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Chemosphere. 2004 Apr;55(2):227-55.

Impact assessment of treated/untreated wastewater toxicants discharged by sewage treatment plants on health, agricultural, and environmental quality in the wastewater disposal area.

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Environmental Chemistry Division, Industrial Toxicology Research Centre, Post Box No. 80, Mahatma Gandhi Marg, Lucknow 226 001, India.


Studies were undertaken to assess the impact of wastewater/sludge disposal (metals and pesticides) from sewage treatment plants (STPs) in Jajmau, Kanpur (5 MLD) and Dinapur, Varanasi (80 MLD), on health, agriculture and environmental quality in the receiving/application areas around Kanpur and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, India. The raw, treated and mixed treated urban wastewater samples were collected from the inlet and outlet points of the plants during peak (morning and evening) and non-peak (noon) hours. The impact of the treated wastewater toxicants (metals and pesticides) on the environmental quality of the disposal area was assessed in terms of their levels in different media samples viz., water, soil, crops, vegetation, and food grains. The data generated show elevated levels of metals and pesticides in all the environmental media, suggesting a definite adverse impact on the environmental quality of the disposal area. The critical levels of the heavy metals in the soil for agricultural crops are found to be much higher than those observed in the study areas receiving no effluents. The sludge from the STPs has both positive and negative impacts on agriculture as it is loaded with high levels of toxic heavy metals and pesticides, but also enriched with several useful ingredients such as N, P, and K providing fertilizer values. The sludge studied had cadmium, chromium and nickel levels above tolerable levels as prescribed for agricultural and lands application. Bio-monitoring of the metals and pesticides levels in the human blood and urine of the different population groups under study areas was undertaken. All the different approaches indicated a considerable risk and impact of heavy metals and pesticides on human health in the exposed areas receiving the wastewater from the STPs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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