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Environ Sci Technol. 2011 Oct 1;45(19):8567-74. doi: 10.1021/es2014538. Epub 2011 Aug 31.

Ecotoxicological effects of activated carbon amendments on macroinvertebrates in nonpolluted and polluted sediments.

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  • 1Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management Group, Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University , P.O. Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands.


Amendment of contaminated sediment with activated carbon (AC) is a remediation technique that has demonstrated its ability to reduce aqueous concentrations of hydrophobic organic compounds. The application of AC, however, requires information on possible ecological effects, especially effects on benthic species. Here, we provide data on the effects of AC addition on locomotion, ventilation, sediment avoidance, mortality, and growth of two benthic species, Gammarus pulex and Asellus aquaticus , in clean versus polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contaminated sediment. Exposure to PAH was quantified using 76 μm polyoxymethylene passive samplers. In clean sediment, AC amendment caused no behavioral effects on both species after 3-5 days exposure, no effect on the survival of A. aquaticus , moderate effect on the survival of G. pulex (LC(50) = 3.1% AC), and no effects on growth. In contrast, no survivors were detected in PAH contaminated sediment without AC. Addition of 1% AC, however, resulted in a substantial reduction of water exposure concentration and increased survival of G. pulex and A. aquaticus by 30 and 100% in 8 days and 5 and 50% after 28 days exposure, respectively. We conclude that AC addition leads to substantial improvement of habitat quality in contaminated sediments and outweighs ecological side effects.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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