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Development of research support to enable the issuing of aquatic toxicity-based water use licenses: Guideline document
Expanded Title:In order to reduce and prevent the degradation of water resources as well as assess its quality, the South African National Water Act (Act 36 of 1998) (NWA) mandated that a national monitoring system should be established. A fundamental premise of the Act is that an ecological effect-based approach needs to be applied to water resource management, supported by the regular aquatic bioassay testing of water resources and complex industrial wastewaters (effluents) which are being released into water resources. To comply with requirements of the NWA, the National Toxicity Monitoring Program (NTMP) for water resource management and the Direct Estimation of the Ecological Effect Potential Approach (DEEEP), to manage effluent discharge into surface waters, was designed. The incorporation of the required toxicity bioassays forms part of Integrated Wastewater Management Plan implementation as well as Water Use License approvals. However, the correct use of these bioassay requirements and how they are included into license conditions has been hampered by non site-specific wordings resulting in ambiguity and therefore the exclusion of these conditions by personnel due to lack of available information. This document was compiled to provide background information on the various approaches applied internationally, both for management approaches as well as toxicity assessments, as well as information in the form of a guideline document outlining the use of the Integrated Water Use Authorisation Bioassay Toolkit. Literature studies indicate that toxicity tests are widely applied internationally by water and wastewater management authorities. Whilst numerous approaches exist as resource management approaches, internationally the use of bioassays to assess the overall ecological status in water resources remains a common denominator. These bioassays are used to compliment the standard evaluation tools such as chemical analysis and biomonitoring, enabling observed in field effects to be interpreted against the integrated laboratory exposures in relation to the measured chemical concentrations. The use of bioassays has been shown to save both time and money when identifying areas of concern, prioritising sites for remediation, increased monitoring or improved treatment (improved technology) approaches. The Integrated Water Use Authorisation Bioassay Toolkit has been designed with Water Use License Authorisations in mind (both new and existing applications). However, the toolkit can additionally provide method information to guide both clients and consultants in the bioassay requirements needed to comply with the Water Use License conditions. The developed toolkit has been developed for use by the Government institutions which are the custodians of water resources (e.g. the Department of Water and Sanitation and the Department of Environment Affairs), Licensees, Consultants and Toxicity Testing Laboratories. Workshops were conducted with various stakeholders in order to identify the frustrations and the needs of the end users. This was then translated into the input and output requirements of the toolkit as well as additional information which would make the adoption of this approach more widespread. For this reason the information provided in Chapter 1 and 2 is geared to increase the understanding of “why” conducted toxicity bioassay tests, whilst Chapter 3 fills the capacity gap with easy instructions on “how” to use the toolkit, as well as how to interpret and implement the license conditions generated in the output. Information on quality requirements, additional international standards, the current Water Use License Application checklist and how Hazard Classifications are calculated has been included in the Appendices. Whilst this information does not have a direct impact on the Integrated Water Use Authorisation Bioassay Toolkit, the additional information provided in these sections will assist the end user to apply Water Use License conditions, ensuring traceability of results to protect clients, compliance requirements and gather sufficient information for license renewals. It is recommended that training on both the toolkit and guideline document should be treated as a priority. Currently a follow-up project has been awarded to assess industry specific criteria and provide additional information to refine the toolkit. The inclusion of methods and criteria to assess estuary and marine environments as well as human health should be addressed with follow-up projects. Additionally methods which include the evaluation of sediment and solid waste should be researched and developed for inclusion into Water License conditions. The potential for the toolkit to identify mitigation approaches should emergency spills take place is also an area which needs clarification. During the workshops, positive feedback was received regarding the need and application of the toolkit as well as questions regarding the inclusion of the information gathered and its applicability for various other interlinked processes such as Resource Quality Objectives and the national databases. The toolkit was therefore developed with expansion into these areas in mind. Feedback and suggestions from users will be encouraged to streamline further needs. Further funding will be required in order to continue the toolkit development allowing it to fulfil a vital role in driving compliance monitoring, quality objectives (e.g. Green Drop compliance), easy to understand/implement license conditions and the successful maintenance of aquatic resources within South Africa.
Date Published:01/12/2015
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Water Resource Management/IWRM - Planning and development
Document Keywords:Policy and regulation, Water Quality
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Technical
WRC Report No:KV 347/15
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0731-2
Authors:Pearson H; Shaddock BF; Mulder PFS; Cloete YC
Project No:K8/1070
Originator:WRC
Organizations:Aquatox Forum; Golder Associates Research Laboratory (Pty) Ltd; Environment and Public Administration Specialist
Document Size:1 561 KB
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