderman
Affiliation: University of Guelph
Student: No

Session: General Toxicological Effects of Contaminants in Aquatic Species
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 10:10 – 10:30
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

Diluted bitumen (dilbit) is a major crude oil product of oil sands extraction that is transported from Alberta across North America by rail and pipeline. Several plans to increase pipeline infrastructure raise concerns about environmental contamination from dilbit spills, particularly in sensitive aquatic habitats like the coastal watersheds of British Columbia. Proposals to expand dilbit transport through this critical Pacific salmon habitat could impact culturally and economically important species like sockeye (Oncorhynchus nerka). For example, we recently showed that juvenile sockeye exposed to low, environmentally relevant concentrations of the water-soluble fraction of dilbit (WSFd) have impaired performance in a critical swimming speed test (Ucrit). In this parallel study, we characterized the serum proteome of juvenile sockeye exposed to 0 or 66.7 ?g/L total PAH from WSFd for 1 and 4 wks. Half of the exposed fish in each treatment were sampled at exhaustion from the Ucrit test, while the other half were not exercised. Serum proteome analysis was conducted using isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ) paired with mass spectrometry. The main goals of this study were to: 1) identify candidate biomarkers of WSFd exposure that could be developed into biomonitoring tools, and 2) determine if the serum proteome of WSFd-exposed fish reflects compromised swimming performance. Three proteins were robust predictors of WSFd exposure, independent of exposure duration or exercise: complement component C7, hemopexin, and alpha-2-marcoglobulin. In non-exercised salmon, WSFd altered serum levels of 17 proteins related to coagulation, immune, and stress responses. In WSFd-exposed and exercised salmon, 20 proteins were significantly altered, including increased abundances of contractile proteins, suggesting that WSFd exposure exacerbates exercise-induced muscle injury and may compromise the ability of salmon to sustain and recover from intense exercise. This study lays the groundwork for developing simple, non-lethal biomonitoring tools to assess salmon population health following dilbit exposure, and may be helpful in predicting if exposed fish can endure their exhausting seaward migrations. Supported by the National Contaminants Advisory Group of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Author / Presenter: Zachary Currie
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: General Toxicological Effects of Contaminants in Aquatic Species
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 10:30 – 10:50
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are ubiquitous environmental contaminants derived primarily from the incomplete combustion of organic matter. PAHs are generally not acutely toxic to aquatic organisms; however, ecologically relevant intensities of ultraviolet (UV) light have been shown to increase the acute toxicity of certain PAHs. Early life-stages of amphibians may be particularly susceptible to PAH photo-induced toxicity as they are translucent, have permeable skin and undergo embryo and larval development in shallow ponds. Limited studies have investigated the potential photo-induced toxicity of PAHs in amphibian species and it is unknown whether the model organism Xenopus laevis is a good predictor of PAH photo-induced toxicity in native species. The objective of the present study was to evaluate and compare the sensitivity of Xenopus and an ecologically native species (wood frog, Lithobates sylvaticus) to the photo-enhanced toxicity of PAHs. Individual 96-h tests were performed in which tadpoles were exposed to anthracene, naphthalene, acridine or benzo(a)pyrene for 8 hours in the dark, transferred to clean water, and then exposed to 630 ?W/cm² UVA (315-400nm) and 110 ?W/cm² UVB (285-315nm) light for 12 hours. Results were compared using mortality, growth, body burden, and whole body transcriptomic responses. Results showed that 200 ?g/L anthracene, 10 ?g/L benzo(a)pyrene and 100 ?g/L benzo(a)pyrene interacted synergistically with UV light to cause a significant increase in tadpole mortality. It was also found that 20 and 200 ?g/L anthracene interacted synergistically with UV light to cause a significant decrease in tadpole length. Acridine and naphthalene were not found to significantly affect tadpole mortality or growth at any concentrations tested. Based on mortality data, it appears that Xenopus is more sensitive to the photo-induced effects of PAHs compared to the wood frog. This may establish Xenopus as a protective model for native amphibian species of amphibians with regards to the photo-induced toxicity of PAHs. Overall, anthracene and benzo(a)pyrene toxicity in larval amphibians is enhanced with exposure to ultraviolet radiation while such photo-induced toxicity is not demonstrated by acridine or naphthalene.

Author / Presenter: Fred Leal
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: General Toxicological Effects of Contaminants in Aquatic Species
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 10:50 – 11:10
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

Benzo-a-pyrene (BaP) is a ubiquitous environmental contaminant, which is rapidly metabolized, but has been reported to induce persistent cardiac and metabolic effects in fish. Juvenile rainbow trout (n=20) were injected once daily for 2 consecutive days with corn oil (control vehicle) or BaP (0.1 and 1 mg/kg). On days 4 and 7 (n=10/group/day), fish underwent cardiac ultrasound, followed by euthanasia, dissection, and collection of arterial blood, heart, liver, and red muscle for analysis of BaP residues in liver, heart, and muscle (through HPLC); analysis of tissue glycogen and triglycerides (TG) content; liver and muscle enzyme activities of lipoprotein lipase (LPL; hydrolyzation of TG into fatty acids and their transport into cells), 3-Hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (HOAD; marker of ?-oxidation of fatty acids), citrate synthase (CS; marker of aerobic metabolism), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH; marker of anerobic metabolism), and L-lactate level in blood, liver, and muscle (secondary marker of anaerobic metabolism). Analysis of BaP residues in tissues showed a severe reduction of BaP from day 4 to 7 in the liver (205.81±65.08 to 4.17±1.32?g/kg dry mass; mean±SEM) and in the muscle (62.64±19.8 to 1.78±0.594?g/kg dry mass; mean±SEM) in the high BaP treatment group. However, in the heart, levels were found to be below detection levels for both days. Cardiac effects were noticed on day 4 when there were decreases in peak and mean velocities of blood flow through the atrioventricular valve (consistent with increased ventricular wall stiffness) as well as duration on blood flow through the ventriculobulbar valve and into the aorta. All cardiac function parameters returned to control values by day 7. In the liver, LPL and HOAD activities remained elevated at day 7 in both the high and low BaP treatments, while glycogen stores were decreased compared to control for both BaP groups. In the muscle, glycogen stores were also persistently decreased at day 7 in both BaP treatment groups. Taken together, most cardiac effects were transient and correlated with BaP residue in the body, but not the heart. In contrast, trout exposed to BaP underwent a shift toward more glycolytic metabolism that persisted at 7 days after exposure, a time when BaP body burden had almost disappeared. Greater reliance on glycogen as an energy source may threaten the survival of wild Oncorhynchus mykiss since utilization of TG is more metabolically advantageous for long-distance swimming these fish perform during migration.

Author / Presenter: Dayna Schultz
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: General Toxicological Effects of Contaminants in Aquatic Species
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 11:10 – 11:30
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

In recent years, emerging contaminants have gained notoriety due to their ubiquity in the aquatic environment as well as the lack of data available regarding their toxicity to wildlife and humans. Emerging chemicals (ECs) of concern such as hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), silver nanoparticles (AgNPs), short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCP), 17?-ethynylestradiol (EE2) and Prozac (FLX) primarily enter the aquatic environment as mixtures through municipal wastewater effluent (MWWE). MWWE, which is typically a mixture of industrial, commercial, and household wastes, may be released into receiving waters with little to no treatment, which is not uncommon, especially in rural Canadian municipalities. Most data to date has been garnered using standard laboratory species, which may not be particularly relevant to Northern species considering the potential role of life history, trophic level, physiology, and climate on the species-specific toxicity of chemicals. Consequently, inaccurate extrapolation from standard laboratory species to species native to northern ecosystems is a cause for concern and represents a significant uncertainty factor in ecological risk assessment. In this study, Oncorhynchus mykiss, Salvelinus namaycush, and Esox lucius gametes were exposed to six waterborne concentrations of EE2, FLX, MWWE, and AgNPs where the lowest doses were selected based on environmental relevance and increased incrementally thereafter. Exposures were continuous flow-through and subsamples were collected at critical developmental stages to assess acute and sub-chronic toxicity of all test chemicals. Initial findings suggest that these three species vary significantly in their sensitivities towards the aforementioned ECs. Ongoing work aims to fully elucidate biochemical and histological anomalies associated with exposures to the six ECs and focuses on characterizing the effects of these ECs on native fish species in comparison to one another as well as standard laboratory fish models. Overall, this work will aid in the development of more appropriate environmental risk assessment strategies for native fishes to EC of concern.

Author / Presenter: Adrienne Bartlett
Affiliation: Environment and Climate Change Canada
Student: No

Session: General Toxicological Effects of Contaminants in Aquatic Species
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 11:30 – 11:50
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

Canada?s Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) was announced in 2006 to regulate chemicals detrimental to human health and the environment. Few toxicological data are associated with the numerous chemicals used in industrial processes that are listed in the CMP. Substituted phenylamine antioxidants (SPAs) are produced in high volumes and have a range of applications, including dyes, photosensitizers, lubricants, dispersants, and adhesives. They were identified by the CMP as requiring further study due to their likely environmental persistence, potential for bioaccumulation, and inherent toxicity to aquatic organisms. We selected four SPAs for examination based on the range of log Kow values: diphenylamine (SPA 2), N-phenyl-1-naphthylamine (SPA 6), N-(1,3-dimethylbutyl)-N?-phenyl-1,4-phenylenediamine (SPA 8), and 4,4?-methylene-bis[N-sec-butylaniline] (SPA 12). Our objective was to assess the toxicity and bioaccumulation of these four SPAs in sediment exposures with two species of benthic invertebrates: Hyalella azteca (amphipod) and Tubifex tubifex (oligochaete). Four-week spiked sediment exposures were conducted with each SPA, and effects on survival (both species), growth (H. azteca), and reproduction (i.e., production of cocoons and juveniles; T. tubifex) were assessed. Additional exposures were conducted to determine bioaccumulation of SPAs in T. tubifex. Chemical analysis of water, sediment, and tissue is ongoing; results are currently based on nominal concentrations (µg/g dry weight sediment). Survival of H. azteca was reduced by SPA 2, 6, and 8, with four-week LC50s ranging from 130 µg/g (SPA 2) to 1300 µg/g (SPA 6), but was not affected by SPA 12 at any concentration tested (up to 2000 µg/g). Growth of H. azteca was a less sensitive endpoint than survival, and was not reduced by any concentration tested (up to 200, 1200, 1000, and 2000 µg/g for SPAs 2, 6, 8, and 12, respectively). Survival of T. tubifex was reduced by all SPAs, with four-week LC50s ranging from 220 µg/g (SPA 2) to 1800 µg/g (SPA 12). Reproduction of T. tubifex was a more sensitive endpoint than survival: four-week EC50s for production of juveniles were 3-9 times lower than corresponding four-week LC50s. SPA 2 was the most toxic to the survival of both species, and SPAs 2 and 8 were the most toxic to the reproduction of T. tubifex. However, these results are based on nominal sediment concentrations; therefore, the relative toxicity of the SPAs, as well as the concentration ranges causing toxicity, may change once measured exposure concentrations are available. In addition, the calculation of biota-sediment bioaccumulation factors will provide information on the bioavailability of SPAs to T. tubifex. The results of this study will be compared to measured concentrations of SPAs in biosolids and wastewaters from municipal wastewater treatment facilities in Canada, and will support environmental risk assessments to determine if SPAs could impact freshwater organisms.

