Ensuring the Environmental Sustainability of Production of Primary Aluminium (ESPIAL): The Marine Environment

Aluminium production makes up the largest part of the Norwegian metals industry. Primary aluminium is produced at seven works around the country, with Norsk Hydro as the largest company. The aluminium industry has not always had an untarnished record with respect to the environment. However, in recent years due to changes in production methods there has been major reduction in relation to emissions such as PAHs. In the early 90s an Effect study was carried out by the industry to achieve a better understanding of the dispersion, uptake and effects of pollutants from the aluminium plants. Since that time further changes have occurred within the industry and it is time to revisit the original study and look at the status.

Figure 1. Schematic of the mussel rigs for deployment in Karmøy

Schematic of the mussel rigs for deployment in Karmøy

As part of this revisited study a field study will be conducted in Karmøy in 2020. The objective of the this task is to measure the exposure and effects on ecologically and economically important aquatic organisms nearby Norsk Hydros largest primary aluminium plant at Karmøy, and to see if there is a correlation with chemical concentrations and the severity of the effects, and if this can be related to the concentration of historical or unregulated chemicals. Sampling of a gradient is therefore proposed.

Caged mussels will be deployed throughout the fjord near the Hydro Aluminium smelter to look at effects on animals that live within the water column of the seawater recipient. Mussels will be held on fixed suspended ropes (Fig 1) at several stations throughout Karmøy fjord. A reference station will also be selected. The exposure duration will be approximately 6 weeks. Chemical bioaccumulation and biomarker responses will be measured on Day 0 and after exposure. The focus will be on metals, regularly monitored PAHs and unregulated, usually unmonitored PAHs. All selected biomarkers are recommended by ICES for biological effects monitoring (Davies and Vethaak, 2012):

Biological responses in mussels

Tissue chemistry

subcellular response

Tissue response

whole organism response




 (VvBAS, NL, LF)

Stress-on-stress (SoS)


Micronuclei (MN)


Condition Index (CI)


Acetylcholine esterase (AChE)



Lipid peroxidation (LPO)



Oppgaven vil veiledes av Ailbhe Macken (NIVA) og Anders Ruus (NIVA/UiO). 

Publisert 19. juni 2019 11:15 - Sist endret 19. juni 2019 11:15


Omfang (studiepoeng)