Assessment of waters with complex contamination: Effect-based methods for evaluating wastewater treatment requirements and efficiency
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
The access to clean water is one of the prerequisites for a modern, industrialized society. The amount of water withdrawn for human activities has risen exponentially during the last 100 years. This rise in water use is accompanied by the production of vast quantities of contaminated water. These wastewaters may be contaminated by substances ranging from heavy metals and organic compounds to nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous. The aggregate effect of combinations of water contaminants can be difficult to predict as different contaminant substances may interact, leading to additive, synergistic or antagonistic toxic effects in a receiving aquatic ecosystem. With increasing water quality legislation, the pressure to characterize and potentially treat contaminated waters increases. Suitable effect-based assessment methods may greatly reduce the costs of both the wastewater characterization process and the water treatment evaluation. The overall aim of this thesis was to show how a combination of ecotoxicity bioassays may be employed in water treatment method development for initial characterization, assessment of treatment requirements and finally treatment evaluation. The wastewaters characterized originated from different activities such as waste management, metal surfacing and explosives destruction. To fully assess the hazard of the waters sampled, a holistic approach using a combination of chemical tests and bioassays was taken. A combination of acute and chronic assays was used to determine mode-of-action effects and apical endpoints in the aquatic environment. The basic battery consisted of the acute Vibrio fischeri test, the chronic algae test using Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata and either the planktonic crustacean Daphnia magna (for aqueous samples) or the meiobenthic crustacean Heterocypris incongruens (for whole-sediment/soil samples). In addition to the basic test battery, the mode-of-action Salmonella typhimurium test was used to assess genotoxic effects. Results from the water hazard characterization show that ecotoxicological tests contribute to the evaluation of treatment methods for complex wastewaters by assessing the aggregate biological effect of water treatment. The tests may be used as a screening method to indicate where further treatment may be required, even when chemical measurements show a satisfactory reduction of known contaminants. The toxic effect exerted by the assessed waters did not always correlate with measured levels of contaminants or the chemical measures of bioavailability, e.g. leached fraction. The water treatment evaluation showed that the industrial by-product pine bark is an effective adsorbent for capturing metal contaminants from landfill leachates and stormwater. The pine bark column filter had higher zinc removal efficiency than the polonite filter and the combination filter column with pine bark/polonite. In conclusion, a pine bark filter is a suitable alternative to activated carbon for small-scale, decentralized treatment of wastewaters. Furthermore, the ecotoxicity tests were able to detect effects of unknown contaminants and provided unique characterization data, which complemented the information provided by the chemical analyses.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University , 2012. , 71 p.
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 127
Effect-based test methods; wastewater treatment; ecotoxicology; bioassays
Engineering and Technology
Research subject Energy- and Environmental Engineering
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-14624ISBN: 978-91-7485-073-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-14624DiVA: diva2:527257
2012-06-13, Gamma, Mälardalens högskola, Högskoleplan 1, Västerås, 10:00 (English)
Breitholtz, Magnus, docent
Forsberg, Åke, docentOdlare, Monica, docentNehrenheim, Emma, DrBerglind, Rune, Dr
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