Author / Presenter: Ryan Prosser
Affiliation: Environment and Climate Change Canada
Student: No

Session: General Toxicological Effects of Contaminants in Aquatic Species
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 11:50 – 12:10
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

Substituted phenylamine antioxidants (SPAs) are produced in relatively large volumes and incorporated into a variety of consumer products, e.g., polymers, lubricants, dyes, and adhesives. Based on their physical and chemical properties, SPAs could be potentially persistent, bioaccumulative and/or toxic, consequently, the Government of Canada is tracking this class of compounds under the Chemicals Management Plan to determine whether additional activities may be warranted at a future time. The current study assessed the toxicity of four SPAs, chosen from a list of twelve, (diphenylamine (SPA 2), N-phenyl-1-naphthylamine (SPA 6), N-(1,3-dimethylbutyl)-N?-phenyl-1,4-phenylenediamine (SPA 8), and 4,4?-methylene-bis[N-sec-butylaniline] (SPA 12)) to three life stages of the freshwater mussel, Lampsilis siliquoidea. Acute sensitivity was determined by exposing the larval stage of mussels (glochidia) to SPAs for 48 h in water. A negative relationship between the toxicity of SPAs and their solubility in water was observed. The 48-h EC50s for glochidia viability using measured concentrations were 5951, 606, 439, and 258 µg/L for SPA 2, 6, 8, and 10, respectively. Juvenile (~ 1 cm in length) and adult Lampsilis siliquoidea were exposed to sediments spiked with individual SPAs for 28 days in aerated (static) vessels with a 3.5:1 water-to-sediment ratio. Mortality was assessed along with rate of feeding of juvenile mussels. In addition, reactive oxygen species, total glutathione, and lipid peroxidation in gill, digestive gland, and gonad of SPA-exposed adult mussels were measured to determine whether exposure to SPAs caused oxidative stress; bioaccumulation was also assessed in these tissues. Preliminary data analysis based on nominal concentrations showed that LC/EC50 values for the juvenile and adult mussels were >100 µg/g sediment dry weight for all four SPAs examined. Analysis of tissue and sediment is ongoing; calculation of biota-sediment accumulation factors will provide information on the bioavailability of SPAs to freshwater mussels. The results of this study will support environmental risk assessment activities to determine if SPAs could impact freshwater ecosystems.

Author / Presenter: Sara Hanson
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: General Toxicological Effects of Contaminants in Aquatic Species
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 13:30 – 13:50
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

The province of Saskatchewan is experiencing a dramatic increase in population growth, resulting in a greater release of municipal wastewater effluents (MWWEs) into local water bodies. There is concern regarding the impact of contaminants in this effluent, particularly endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs), to resident wildlife as conventional wastewater treatment technologies are often incomplete or inefficient at removing such compounds. Waterbodies in the southern Canadian Prairies may be at particular risk of exposure to EDCs due to the uniqueness of prairie surface water systems. For example, during low flow periods, Wascana Creek, a small stream in southern Saskatchewan can consist of over 90% treated effluent originating from the City of Regina’s outdated lagoon based treatment facility. The aim of this study was to characterize the potential endocrine disrupting effects of municipal waste-water effluents on wild fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas; FHM) populations in an effluent dominated stream, Wascana Creek, SK. Field studies were conducted on spawning FHMs (2014 and 2015) to assess responses in terms of overall health (condition factor, somatic indices), reproduction (secondary sexual characteristics, sex steroids in blood plasma, gonad histopathology, gene expression), and sex ratios. Fish collected downstream of the effluent fallout had lower gonadosomatic indices and significantly greater hepatosomatic indices compared to fish from upstream populations. There was significant disruption of regulation of key genes along the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonad-liver axis that are associated with reproductive processes. Additionally, in both male and female FHMs gonadal degradation and delayed maturation was observed histologically. Exposed males displayed lower scores of secondary sexual characteristics. This case study highlights the potential ecological risks of EDCs associated with MWWEs, and the need for implementing more effective and affordable measures to remove them at wastewater treatment plants.

Author / Presenter: Nicholas Maya
Affiliation: Trent University
Student: Yes

Session: General Toxicological Effects of Contaminants in Aquatic Species
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 13:50 – 14:10
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

Nicholas Maya1, Deniz Nasuhoglu2, Francois-Johan Chassaing2, Viviane Yargeau2 , Chris D. Metcalfe1 1) The School of the Environment, Trent University, Peterborough, ON 2) Department of Chemical Engineering, McGill University, Montreal, QC Abstract: Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) and endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) are contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) due to their widespread detection in the aquatic environment and for their potential to induce biological responses in aquatic organisms at low, environmentally relevant concentrations. Since discharges of domestic wastewater are a major point source for the release of these micropollutants into surface waters, advanced treatment technologies are needed that can efficiently remove these compounds from wastewater. In this study conducted in partnership with colleagues at McGill University and a private sector partner, Air Liquide, the toxic effects to fish of micropollutants extracted from ozonated and non-ozonated municipal wastewater effluent (MWWE) were measured in order to assess the effectiveness of ozonation in reducing toxicity. Juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) were intraperitoneally injected with a mixture of five CECs commonly found in MWWE, and ozonated and non-ozonated wastewater extracts spiked with the five model compounds. Toxicity testing was also completed using early life stages of Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes) exposed to the five model CECs, and to extracts prepared from ozonated and non-ozonated wastewater spiked with the model compounds. In juvenile trout, induction in plasma vitellogenin (VTG) and changes in levels of plasma steroids were observed in fish exposed to model CECs, in addition to elevated hepatic total glutathione (tGSH) levels, indicating that CEC mixtures have the potential to cause endocrine disruption and oxidative stress, respectively. Significant developmental toxicity was observed in medaka embryos exposed to all model CECs. In juvenile trout injected with extracts prepared from wastewater, ozonation significantly reduced induction of VTG, consistent with reductions in the measured concentrations of estrogenic contaminants. However, ozonation also significantly reduced hepatic tGSH levels and increased the hepatic GSSG-to-tGSH ratio, both of which are indicators of oxidative stress. Other in vivo biomarkers measured in trout showed no significant changes. Exposure of medaka embryos to extracts prepared from both non-ozonated and ozonated MWWE resulted in developmental toxicity that was significantly greater than the control group. These results indicate that the ozonation technology reduces the estrogenicity of wastewater, but treatment may induce oxidative stress and embryonic developmental toxicity due to the production of toxic by-products. These techniques will be used to assess the potential for biological effects in wastewater treated using a novel ozonation technology.

Author / Presenter: Bharat Chandramouli
Affiliation: Axys Analytical Services, Ltd.
Student: No

Session: General Toxicological Effects of Contaminants in Aquatic Species
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 14:10 – 14:30
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

The Great Lakes in Southern Ontario are affected by pollutants from a number of sources including wastewater treatment plants (WWTP), industry and more. Pollutant monitoring over the years has detected pharmaceuticals and personal care products, metals, dioxins, PCBs, PAHs, pesticides and more in the water and associated sediment. Evaluating the effectiveness of regulation/policy changes on the health of the ecosystem is challenged by the number, and chemical diversity of the pollutants. Multi-omic (transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic) measurements of sentinel species that have been exposed to environmental samples from affected sites has the potential to evaluate early biological impacts in a controlled laboratory setting and to correlate these biological effects with measured contaminant levels. Such data can provide valuable insight into prioritizing and refining future contaminant measurement strategies, and can inform regulatory approaches earlier than toxicological tests focused on apical end-points. In this set of studies, rainbow trout and hexagenia sp were exposed to surface water, effluent and sediment from sites in Humber Bay and Toronto Harbour. Exposures were performed in a laboratory setting with each exposure lasting 48 hours. Concentration values of 219 metabolites, including amino acids, biogenic amines, ?hexose, fatty acids, bile acids, acylcarnitines, sphingomyelins, and glycerophospholipids, were measured in rainbow trout liver and whole hexagenia. In addition, concentrations of PCBs, PAHs, metals, and other environmental contaminants were measured in the effluent, surface water and sediment samples. ANOVA, PCA, PLS-DA and OPLS-DA, were used to identify metabolites varying between the different location/concentration groups and to correlate metabolite changes with available water quality and contaminant concentration data. Preliminary analysis indicates that metabolomic differences in rainbow trout and hexagenia exposed to control samples compared with those exposed to both surface water and effluent are modest. However, hexagenia sediment exposures show distinct metabolomic differences after exposure to field samples versus exposure to clean sediment with some indication of distance from WWTP gradient effects. This study is part of a larger two-year project evaluating the role of transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic effects measurement in understanding Great Lakes ecosystem health.

Author / Presenter: Curtis Eickhoff
Affiliation: Nautilus Environmental
Student: No

Session: General Toxicological Effects of Contaminants in Aquatic Species
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 14:30 – 14:50
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

Effluents and wastewaters discharged into estuarine or marine environments are evaluated using a standard set of acute and sublethal bioassays for evaluating the potential for environmental effects. The sublethal bioassay using Pacific kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, performed according to USEPA method EPA/600/R-95-136, is commonly used in conjunction with the echinoderm fertilization test, topsmelt growth and survival test, bivalve larval development test, and others. In reviewing data sets involving two or more of these sublethal bioassays, it was apparent that the Macrocystis test often provided a more sensitive endpoint than other bioassays. This presentation compares the relative sensitivity of a number of bioassays employing estuarine and marine species used for environmental testing, including Champia parvula, which is the alga that is used in EEM programs in Canada for marine discharges. This information is useful when selecting bioassays for evaluating the hazard potential of wastewaters or waters emanating from industrial operations or contaminated sites.

Author / Presenter: Caren Helbing
Affiliation: University of Victoria
Student: No

Session: Genomics in Ecotoxicology
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 15:20 – 15:40
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

Frogs are harbingers of environmental status and surrogates for human health. The Ranidae, or “true frogs”, comprise the largest anuran family and its representatives span the globe. In an effort to effectively utilize gene expression as indicators of adverse outcomes, we have been actively generating molecular resources for amphibian species. We have generated a good draft of the first “true frog” genome from Rana (Lithobates) catesbeiana and compare this to the genomes representing common laboratory frogs of the Pipidae family. Bullfrog tadpoles were exposed to thyroid hormones, estrogen, or a cocktail containing a mixture of pharmaceuticals and personal care products that are commonly found in municipal wastewater. RNA-seq and qPCR analyses were performed on select target tissues using information gained from our genome cross-validated with de novo assembled transcripts. Changes in biomolecule abundance and their linkage to adverse developmental outcomes will be presented. De novo assembly of transcripts proved to be an invaluable and economical source of information for genome validation, but is also a significant enabler for species that do not have an available genome. Both de novo transcript and genome assembly pipelines can be readily applied to any species with a complex genome.

