A number of studies of pollutants and their effects on the fish fauna of Lake Molnbyggen outside Leksand, Sweden have been focused on leachate from the municipal landfill (Lindbodarna), which is located above the lake. The aim of the present study was to test the toxicity of sediment from Molnbyggen and some adjacent lakes, in order to see if this could explain the causes of the effects on the fish. The sampling sites were selected in co-operation with the project group at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency to make the results more easily comparable with those from other studies on the fish fauna in the area. Both acute and chronic tests were made with the crustacean Ceriodaphnia dubia, and the sediment samples were equilibrated with standard reference water prior to exposure. The exposures were made under standard conditions in the laboratory to make them more readily comparable between the sampling locations and with previous studies. The effects on survival and reproduction were monitored during 8 days. After that a series of Toxicity Identification Evaluation manipulations of the tested waters were made in order to identify the cause(s) of the toxicity. The results from the Toxicity Identification Evaluation tests pointed towards heavy metals as the cause of toxicity, and the analytical results of heavy metals in the water phase showed that the concentrations of six metals (Cd, Co, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn) were significantly correlated with toxicity. The concentrations of these metals were also correlated with each other making it hard to separate cause and effect among the metals. However, the concentrations of Cd, Ni, Pb and Zn were below the expected effect concentrations, but the measured concentrations of Co and Mn were high enough to be probable causes of the observed experimental toxicity. There was no indication that lipophilic compounds should have caused these effects. Therefore, the result of this study was rather surprising, showing that heavy metals like cobalt and/or manganese which are not generally considered as environmentally problematic may be of environmental concern. Potential effects of cobalt and manganese could be mediated through the olfactory system, because both these metals have been observed to affect this system in fish. However, the link between such effects and those observed on reproduction in Lake Molnbyggen is vague.

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