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Assessment of waters with complex contamination: Effect-based methods for evaluating wastewater treatment requirements and efficiency
Mälardalen University, School of Sustainable Development of Society and Technology. (MERO)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9563-9688
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

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 The amount of water withdrawn for human activities has risen exponentially during the last 100 years.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.
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 127
Keyword [en]
Effect-based test methods; wastewater treatment; ecotoxicology; bioassays
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Energy- and Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-14624ISBN: 978-91-7485-073-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-14624DiVA: diva2:527257
Public defence
2012-06-13, Gamma, Mälardalens högskola, Högskoleplan 1, Västerås, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
CLEANBIOREX
Available from: 2012-05-21 Created: 2012-05-18 Last updated: 2013-11-28Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Leaching of contaminants from untreated pine bark in a batch study: Chemical analysis and ecotoxicological evaluation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Leaching of contaminants from untreated pine bark in a batch study: Chemical analysis and ecotoxicological evaluation
2009 (English)In: Journal of Hazardous Materials, ISSN 0304-3894, E-ISSN 1873-3336, Vol. 163, no 2-3, 1096-1100 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Low cost sorbents have been widely studied in recent years in the search for filter materials that retain contaminants from water. One promising, low cost material is pine bark, a by-product from the forest industry. Many studies have shown that pine bark has great potential for the treatment of metals and organic substances, as a replacement for other commercial sorbents such as active carbon. However, some potential problems are introduced through the use of natural materials and by-products. One such problem that must be addressed is the possibility of leaching of contaminants from the filter material, especially in the initial filtration step or during flushes of lightly contaminated water, e.g. during rainfall for on-site treatment of stormwater or landfill leachate. The aim of this preliminary studywas therefore to identify potential risks and limitations of using pine bark as a filter material. Leachate from a standardized batch test was analysed for metals, dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and phenols. In addition to these chemical analyses, an ecotoxicological test was conducted using the test organism

Daphnia magna. The results showed significant leaching of DOC and some metals. Only a small fraction of the DOC was present as phenols. The leachate was however found to be toxic to the test organism without pH adjustment, and the EC 50 was established at an approximate leachate concentration of 40%. This was concluded to be related to the low pH in the eluate, since no toxicity was observed after pH adjustment before the toxicity tests.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Energy- and Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-1158 (URN)10.1016/j.jhazmat.2008.07.063 (DOI)000264160000082 ()18757135 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-59849105483 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2008-10-03 Created: 2008-10-03 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
2. Ecotoxicological assessment and evaluation of a pine bark biosorbent treatment of five landfillleachates
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ecotoxicological assessment and evaluation of a pine bark biosorbent treatment of five landfillleachates
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2012 (English)In: Waste Management, ISSN 0956-053X, E-ISSN 1879-2456, Vol. 32, no 10, 1886-1894 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

When selecting a landfill leachate treatment method the contaminant composition of theleachate should be considered in order to obtain the most cost-effective treatment option. In this studythe filter material pine bark was evaluated as a treatment for five landfill leachates originating fromdifferent cells of the same landfill in Sweden. The objective of the study was to determine the uptake,or release, of metals and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) during a leaching test using the pine barkfilter material with the five different landfill leachates. Furthermore the change of toxicity aftertreatment was studied using a battery of aquatic bioassays assessing luminescent bacteria (Vibriofischeri) acute toxicity (30-min Microtox®), immobility of the crustacean Daphnia magna, growthinhibition of the algae Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata and the aquatic plant Lemna minor; andgenotoxicity with the bacterial Umu-C assay. The results from the toxicity tests and the chemicalanalysis were analyzed in a Principal Component Analysis and the toxicity of the samples before andafter treatment was evaluated in a toxicity classification. The pine bark filter material reduced theconcentrations of metal contaminants from the landfill leachates in the study, with some exceptions forCu and Cd. The Zn uptake of the filter was high for heavily contaminated leachates (≥73%), althoughsome desorption of zinc occurred in less contaminated waters. Some of the leachates may requirefurther treatment due to discharge into a natural recipient in order to reduce the risk of possiblebiological effects. The difference in pH changes between the different leachates was probably due tovariations in buffering capacity, affected by physicochemical properties of the leachate. The greatestdesorption of phenol during filtration occurred in leachates with high conductivity or elevated levels ofmetals or salts. Generally, the toxicity classification of the leachates implies that although filtertreatment with pine bark removes metal contaminants from the leachates effectively, it does not alterleachate toxicity noticeably. The leachates with the highest conductivity, pH and metal concentrationsare most strongly correlated with an increased toxic response in the score plots of both untreated andtreated leachates. This is in line with the toxicity classification of the leachate samples. The results fromthis study highlight the importance of evaluating treatment efficiency from the perspective of potentialrecipient effects, rather than in terms of residual concentrations of individual contaminants whentreating waters with a complex contamination matrix, such as landfill leachates.

