WP4: Investigating the impacts of compounds typically contained in explosives (STVs) on the ecosystem

Since blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) are filterfeeders, they also take up pollutants contained in seawater and accumulate them in their tissue, so that even small concentrations can be detected over longer time periods. Based on these observations, case scenarios for the input of these harmful substances (see WP3) can be developed. The mussels are deployed inside mussel bags in the delaboration areas before, during and after the delaboration (biomonitoring) and are analyzed in the lab after different time periods (between 2 weeks and 6 months), so that any environmental damages caused by the delaboration of ammunition can be detected immediately. These analyses are conducted by the Institute for Toxicology and Pharmacology at the University of Kiel and investigate the incorporation of toxic compounds typically contained in explosives (e.g. TNT and its degradation products) into the tissue of the blue mussels. The concentration of toxic metals used in triggers (lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg) are analyzed in close cooperation with WP3.

 

 

Aims and responsibilities

  • Deployment of the mussel bags at different distances to the delaboration area before, during and after the delaboration in close collaboration with WP2
  • Development of a reliable analytical routine using blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) as an indicator organism to detect explosives and their degradation products as well as toxic metals used in triggers in the water column
  • The analysis of mussel samples with respect to ecologically relevant toxic releases of chemical compounds typically contained in explosives and their degradation products
  • The determination of an environmentally “acceptable” contamination also considering current and dilution factors during the delaboration process
  • Assessing the environmental hazards and consequences (man and biota) of the delaboration process

The main goal of WP4 is to establish a scientifically sound long-term monitoring programme during the environmentally friendly underwater delaboration of dumped munitions and in addition to ensure the protection of the affected ecosystem during all phases of the project.