Aquatic Life Criteria - Aluminum
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What is Aluminum?
Aluminum is a natural element and the most common metal in the earth's crust. It is found in most soils and rocks. Aluminum can enter the water via natural processes, like weathering of rocks.
Aluminum is also released to water by mining, industrial processes using aluminum, and waste water treated with alum, an aluminum compound.
How does Aluminum Affect Aquatic Life?
Aluminum is considered a non-essential metal because fish and other aquatic life don’t need it to function. Elevated levels of aluminum can affect some species ability to regulate ions, like salts, and inhibit respiratory functions, like breathing. Aluminum can accumulate on the surface of a fish’s gill, leading to respiratory dysfunction, and possibly death.
2018 Final Aquatic Life Criteria for Aluminum in Freshwater
The EPA has published final updated aquatic life criteria for aluminum in freshwater that reflect the latest science and allow stakeholders to develop criteria reflecting the impacts of local water chemistry on aluminum toxicity to aquatic life. You can view the 1988 criteria on our historical water quality criteria documents page.
- Federal Register Notice: Final Aquatic Life Criteria for Aluminum in Freshwater (December 21, 2018)
- Fact Sheet: Final Aquatic Life Ambient Water Quality Criteria for Aluminum (December 2018)
- Document: 2018 Final Aquatic Life Ambient Water Quality Criteria for Aluminum (December 2018)
- Aluminum Criteria Calculator V2.0 (Excel)(2 MB)
- External Peer Review Report on the Expanded Multiple Linear Regression Bioavailability Model for Aluminum Effects on Aquatic Life (November 2018)
- External Peer Review Report on the Chronic Toxicity of Aluminum to the Cladoceran, Ceriodaphnia dubia: Expansion of the Empirical database for Bioavailability Modeling (July 2018)
- External Peer Review Report on the Short-term Chronic Toxicity of Aluminum to the Fathead Minnow, Pimephales promelas: Expansion of the Empirical database for Bioavailability Modeling (October 2018)
1988 Aquatic Life Criteria for Aluminum
The 2018 Aquatic Life Criteria for Aluminum supersedes the 1988 criteria.