Marine Discharge of Mine Wastes: Ecosystem Effects and Monitoring Programs

CIM Bulletin, 1972

DEREK V. ELLIS and JACK L. LITTLEPAGE, Biology Department, University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C.

Marine ecosystem effects ar1smg from the discharge of man-generated wastes to the sea can be schematized as: acute poisoning, chronic poisoning, enrichment, suffocation, temperature effects, salinity effects, toxin bio-concentration, changed production rates and changed species equilibria. A professionally designed site-specific monitoring program to check for such effects can not only safeguard the marine ecosystem from degradation, but it can also protect the industry involved from unanticipated remedial action after expensive construction has been undertaken. Monitoring programs should consist of three steps. Step 1 is an ecosystem survey which should be undertaken prior to final design of the discharge system and submission of applications for permission to discharge, because there can be considerable cost savings in obtaining information at an early stage in development. Step 2 involves location of the effluent field at the time of starting discharge, and analysing its dispersal behaviour. Step 3 consists of ecosystem monitoring with sampling stations and specific tests based on the accumulated prior information.
Keywords: chlorophyll, effluent, marine ecosystem, University of Victoria, Ecosystems, effluent, Effluents, monitoring, Sampling, Surveys, Waste, Wastes