Predicting refinery effluent toxicity on the basis of hydrocarbon composition determined by GCxGC analysis

30 Apr 2013
A high resolution analytical method for determining hydrocarbon blocks in petroleum products by comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GCxGC) was used for the analysis of petroleum hydrocarbons extracted from refinery effluents.From 105 CONCAWE refineries in Europe 111 refinery effluents were collected in the period June 2008 to March 2009 (CONCAWE, 2010). The effluents were analysed for metals, standard effluent parameters (including Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), oil in water (OiW), GCxGC speciated hydrocarbons, BTEX (Benzene,Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylenes) and volatile organic compounds.
This report describes the subsequent analysis of the GCxGC data, as described in hydrocarbon blocks, and uses the PETROTOX model, to predict the environmental toxicity (i.e. ecotoxicity) of the discharged effluents. A further analysis was undertaken to address the potential environmental impact of these predicted effects initially using default dilution factors and then,when necessary site specific factors.
The report describes all the methods used to arrive at the predictions, and shows that for the majority of refinery effluents direct toxicity effects in the effluents are not anticipated.
Furthermore, when applying either the EU Risk Assessment Technical Guidance Document (TGD) default dilution factors or site specific dilution factors, none of there fineries are predicted to exerting either acute or chronic toxicity to organisms in the receiving aquatic environment, based on their hydrocarbon composition present in the effluent samples.