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Health risks and ecological impacts of principal alternatives for disposal of treated wastewater effluent in Southeast Florida, including risks related to disinfection, were examined in a tenmonth study. Current disposal alternatives in the region include ocean outfall, canal discharge, and injection to deep wells. Wastewater constituents potentially related to disinfection practices include n-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a potent carcinogen which may form in the chlorination process, and microbes. In this paper, health risks related to disinfection, as indicated by assessed violation of assumed receiving water standards for NDMA and microbes, are compared among discharge alternatives. Cryptosporidium parvum was used as the indicator in surface waters, and rotavirus was used for groundwater discharge. A predictive Bayesian analysis was used to assess relative from available information in the form of expert judgment. The method allows comparison of technologies, while maintaining greater generality with respect to site characteristics than would normally be possible in a risk assessment. Assumptions included chlorination of ocean discharges, high level disinfection of canal discharges, and no disinfection of injection well discharges. All releases were assumed to receive secondary treatment, with canal releases receiving nutrient removal and filtration as well. Results indicated lower overall health risks for injection well disposal. Risks related to injection well disposal were driven by proximity to aquifer storage and recovery wells, assumed to be one mile horizontally from the injection well. It was noted that increases in wastewater quality may be needed to address emerging concerns (e.g., NDMA), and that this trend, coupled with population pressures, may make reuse of wastewater a more important component of integrated wastewater management in Southeast Florida.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2002-01-01

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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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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