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Type: Journal article
Title: The use of multiple tracers for tracking wastewater discharges in freshwater systems
Author: Williams, M.
Kumar, A.
Ort, C.
Lawrence, M.
Hambly, A.
Khan, S.
Kookana, R.
Citation: Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 2013; 185(11):9321-9332
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)
Issue Date: 2013
ISSN: 0167-6369
Statement of
Mike Williams, Anupama Kumar, Christoph Ort, Michael G. Lawrence, Adam Hambly, Stuart J. Khan, Rai Kookana
Abstract: The assessment of potential impacts of wastewater effluent discharges in freshwater systems requires an understanding of the likely degrees of dilution and potential zones of influence. In this study, four tracers commonly present in wastewater effluents were monitored to compare their relative effectiveness in determining areas in freshwater systems that are likely to be impacted by effluent discharges. The four tracers selected were the human pharmaceutical carbamazepine, anthropogenic gadolinium, fluorescent-dissolved organic matter (fDOM), and electrical conductivity (EC). The four tracers were monitored longitudinally in two distinct freshwater systems receiving wastewater effluents, where one site had a high level of effluent dilution (effluent <1% of total flow) and the other site had a low level of effluent dilution (effluent ∼50% of total flow). At both sites, the selected tracers exhibited a similar pattern of response intensity downstream of discharge points relative to undiluted wastewater effluent, although a number of anomalies were noted between the tracers. Both EC and fDOM are non-specific to human influences, and both had a high background response, relative to the highly sensitive carbamazepine and anthropogenic gadolinium responses, although the ease of measuring EC and fDOM would make them more adaptable in highly variable systems. However, the greater sensitivity and selectivity of carbamazepine and gadolinium would make their combination with EC and fDOM as tracers of wastewater effluent discharges highly desirable to overcome potential limitations of individual tracers.
Keywords: Carbamazepine; dilution; effluent; electrical conductivity; fluorescent dissolved organic matter; gadolinium
Rights: © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013
DOI: 10.1007/s10661-013-3254-8
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