Author / Presenter: Timothy Tse
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: Genomics in Ecotoxicology
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 15:40 – 16:00
Location: Room 5/6

Abstract:

Water quality degradation caused by increased nutrient pollution is a global environmental issue affecting freshwater lakes and reservoirs. Addition of limiting nutrients often leads to eutrophication and the production of harmful algal blooms. This has resulted in significant water quality issues for many potable waters in North America. However, long-term monitoring data are often lacking for many of these sources of water and studies are frequently initiated only after serious problems arise. Natural conditions of aquatic systems or their long-term trajectories are often unknown. Paleolimnological techniques can reconstruct long-term environmental trends in inland waters when monitoring data are limited or unavailable. An emerging tool in paleolimnological investigations is metagenomic analysis, the analysis of genetic material extracted from environmental samples. In this study, sediment cores were collected from a freshwater, prairie reservoir and a combination of physicochemical and metagenomic analyses were conducted to investigate trends and identify relationships among the algal and cyanobacterial communities and various physicochemical variables. Temporal trends in algal compositions of communities were identified through analyses of phytopigments in cores of sediments. Insight into trends in the cyanobacterial community was gained through 16S rRNA sequencing. Finally, a component for the microcystin toxin-producing pathway, the mcyA gene, was identified in sections of sediment cores and was positively correlated to the abundance of Dolichospermum, a genus of harmful cyanobacteria commonly found in affected freshwater lakes and reservoirs. Metagenomic analyses in combination with supporting physicochemical characteristics, can provide insight into long-term lake ontogeny and serve as a practical proxy for long-term monitoring data where such data are lacking.

Author / Presenter: John Dennis John Dennis
Affiliation: SolAero Ltd
Student: No

Session: Industrial Development and the Potential Environmental and Health Implications to Aboriginal Communities
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 10:10 – 10:30
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

The WHO defines Health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Canadian provincial and federal systems assess and regulate industrial emissions with a view to minimize direct impacts between potential for human exposure and acute and chronic health impacts. This process is generally managed well and incorporates safety factors and precautionary principles. There are many human health impacts that remain invisible to these environmental regulatory systems which continue to harm our communities, with perhaps greatest impact to Aboriginal communities. For example, a major issue impacting Aboriginal health in Fort McKay includes poor diet particularly with increased reliance on western store-bought foods. Affordable food choices in western groceries lead to obesity, diabetes and other health issues. Traditional Aboriginal foods offer better nutrition, and their collection promotes physical, mental, and community well-being. The perception of industrial emissions contaminating traditional foods is pervasive in many Aboriginal communities, including Fort McKay First Nation located in midst of major oil sands developments in NE Alberta. The perception of high levels of contamination is reinforced through industrial odours, visible stack emissions, and regular reports of plant malfunctions leading to air and water emissions. These perceptions manipulate communities members away from Traditional foods and inadvertently promote consumption of western store bought foods. Decreased Traditional Land Use further conspires to erode individual and community health which compound indirect health impacts and link to mental health and addictions. If our regulatory systems were better able to identify and accept indirect links between emissions and health impacts, it would allow mitigations to better manage perceptions (e.g. through education & capacity building, effective communication tools) which could reduce fear, and promote greater gathering and consumption of Traditional foods. In turn, this would result in increased physical and mental health for individuals and communities. Our current Provincial regulatory system focuses almost exclusively on direct health impacts and is not serving our Aboriginal community well. More mature health impact systems are evident in Federal Canadian and US systems, as well as internationally through WHO and UN. Our Provincial system should be encouraged to evolve to be better able to identify, assess, and mitigate indirect impacts from industrial development. Only in this way will the tools be provided for our Aboriginal population to help address the serious health and well-being issues faced in Fort McKay and most other First Nations. Revising our regulatory systems to include indirect impacts inherent in EcoSystem Health would benefit all our Aboriginal peoples, as well as the whole of Canada.

Author / Presenter: Lorne Doig
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: No

Session: Industrial Development and the Potential Environmental and Health Implications to Aboriginal Communities
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 10:30 – 10:50
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

Cumulative effects, driven in part by anthropogenic stressors, lead to disproportionate effects on Aboriginal communities that are reliant on land, wildlife and water. Understanding and counteracting these effects requires knowledge from multiple sources. Yet the combined use of Traditional Knowledge and Science has both technical and philosophical hurdles to overcome, and suffers from inherent power dynamics that disfavor the very communities it intends to benefit. Here we show how the development of a monitoring program to assess environmental change in the Slave River and Delta (Northwest Territories, Canada) that was initiated and guided by the community, can minimize many of the challenges commonly observed. First, community ownership and the articulation of key guiding questions dictated all indicators that were to be measured in the two year program. Second, we used a Bayesian Belief Network that balanced Science (biophysical measurements) and Traditional Knowledge (stories of change told through interviews) indicators to create a shared understanding of the system. Third, we used a variety of dissemination tools, including a whiteboard animation of elder?s stories, to communicate the results in more meaningful ways. Through this approach we hope to have created a more sustainable monitoring program that will now be pursued by the community. While many challenges remain, we believe that adapting this framework elsewhere could yield better information on environmental change, and a better representation of the knowledge and values of affected communities.

Author / Presenter: Harriet Phillips
Affiliation: Canada North Environmental Services
Student: No

Session: Industrial Development and the Potential Environmental and Health Implications to Aboriginal Communities
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 10:50 – 11:10
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

Unique approaches to conducting a human health and ecological risk assessment based on more realistic exposure scenarios will be discussed, using a former lead/zinc mining site in the Yukon as an example. This site has numerous adits, tailings, and waste rock piles across a 15,000 hectare area and involves several different watersheds. A remedial action plan has been developed for the site and the risk assessment focussed on residual risks after completion of the remedial activities. Currently, the majority of the water on the site is treated and it is proposed to install a new water treatment plant to improve performance and reliability. The post-remediation conditions for the terrestrial environment involve the removal or covering of tailings and waste rock piles and replacement with clean till. As part of the problem formulation development for the risk assessment, a community consultation session was held with the indigenous community that is located near to the site. The session was used to discuss elements of the risk assessment, and to collect information for use in the risk assessment on locations used for drinking water, fishing, hunting, and gathering, as well as types of food consumed. A watershed approach was used in the assessment, taking into account the unique contamination profiles, expected reclamation activities, and anticipated future land uses at different exposure locations within each watershed. For the evaluation of wildlife and humans, a spatial averaging approach was used to develop the soil and terrestrial vegetation exposure point concentrations, accounting for the remedial activities in the different watersheds. Within the watersheds, smaller exposure areas were also evaluated to help determine whether additional remedial activities would be needed to further reduce risks. The results of the assessment were discussed with the community.

Author / Presenter: Derek Green
Affiliation: Toxicology Centre – University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: Industrial Development and the Potential Environmental and Health Implications to Aboriginal Communities
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 11:10 – 11:30
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

Hydroelectric reservoir construction induces chemical and physical changes on impounded waters that affect local ecosystems. Among this suite of changes are those that favor the production of neurotoxic methyl-mercury, which can subsequently bioaccumulate in impounded and downstream fish. In the 1970s concerns arose about mercury contamination in fish caught by the aboriginal fishery of Cumberland House, located downstream of the E. B. Campbell hydroelectric dam (est. 1963). Elevated mercury concentrations ([Hg]) were observed in filets of pike, walleye, goldeye, and sauger and commonly exceeded consumption guidelines (0.5 mg/kg) in both the fishery and reservoir of the dam. While current [Hg] are now below consumption guidelines in these populations the decline was significantly slower in downstream walleye and goldeye (P < 0.001). These trends were found despite low [Hg] in contemporary water samples collected immediately below the dam, implicating elements of the downstream environment as causal drivers of Hg retention in fish. Observed fish kills and strandings on low-pitched shorelines below the dam suggest that the irregular and highly variable water levels observed downstream of this peaking hydro-electric facility may act as a chronic physical stressor, causing increased retention of Hg in downstream fish by diminishing growth dilution in some species. Analyses of triglyceride concentrations and condition factor (K) of young of the year spottail shiner (Notropis hudsonius) collected from affected habitats reveal reduced energy accumulation and condition in young of the year fish (p < 0.05) and relatively greater [Hg] (P<0.05) compared to upstream counterparts, suggesting peaking hydro-electric facilities may induce an energetic bottleneck that exacerbates [Hg] in downstream fish. Analyses of glycogen depletion and cortisol induction in response to an acute physical stressor are currently underway to determine whether fish from affected habitats exhibit signs of facing chronic stress.

Author / Presenter: Nicole Pysh
Affiliation: Government of Alberta
Student: No

Session: Inhalation Toxicology and Air Quality Management
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 08:00 – 08:20
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

My thesis research explores the factors influencing environmental performance at Alberta?s Kraft Pulp mills. Total reduced sulphur (TRS) compounds, which have a noxious, rotten-egg odour, were chosen as the indicator of environmental performance because they have a high degree of social intolerance and represent opportunities for process optimization, as they are a by-product of the Kraft pulping process. My research had two objectives. First, to determine how the regulatory framework influences TRS emissions management at Alberta?s Kraft Pulp mills. Second, to gain insights into the influence of corporate environmental management and social license on environmental performance. Indicators representative of each factor were examined: (1) regulatory conditions, dispersion modeling, point source and ambient TRS monitoring data, (2) voluntary environmental policies and management systems, best management practices, corporate sustainability reporting, and (3) public complaints and ambient TRS exceedances. Extensive literature review, statistical and comparative analysis, and interviews with government and industry subject matter experts were performed. Research results indicate that all factors are influencing performance to varying degrees, but corporate environmental management contributed the most to the variance between facilities. Refining the roles and responsibilities of regulatory bodies, corporate entities, and the public is critical to managing environmental performance and cumulative effects. Recommendations are made to improve the efficacy of all factors in achieving environmental outcomes. Shortcomings in the regulatory framework were identified, but with improvement, it holds the most promise for facilitating collaborative discussions, incentivizing continuous improvement, managing cumulative effects, and enhancing the competiveness of Alberta?s Kraft Pulp industry.

Author / Presenter: Phoenix Le
Affiliation: Government of Alberta
Student: No

Session: Inhalation Toxicology and Air Quality Management
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 08:20 – 08:40
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

With concerns over elevated concentrations of fine particulate matter observed throughout the Province, particularly in populated areas that are expected to continue to experience population and economic growth, Alberta Environment and Parks is committed to developing a Regional Industrial Air Emissions Management Program aimed at managing and reducing ambient fine particulate matter and its precursors (NOx, VOCs, SO2, and NH3) from Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) approval holders (including Codes of Practice holders). This is the first time that a program of this nature will be used in Alberta. Ambient air quality assessments for 2008-2010 and 2009-2011 showed monitoring stations within the Capital Region exceeded the Canada-wide Standards (CWS) for fine particulate matter. Similarly, in the 2009-2011 and 2010-2012 assessments, an air quality monitoring station in Red Deer also exceeded the CWS for fine particulate matter. In 2012, the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS) for fine particulate matter and ground-level ozone replaced the CWS. The first CAAQS assessment results for Alberta for the 2011-2013 reporting period showed Red Deer Air Zone continued to fail to achieve the CAAQS for fine particulate matter. In addition, all other air zones except one were assigned to a management level that required preventative actions are taken to avoid exceeding the CAAQS for fine particulate matter. The objectives of the program are to a) better understand and quantify emissions from industrial sources starting with facilities in Red Deer and North Saskatchewan Air Zones; b) define baseline control technology currently used in each of the sectors and across industries; c) ascertain performance optimization of existing equipment, maintenance, and control technology that could lead to further emissions reductions; and d) ascertain additional viable control technology. The outcomes of this program will a) put into action the concept of continuous improvement to inform facilities and the Province of the opportunities for emissions reduction through best management practices for on-site operations and equipment upgrades to best available technology; b) recognize facilities that are environmental stewards who have taken on voluntary steps towards continuous improvements; and c) inform a consistent approach for reducing emissions. Attendees of the presentation will hear why this particular approach was chosen, the learning so far from developing the program, where the program is currently in its development, and anticipated future challenges in developing and implementing the program.

