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Setting site-specific water-quality standards by using tissue residue thresholds and bioaccumulation data. Part 2. Calculating site-specific selenium water-quality standards for protecting fish and birds



In a companion paper, a method for deriving tissue residue-based site-specific water-quality standards (SSWQSs) was described. In this paper, the methodology is applied to selenium (Se) as an example. Models were developed to describe Se bioaccumulation in aquatic-dependent bird eggs and whole fish. A simple log-linear model best described Se accumulation in bird eggs (r2 = 0.50). For fish, separate hockey stick regressions were developed for lentic (r2 = 0.65) and lotic environments (r2 = 0.37). The low r2 value for the lotic fish model precludes its reliable use at this time. Corresponding tissue residue criteria (i.e., tissue thresholds) for bird eggs and whole fish also were identified and example model predictions were made. The models were able to predict SSWQSs over a wide range of water-tissue combinations that might be encountered in the environment. The models also were shown to be sensitive to variability in measured tissue residues with relatively small changes in variability (as characterized by the standard error) resulting in relatively large differences in SSWQSs.

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