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Toxicity Identification Evaluations

Toxicity Identification Evaluation / Toxicity Reduction Evaluation (TIE/TRE)

When standard toxicity testing identifies a sample as being "toxic", the first question is often "What is causing this toxicity?" A toxicity identification evaluation (TIE) is an organized progression through a number of published methods, to isolate and identify the toxicity causing agent.

Once the toxicity-causing agent is identified, toxicity reduction evaluation (TRE) addresses the "How can we resolve this toxicity?" question. TRE employs another set of recognized methods to determine the most efficient and effective method for reducing the toxic effect.

To determine the contaminant(s) of concern or effluent characteristic associated with a toxicity response the United States Environmental Protection Agency has developed a formal phased TIE protocol to perform effluent TRE's. The objective of the TRE is to assess the most appropriate measures necessary to maintain effluent toxicity at acceptable levels.

The three phases of the U.S. EPA developed TIE/TRE program are:

Phase 1) Toxicant Characterization - Tests that can tentatively categorize the toxicants as cationic metals, non-polar organics, oxidants, substances whose toxicity is pH dependent, etc. as well as development of physical/chemical characteristics of the toxicant such as filterability, degradability, volatility and solubility.

Phase 2) Toxicant Identification - The major objective of Phase 2 is to identify the suspected toxicants by further isolation of non-toxic compounds with those associated with toxicity.
Phase 3) Toxicant Confirmation Procedures - Those methods generic to all toxicants that when collectively combined the results provide a "weight of evidence" that the toxicant has been identified.

Once the toxicant has been isolated by the TIE/TRE program, an investigation can be completed to determine the internal source of the toxicant and the method to source control or enhance a water treatment system to reduce toxicant levels.

It is necessary to the success of a TIE/TRE program that the toxicity is frequently present in the effluent so that the toxicant(s) of concern can be characterized and subsequently identified and confirmed through repeat testing.

It has been our experience that, though the EPA has developed specific protocols for TIE/TRE investigations, most users of these protocols utilize them as a guide for evaluating toxicity problems. We approach the problem of effluent toxicity similar to how one would evaluate and solve any problem through the review, assessment and implementation of common sense investigative techniques.

Pollutech's experts are well experienced in TIE / TRE. Each evaluation is unique, and each expands our ability to effectively help our clients.
Contact us regarding your toxicity testing needs.
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