Biological test method: sublethal toxicity tests to assess sediments intended for disposal at sea

(Fourth Edition)

Reference Method
1/RM/40
May 2015

Marine Programs
Environmental Protection Operations Directorate
Environment Canada
Gatineau, Quebec

 

For PDF version - 222 KB
ISBN En84-129/2015E-PDF
Cat. No.:  978-0-660-02733-3

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© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of the Environment, 2015

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Comments regarding the content of this document should be addressed to:

Disposal at Sea Program
Marine Programs
Environmental Protection and Operations Directorate
Environmental Stewardship Branch
Environment Canada
Gatineau QC  K1A 0h2

Telephone: 819-420-7613
Email: sea-mer@ec.gc.ca

Review notice

This report has been reviewed by the staff of the Disposal at Sea Program, Environment Canada. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute endorsement by Environment Canada for use. Other products of similar value are available.

Abstract

This fourth edition of EPS 1/RM/40 supercedes the original 1998 edition, and both the second edition, published in 2001, and the third edition, published in 2006. This report references methods accepted by Environment Canada for performing sublethal tests for the assessment of marine or estuarine sediments or land-based excavated materials proposed for disposal at sea. An annex has been added to this edition, which includes two sublethal test methods that may, with advice from Environment Canada, be useful in rare situations that require the assessment of substances proposed for disposal at sea where elutriate or leachate testing may provide a representative estimate of toxicity, or where nutrient contamination is a particular concern. The tests assembled here have been developed and standardized to enable their use in a regulatory context. This document provides a consolidation of suitable methods specifically for ocean disposal assessment.

Each method referenced in this document is a complete method that can be used independently from the next. Full copies can be obtained from Environment Canada. Each standard reference method provides a description of the test and of the species that can be used. Procedures are given for holding test species in the laboratory and preparing them for the testing phase. Conditions and procedures are outlined for testing sediments. Instructions are included for test facilities, handling and storing samples, preparing test solutions and initiating tests, specific test conditions, appropriate observations and measurements, endpoints and methods of calculations, and validation of the test.

When using this document to support the characterization of sediments proposed for disposal or placement at sea, consultation with your nearest Disposal at Sea Program Office is recommended for advice. Where not included within the methods, pass/fail criteria to be applied in the context of disposal at sea characterizations can also be obtained by contacting your nearest Disposal at Sea Program Office.

Foreword

Biological test method: Sublethal toxicity tests to assess sediments intended for disposal at sea (EPS1/RM/40)

This document references three complete sublethal toxicty testing methods suited to the evaluation of sediment or land-based excavated material proposed for disposal at sea, and two additional sublethal tests (in the Annex) that may, with advice from Environment Canada, be useful in rare situations that require the assessment of substances proposed for disposal at sea where elutriate or leachate testing may provide a representative estimate of toxicity, or where nutrient contamination is a particular concern. These methods can change from time to time. Any changes to the listed methods would result in a new edition of this summary document being published on the CEPA Registry.

The five methods are:

Part 1: Biological test method. Reference method for determining the toxicity of sediment using luminescent bacteria in a solid-phase test (EPS 1/RM/42)

Part 2: Biological test method. Test for survival and growth in sediment using Spionid polychaete worms (Polydora cornuta) (EPS 1/RM/41)

Part 3: Reference method for measuring the toxicity of contaminated sediment to embryos and larvae of echinoid (sea urchins or sand dollars) (1/RM/58)

Annex:

  1. Biological test method. Toxicity test using luminescent bacteria (Photobacterium phospohoreum) (EPS 1/RM/24)
  2. Biological test method. Fertilization assay using echinoids (sea urchins and sand dollars) (EPS 1/RM/27)

This document references the standard biological test methods that can be used to help fulfil regulatory testing requirements for the characterization of a substance proposed for disposal at sea. These methods can also support other non-regulatory assessment of substances, and sediments in particular. The use of this document to support the characterization of sediments proposed for disposal or placement at sea should be done in consultation with your nearest Disposal at Sea Program Office, which can provide additional guidance about the selection of appropriate tests and the interpretation of test results.

Part 1: Biological test method. Reference method for determining the toxicity of sediment using luminescent bacteria in a solid-phase test (EPS 1/RM/42). This method is available in PDF format (1257 KB).

Part 2: Biological test method. Test for survival and growth in sediment using Spionid polychaete worms (Polydora cornuta) (EPS 1/RM/41). This method is available in PDF format (2.79 MB).

This test is considered to have failed if the mean dry weight observed in the organisms exposed to the test sediment is more than 25% lower than that observed in the organisms exposed to the reference sediment and is statistically significant (p<0.05).

Part 3: Reference method for measuring the toxicity of contaminated sediment to embryos and larvae of echinoid (sea urchins or sand dollars) (1/RM/58). This method is available in PDF format (941 KB).

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