Keyword
KEYWORDS: LANDFILL LEACHATE; FILTER TREATMENT; PINE BARK; ECOTOXICOLOGICAL TEST BATTERY; PRINCIPAL COMPONENT ANALYSIS
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Energy- and Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-14619 (URN)10.1016/j.wasman.2012.05.011 (DOI)000309627100017 ()22703999 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84866147120 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2013-02-27 Created: 2012-05-18 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
3. Ecotoxicological characterization of sediments from a constructed wetland system for treatment of landfill leachate
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ecotoxicological characterization of sediments from a constructed wetland system for treatment of landfill leachate
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(English)In: Ecological Engineering: The Journal of Ecotechnology, ISSN 0925-8574, E-ISSN 1872-6992Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

In this study a bioassay test battery was used to assess the toxicity and the presence of dioxin-like compounds in 8 sediment samples obtained from a surface flow wetland system for treatment of municipal landfill leachate. The wetland system consists of sediment traps at the inlet followed by 10 ponds connected with overflows. In the 6 day solid phase microbiotest with the sediment-dwelling crustacean Heterocypris incongruens both acute and chronic effects were observed with a gradual decrease and loss of toxicity with treatment in the wetland system. Some samples showed low toxicity in pore water but no toxicity was observed in the whole sediment when assessed with Aliivibrio fischeri (Vibro fischeri).  No genotoxicity was detected in the umu test with or without metabolic activation. The toxicity response in the H4IIE- luc test evaluating the presence of dioxin-like compounds was significantly higher in the samples closer to the inlet of the system; the first sample was found to be a 177 times more potent Ah-receptor (AhR) inducer in comparison to the other samples. In conclusion; no toxicity, low levels of dioxin-like compounds and low levels of heavy metals were detected in the sediments from the last part of the wetland. The results indicate that the surface flow wetland system has an effective design for concentrating toxic substances associated with particulate matter in a small area of the wetland. The battery of tests used provided a comprehensive assessment of the ecotoxicological status of this aquatic system.

Keyword
Bioassay, H4IIE- luc, genotoxicity, umu test, Vibrio fischeri, Heterocypris incongruens
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Energy- and Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-14620 (URN)
Available from: 2012-05-18 Created: 2012-05-18 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
4. Applying the Triad method in a risk assessment of a former surface treatment and metal industry site
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Applying the Triad method in a risk assessment of a former surface treatment and metal industry site
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2012 (English)In: Journal of Hazardous Materials, ISSN 0304-3894, E-ISSN 1873-3336, Vol. 207, no SI, 15-20 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

With a greater focus on soil protection in the EU, the need for ecological risk assessment tools for cost-effective characterization of site contamination is increasing. One of the challenges in assessing the risk of soil contaminants is to accurately account for changes in mobility of contaminants over time, as a result of ageing. Improved tools for measuring the bioavailable and mobile fraction of contaminants is therefore highly desirable. In this study the Triad method was used to perform a risk characterization of a former surface treatment and metal industry in Eskilstuna, Sweden. The risk assessment confirmed the environmental risk of the most heavily contaminated sample and showed that the toxic effect was most likely caused by high metal concentrations. The assessment of the two soil samples with low to moderate metal contamination levels was more complex, as there was a higher deviation between the results from the three lines of evidence; chemistry, (eco)toxicology and ecology. For the slightly less contaminated sample of the two, a weighting of the results from the ecotoxicological LoE would be recommended in order to accurately determine the risk of the metal contamination at the sampling site as the toxic effect detected in the Microtox® test and Ostracodtoxkit™ test was more likely to be due to oil contamination. The soil sample with higher total metal concentrations requires further ecotoxicological testing, as the integrated risk value indicated an environmental risk from metal contamination. The applied methodology, the Triad method, is considered appropriate for conducting improved environmental risk assessments in order to achieve sustainable remediation processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2012
Keyword
Ecological risk assessment; Triad method; Bioavailability; Contaminated soil; Ecotoxicological bioassays
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Energy- and Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-13171 (URN)10.1016/j.jhazmat.2011.07.120 (DOI)000301948800004 ()21890272 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84857238806 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2013-02-27 Created: 2011-10-24 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
5. HAZARD SCREENING BY CHEMICAL ANALYSIS AND ECOTOXICITY BIOASSAYS OF SEDIMENT, GROUND AND SURFACE WATER SAMPLED FROM A FIRE POND AND THE SURROUNDING AREA AT AN EXPLOSIVES DESTRUCTION SITE
Open this publication in new window or tab >>HAZARD SCREENING BY CHEMICAL ANALYSIS AND ECOTOXICITY BIOASSAYS OF SEDIMENT, GROUND AND SURFACE WATER SAMPLED FROM A FIRE POND AND THE SURROUNDING AREA AT AN EXPLOSIVES DESTRUCTION SITE
2010 (English)In: Crete 2010, 2nd International Conference, Hazardous and Industrial Waste Management, Proceedings / [ed] E. Gidarakos; R. Cossu; R. Stegmann, 2010, 243-244 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

