Bioassays with terrestrial and aquatic species as monitoring tools of hydrocarbon degradation.
Assessment of contaminated sites is usually based on chemical analyses of hazardous compounds in soil. This is enough either to assess the environmental hazard of contaminated soil nor to evaluate the efficiency of applied remediation techniques. Information on the bioavailability of complex mixtures of xenobiotics and degradation products cannot be provided by chemical analytical data, but results from bioassays can integrate the effects of pollutants in mixtures. In the preservation of human health and environmental quality, it is important to evaluate ecotoxicological effects of contaminated industrial soils to complement the techniques of analytical chemistry. The monitoring of a coke oven soil and the evaluation of the landfarming treatment technique, conducted on-site in a pilot scale installation, was done by a battery of ecotoxicological tests: acute, chronic, and genotoxicity tests. Contaminated soil samples revealed toxic effects for different species mainly due to high concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). After landfarming treatment, soil samples presented significant reduction in toxicity, confirming the effectiveness of the landfarming process pointed out by a significant reduction in low molecular weight PAH concentrations. Comparative analysis of the different ecotoxicological tests allowed the establishment and validation of a more suitable procedure for the monitoring of PAH contaminated soils.