The West Basin Municipal Water District (WBMWD) High Salinity Sensitivity Study (HSS Study) comprehensively evaluated the potential short-term and long-term exposure effects of high salinity discharges from the WBMWD ocean water desalination demonstration facility (OWDDF) on aquatic organisms representative of communities indigenous to various near shore environments in Southern California.
Short-term effects were evaluated using Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) bioassays developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to quantify the magnitude and threshold of potential biological effects of discharges (e.g. treated wastewater). Both acute toxicity (mortality effects) and chronic toxicity (mortality + sublethal effects) bioassays were performed by a state accredited bioassay laboratory. Long-term effects were evaluated using mesocosm procedures performed at the OWDDF by exposing multiple organisms for eight weeks to ambient seawater and diluted brine flows from the OWDDF in large aquaria constructed to simulate the OWDDF discharge environment.