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Title: The effect of sewage effluent on trace metal speciation : implications for the biotic ligand model approach
Author: Constantino, Carlos
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 9936
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2013
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This research examined the suitability of the biotic ligand model (BLM) approach for assessing environmental risk in surface waters consisting substantially of treated sewage effluent, and the implications of its use within a compliance-based regulatory framework aimed at controlling discharges of metals into the aquatic environment. The results from a series of Daphnia magna acute copper toxicity assays conducted in an undiluted sewage effluent medium demonstrated that BLMs could predict an acute copper toxicity endpoint with suitable accuracy. This finding contributes further support for the use of BLMs for assessing risk and compliance, even in effluent impacted waters. Additional studies, however, also demonstrated that effluent derived organic matter contained a greater concentration of metal complexing ligands per milligram of dissolved organic carbon than organic matter derived from natural sources. This indicates that effluent derived organic matter offers greater protection against the potentially adverse effects from metals than the protection offered by organic matter derived from natural sources. These studies also demonstrated that improvements in the accuracy of BLM forecasts were achievable by taking these differences into account which, from a regulatory perspective, is also desirable since this enhances the environmental relevance of compliance criteria. These findings therefore justify that consideration for the influence of site-specific metal complexation characteristics should included as part of the regulatory framework within which BLMs will be applied. The implication of the BLM approach for Severn Trent Water Limited is that, as currently proposed, the approach will require a reduction in the concentration of copper in the effluent discharges for a small number of wastewater treatment works (9), whereas for zinc, concentration reductions may be required for numerous treatment works (126).
Supervisor: Scrimshaw, M. Sponsor: Severn Trent Water ; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Daphnia magna ; Copper ; Zinc ; Regulatory compliance