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Water Conservation—Whole Effluent Toxicity Paradox

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Total dissolved solids (TDS) management in water has become an increasingly important topic as competition for water supply sources and the intensity of use both increase. Regulatory failure of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) whole effluent toxicity (WET) tests is one of several potential factors in managing TDS concentrations in effluent. Consequently, WET tests have become a de facto concentration standard that sets the limit for the intensity of water use and the amount of water conservation feasibly obtained for a facility. Conflicting regulations dealing with the application of mixing zones and antidegradation policies can prevent water conservation and actually result in the unintended consequence of causing more water use. The impact of TDS on NPDES-required WET tests, conflicting regulations dealing with the application of mixing zones that are counter-productive to water conservation, alternative practices currently being used, and other means of rectifying this paradox are discussed.

Keywords: refinery wastewater; total dissolved solids (TDS); whole effluent toxicity

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2013-06-01

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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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