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Exploring Potential Causes of Whole Effluent Toxicity in a Large POTW

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Low-level whole effluent toxicity (WET) has been apparent sporadically at this large publicly owned treatment works (POTW). No specific cause(s) had been identified for the intermittent toxicity. Historical WET test results were analyzed in conjunction with various parameters to determine possible causative factors for instances of reported toxicity. Twenty-four different effluent characteristics or operational parameters were compared with WET results for 95 samples tested over thirteen years. A graphical approach was used to look for potential relationships between variables and reported toxicity. A recent coincidence of reported WET from samples collected during cold weather periods suggested some link. While not definitive, a potential relationship was identified between instances of WET and use of chloride-containing deicing chemicals in the collection system's service area. Based upon this evaluation it is believed that chlorides present in surface runoff entering the combined sewer system may be a significant causative factor for this POTW.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2008-01-01

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