Effects of detergents on a small stream in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Phase II

Sponsor: Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre (SEAC), Unilever, United Kingdom
Leaders: Dr WJ Muller, Dr S Marshall (Scientists - SEAC, Unilever, UK)
Staff: Mr TJ Human
Researchers: Mr AK Gordon, Ms N Gysman (Researcher - Nomkhitha Gysman and Associates Development Consultancy)
Duration: September 2003 - August 2006 (Extended until December 2007)

Phase I of the study could not conclusively detect whether laundry washing undertaken alongside the Balfour River was having any effect on aquatic invertebrates within the river. The study raised a number of issues requiring further investigation. The issues relate specifically to the need for more intensive chemical and biological monitoring in the Balfour, and consideration of the laundry washing patterns in the Balfour and one other
rural catchment.

The aims were to:

  •     Undertake an intensive chemical monitoring programme sampling river water and sediment in order to measure environmental concentrations of LAS in the Balfour during a typical week
  •     Undertake biomonitoring: Using standard methods in the Balfour and Keiskamma Rivers; and using Biotrack® technology in the Balfour River for a more detailed examination of the in-stream biota in order to assess macroinvertebrate community changes based on morphospecies identifications
  •     Undertake a toxicological assessment of the responses of indigenous macro-invertebrates to LAS at various levels of biological organisation
  •     Undertake a social assessment of laundry washing patterns of communities living alongside two rural rivers: the Balfour River; and the Keiskamma River (also located within the Eastern Cape).

Last Modified: Fri, 14 Aug 2015 11:33:20 SAST