Total suspended solids (TSS) from combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and stormwater discharges represent a crucial parameter for evaluating wet-weather pollution in urban areas. In fact, the increase of TSS in water during rain events can have ecotoxic effects on aquatic organisms. Furthermore, major potentially harmful substances such as heavy metals, PAHs and organic matter are adsorbed onto TSS and later settle on sediment. Water quality criteria for TSS consequently enable the risk of wet-weather pollution to be assessed, for instance to avoid detrimental effects on aquatic organisms. The criteria proposed in this study cover the short-term impact of TSS on fish (acute quality criteria AQC), taking into account the duration of their exposure in the receiving water. The concentration-exposure duration-effect curve proposed here thus predicts “ill effects” on fish for different exposure times and TSS concentrations. The ecotoxic effects of adsorbed pollutants are also taken into account with an additional safety factor. We implement this TSS criteria in a software that allows us to estimate the number of rain events that exceed a given morbidity threshold for fishes per year.

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