The use of exposure biomarkers in measuring the impact of aqueous waste holds out promise because such tools have short response times, are of flexible use and give an indication of the type of pollution. However, their ecological significance has not yet been demonstrated. During field studies focusing on aqueous industrial waste, the correlations obtained between several biocoenotic indicators and biomarkers measured in a fresh-water bivalve (Corbicula fluminea), demonstrate the need for work to be carried out under controlled conditions.

Working in partnership with the Adour Garonne Water Board, the ELF company has developed a pilot scheme incorporating such controlled conditions. This pilot is made up of 16 canals 40 m in length supplied by river water. The pilot scheme, which is currently at the validation stage, makes it possible to reconstitute an aquatic ecosystem which, once established, will be exposed to perfectly controlled pollution conditions. The responses provided by all the indicators - biocoenotic and microbiological indicators, biomarkers - will then be correlated in order to attribute an ecological significance to the biomarkers.

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