Real-world observational datasets that record and quantify pressure-stressor-response linkages between effluent discharges and natural aquatic systems are rare. With global wastewater volumes increasing at unprecedented rates, it is urgent that the present dataset is available to provide the necessary information about microbial community structure and functioning. Field studies were performed at two time-points in the Austral summer. Single-species and microbial community whole effluent toxicity (WET) testing was performed at a complete range of effluent concentrations and two salinities, with accompanying environmental data to provide new insights into nutrient and organic matter cycling, and to identify ecotoxicological tipping points. The two salinity regimes were chosen to investigate future scenarios based on a predicted salinity increase at the study site, typical of coastal regions with rising sea levels globally. Flow cytometry, amplicon sequencing of 16S and 18S rRNA genes and micro-fluidic quantitative polymerase-chain reactions (MFQPCR) were used to determine chlorophyll-a and total bacterial cell numbers and size, as well as taxonomic and functional diversity of pelagic microbial communities. This strong pilot dataset could be replicated in other regions globally and would be of high value to scientists and engineers to support the next advances in microbial ecotoxicology, environmental biomonitoring and estuarine water quality modelling.