Author / Presenter: David Spink
Affiliation: Pravid Environmental Inc.
Student: No

Session: Inhalation Toxicology and Air Quality Management
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 08:40 – 09:00
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

Abstract: ?An overview of odour issues in Fort McKay and community initiatives to understand and address these issues? Authors: David Spink, John Dennis and Ryan Abel The First Nation and Métis community of Fort McKay is situated in the middle of the mineable portion of the Athabasca Oil Sands Region. One of the impacts associated with this oil sands development is odours and oil sands related odours have been an issue and concern for Fort McKay going back to the 1980s. One of the concerns linked to odours, in particular, and to overall air quality, in general, is its possible impact on health. The federal government notes that: ?Air pollution has significant negative effects on human health?? and the WHO indicates that: ?Clean air is considered to be a basic requirement for human health and wellbeing.? For most people the quality of air, and its perceived quality and safeness, is judged by sensory perception i.e. visibility, taste and smell. Odours are on the most frequent air quality complaint issues and can have both direct and indirect health impacts. The Royal Society of Canada in a 2010 report noted that for Fort McKay: ?? odour is certainly recognized as a problem for this community. Although odour has often been considered a nuisance rather than a health effect, chronic odour problems become a burden on community well-being which ultimately leads to stress with the possibility of associated health effects. Resolution of the odour problems being caused by oil sands developments is clearly necessary.? The approval process for oil sands projects involves an odour impact assessment. These assessments generally show no to very limited potential for odour impacts which is inconsistent with the ?real world? experience of the community. Approvals for oil sands projects have no to very basic odour related emission and ambient monitoring requirements. Odour levels in Fort McKay, as inferred from continuous total reduced sulphur monitoring data, have fluctuated over the last 16 years. Elevated odour levels in the 2006-2010 period, some severe odour episodes during this period, and perceived deficiencies in the monitoring and assessment of odours, resulted in Fort McKay undertaking a number of odour related programs and activities. These included ? Air quality canister sampling (since 2010) during certain odour events to identify the compounds responsible for the odours being experienced, their source(s) and whether or not air quality during odour events posed a health risk; ? Installation of 2 eNose monitors in the community to continuously measure odour levels; ? Development of odour impacts assessment guidelines to try and enhance and improve odour impact assessments; ? Development of an odour event attribution protocol to try and link an odour event to a specific source type and/or source(s); ? Studying available emission profiles for various emission sources in relation to canister sampling chemical profiles to identify possible priority

Author / Presenter: Michael Zelensky
Affiliation: Albert Energy Regulator
Student: No

Session: Inhalation Toxicology and Air Quality Management
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 09:00 – 09:20
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

Oil and gas development has been occurring in the Peace River area since the late 1950s; however, it hasn’t been until the last decade that technological advances have made development of the bitumen in the area economically feasible. Since then, industry activity has increased, as has the volume of odour complaints from area residents. Despite significant multi-stakeholder efforts to resolve odour and emission problems, the complaints continued. A Proceeding was initiated to gather information from area stakeholders and subject matter experts, which included an organizational meeting and an eight-day hearing in Peace River, Alberta starting on January 21, 2014. The Panel carefully considered the information it received and provided the following recommendation for operations, air quality monitoring and health concerns in their March 31, 2014 report: a) Operations: Practical operational measures should be implemented to capture and conserve gas. Venting should be eliminated and that produced gas should be captured using vapour recovery units (VRUs) within four months in the Reno and Three Creeks areas. The Panel recommended that studies be conducted with respect to the installation of VRUs in the Walrus and Seal Lake areas, as well as into options and timelines for conserving all produced gas in the Peace River area. The Panel also recommends the implementation of measures to minimize odours from trucks, as well as practices to identify fugitive emissions and address them expeditiously. b)Monitoring: The Panel recognized that, despite significant efforts to monitor air quality in the Peace River area, there has been little correlation of the results of air monitoring with the odour events reported by residents in the area. There has also been a lack of communication of such results to area residents in a clear and understandable manner. The Panel’s main recommendation in this area is to establish a comprehensive and credible regional air quality monitoring program for the Peace River area that will verify, through reliable and accessible data, that the recommended operational changes have improved air quality. c)Health: The Panel’s main finding is that odours from heavy oil operations in the Peace River area have the potential to cause some of the symptoms experienced by residents; therefore, these odours should be eliminated. The Panel recommends that further study be conducted to examine linkages between odours and emissions and health effects. This paper will provide a status update on these three areas of concern. Progress on installing operational controls on emissions and their effectiveness will be summarized. Continuous monitoring results from the Peace River Area Monitoring Program (PRAMP) will be presented to demonstrate the improvement in air quality. Results from triggered canister sampling for volatile organic compounds and reduced sulphur compounds are compared to threshold limits for health effects.

Author / Presenter: Errol Thomson
Affiliation: Health Canada
Student: No

Session: Inhalation Toxicology and Air Quality Management
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 09:20 – 09:40
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

Airborne particulate matter levels are linked to adverse health outcomes, including cardiovascular and respiratory morbidity and mortality. Industrial emissions are important contributors to national particulate air pollution levels, and emissions from different industrial sources can vary in their chemical composition, which in turn may impact the toxicity of the material. To assess the relative potency of particles from distinct sources, we have conducted studies using cell culture models exposed to size-fractionated particles collected in the vicinity of specific industrial sites (steel, copper, aluminium, petrochemical), and compared effects across a range of cytotoxicity and inflammatory assays. Particles displayed striking source-dependent differences in chemical composition and in their toxicity to cultured cells. Particle toxicity was associated with particle size and with the metal, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, and endotoxin content of the particles. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that health effects of particles depend not only on mass concentration but also on source-dependent changes in composition. Investigations conducted in vivo have identified activation of several biological pathways, including the stress response system, that could contribute to adverse health impacts of inhaled pollutants. A better understanding of how sources contribute to particulate matter toxicity through differential perturbation of biological processes will help guide regulatory efforts aimed at reducing the health burden attributed to exposure to particulate air pollution.

Author / Presenter: Brett Wheler
Affiliation: Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board
Student: No

Session: Innovative Regulatory Approaches to Assessing and Managing Environmental Effects
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 13:30 – 13:50
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

Legal determinations of significant adverse impacts made during environmental impact assessment (EIA) are based on predictions of how a proposed development will affect the environment, and the acceptability of those predicted impacts. If significant adverse impacts are likely, mitigation measures may be applied through the EIA process to reduce the severity of an impact to a level that is acceptable, or below the “significance threshold”. To give full effect to, and derive the best environmental outcomes from such mitigation measures, monitoring and reporting are needed to: (1) verify that measures are being implemented and evaluate their effectiveness; (2) confirm that significant adverse impacts are not occurring; (3) test EA predictions; and (4) inform adaptive management. To this end, and with impact predictions and significance thresholds in hand from the EIA process, a robust adaptive management framework or Response Framework can be established to inform operational management of a project. Such frameworks include: 1) an overall framework of action levels or thresholds (which identify when to act); and 2) proposed mitigation options, policies, and practices linked to the action levels (which describe what actions to take). Based on the experience of the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board, this presentation will review the significance spectrum – a process for determining significance – and its relationship with the Response Framework and other tools for monitoring, reporting, and adaptive management that can be used to connect the dots between EIA, licensing, and life-of-project operations. Ultimately, we see adaptive management loops that facilitate learning and continual improvement for: (1) operational management actions and (2) the environmental assessment process itself and future decision making. In other words, it is not just developers who must respond and adapt to new information, but environmental assessment bodies as well.

Author / Presenter: Neil Hutchinson
Affiliation: Hutchinson Environmental Sciences Ltd.
Student: No

Session: Innovative Regulatory Approaches to Assessing and Managing Environmental Effects
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 13:50 – 14:10
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

Class A Water Licenses for major resource development projects in the NWT increasingly require that proponents develop a “Response Framework” to link their Aquatic Effects Monitoring Programs (AEMPs) to an Adaptive Management process. The need grew out of a lack of consensus among proponents and regulators on how to define and use adaptive management as a response to uncertainty. The “Response Framework” was developed and implemented as a systematic process to address residual uncertainty from the environmental assessment process; to link predictions from the EA to monitoring results and management actions developed as part of the regulatory process, to respond to changes that were not predicted and to guide a process of continual improvement in environmental outcome. The Response Framework assumes that specific management actions need not be defined a priori, but will be determined in response to changes documented by environmental monitoring programs (AEMPs). The Framework requires proponents to derive measurable definitions of significant adverse impacts (“significance thresholds”) for a project (ideally as part of the EA process) and to translate these to “action levels” during the regulatory and operational phases – pre-defined levels of increasing environmental change that trigger staged management responses such that significant adverse impacts never occur. The EA process contributes to the development of a Response Framework by documenting the predictions of environmental change and what degree of change would be considered significant. With a clear definition of changes to be avoided from the EA, the Response Framework can set action levels and management responses to ensure that such changes do not occur. This approach is both prescriptive and adaptive. It allows timely response without the need to debate the significance of monitoring results or exhaustive “a-priori’ derivation of adaptive management plans for all possible outcomes. Response Frameworks have been developed for chemical, physical and biological metrics. They are increasingly based on statistically-based deviations from pre-development reference conditions with a resultant need for the development of sound environmental baselines in the AEMP. The principles of the Response Framework will be illustrated with recent examples from NWT projects.

Author / Presenter: Marc Casas
Affiliation: Independent Environmental Monitoring Agency
Student: No

Session: Innovative Regulatory Approaches to Assessing and Managing Environmental Effects
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 14:10 – 14:30
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

Governments, at all levels, are challenged to find the resources necessary to manage mineral and oil and gas projects. In contrast, environmental concerns resulting from large development projects are increasing. This results in an increased strain on the regulatory system. Non-government Independent Monitors (Monitors) help support the regulatory system by providing valuable input. Monitors are a board/agency of individuals with technical, scientific or regional expertise that can either directly review and comment on development plans, or can hire the appropriate expertise to do so. Since the mid 1990’s in the Northwest Territories there have been Environmental Assessments on four diamond mines and one mine reclamation project, which have resulted in the creation of five Environmental Agreements. The Environmental Agreements create and outline the purpose, mandate, and funding structure under which the Monitors operate. One of the main mandates of the Independent Environmental Monitoring Agency (IEMA) is to ensure that there is a voice to provide independent, defensible, site specific, and technical input on project-related environmental matters at the Ekati Mine into the regulatory system. A second primary function is to communicate with our Aboriginal Society Members (four Aboriginal Organizations and Governments) regarding questions they have about the mine and to raise issues they have concerning the mine with Dominion Diamond Ekati Corporation, the owner/operator. The regulatory system can only make decisions based on the information presented to it. A reduction in quality and quantity of reviewer’ input weakens the regulatory system’s ability to ensure proper environmental management. Government budget cuts, downsizing and restructuring are making it increasingly difficult for Government agencies to keep up with the demands of environmental regulation in the NWT. Monitors have proven to be a critical component of the regulatory system. The four diamond mines that have Monitors in the NWT boast some of the most rigorous environmental management plans and monitoring programs in Canada. This is no coincidence. The valuable input provided by the Monitors over the years has been essential in ensuring that Developers maintain this high quality of work. Perhaps it is time for other jurisdictions to look North and consider the value of Monitors.

