Review of options for refinery effluent assessment using effect-based tools in combination with passive samplers

17 Sep 2018

The European Commission (EC) is considering the use of “effect-based tools” (EBTs) for environmental monitoring as an alternative to, or in combination with, chemical analysis. In addition, there is interest in the use of passive sampler devices for the time- integrated monitoring of water quality.

In order to better understand the opportunity for using EBTs and passive samplers in combination, Concawe has completed a literature review of relevant EBTs that can be applied to extracts from passive samplers. The study builds on previous work by Concawe in this area, for example the 2012 review of effect-based assays relevant for use in the assessment of refinery effluents and receiving waters (Concawe 2012a).
It also takes into account the findings from several literature reviews published over the last 3-4 years that address the potential application of EBTs for screening of effluents, surface waters, sediments and drinking waters (Hamers et al. 2016, CIS 2014, Brack et al. 2016, Di Paolo et al. 2016, Schriks et al. 2015).

Relevant EBTs were identified based on:

  •  Their commercial availability;
  •  Their general validation maturity;
  •  The extent to which they have tested on environmental samples,
  •  The extent to which they have been applied for screening of petroleum residues
  •  Their suitability for use with passive sampler extracts.

This initial screening generated a list of 22 assays. An in-depth literature review was then completed on these to obtain a more complete understanding of their performance, interpretation and application. The findings from the review are summarised in a series of fact sheets included in this report.

The short-listed assays were then compared using the information identified in the literature review to develop a suite of bioassays that can be used in combination with passive samplers for refinery effluent assessment. This suite of bioassays is summarised in this report, along with their assay-specific trigger values (identified in the literature review) that can be applied to denote an effect, according to the endpoint under investigation.

It should be noted that the bioassays assessed in the present study are by no means assessed in terms of availability with regard to being “available techniques” as defined by the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED; 2010/75/EU) article 3(10). Moreover, the suite of bioassays are restricted to those assessed in the present study, and are based on the information identified in this review, and the relative advantages and disadvantages of using each of the assays. In addition, it is recognised that new bioassays are continually being developed, and those currently at a relatively early stage of validation are in the process of being standardised and demonstrated to be reproducible.