Four aquatic ecosystems (two rivers and two dams) situated in the western part of Bulgaria were investigated over a three years’ period. The River Egulya and Petrohan dam are situated in mountainous regions at about 1000 m altitude, and are not influenced by any anthropogenic sources. Petrohan dam is a site for long-term ecosystem research as a part of Bulgarian long-term ecological research network. The other two systems belong to populated industrial areas. The River Martinovska flows through a region with former long-term mining activity, while Ogosta dam is near a battery production factory. Both the geochemical and geographical ecosystems’ conditions are different, and their social usage as well. Ogosta dam water is used for irrigation and Petrohan dam for electric supply. The ecosystem sensitivity to heavy metals was evaluated by a critical load approach. Two criteria were used for risk assessment: critical load exceedance and microbial toxicity test. All studied ecosystems were more sensitive to cadmium than to lead deposition. The potential risk of Cd damage is higher for Petrohan dam and the River Egulya, where critical load exceedance was calculated for two years. Pseudomonas putida growth inhibition test detected a lack of toxicity for all studied ecosystems at the time of investigation with the exception of the low water September sample of the River Martinovska. The fast bacterial test is very suitable for a regular measurement of water toxicity because of its simplicity, lack of sophisticated equipment and clear results.
|Keywords:||risk assessment, aquatic ecosystem, critical loads, pseudomonas putida growth inhibition test, heavy metals|