Author / Presenter: Alexandra Hood
Affiliation: De Beers Canada Inc.
Student: No

Session: Innovative Regulatory Approaches to Assessing and Managing Environmental Effects
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 14:30 – 14:50
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

De Beers Canada Inc. owns two mines in the NWT: the Snap Lake Diamond Mine, which is currently on Care and Maintenance, is located 220 km northeast of Yellowknife, NT and the Gahcho Kué Project, a joint venture between De Beers and Mountain Province Diamonds and which is currently in construction, is located approximately 280 km northeast of Yellowknife. The environmental monitoring of these two mines features arm’s-length review, undertaken in different ways. This talk will discuss the advantages from a proponent’s perspective associated with the two different approaches to regulatory oversight. The Snap Lake Environmental Monitoring Agency (SLEMA) was established as part of an environmental agreement between De Beers Mining Canada, the Government of Canada, the Government of the Northwest Territories and a number of local Aboriginal groups. The main purpose of the organization is to act as a public oversight organization to ensure environmental regulatory compliance and to ensure appropriate and comprehensive inspection process by government regulators. The Agency’s Board is comprised of eight representatives from the four signatory Aboriginal groups. The Board strives to involve Aboriginal traditional knowledge and conventional science in its assessment of mining activities and environmental reports submitted by De Beers and government inspectors. To achieve this goal, the Agency has both a traditional knowledge panel made up of Elders that have hunted, trapped and lived in the area of the mine site, and a science panel made up of experts who are foremost in their field and familiar with working in the Northwest Territories. At the Gahcho Kué Project, environmental monitoring oversight is undertaken by Ni Hadi Xa (NHX), a collaborative organization formed by five signatory local Aboriginal communities. While similar in composition and purpose to SLEMA, NHX employs slightly different mechanisms to ensure that impacts associated with Gahcho Kué are avoided or minimized. Decisions are made by a Governance Committee, comprised of one member from each of the Parties, including a company representative (NHX features a cooperative approach where the company is an active member). Three streams of monitoring are undertaken by NHX: Observational, where there is an environmental monitor at site 50% of the time; Technical, where an experienced staff member provides reviews of regularity documents, plans and programs; and, Traditional Knowledge, where two dedicated monitors will work with families who travel to areas around the mine to hunt, fish and trap – living life as they would normally. It’s this last step which is novel – using the experiences of land users and families as one of the primary mechanisms for observing the environment.

Author / Presenter: Alyssa Tuininga
Affiliation: Alberta Environment and Parks
Student: No

Session: Innovative Regulatory Approaches to Assessing and Managing Environmental Effects
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 15:20 – 15:40
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

The Water Management Framework for the Industrial Heartland and Capital Region is a world-class integrated water management system to sustainably support the environment, social and economic development within the North Saskatchewan River watershed in Alberta. This Framework was released in 2007 as part of Alberta’s new Cumulative Effects Management Framework to address the proposed growth and development within the region. The overall intent of the Framework is to better manage water quality and quantity with the main outcome of the Framework to “maintain or improve water quality”. Implementing this Framework has included stakeholder engagement as a fundamental component in delivery of the Framework. Initial work included establishing water quality baseline conditions and building on regional scientific knowledge. Recently, a load management approach was identified as the management process to follow to meet the Framework goal of “maintain or improve water quality”. This load management approach is being implemented using a phased approach. This approach started with the development of maximum allowable loads. Loosely based on the Total Maximum Daily Load approach used in the United States, maximum allowable loads for variables of concern were developed at both Devon and Pakan to determine what seasonal mass of pollutants the river could sustain without seeing a decrease in overall water quality. To understand where the majority of the pollutants are originating, the Capital Region is implementing an Effluent Characterization Program for direct industrial dischargers to the North Saskatchewan River within this Devon to Pakan reach. Concurrently with this program, policies, operating practices and regulatory processes are evolving to ensure that water quality loads can be placed in regulatory approvals to make certain water quality in the North Saskatchewan River is being maintained. This load management approach is part of the first application of cumulative effects management in the province, resulting in innovative approaches when managing water quality. This presentation will touch on the load management process and the main components of this process, the maximum allowable loads, and the Effluent Characterization Program. Attendees will hear about the development of the Effluent Characterization Program with a specific focus on the learnings to date and the current implementation of the program.

Author / Presenter: Kim Westcott
Affiliation: Government of Alberta
Student: No

Session: Innovative Regulatory Approaches to Assessing and Managing Environmental Effects
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 15:40 – 16:00
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

On March 13, 2015, the Government of Alberta released the Lower Athabasca Region: Tailings Management Framework for Mineable Athabasca Oil Sands (TMF). The main objective of the TMF is to minimize fluid tailings accumulation by ensuring that fluid tailings are treated and reclaimed during the life of a project. The TMF acknowledges that as oil sands mines accelerate the treatment of fluid tailings, more water will be liberated from the tailings matrix. Over time there will be increasing pressure to effectively manage this water, in addition to the large inventories of oil sands process-affected water some mine operators are already managing. A new approach to water management is needed to assist oil sands mine operators in making good water management decisions as they move forward with their tailings and reclamation goals. To change how water is currently managed on oil sands mine sites, water management activities will need to be assessed more comprehensively and be better integrated (i.e., supply, use and disposal). The full range of water management options will be available to mine operators, including the treatment and release of water generated through tailings treatment and bitumen extraction. This will be accompanied by enhanced regulatory oversight and new expectations for environmental performance. The purpose of this talk is to provide an overview of the key elements and principles of this new water management approach, including discussion of emerging requirements and key areas for future work.

Author / Presenter: Greg Courtice
Affiliation: Amec Foster Wheeler
Student: No

Session: Innovative Regulatory Approaches to Assessing and Managing Environmental Effects
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 16:00 – 16:20
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

Existing turbidity monitoring requirements are based off generalized toxicity guidelines which do not address short to medium term (i.e. 1 to 15 day), irregular activities, which are commonplace for infrastructure works around watercourses. In many cases, these regulatory requirements result in undue impacts to the aquatic environment and increased project costs. Amec Foster Wheeler has developed an alternative turbidity monitoring approach to determine real-time aquatic impacts due to heightened sediment loading during construction activities. This approach gives a more accurate representation of construction impacts, leading to greater construction flexibility, reduced costs, and reduced environmental impact during construction. This approach may provide economic and environmental benefits to in-stream construction projects such as flood and erosion control, pipeline crossings, bridges/culverts, outfalls, etc.

Author / Presenter: Tariq Francis
Affiliation: Health Canada
Student: No

Session: Innovative Regulatory Approaches to Assessing and Managing Environmental Effects
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 16:20 – 16:40
Location: Room 13/14

Abstract:

A Canadian regulatory framework has been developed specifically for active ingredients in human and veterinary drugs regulated by the Food and Drugs Act (F&DA) to assess risks to the environment and to human health resulting from environmental exposure. This regulatory framework has been designed to harmonize with the drug approval process stipulated by the F&DA and its regulations. Health Canada developed this framework in collaboration with stakeholders including Environment and Climate Change Canada, industry and environmental non-government organizations. The framework was endorsed in principle by all stakeholders in 2011. Since then, the proposed regulatory framework has been revised to increase alignment with environmental assessment approaches in other jurisdictions and to incorporate recent technical developments related to the environmental assessment of active ingredients in human and veterinary drugs. Highlights include a proposal to adopt VICH guidelines 6 and 38 for environmental assessment of active ingredients in veterinary drugs, and updates to screening level exposure assessments such as new Canada specific defaults for predicting environmental concentrations of veterinary drugs in soils. The proposed changes will be the subject of an upcoming stakeholder consultation. The purpose of this poster is to present the revised regulatory framework being proposed and generate feedback on the updates.

Author / Presenter: Alexandra Hood
Affiliation: De Beers Canada Inc.
Student: No

Session: Mining and the Environment
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 08:00 – 08:20
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

De Beers Canada Inc. owns and operates the Snap Lake Diamond Mine, which is located 220 km northeast of Yellowknife, NT. Regulatory approvals were granted in 2004 and the mine commenced operations in 2007. In 2012 the Mine’s Water Licence was renewed for a period of 8 years. In 2013 an application was submitted to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board to amend this licence to include changes to water quality parameters. Under the Mine’s Water Licence, there is a requirement to complete quarterly acute toxicity tests on mine effluent for Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and Daphnia magna, and chronic toxicity tests for Ceriodaphnia dubia and Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata. The Mine also completes two annual toxicity tests on water collected from within the in-lake water discharge mixing zone, including an early life stage (ELS) test with Rainbow Trout, and a seven-day test of larval growth with Fathead Minnow (Pimephales promelas). The chronic toxicity test for C.dubia and ELS test for Rainbow trout have proved challenging for the Mine due to a number of factors. In 2014, the water quality Low Action Level for toxicological impairment was triggered following observed effects on C.dubia reproduction in two concurrent samples. Periodic recorded impairment to the waterflea C. dubia during the test has occurred inconsistently since 2005; there is no correlation to water chemistry or other toxicity tests, and resident waterflea populations are healthy. The long-term monitoring program in the lake indicates that there have been changes in resident aquatic communities in Snap Lake; however, these changes do not reflect the results from laboratory toxicity testing with C. dubia. An inter-laboratory study resulted in surprising variability between three accredited toxicity testing laboratories, which may at least partly explain some of the previous variability in toxicity test results. Regulatory scrutiny and pressure for action and follow-up investigations have increased although the evidence suggests false positives rather than early warning for Mine effects. For the Rainbow Trout ELS test, lack of availability of gametes and failures within the control groups has occurred repeatedly. As well, there is only one accredited laboratory in Canada equipped to conduct this test. Logistically, collecting water for the test is challenging as gametes are often only available when it is unsafe to traverse the lake, and collection and shipment of test samples is often impacted by weather on site. Issues with hold times associated with shipment from a remote location by plane have further confounded testing. This presentation will present and consider the challenges experienced at the Snap Lake Diamond Mine related to these toxicity tests, and will consider potential implications and paths forward for these two toxicity tests at the Mine and other remote sites.

Author / Presenter: Sarah Benson
Affiliation: Areva Resources Canada Inc.
Student: No

Session: Mining and the Environment
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 08:20 – 08:40
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

AREVA Resources Canada Inc. operates a uranium mine and mill at its McClean Lake Operation in Northern Saskatchewan. The mine/mill operation is subject to the federal Environmental Effects Monitoring (EEM) program, in addition to provincial and Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) monitoring requirements. The mine/mill developed a robust monitoring study design, for benthic invertebrate communities, in a downstream lake environment to address the provincial and CNSC requirements based on an ‘optimal’ before-after-control-impact (BACI) study design. Control-impact study designs are the ‘default’ design option in the federal EEM program. Further, statistically significant differences in indices of composition between reference and exposure areas are what are used in the EEM program to indicate effluent-related ‘effects’. Control-impact designs are highly vulnerable to demonstrating natural differences. The data from AREVA’s robust BACI demonstrate that simple Control-Impact designs can lead to erroneous conclusions of effects. Further, this data set illustrates the challenge of focussing on statistical differences that are within background ranges of normal variability.