A hazard assessment of sediment, surface and groundwater samples from the burning ground fire pond and the wetland linking the fire pond with a nearby lake at an explosives destruction site was carried out. The assessment was performed on sediment, surface and groundwater samples from the site by a comparison of the results from a chemical analysis (metals, energetic materials (EM) and EM metabolites) with the results from an ecotoxicity test battery. Sediment and water samples were analysed for metals (ICP-MS) and EM and EM metabolites (HPLC-PDA). The explosive substances analysed were TNT, 2-A-4,6-DNT, 2,4-DANT, 2,4-DNT, RDX and HMX. An aquatic ecotoxicity test battery consisting of an acute luminescent bacteria bioassay using (Vibrio fischeri), a direct-contact sediment chronic freshwater benthic crustacean bioassay (Ostracodtoxkit) and a bacterial genotoxic bioassay, Umu-C, using genetically modified Salmonella typhimurium pSk 1002 assessed the toxicity of water, sediment and sediment leachate samples. The results from the chemical analysis and the ecotoxicity testing were evaluated in a principal component multivariate analysis (PCA) using Unscrambler®. The results from the chemical analysis generally showed low contamination levels, apart from samples 2W and 2S, sampled in the fire pond. The toxicity tests showed a low to very low toxicity of the samples, with the exception of an elevated mortality rate and growth inhibition of the sediment sample taken from the lake. In general, the results from the study indicated a low environmental hazard of the samples taken from the destruction site.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Energy- and Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-11702 (URN)
Conference
Crete 2010, 2nd International Conference, Hazardous and Industrial Waste Management
Available from: 2011-02-02 Created: 2011-02-02 Last updated: 2013-12-17Bibliographically approved
6. COMPARATIVE STUDY OF FIVE FILTER TYPES FOR STORMWATER TREATMENT: USING A WHOLE EFFLUENT ASSESSMENT APPROACH TO EVALUATE FILTER PERFORMANCE
Open this publication in new window or tab >>COMPARATIVE STUDY OF FIVE FILTER TYPES FOR STORMWATER TREATMENT: USING A WHOLE EFFLUENT ASSESSMENT APPROACH TO EVALUATE FILTER PERFORMANCE
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The release of hazardous substances to the environment from industrial activities in Sweden is heavily restricted due to pieces of legislation such as the Industrial Emissions Directive (2010/75/EU). In the directive, the whole effluent assessment (WEA) methodology is included as a suitable approach to characterization of effluent waters. The use of WEA methods in the evaluation of treatments for complex effluent waters has great advantages when comparing to using chemical analysis of individual substances alone. In this comparative study the WEA methodology of combining toxicity testing with chemical analysis was applied to evaluate the performance, stability and safety of four stormwater filter types in comparison with the conventional filter material active carbon. The filter materials were the two sorbent filter materials pine bark and polonite; and the two combination filters pine bark/polonite (filtration through pine bark followed by filtration through polonite) and polonite/pine bark (filtration through polonite followed by filtration through pine bark). The stormwater treated in the study was sampled from two points at a metals manufacturing site in mid-Sweden. A preliminary analysis of the water showed high concentrations of heavy metals and in particular of Zn, with concentrations exceeding 36 mg/L. The stormwater pH was neutral (7.5) and suspended solids content was approximately 130 mg/l. Samples of the stormwater, corresponding to ten filter bed volumes, were filtered through a pilot-scale 250 ml filter columns with the four filters or activated carbon. The filtered water samples were analysed for Zn and pH. An aquatic ecotoxicity test battery was used to measure acute and chronic toxic effects of the untreated and treated stormwater samples. The test battery assessed luminescent bacteria acute toxicity (30-min Microtox® ISO 11348-3 using Vibrio fischeri), growth inhibition of the green unicellular algae Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata and genotoxicity with the bacterial umu assay using Salmonella typhimurium TA1535/pSK1002 (ISO 13829). The pine bark sorbent showed the highest average Zn removal efficiency of the single filter materials after activated carbon. The results from the stormwater filtration with combination materials were difficult to interpret. All filter types, except pine bark, increased pH of the treated waters > 9. Pine bark lowered the pH of the treated water below 5 even after filtration of 10 bed volumes of stormwater. Although pH of the treated waters was only adjusted for the Microtox test, there was a statistically significant positive correlation between the response of this test and the algal assay. Activated carbon showed the highest reduction of Zn contamination and toxicity of the treated waters. There was no significant correlation between the level of zinc contamination and toxic response of the treated waters. Although pine bark lowered pH significantly, in comparison to the other filter types, there was no significant correlation between the pH and the toxic response of the filtered waters.

Keyword
WHOLE EFFLUENT ASSESSMENT; COLUMN FILTER; PINE BARK; POLONITE; MICROTOX; UMU
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Energy- and Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-14621 (URN)
Projects
CLEAN
Available from: 2013-02-27 Created: 2012-05-18 Last updated: 2013-12-04Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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