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Since the early eighties the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (District) has been actively engaged in monitoring the influent and effluent of its water reclamation plants (WRPs) for a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and semivolatile organic compounds. Using this database, the annual emissions of VOCs have been estimated using various fate models. This paper presents the trends in emissions from the various District WRPs, estimated using the Bay Area Sewage Toxics Emission (BASTE) model and 65 VOCs from the USEPA's list of Hazardous Air Pollutants of concern for POTWs, for the period of 1987 through 1997.

The most prevalent compounds which comprised the major portion of the emissions are methylene chloride, tetrachloroethene, toluene, and xylenes. The reduction in estimated emissions of VOCs from the various WRPs when comparing the period of 1987-1992 to 1995-1997 varied between 7 and 73 percent, depending upon the specific WRP. The actual annual emissions were in the range of 0.01 tons per year for the smallest WRP to 6.58 tons per year for the largest WRP in 1997, indicating that none of the WRPs is a major source of VOC emissions.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2000

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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