Author / Presenter: Peter Chapman
Affiliation: Chapema Environmental Strategies Ltd
Student: No

Session: Mining and the Environment
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 08:40 – 09:00
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

Mining activities are no different from any other human activities – they cause physical changes to the environment and chemical changes to the waters into which effluent is discharged. The purpose of environmental assessments (EAs) is to determine the extent of those changes such that regulators and communities of concern can determine whether mining should be allowed to proceed. However, EAs are not certain; unexpected changes can and will occur, not always related to mining. Further, assessing the effects of mining can be complex given natural variability, climate change, and invasive species. In addition, changes are not always negative; they may be neutral or even positive. Key improvements for assessing and monitoring mining activities include: a minimum of 3 years of comprehensive baseline studies to attempt to bound natural variability; explicit recognition that meeting EA predictions is not always possible or necessary; regulatory control that is flexible rather than overly prescriptive; a primary focus on resident biota such that those data have primacy over laboratory analyses or tests; a clear focus on obtaining essential information, not ‘nice to have’ information; revisions to monitoring programs over time that allow for deletions not just additions; and, allowance for common sense. Real-life examples will be provided to illustrate these recommendations.

Author / Presenter: Rick Scroggins
Affiliation: Ecotoxicology and Wildlife Health Division
Student: No

Session: Mining and the Environment
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 09:00 – 09:20
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

The Metal Mining Effluent Regulations (MMER) under the Fisheries Act requires that the final effluent from all metal mines be non-acutely lethal to fish. Currently, the acute lethality Reference Method prescribed in the MMER, as a compliance requirement, requires the use of juvenile rainbow trout as the test species (EPS 1/RM/13) and the invertebrate method, prescribed for acute toxicity monitoring, requires the use of Daphnia magna (EPS 1/RM/14). In an upcoming amendment of the MMER, ECCC will be changing the purpose of the Daphnia magna test from monitoring-only to a separate compliance parameter for measuring acute lethality. Until recently, there was no need to consider how to test the acute lethality of saline metal mining effluents in Canada, as only freshwater mining effluents existed. The mining of Northern ore deposits within saline groundwater zones is now a reality and has created the need for ECCC to develop new marine toxicity tests for measuring the acute lethality of saline effluents that will be discharged to estuarine or marine receiving environments. In time for the upcoming amendments of the MMER, ECCC must: identify an appropriate marine fish and invertebrate test species; standardize the holding or culturing conditions plus test design validate the new methods through an inter-laboratory validation study and write the formal Reference Methods. Working alongside our partners from ECCC?s Mining and Processing Division, BASS will standardize and publish the new test methods while working with Canadian toxicology laboratories so they are prepared to offer testing services to mining companies and other industries with saline effluent discharges (e.g., fish and food processing plants). This presentation will cover our progress to-date and the detailed plan to completion of the new Reference Methods for measuring acute lethality of saline effluents.

Author / Presenter: Ryan Hill
Affiliation: Azimuth Consulting Group
Student: No

Session: Mining and the Environment
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 09:20 – 09:40
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

Sediments from four pristine lakes situated in a mineralized region of northwestern BC were tested in 2014 using a 28-d Hyalella azteca survival and growth test, and a 10-d Chironomus dilutus survival and growth test. The lakes were sampled as part of baseline studies for a proposed mine development. Previous bulk sediment sampling conducted in 2013 had identified a number of metals naturally exceeding provincial sediment quality guidelines in each lake. The 2014 program included synoptic sampling for bulk sediment chemistry (metals, pH, TOC, particle size, AVS-SEM) and was conducted to establish baseline toxicological conditions as a point of comparison for any future toxicity testing. Three sediment samples, each a composite of approximately three Ekman grabs, were collected from each of the four lakes. In the lab, five replicates were tested for each of the 12 samples, and each replicate was initiated with 10 organisms. Peepers were inserted into a sacrificial replicate of the Chironomus dilutus test for passive subsampling of metals in porewater. Survival for both tests was impacted in four of the 12 samples, in most cases severely. Among metals measured in bulk sediments, three (iron, manganese, nickel) were above sediment quality guidelines and were generally correlated with the survival endpoints in both tests. Subsequent comparison of the survival endpoints with porewater chemistry from the peepers showed strong correlations for manganese and nickel only. Nickel concentrations were orders of magnitude lower than concentrations associated with acute effects on these two taxa reported in the literature. Manganese concentrations in porewater in the four highly impacted samples were higher than reported LC50 values in the literature for waters of low hardness. Thus it seems likely that mortality was caused by dissolved manganese, mobilized under reducing conditions associated with decomposition of organic matter. Further laboratory work to confirm the cause of toxicity was not pursued, because the effects were associated with naturally occurring conditions. All of the impacted samples were from the two deepest lakes, where manganese concentrations in sediment and porewater were highest. We conclude that these tests, at least in the deeper lakes, would not be useful as a future monitoring tool if mine development proceeds.

Author / Presenter: Adrian deBruyn
Affiliation: Golder Associates Ltd.
Student: No

Session: Mining and the Environment
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 10:10 – 10:30
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

Selenium release from waste rock is an environmental concern at many coal, base metal, and precious metal mines across Canada that can persist well beyond closure. Effective assessment and management of this concern requires a site-specific understanding of selenium fate and bioaccumulation. A key element of this understanding relates to sulphate, which reduces selenate uptake by algae and can thereby decrease the exposure of all trophic levels. We combined laboratory and field studies to characterize the sulphate dependence of selenium bioaccumulation at the base of aquatic food webs in surface waters where sulphate and selenium concentrations are correlated. A laboratory study was conducted to model the effect of sulphate on selenium uptake kinetics and steady-state selenium bioaccumulation in algae under controlled conditions. Analysis of uptake kinetics confirmed that tests had achieved steady-state, allowed evaluation of whether effect of sulphate occur via changes to selenium uptake, elimination, or both, and allowed growth dilution to be quantified so that test results could be more directly related to field data. These results were then combined with field data from coal-mining regions in British Columbia, Canada. This lab-to-field integration involved characterizing the combined effect of covarying aqueous selenium and sulphate concentrations, and accounting for differences in algal growth between lab cultures and natural streams. The resulting ‘hybrid’ model integrated laboratory and field data to show how sulphate affects selenium bioaccumulation at the base of natural aquatic food webs.

Author / Presenter: Kevin White
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: Mining and the Environment
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 10:30 – 10:50
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

In order to manage growing inventories of fluid fine tailings (FFT) and oil sands process-affected water (OSPW), Alberta oil sands mine operators have proposed end-pit lakes (EPLs) as a method for the long-term storage and reclamation of tailings. In December of 2012, Syncrude began the industry’s first large-scale demonstration of EPLs with the creation of Base Mine Lake (BML), an artificial lake containing FFT capped with OSPW and fresh water. However, tailings contain a complex mixture of dissolved organics, salts and metals which have adverse effects on zooplankton – aquatic organisms essential for early ecosystem development. The initial elevated salinity of BML decreased rapidly during 2013 and 2014, but has since slowed; chloride (410 mg/L) is now within a tolerable range for most freshwater organisms, but will likely still cause stress. From October 2014 to August 2015, most dissolved metals concentrations decreased an average of 60%. Cu and Zn were the only metals which increased during this time (>300% and >200%, respectively). As of August 2015, Cu is the only metal of concern which still exceeds Canadian Water Quality Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Life (As, Cd and Cr exceeded in 2014), although some metals remain highly elevated above background levels (Mo is 45x higher in BML than in the Athabasca River). Based on an initial risk assessment and chronic toxicity hazard quotients, the concentrations of As, Cd, Cr, Co, Cu and Ni in BML were all identified as being of potential concern to initial aquatic ecosystem colonizers such as Ceriodaphnia dubia. Current testing is focused on characterizing the toxicity of these metal mixtures to Ceriodaphnia dubia and the potentially attenuating effects of the elevated salinity and dissolved organics present in BML surface water.

Author / Presenter: Stacey Fernandes
Affiliation: Canada North Environmental Services
Student: No

Session: Mining and the Environment
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 10:50 – 11:10
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

The potential effects on ecological receptors can be used as the basis for defining the maximum acceptable release of effluent from industrial facilities, such as a mine, manufacturing plant, or waste management facility. Exposure Based Release Limits (EBRLs) are effluent release loads that have been derived based on meeting selected levels of protection in the receiving environment. For releases to water, consideration can be given to effects on water and sediment quality, as well as the protection of aquatic biota (e.g. fish, invertebrates), semi-aquatic wildlife (e.g. ducks, muskrat), or human health. Predictive models that consider contaminant movement through watershed systems and the food chain can be useful tools for setting EBRLs by allowing the back-calculation of the effluent release load based on meeting selected concentrations in various environmental media. One of the key elements for the derivation of EBRLs is the selection of pertinent ecological receptors and the appropriate ecological toxicity values. Other factors that need to be considered in the setting of EBRLs include the location at which the protection levels apply (i.e. point of compliance), the considered timeframe (i.e. current or future conditions), and whether the EBRL should be based on expected or upper bound conditions. Stakeholder consultation, including input from Indigenous communities, can be used to guide these decisions. Examples of EBRLs derived for a hypothetical mining operation will be provided. This will include discussion on the dispersion within the aquatic environment (rivers, lakes and wetlands), fate and transport through the aquatic food chain, and intake by wildlife and human receptors. The sensitivity of EBRLs to site-specific environmental factors will be discussed as well as the differences in constraining factors for derivation of EBRLs for contaminants. Once derived, the EBRLs can be used by the facility operator for planning purposes in the determination of Effluent Quality Criteria, which would consider other factors such as regulatory limits, technology-based release limits, pollution prevention, and cost-benefit analysis.

Author / Presenter: Carolyn Brown
Affiliation: EcoMetrix Incorporated
Student: No

Session: Mining and the Environment
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 11:10 – 11:30
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

In 1898 mining activities began in the headwaters of a small watershed in northern Ontario. Since then, three mining operations have occurred, all discharging into this headwater area. In 1989, remediation activities were initiated at two of the three sites (then abandoned), but surface water and tailings management measures were implemented at the operational site. In the early 1990s an environmental assessment discovered that the lake immediately downstream of the mine was meromictic. Contributing factors to the meromictic conditions were determined to be: the “heavy ions” in the mine effluent, such as sulphate and calcium; the low dilution provided to the effluent in the headwater area; and the lake basin shape. Biological communities in the lake including fish and benthos were impaired. An industry/government-working group was formed to determine the most appropriate remedial strategy for the lake. Initially, the preferred option was to physically turn over the lake by pumping the bottom waters, reversing the meromictic condition. This option was not implemented however, as there was concern associated with the potential release of contaminants from the sediments that could have negatively affected aquatic community health downstream in the system. Whole-lake water quality modeling suggested the chemocline would naturally erode approximately 10 years after implementation of remediation and reclamation activities at the three mine sites. “Natural recovery” became the preferred remediation option. It was hypothesized that the gradual erosion of the chemocline, and associated gradual release of mine-related contaminants from the lake and lake sediments, would be protective of downstream water quality and would prevent meromictic conditions from being established in downstream lakes as the result of the rapid release of dense, high TDS bottom waters into the system. Monitoring of the meromictic lake and surrounding waters have documented the gradual erosion of the chemocline. Initially (1997) the chemocline was 4 m deep, with conductivity increasing from 450 to 1,300 µS/cm within a meter. At year 9 and 12 (2006, 2009) the chemocline had eroded to depths of 11.5 and 12.5 m, respectively. At year 15 (2012) the chemocline had largely eroded, with conductivity increasing gradually at 11 m from 60 µS/cm to 243 µS/cm at bottom (18 m). Eighteen years later (2015) no evidence of a chemocline could be found. Improvements in biological conditions in the lake and downstream aquatic environment have been measured coincident with the erosion of the chemocline and other remediation activities at the site that have improved water quality. Benthic invertebrate and fish abundance and diversity have both shown upward trends, and fish have dispersed into the upper part of the system where none were found 20 years ago. Future remediation plans for the system include the reestablishment of Brook Trout in the previously meromictic lake and headwater areas.

