Investigating Cooling Water Toxicity at a Pulp and Paper Mill Cause by Seasonal Variability

Isolated instances of toxicity have occurred at AbitibiBowater, a Pulp and Paper industry in Thunder Bay, Ontario. For the past four years (2005-2008) AbitibiBowater Thunder Bay's cooling water has failed Canadian regulatory rainbow trout (oncorhynchus mykiss) toxicity limits during the month of April. This project will investigate the potential cause of such rainbow trout toxicity episodes by means of: (1) gathering background information on cooling water processes; (2) attempting to determine the cause of the Spring pH decrease; (3) modeling the chemical speciation of aluminum in the cooling water; (4) determining the source of aluminum in the cooling water; (5) modeling the seasonal toxicity phenomena in a laboratory setting. In addition, this project will provide AbitibiBowater with an effective wastewater monitoring system for Spring 2009. The Toxicity Early Warning System (TEWS) is a flow through biological monitoring system that utilizes rainbow trout breathing patterns and certain locomotion activities to determine alterations in water quality. This research project will enable AbitibiBowater Thunder Bay to evaluate its current cooling process and assist it in preventing future cooling water toxicity episodes.

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Werden Keeler


Clayton Sereres






Pulp and paper


Lakehead University



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