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Mar Pollut Bull. 2009 Apr;58(4):573-80. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2008.11.016. Epub 2009 Jan 12.

Redistribution of sewage-nitrogen in estuarine food webs following sewage treatment upgrades.

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Australian Rivers Institute - Coast and Estuaries, Griffith School of Environment, Gold Coast Campus, Griffith University, QLD 4222, Australia.


Stable nitrogen isotopes were used to assess the effects of wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) upgrades on the utilisation of sewage-N by estuarine biota in Moreton Bay, Australia. We measured delta(15)N of filamentous algae, mangrove leaves and shore crabs at the Brisbane and Logan Rivers before and after scheduled WWTP upgrades, and at two reference rivers where WWTPs had been upgraded >4 years previously. The total N discharged into Brisbane River decreased by >80% after the upgrades had occurred, but N loads remained similar at Logan River despite the upgrade. In Brisbane River, delta(15)N values of algae and crabs decreased and were comparable to the reference rivers within 1-2 years but no changes occurred at Logan River. The delta(15)N of mangrove leaves remained elevated in all rivers, indicating that sewage-N remained a major source to mangroves either from residual WWTP discharges or from N accumulated in the sediments over many years.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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