Author / Presenter: Tamara Darwish
Affiliation: Golder Associates Ltd.
Student: No

Session: Mining and the Environment
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 13:30 – 13:50
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

In 2007, a Slimy Sculpin (Cottus cognatus) survey in Lac de Gras, Northwest Territories, revealed that body burdens of mercury were significantly greater in a population exposed to treated diamond mining effluent, compared to two reference populations within the same lake. To determine whether mercury increases were occurring in the larger, edible fish of Lac de Gras, a Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush) mercury monitoring program was implemented in 2008, and repeated in 2011 and 2014. Mercury concentrations were measured in Lake Trout captured in two connected lakes, Lac de Gras and Lac du Sauvage, using non-lethal sampling methods. Non-lethal sampling methods provide an accurate alternative to the traditional destructive fillet sampling technique, which can impact the older, slower-growing Lake Trout populations found in the North. Mercury concentrations were found to be increasing from 2008 to 2011 in Lac du Sauvage, but not Lac de Gras, where the Diavik Diamond Mine is located. A movement study in 2014 confirmed that the Lake Trout move between the two lakes, indicating that captured Lake Trout used for the study could have originated from either of the two lakes. In 2014 mercury concentrations decreased in both lakes, and were found to be at concentrations similar to those observed prior to treated effluent release in Lac de Gras. The cause of the decrease in mercury is unknown.

Author / Presenter: Kerry Pippy
Affiliation: Government of Canada
Student: No

Session: Mining and the Environment
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 13:50 – 14:10
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

The water quality monitoring program outlined by Joint Canada/Alberta Implementation Plan (JOSMP) was implanted in 2012. The Plan was designed to address recommendations for the development of an integrated “state-of-the-art” monitoring program which would be able to identify changes in environmental condition over time in Canada’s oil sands (OS) region. Of the 21 current monitoring sites reported through JOSMP, only 5 had pre-existing water quality monitoring programs in operation. Routine water quality sampling approaches were reviewed, streamlined, and standardized resulting in data from over 1300 samples, for more than 270 parameters (nutrients, major ions, total and dissolved metals, total and methyl mercury and organics) representing over 240,000 measurements; a nearly 5-fold increase in sampling effort. Several non-standard monitoring approaches were evaluated including detailed cross-sectional sampling, auto-monitoring deployments, and semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs) for the collection of time integrated low level organics. Status and trend results are reported for Athabasca, Peace and Slave rivers as well as multiple tributaries and interconnection channels of the Peace Athabasca Delta. Concentration in the larger rivers showed more similarity when compared to the smaller tributaries. Evaluation of the cross-sectional sampling found high cross sectional variability (more than 50%), however, no significant difference in loading estimates were determined from the range of sampling approaches tested. Auto-monitoring approaches look promising but design issues in remote locations were a challenge. Evaluation of the data against available water quality guidelines revealed that nineteen of the parameters (alkalinity, pH, 2 nitrogen nutrients, 5 total metals, methylmercury and 9 organics) showed no exceedance. Total metals commonly (50-90%) showed values higher than the guideline particularly during periods of high suspended sediment concentrations. Total mercury showed occasional (less than 6%) excursions and similar to total metals, these values were associated with high suspended sediment values. All other parameters had excursion rates less than 20%. Long term trends were updated for the monitoring site on the Athabasca River near Wood Buffalo National Park. Most trend results were similar to those previously reported but an interesting exception was those for total and dissolved phosphorus. At this site, the increasing trend in total phosphorus appears to have been curtailed and dissolved phosphorus concentration has been declining over the last 15 years.

Author / Presenter: Cari-Lyn Epp
Affiliation: Environment and Climate Change Canada
Student: No

Session: Mining and the Environment
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 14:10 – 14:30
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), in partnership with the Province of Alberta, implemented a passive water quality monitoring program in support of long-term water quality monitoring in the oil sands Region of Canada. The monitoring program employs semi-permeable membrane devices (SPMDs), which passively accumulate dissolved organic compounds for the estimation of time-weighted concentrations of potentially toxic, bioaccumulative polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs). Semi-permeable membrane devices were deployed monthly from 2013 to 2015 at up to seven sites along the Athabasca River. Concentrations of PACs were measured from membranes that were deployed in the water, as well as from an extensive suite of quality control membranes (field blanks, dialysis (manufacture) blanks etc.). These concentrations were used to examine the relative frequency, magnitude and variation in PAC concentrations in the environment relative to those present as background (i.e., within blanks). Field blanks accounted for approximately 40% of the 112 samples collected. Target analytes in field blanks were less frequently detected, were lower in magnitude, and less variable than those in water samples. Concentrations were in many instances indistinguishable between field and dialysis blanks, and were determined to be affected by systematic drivers (e.g., manufacture lot and storage time). In order to examine these further, more than 50 dialysis blanks were analyzed to quantify variation in background concentrations in membranes (replicate N = 6 to 16) upon manufacture, between analytical batches, and subsequent to long-term storage. This assessment and the resulting determination of a coefficient of variation for SPMDs will advance knowledge on precision of these devices and have implications for interpretation of environmental concentrations measured therein.

Author / Presenter: John Purdy
Affiliation: Abacus Consulting Services Ltd.
Student: No

Session: Mining and the Environment
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 14:30 – 14:50
Location: Salon 10

Abstract:

The assessment of the toxicity of mixtures of compounds has been developed along multiple separate lines for almost a century by various scientific and medical disciplines including toxicology, industrial hygiene, and ecotoxicology. This has lead to confusion over terminology and various approaches, but there has been progress toward an understanding of the assumptions and limitations of the various methods. This sheds new light on the value of some of the older ideas. The current state of the art in the various approaches to the assessment of the toxicity of mixtures will be reviewed and contrasted, including simple addition, Toxic Units and Toxic equivalent methods. Examples will be provided.

Author / Presenter: Bonnie Lo
Affiliation: Nautilus Environmental
Student: No

Session: New Methods and Novel Approaches for Assessing and Monitoring Environmental Contaminants
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 13:30 – 13:50
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

Xenopus laevis , a tropical species non-native to Canada, has dominated standardized laboratory-based amphibian testing for decades. While there are many advantages to working with Xenopus species, there is considerable doubt that this species is a suitable surrogate for Canadian amphibian species. Working towards a standardized test method with a native amphibian species (Lithobates pipiens, Northern leopard frog) has provided many challenges over the last 10+years, and here we present our most recent research. Reviews of the literature and our own laboratory experience have shown that leopard frog tadpoles can survive and grow on many different diets. However, the challenge for the test method was not rudimentary survival and growth, but optimization and efficiency. Results from recent feeding trials will be reviewed, including decisions made at the end of the test to simplify the most effective feeding regime. The typical reference toxicity test design (96 h lethality) is expected to be significantly altered for the leopard frog test, both to (i) more closely match the endpoints of the primary test, which are growth and development, and (ii) to reduce number of organisms used in this vertebrate test. Multi-concentration longer-term tests with two candidate reference toxicants (sodium chloride and thyroxine) were performed to inform our decisions in the re-design of the reference toxicant test. We will describe the rationale for the choice of our candidate reference toxicants, why and how the goals of this testing are distinct from a short term lethality test, and examine the results in light of the proposed new paradigm for positive controls. Environment and Climate Change Canada’s amphibian test method will continue along the usual path for validation of a toxicity test method, including an inter-laboratory study, development of quality control guidelines, and detailed test method text. The result will be the first standardized test method using a native amphibian species–if not showing we are ahead by a century, then by at least a decade.

Author / Presenter: Jennifer Miller
Affiliation: Miller Environmental Sciences Inc.
Student: No

Session: New Methods and Novel Approaches for Assessing and Monitoring Environmental Contaminants
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 13:50 – 14:10
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

Although there is growing evidence of their sensitivity to contaminants, and growing demand for their use in regulatory frameworks, amphibian toxicity data are currently under-represented in risk assessments. Few standardized methods are available, which contributes to this under-representation, and none of the available methods pair whole-organism chronic endpoints with species that are relevant to Canadian environments. For over 10 years, Environment and Climate Change Canada has sponsored research for the development and standardization of an amphibian toxicity test method using Lithobates pipiens (northern leopard frog, formerly Rana pipiens), with a focus on sublethal, chronic effects (growth and development) which manifest as a result of whole-organism, aqueous exposure. We will describe the scope and key aspects of the new test method, including: acquiring, holding and rearing of test organisms, the use of two distinct exposure periods, considerations to address animal care and the 3Rs, a new proposed approach for positive control testing, overview of recent method development research, planned inter-laboratory study, and progress towards test method completion. Once released, this standardized amphibian toxicity test method could be used in risk assessments, contaminated site assessments, and in pesticide regulation and registration. Additionally, results from chemical-specific tests could be incorporated into Canadian water quality guidelines.

Author / Presenter: Francois Cloutier / Elissa Liu
Affiliation: Gouvernement du Canada
Student: No

Session: New Methods and Novel Approaches for Assessing and Monitoring Environmental Contaminants
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 14:10 – 14:30
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

The Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan (FCSAP) supports site managers in reducing human health risks, ecological risks and financial liabilities associated with federal contaminated sites. FCSAP provides guidance for ecological risk assessment that promotes applying a comprehensive weight of evidence approach to assess risk from contaminants to all receptors, including amphibians. Risk to receptors at federal contaminated sites is investigated through different lines of evidence: 1) conducting site-specific toxicity tests; 2) comparing exposure at the contaminated site to literature-based toxicity data; 3) conducting site-specific biological field studies; and 4) comparing site-specific exposure to biological field studies reported in the scientific literature (FCSAP 2012). Until recently, amphibians have often been excluded from risk assessments because site-specific methods or literature data are either not available or not easily accessible. In order to facilitate risk assessments for amphibians, Environment and Climate Change Canada is developing practical guidance for amphibian risk assessments for the four different lines of evidence. For site-specific toxicity and biological testing, available methods are being evaluated and provided to the risk assessor. For comparing site-specific contaminant concentrations to concentrations in laboratory-based toxicity studies, amphibian toxicity concentration-response data is being compiled for selected contaminants. Amphibian toxicity data for lead, cadmium, zinc and mercury covering multiple endpoints are illustrated as multi-study concentration-response relationships. This allows the risk assessor to go beyond point-estimate based hazard quotients and evaluate risk in context of effect magnitude and uncertainty across a range of concentrations. The concentration-response data compilations also confirm whether existing water quality guidelines, which are typically developed without specific amphibian considerations, are providing adequate protection for this sensitive group of receptors.

