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Effect of Water Quality Management Efforts on Wastewater Loadings During the Past Century

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The history of wastewater discharges to the Hudson River watershed from Troy, New York, to the New York City Harbor was traced from 1900 to 2000. The parameters studied include population, flow, type of treatment, biochemical oxygen demand, suspended solids, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus. This paper details a methodology for estimating historic loadings where data are lacking. The data show dramatic changes in wastewater loadings. There has been a continued increase in wastewater flow and population over the past century but a decrease in contaminant loading during the last 25 years. The reduction in effluent loads is directly related to state and federal water quality management programs and the substantial public and private investment made in upgrading point source water pollution control infrastructure. A comparison of point with nonpoint source loads shows that although nonpoint sources are now a significant contributor of contaminants to the river, point sources remain as major sources of total nitrogen and total phosphorus.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2003

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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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