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National Assessment of Pulp and Paper Environmental Effects Monitoring Data: Findings from Cycles 1 through 3

3.0 Overview of Studies Conducted in Cycle 3

Overview of Studies Conducted in Cycle 3

In Cycle 3, 112 mills conducted EEM studies, including 29 marine/estuarine and 66 freshwater field surveys. Table 2 shows a regional summary of the number and type of field surveys as well as the sublethal toxicity studies conducted by mills for Cycle 3. There were 62 standard fish surveys, which included 4 studies using molluscs, and 87 standard benthic invertebrate surveys; all mills conducted sublethal toxicity studies. Very few mills used alternatives for fish and benthic surveys; these included caged bivalves, mesocosms and other research. In total, 24 mills were exempted from conducting a fish survey because the effluent concentration in the exposure area was less than 1% within 250 m of the point of discharge. In addition, conditions at numerous sites made conducting the surveys unfeasible for either the fish survey or the benthic invertebrate survey. At these mills, site-specific exemptions were given for various reasons, such as variability of habitat, extreme tides, unsafe conditions for sampling and lack of suitable reference areas. Due to these exemptions, there were 11 mills operating in Cycle 3 that did not conduct field surveys and submitted only sublethal toxicity data.

Table 2. General summary of Cycle 3 pulp and paper EEM studies
RegionNumber of mills that cond-ucted EEM studiesaFish surveysBenthic invertebrate surveysNumber of mills that used alter-nativesNumber of mills that cond-ucted only sublethal toxicity tests
  Number of standard surveysNumber of dilution exemp-tionsNumber of site specific exemp-tionsNumber of standard surveysNumber of site specific exemp-tions  
Atlantic198531623 (fish research and benthic meso-cosm; fish research; caged bivalve)0
Quebec42b2910031808
Ontario2014141721 (1 fish meso-cosm)1
Prairie and Northern10540901 (fish and benthic meso-cosms)0
Pacific and Yukon21647c14202
Total11262d241487e14511

a There were an additional 10 mills that were non-operational for a long period of time and did not conduct an EEM study in Cycle 3.
b There are three mills in the Quebec Region that are on a different monitoring timeline; therefore, their data for Cycle 3 are not available at this time.
c Four mills from the Pacific and Yukon Region conducted extended sublethal toxicity tests on topsmelt (growth and survival).
d Includes 1 joint study in the Pacific and Yukon Region. A joint study refers to a study that was completed concurrently by more than one mill that discharge in the same water body and share sampling areas.
e Includes a total of 4 joint studies, three in Pacific and Yukon Region and one in the Ontario Region.