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Quantification of total mercury discharges from publicly owned treatment works to Wisconsin surface waters

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Testing of mercury levels in both raw and treated wastewater at publicly owned treatment works in the past has frequently detected concentrations just above the common lower limit of detection of 0.2 μg/L. In recent years those results have been questioned. This paper assembles and summarizes results of recent tests, conducted using more sensitive laboratory methods. The data indicate that although influent levels compare reasonably well with past data, effluent levels are much lower than previously thought. Further, this new information shows that a large percentage of the incoming mercury becomes associated with the wastewater solids during the treatment process. Much research effort has been expended on the behavior of mercury in natural waters, and this knowledge can be applied to the wastewater field. However, the mechanisms for removal of mercury from the waste stream are not completely understood. Additional study is needed to determine the forms mercury takes during the treatment process and which factors may affect its removal.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1996-03-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research� (WER�) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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