Pacific EcoRisk

NPDES/Whole Effluent Testing (WET) Service



Discharges to aquatic systems are regulated though the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program. Toxicity testing has become and integral component of most NPDES permit compliance requirements. Through the performance of the entire suite of U.S. EPA and ASTM standardized test guidelines, Pacific EcoRisk assists a wide variety of public and private sector clients meet these compliance requirements.

Our NPDES services include:

  • Performance of aquatic toxicity tests
  • Acute and Chronic testing
  • Freshwater estuarine, and marine testing
  • Effluent variability studies
  • Species screening studies
  • Bioassessment
  • Site specific criteria/water-effect ratio (WER) studies
  • Operation of clients’ on-site testing laboratories
  • On-site “clean” technique sample collection
  • Preparation of on-site facilities for laboratory certification
  • Training of on-site technicians
  • DMRQA Evaluations

PER has successfully provided NPDES permit testing, permit renewal Species Screening Studies, and TIEs for many municipal and industrial dischargers within the regulatory oversight of the San Francisco Bay and Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCB). This has included: NPDES compliance sample collection, laboratory (including on-site facilities) testing, preparation and implementation of TRE Study Plans, including Phase I-III TIEs, bench-top and pilot-scale TRE studies, and forensic “upstream” sourcing studies (when appropriate), preparation of interim and final reports, collaborative work with plant environmental specialists and engineers, and representation of dischargers to the RWQCBs. For some of these projects, Pacific EcoRisk has managed numerous sub-contracting analytical laboratories. Under PER’s management, these dischargers successfully met their NPDES permit requirements; in cases where toxicity was observed, subsequent TIE evaluations successfully resolved the toxicity issues, including toxicity related to ammonia, metals, surfactants, non-polar organics, major ions, and pesticides, and interferences resulting from pathogens.

Toxicity Monitoring of the Ambient Waters of San Francisco Bay
The San Francisco Estuary Regional Monitoring Program (RMP) was established by the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board and the non-profit San Francisco Estuary Institute to develop a long-term data base on contaminants in the estuary. As part of this prestigious project, Pacific EcoRisk is performing ‘short-term chronic’ toxicity tests on ambient water collected from throughout the estuary.

Interlaboratory Variability Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) Testing
Pacific EcoRisk has been selected to perform chronic toxicity testing of effluent samples as part of the ongoing U.S. EPA-sponsored Inter-Laboratory Variability Study of Whole Effluent Toxicity Test Methods.

NPDES Permit Renewal: Species Screening of Effluent Toxicity
Dischargers are being required to conduct test species toxicity screening and effluent variability monitoring prior to the re-issuance of NPDES permits. Pacific EcoRisk is performing this NPDES permit renewal toxicity screening for several NPDES dischargers. This testing includes the new 'West Coast' toxicity test species, as well as the more traditional standard test species. Subsequent to the Permit Renewal Screening, Pacific EcoRisk is performing the monthly/quarterly acute & chronic NPDES testing of effluent discharges.

NPDES Toxicity testing and Toxicity Identification Evaluation (TIE) of Municipal Effluent
As part of a special U.S. EPA investigation, Pacific EcoRisk was selected to perform acute and chronic toxicity testing of effluent produced by an “International” Wastewater Treatment Plant (from Tijuana, Mexico) which is discharging effluent into the United States through a special NPDES Permit. As part of this project, Pacific EcoRisk has performed several TIEs of the effluent, evaluating seasonal differences, and sources of toxicity. This includes management of numerous sub-contracting analytical laboratories, performance of toxicity testing and TIEs, and representation to and interaction with a wide variety of stakeholders including local, state, and federal regulatory agencies.

Ambient Water Toxicity and Chemistry Monitoring for the Sacramento River Watershed Program
Pacific EcoRisk is managing all sampling and analytical components of the US EPA’s Sacramento River Watershed Program (SRWP). This includes collection of water samples for a wide variety of types of analyses, management of numerous sub-contracting analytical laboratories, performance of toxicity testing and TIEs, and representation to and interaction with a wide variety of stakeholders including local, state, and federal regulatory agencies.

Management of On-Site NPDES Compliance Toxicity Monitoring Labs
Pacific EcoRisk is currently staffing several on-site laboratory facilities, performing NPDES compliance toxicity testing, as well as water sampling and data management for NPDES compliance water chemistry monitoring.

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