Landfill Leachate Toxicity to Oncorhynchus mykiss (Rainbow Trout) at the Merrick Landfill
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At the Merrick Landfill, located outside of North Bay (Ontario, CA), an investigation into the potential for an environmental impact to the Little Sturgeon River as a result of landfill leachate discharge was undertaken using toxicity testing using 96 hour acute lethality on Oncorhynchus mykiss (Rainbow Trout). Landfill leachate may present a risk to receiving environments as it is comprised of an array of chemicals including organics, ammonia, and metals. Testing was conducted in three phases, firstly testing was completed on site throughout an existing natural attenuation zone where the presence of several groundwater seeps down gradient of the site had been identified to determine the effectiveness of the existing leachate control features at reducing the environmental risks. These tests indicated that the existing capture strategies were largely effective at reducing toxicity risks to the receiving environment. Testing was also completed on two pilot-scale hybrid-passive treatment systems to determine their effectiveness for leachate treatment. Summer performance of a constructed gravel wetland system was also shown to be effective at reducing the toxicity of the landfill leachate at the site. Lastly in order to support evaluation of leachate treatment requirements, a toxicity identification evaluation (TIE) was performed to determine the principle cause of toxicity within the leachate. Based on water chemistry analyses of samples collected at various locations at the site, the TIE identified ammonia toxicity as the primary source of toxicity in the leachate, with a secondary focus on metal toxicity.