Water research

Comparative toxicity of new halophenolic DBPs in chlorinated saline wastewater effluents against a marine alga: halophenolic DBPs are generally more toxic than haloaliphatic ones.

PMID 25090624


Using seawater for toilet flushing effectively reduces the consumption of precious freshwater resources, yet it introduces bromide and iodide ions into a wastewater treatment system, which may form bromo- and iodo-disinfection byproducts (DBPs) during chlorination of the wastewater effluent. Most of the newly identified DBPs in chlorinated wastewater effluents were halophenolic compounds. It has been reported that the newly identified bromo- and iodo-phenolic DBPs were generally significantly more toxic to a heterotrophic marine polychaete than the commonly known haloacetic acids and trihalomethanes. This has raised a concern over the discharge of chlorinated saline wastewater effluents into the marine ecosystem. In this study, the toxicity of new halophenolic DBPs and some haloaliphatic DBPs was tested against an autotrophic marine alga, Tetraselmis marina. The alga and polychaete bioassays gave the same toxicity orders for many groups of halo-DBPs. New halophenolic DBPs also showed significantly higher toxicity to the alga than the commonly known haloacetic acids, indicating that the emerging halophenolic DBPs deserve more attention. However, two bioassays did exhibit a couple of disparities in toxicity results, mainly because the alga was capable of metabolizing some (nitrogenous) halophenolic DBPs. A quantitative structure-toxicity relationship was developed for the halophenolic DBPs, by employing three physicochemical descriptors (log K(ow), pKa and molar topological index). This relationship presented the toxicity mechanism of the halophenolic DBPs to T. marina and gave a good prediction of the algal toxicity of the tested halophenolic DBPs.