Toxicity testing of groundwater quality

R. E. Dewhurst, A. Callaghan, Richard E Connon, M. Crane, J. D. Mather, R. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Groundwater is an important resource in the UK, with 45% of public water supplies in the Thames Water region derived from subterranean sources. In urban areas, groundwater has been affected by anthropogenic activities over a long period of time and from a multitude of sources. At present, groundwater quality is assessed using a range of chemical species to determine the extent of contamination. However, analysing a complex mixture of chemicals is time-consuming and expensive, whereas the use of an ecotoxicity test provides information on (a) the degree of pollution present in the groundwater and (b) the potential effect of that pollution. Microtox™, Eclox™ and Daphnia magna microtests were used in conjunction with standard chemical protocols to assess the contamination of groundwaters from sites throughout the London Borough of Hounslow and nearby Heathrow Airport. Because of their precision, range of responses and ease of use, Daphnia magna and Microtox™ tests are the bioassays that appear to be most effective for assessing groundwater toxicity. However, neither test is ideal because it is also essential to monitor water hardness. Eclox™ does not appear to be suitable for use in groundwater-quality assessment in this area, because it is adversely affected by high total dissolved solids and electrical conductivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-24
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Contamination
  • Groundwater
  • Toxicity
  • Urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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