U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Document Type


Date of this Version



Sewage and Industrial Wastes, Vol. 27, No. 3 (Mar., 1955), pp. 297-310


U.S. government work


This paper presents a summary of experiences with a variety of cyanogenic wastes. The work has attempted to evaluate the interaction of waste bearing waters and the environment in terms of waste disposal design requirements. In this, the approach is somewhat more critical than that commonly taken by fisheries biologists, conservationists, and others who have been concerned with the "preventive" aspects of waste disposal.

The first phases of the work were designed to discover the tolerable limits of certain waste components to fresh water fish. This was undertaken in 1950; in the interval the composition of the wastes has been greatly modified, but the findings on the tolerances to cyanide, to lactonitrile, and to acrylonitrile are still pertinent, especially since these were conducted under controlled conditions that precluded loss of volatiles from the water system, and permitted close observation of the test animals. A brief review of the earlier literature will show that loss of cyanide to the atmosphere has yielded widely divergent tolerance data.