In countries where mining or waste water treatment is an important economic sector, it is essential for neighbouring communities, the environment and the economy, that best practices and appropriate technologies are developed and adopted. Where mine-tailings, chemical-waste or other toxins are to be released into the marine environment, chemical and ecotoxicological tests are necessary at an early-stage in the project to assess the likely impacts of these toxins on water quality and the biology of the organisms which might be impacted. Where economically important or species / habitats of conservation importance are likely to be affected, it is especially important to understand the environmental impact at a population and, where possible, community level.
In some circumstances, it is necessary to extend investigations to include sub-lethal effects of toxins on the behaviour of impacted marine organisms which are more ecologically relevant and provide better early warning indicators than standard ecotoxicity tests (e.g. bivalve gape patterns or zooplankton swimming). SRSL has now developed novel technology to run mesocosm studies, in which several trophic levels of marine species can be continuously dosed with contaminants or suspended sediments e.g. tailings, in the same manner as would occur in an operating plant or in the receiving waters. This allows for a robust and realistic assessment of the ecotoxicological effects of the toxins on biological systems, and represents a premier standard in ecotoxicological testing for our clients.
SRSL ecotoxicological services are independent and conducted with the highest degree of scientific integrity (all standard toxicity tests are conducted by accredited laboratories). Our service packages also include project management, laboratory analysis and technical reporting.