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Implications of Aerated Stabilization Basin Dredging on Potential Effluent Toxicity to Fish

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Benthal solids accumulated in aerated stabilization basins (ASBs) must be dredged to regain treatment capacity. While dredging restores treatment performance, it has been associated occasionally with the failure to meet regulatory effluent toxicity limits at the time of dredging. A first study of its kind was undertaken to investigate the implications of ASB dredging on potential effluent toxicity to fish. The study showed that benthal solid slurry removed from the quiescent zone of an ASB with a hydraulic dredge was toxic to rainbow trout with a 96-hour median lethal concentration (LC50) of 2.2%. The high ammonia concentration in the sample was the main cause of fish mortality. Hydrogen sulfide and resin and fatty acids also were present in the dredged material at concentrations that could cause fish mortality. These findings have led to best management practices that can be used to mitigate or eliminate fish toxicity issues during dredging operations.

Keywords: aeration tanks; basins; biological treatment; dredges; effluent treatment; effluents; fishes; solids; toxicity

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2010

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  • 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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