Water Quality Benchmarks, the Modifying Effect of Organic Matter on Uranium Toxicity and Why This Matters
33rd Annual CNS Conference - 2012 June 10-13

Presented at:
33rd Annual CNS Conference
2012 June 10-13
Saskatoon, Canada
Session Title:
Uranium Mining

Peter Chapman (Golder Associates Ltd.)
Melanie Trenfield (Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist)
Rick Van Dam (Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist)


The 2011 Canadian uranium water quality guidelines (CWQGs) do not consider toxicity modifying factors. However, more recent data than considered in those CWQGs provide further evidence that dissolved organic carbon (DOC) reduces uranium bioavailability and toxicity. Determinations of site-specific uranium water quality benchmarks must consider the modifying effects of DOC as well as other factors including hardness and pH; when predictions of uranium toxicity based on water quality parameters are possible, the uranium CWQGs will need to be revised. The modifying effects of DOC (and other key physico-chemical variables) have implications for regulatory permitting, effluent management or treatment, and decommissioning.

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