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Standard Methods for Whole Effluent Toxicity Testing: Development and Application

November 1998, Ref. TR84

Discharges into the aquatic environment of contaminated wastewater from industry, domestic sewage and stormwater, represent major sources of aquatic pollution. The complex nature of these wastewaters makes assessment of their potential biological impact difficult. Whole Effluent Toxicity Testing (WETT) has been widely used overseas to assess the potential toxicity of effluents. The results of these tests can be used for a variety of functions including resource consent monitoring and compliance, toxicity identification evaluations and evaluation of effluent treatment processes.

This document provides standardised WETT protocols to meet this need. Including a set of both marine and freshwater, algal, invertebrate and fish standardised protocols for use with native New Zealand species.



  1. Objective
  2. Introduction
  3. Approach to development of Standard WETT protocols for routine use in New Zealand
  4. Development of standardised protocols with New Zealand native species
  5. Use of whole effluent toxicity tests
  6. References
  7. Terminology

Appendix 1. Marine algae (Dunaliella tertiolecta) Chronic toxicity test

Appendix 2. Marine Sand dollar Embryo (Fellaster zelandiae) Acute toxicity test

Appendix 3. Marine fish (Rhombosolea plebeia) Acute toxicity test

Appendix 4. Freshwater algae (Selenastrum capricornutum) Chronic toxicity test

Appendix 5. Freshwater cladoceran (Cerodaphnia dubia) Acute toxicity test

Appendix 6. Freshwater amphipod (Paracalliope fluviatilis) Acute toxicity test

Appendix 7. Freshwater fish (Gobiomorphus cotidianus) Acute toxicity test


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