Sediment toxicity and bioaccumulation of toxicants in the zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, at Times Beach, Buffalo, New York

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Virginia Tech

This study consisted of a site characterization followed by a biomonitoring study utilizing the zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, at the Times Beach Confined Disposal Facility (CDF), located in Buffalo, New York. Concentrations of the selected contaminants (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and the following metals: arsenic (As), chromium (Cr), barium (Ba), mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), selenium (Se) and silver (Ag), were at or below detection limits in the water column. In the sediment toxicant concentrations were as high as 549 mg/kg for total PAHs, 9 mg/kg for PCB Aroclor 1248, and 54, 99, 6, 355, 637, and 16 mg/kg for the metals: As, Ba, Cd, Cr, Pb, and Hg respectively. To predict contaminant bioavailability, elutriate and whole sediment toxicity tests were performed utilizing the cladoceran, Daphnia magna. The whole sediment tests showed a significant impact. Control survival was 84%, while the sediment treatment survival range was 1-7%. Mean control reproduction was 86.8 neonates, whereas treatment group reproduction ranged from 1.4 to 9.0. Zebra mussels, placed both in the water column (Upper) and at the sediment level (Lower), survived the 34-day exposure. Contaminants which significantly accumulated in zebra mussel tissue during the exposure period (mg/kg) were total PAHs (6.58), fluoranthene (1.23), pyrene (1.08), chrysene (0.98), benzo(a)anthracene (0.60), PCB Aroclor 1248 (1.64), As (0.97), Cr (2.87), and Ba (7.00). The accumulation of benzo(a)anthracene was statistically higher in the Upper mussels; however, this did not occur for any other toxicant. Accumulation of these contaminants in zebra mussel tissue represent a potential hazard to organisms (ie. fish and birds) which feed on them.