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Chemosphere. 2013 Jun;92(1):38-44. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2013.03.007. Epub 2013 Apr 1.

Comparative analysis of effluent water quality from a municipal treatment plant and two on-site wastewater treatment systems.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Science, Baylor University, One Bear Place #97266, Waco, TX 76798, USA.

Abstract

Though decentralized on-site technologies are extensively employed for wastewater treatment around the globe, an understanding of effluent water quality impairments associated with these systems remain less understood than effluent discharges from centralized municipal wastewater treatment facilities. Using a unique experimental facility, a novel comparative analysis of effluent water quality was performed from model decentralized aerobic (ATS) and septic (STS) on-site wastewater treatment systems and a centralized municipal wastewater treatment plant (MTP). The ATS and STS units did not benefit from further soil treatment. Each system received common influent wastewater from the Waco, Texas, USA Metropolitan Area Regional Sewerage System. We tested the hypothesis that MTP effluent would exhibit higher water quality than on-site effluents, based on parameters selected for study. A tiered testing approach was employed to assess the three effluent discharges: select routine water quality parameters (Tier I), whole effluent toxicity (Tier II), and select endocrine-active compounds (Tier III). Contrary to our hypothesis, ATS effluent was not statistically different from MTP effluents, based on Tier I and III parameters, but reproductive responses of Daphnia magna were slightly more sensitive to ATS than MTP effluents. STS effluent water quality was identified as most degraded of the three wastewater treatment systems. Parameters used to assess centralized wastewater treatment plant effluent water quality such as whole effluent toxicity and endocrine active substances appear useful for water quality assessments of decentralized discharges. Aerobic on-site wastewater treatment systems may represent more robust options than traditional septic systems for on-site wastewater treatment in watersheds with appreciable groundwater - surface water exchange.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

PMID:
23557723
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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