Ecological Risk Assessment in Sediments from the Urbanized Lagoon of the Olympic Park

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering, Rio de Janeiro State University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


The Jacarepaguá Lagoon (JPAL) is part of a lagoon complex, located in the west zone of Rio de Janeiro city, and has largest drainage area of the complex. JPAL constantly receives the clandestine release of domestic and industrial effluents, in addition to diffuse contributions from drainage waters from different sources, with high pollution load. Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) is an important tool with a more global view of the risks for the management of contaminated areas, including the identification of adverse effects of contaminants on the environment. This study aimed to develop an ERA for the JPAL, using two lines of evidence (LoE): Ecotoxicological and Ecological. The sediments samples were collected in four sampling points. The Ecotoxicological LoE was based on chronic ecotoxicity assays (Chlorella vulgaris and Ceriodaphnia dubia) to estimate the Ecotoxicological Risk. The Ecological LoE was based on the analysis of the richness and abundance of local algae species to estimate the Ecological Risk. The Environmental Risk was estimated by integrating the Risks of the two LoE. The Ecotoxicological Risk was 0.80±0.12, classified as very high risk. The Ecological Risk was 0.746±0.01, classified as high risk. The estimated Environmental Risk was 0.78±0.08, which was a very high risk. In summary, JPAL had an advanced stage of contamination, with a high content of organic matter in the sediment, caused by irregular effluents released. JPAL's current environmental risk exposes the urgent need for more inspection actions to prevent the release of sewage before the total degradation of the local ecosystem.


1.    Starling, M. C. V. M., Amorim, C. C., & Leão, M. M. D., 2019, Occurrence, control and fate of contaminants of emerging concern in environmental compartments in Brazil, Journal of Hazardous Materials, 372: 17–36.
2.    River basins and rivers in Rio de Janeiro: informative synthesis by environmental macro-region Volume 3 of SEMADS Series, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil: State). State Secretariat for the Environment and Sustainable Development, PLANÁGUA SEMADS / Projeto PLANÁGUA SEMADS/GTZ de Cooperação Técnica Brasil-Alemanha. Retrieved fromáficas_e_rios_fluminenses.html?id=AXxQAAAACAAJ [In Portuguese]
3.    Ferrao-Filho, A. S., Domingos, P., & Azevedo, S. M. F. O., 2002, Influences of a Microcystis aeruginosa Kützing bloom on zooplankton populations in Jacarepaguá Lagoon (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Limnologica, 32(4): 295–308.
4.    USEPA- United States Environmental Protection Agency. Framework for ecological risk assessment. Washington (DC): UEP Agency. (EPA/630/R-92/001), 1992.
5.    Buch, A. C., Niemeyer, J. C., Marques, E. D., & Silva-Filho, E. V., 2021, Ecological risk assessment of trace metals in soils affected by mine tailings, Journal of Hazardous Materials, 403: 123852.
6.    Long, E. R., & Chapman, P. M., 1985, A Sediment Quality Triad: Measures of sediment contamination, toxicity and infaunal community composition in Puget Sound, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 16(10): 405–415.
7.    Chapman, P. M., & Hollert, H., 2006, Should the sediment quality triad become a tetrad, a pentad, or possibly even a hexad?, Journal of Soils and Sediments, 6(1): 4–8.
8.    Jensen, J., Mesman, M., Bierkens, J., Loibner, A., & Rutgers, M., 2006, Ecological risk assessment of contaminated land-Decision support for site specific investigations. RIVM: Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu. Retrieved from
9.    Monitoring Program for Urban Coastal Ecosystems in the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro, Environmental information on coastal systems in the municipality, IPP Bookstore, Municipal Environment Secretariat- SMAC, 1998. [In Portuguese]
10. National Water and Basic Sanitation Agency (ANA), National Guide to Sample Collection and Preservation: Water, Sediment, Aquatic Communities and Wastewater, 2011. [In Portuguese]
11. Lamberson, J. O., DeWitt, T. H., & Swartz, R. C., 1992, Assessment of sediment toxicity to marine benthos, Sediment toxicity assessment, 9: 183–211.
12. ISO - International Organization for Standardization. 2012. ISO 8692. International Standard: Water quality — Fresh water algal growth inhibition test with unicellular green algae. Switzerland.
13. ISO - International Organization for Standardization. 2008. ISO 20665. International Standard: Water quality —Determination of chronic toxicity to Ceriodaphnia dubia. Switzerland.
14. Mendes, M. P., Salomão, A. L. S., Niemeyer, J. C., & Marques, M., 2017, Ecological risk assessment in a tropical wetland contaminated with gasoline: Tier 1, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, 23(5): 992–1007.
15. Utermöhl, H., 1958, Zur Vervollkommnung der quantitativen Phytoplankton-Methodik, SIL Communications, 9(1): 1–38.
16. Lund, J. W. G., Kipling, C., & Le Cren, E. D., 1958, The inverted microscope method of estimating algal numbers and the statistical basis of estimations by counting, Hydrobiologia, 11(2): 143–170.
17. Shannon, C. E., 1948, A mathematical theory of communication, The Bell System Technical Journal, 27(3): 379–423.
18. Hammer, D. A. T., Ryan, P. D., Hammer, Ø., & Harper, D. A. T., 2001, Past: Paleontological Statistics Software Package for Education and Data Analysis, Palaeontologia Electronica, 4(1): 1–9. Retrieved from http://palaeo-electronica.orghttp//
19. Reynolds, C., 2006, The ecology of phytoplankton. Cambridge University Press.