LAS: Aquatic Toxicity and Biodegradation

Debra Morrow, Marvin D. Piwoni

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingTechnical report


The US Army Corps of Engineers has experienced numerous problems with bacterial die-off at wastewater treatment plants experiencing loads from aircraft cleaning operations. The logical conclusion reached in investigations of these facilities is that the cleaners, and more specifically, the surfactants in the cleaners, are adversely impacting treatment plant operations. This review represents a further step in the pursuit of a solution to that problem. The purpose of this review is to investigate the toxicity to aquatic organisms and the environmental stability of the most widely used surfactant, linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS). Toxicity data specific for LAS to bacteria in treatment plants are extremely limited, however, data on toxicity of LAS to a variety of organisms in other aquatic environments are available. Further, considerable data exists on the biodegradation of LAS in treatment systems and natural waters. This review presents the current scientific understanding of the toxicological effects of LAS and its environmental stability. From this base of information, it should be possible to infer potential effects of LAS-based surfactants on wastewater treatment plant bacterial populations.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationChampaign, IL
PublisherHazardous Waste Research and Information Center
StatePublished - Mar 1993

Publication series

NameTN Series (Hazardous Waste Management and Research Center)


  • Surface active agents -- Environmental aspects
  • Surface active agents -- Ecotoxicology


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