Author / Presenter: Ryan Prosser
Affiliation: Environment Canada
Student: No

Session: New Methods and Novel Approaches for Assessing and Monitoring Environmental Contaminants
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 14:30 – 14:50
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

The phylum Mollusca often goes unrepresented in species sensitivity distributions used to characterize the effect of a chemical in ecological risk assessments. Mollusks have the greatest number of documented extinctions of any major taxonomic group; 42% of recorded extinctions since the year 1500. The International Union for Conservation of Nature?s list of threatened species contains 708 species of freshwater mollusk. Therefore, should Mollusca be represented in species sensitivity distributions? The current study investigated how a freshwater pulmonate snail (Planorbella pilsbryi) that is native to North America and found across Canada could be used in assessing the potential hazard of a chemical to aquatic ecosystems. This species is relatively simple to culture in the laboratory and allows for an assessment of effects on mortality and growth at different life stages and on reproduction. This study specifically examined the effect of the surfactant MON 0818, present in formulations of the herbicide Roundup®, on embryonic, juvenile, and adult snails. Environmentally relevant concentrations of MON 0818 would not cause significant mortality in the different life stages of the snail but did cause inhibition of oviposition in adult snails.

Author / Presenter: Tash-Lynn Colson
Affiliation: Queen’s University
Student: Yes

Session: New Methods and Novel Approaches for Assessing and Monitoring Environmental Contaminants
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 15:20 – 15:40
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) as well as substituted phenylamines (SPAs) antioxidant are two chemical groups that have been used in multiple Canadian industrial processes. Despite the ban of PCB production in North America in 1977, they are still ubiquitously found in the environment and have body burdens in wildlife. Previous studies with mammals, birds, amphibians and fish have shown PCBs to be neurotoxic, genotoxic, teratogenic, and they have been classified as endocrine disruptors. In contrast, SPAs, specifically N-phenyl-1-naphthylamine (PANA), have received very little attention despite their current use in Canada and their expected aquatic and environmental releases. There is a research gap regarding the effects of PCBs in reptiles and PANA in wildlife; therefore, snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) was studied due to its importance as an environmental indicator. The first experiment was conducted using food pellets spiked at an environmentally relevant concentration of the PCB mixture Aroclor 1254 (A1254) to model bioaccumulation and depuration of PCBs in the turtle’s liver. Turtles were fed food contaminated with 500 ng/g A1254 for 31 days followed by clean food for 50 days. No significant differences were observed between the control and treated animals. This suggests that juvenile turtles exposed to food items contaminated with 500 ng/g PCBs are capable of metabolizing PCBs at a fast enough rate as to avoid bioaccumulation. Two additional dose-response experiments were performed using A1254 and PANA spiked food to determine hepatic toxicity and bioaccumulation in juvenile C. serpentina (0-12,500 ng/g and 0-10,000 ng/g, respectively). An increase in cyp1a was observed when exposed to the highest dose of A1254 correlating to the significant increase in hepatic PCB congeners that are known to be metabolized by CYP1A. PCBs are known endocrine disruptors, but herein, although non-significant increasing trends were observed for both thyroid receptors alpha and beta, no changes were found for both the estrogen and androgen receptors. This lack of response suggests that C. serpentina is less sensitive to PCB endocrine disruption than other species. Similarly to PCBs, a significant increase in cyp1a mRNA expression was also observed in the turtle liver when exposed to the highest dose of PANA, which is also suggesting its potential role in contaminant metabolism. Additionally, a suite of cellular stress genes was studied for both PCB and PANA exposed animals, but none of the genes were altered by any treatments further supporting the resilience of turtles to oxidative stress. Overall, this study has demonstrated the toxicity of a persistent and an emergent contaminant, which will help monitor and predict health risks associated with environmental contamination for C. serpentina populations.

Author / Presenter: Joanne Parrott
Affiliation: Environment and Climate Change Canada
Student: No

Session: New Methods and Novel Approaches for Assessing and Monitoring Environmental Contaminants
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 15:40 – 16:00
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

Seven-day fathead minnow larval survival and growth tests are useful for the detection of acute toxic effects of chemicals and effluents. We have extended the test adding 5 days at the beginning (egg stage) and 9 days at the end (late larval early juvenile stage). The 21-day embryo-larval exposure starts with fertilized fathead minnow eggs, and continues through hatching, sub-sampling of the larval fish at 9 days post-hatch (dph), and ending at 16 dph. We have used it to study the effects of PAHs and alkylated PAHs, and oil sands-related compounds, as well as to pure chemicals (azo dyes and substituted phenyl amines) tested as part of Canada?s Chemicals Management Plan. It can be used with waterborne chemicals/samples and sediment exposures. One recent addition to the test was use of the endpoint tail length in larval fish at 9 and 16 dph. A series of PAH-containing sediments from a Great Lakes Area of Concern (Randle Reef in Hamilton Harbour) was assessed in the 21 day test. While only one of 12 sediments was overtly toxic, 4 sediments reduced growth of fish. Of the growth reductions, most of the decreases in length of larval fish at 9 and 16 dph were caused by smaller tail lengths. In cases where sediment exposure decreased larval fish length by 9-20 %, tail length was decreased by 36-54 % compared to control sediment-exposed fish. Similar reductions in tail length were seen in embryo-larval exposures to some river sediments (containing alkylated PAHs and PAHs) from the oil sands area of Alberta. The measurement of tail length provides an additional, sometimes sensitive, endpoint to the 21 day fathead minnow embryo larval test.

Author / Presenter: Adrienne Bartlett
Affiliation: Environment and Climate Change Canada
Student: No

Session: New Methods and Novel Approaches for Assessing and Monitoring Environmental Contaminants
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 16:00 – 16:20
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

Neonicotinoids are the most widely used insecticides in the world. They are preferentially toxic to insects while displaying a low toxicity toward vertebrates; this selective toxicity has led to their rapid and ubiquitous use. However, neonicotinoids may negatively affect aquatic ecosystems because they are environmentally persistent and highly water-soluble, and thus are prone to leaching from the soil into surface waters via run-off events. Although non-target aquatic organisms may be adversely affected by these compounds, few data are available regarding the effects of neonicotinoids on aquatic invertebrates. The objective of this study was to assess the acute toxicity of six neonicotinoids (imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, acetamiprid, clothianidin, thiacloprid, and dinotefuran) to larval Hexagenia spp. (mayfly). Neonicotinoid exposures were conducted in water-only systems for 96 h, and artificial burrows were added to each beaker to provide a substrate. During range-finding tests, we observed that mayflies exhibited sublethal effects, such as being found outside of artificial burrows and exhibiting reduced swimming activity, at much lower concentrations than those causing lethality. Therefore, both survival and behavioural endpoints, specifically the number of animals inhabiting artificial burrows, were investigated in subsequent definitive tests. Effects of neonicotinoids on mayfly survival were variable among compounds: 96-h LC50s were 600, 700, and 800 µg/L for imidacloprid, clothianidin, and acetamiprid, respectively, and were > 10,000 µg/L for thiamethoxam, thiacloprid, and dinotefuran. Mayfly behaviour was affected at much lower concentrations than survival for all neonicotinoids, with 96-h EC50s for number of larvae inhabiting artificial burrows of 4, 8, 10, 20, 50, and 200 µg/L for acetamiprid, thiacloprid, imidacloprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, and thiamethoxam, respectively. In addition, we observed that mayfly swimming activity was reduced by imidacloprid, acetamiprid, and thiacloprid at 1 µg/L and higher; further tests to quantify this effect are ongoing. The maximum environmental concentration of neonicotinoids measured in 2012-2014 surveys of 16 stream sites in southern Ontario was 10 µg/L (imidacloprid), indicating that environmental concentrations may adversely affect sensitive aquatic species.

Author / Presenter: Michael Beking
Affiliation: Environment and Climate Change Canada
Student: No

Session: New Methods and Novel Approaches for Assessing and Monitoring Environmental Contaminants
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 16:20 – 16:40
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada assess and manage, where appropriate, risks of chemical substances to the environment and to human health. The Chemicals Management Plan (CMP) is a Government of Canada initiative that addresses approximately 4300 substances identified as priorities for assessment. In the next phase of the CMP (2016-2020), about 1550 substances remain to be addressed, including approximately 380 inorganic substances. Early activities to address remaining inorganic substances include identifying data needs, developing tailored strategies and novel approaches, and preliminary stages of assessment drafting. In particular, a relative risk approach is under development for identifying and classifying the potential ecological risks of inorganic substances. Predicted and measured environmental concentrations are two key lines of evidence for the relative risk approach for inorganic substances. Data from the Domestic Substances List inventory update (DSL-IU) and National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) combined with conservative exposure scenarios form the basis for determining predicted environmental concentrations. Measured environmental concentrations are determined from surface water quality data from Canadian monitoring and surveillance programs. The relative ecological risk of individual inorganic substances and groups was determined by comparing predicted and measured concentrations to selected predicted no-effect concentrations to determine an overall preliminary risk classification. The relative risk approach is a novel and efficient method allowing Environment and Climate Change Canada to focus ecological assessment efforts on remaining substances of highest ecological concern.

Author / Presenter: TABATA BAGATIM
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: New Methods and Novel Approaches for Assessing and Monitoring Environmental Contaminants
Date: Tuesday 27 September 2016
Time: 16:40 – 17:00
Location: Room 15/16

Abstract:

Recent years have witnessed increasing concerns regarding the presence of contaminants in the environment that have the potential to adversely affect the endocrine system of humans and wildlife. Municipal wastewater effluents (MWWEs) are considered one of the major sources for such endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in surface waters, as conventional wastewater treatment technologies are frequently inefficient at removing these compounds from raw sewage. However, our understanding of the contribution of MWWEs to environmental endocrine disruption in Canadian surface waters is incomplete. Therefore, the aim of this project was to investigate the EDC removal efficiency of six wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) across Canada. Specifically, samples of influents and effluents were collected during spring, summer and fall in 2014 and winter in 2015, to evaluate the influence of climatic conditions, season, population size and treatment level (tertiary, secondary, primary) on EDC removal efficiency. Endocrine potentials of wastewater were analyzed using two in vitro bioassays: MDAkb2 ((anti-)androgenicity), and MVLN ((anti-)estrogenicity). Preliminary results indicated that most influent samples collected had a significant increase in androgenicity relative to solvent controls, while most effluent samples were less potent and showed variability in response indicating that WWTPs had a high removal efficiency of androgenic activity. Removal efficiencies differed significantly among WWTPs, probably as a function of different levels of treatment. Greater removal efficiency was detected during summer, potentially due to greater metabolic activity, increased temperature and/or light exposure. A select number of influent and effluent samples showed anti-androgen response, suggesting there may be other compounds competing for the same receptor. Most spring effluent samples showed a trend towards elevated estrogenicity, as did fall samples from Regina and Saskatoon. Effluent samples showed higher estrogenic activity than influent samples, and anti-estrogenic trends were detected for the majority of influents and effluents, suggesting samples may contain compounds competing for the same receptor. This project will provide insights into the most effective approach for monitoring MWWEs, and will inform development of advanced wastewater treatment technologies for improved removal of EDCs.