Physical, chemical, biological and ecotoxicological properties of wastewater discharged from Davis Station, Antarctica

Stark, Jonathan S., Smith, James, King, Catherine K., Lindsay, Margaret, Stark, Scott, Palmer, Anne S., Snape, Ian, Bridgen, Phil, & Riddle, Martin (2015) Physical, chemical, biological and ecotoxicological properties of wastewater discharged from Davis Station, Antarctica. Cold Regions Science and Technology, 113, pp. 52-62.

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Abstract

The properties and toxicity of untreatedwastewater at Davis Station, East Antarctica,were investigated to inform decisions regarding the appropriate level of treatment for local discharge purposes and more generally, to better understand the risk associated with dispersal and impact of wastewaters in Antarctica. Suspended solids, nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus), biological oxygen demand (BOD), metals, organic contaminants, surfactants and microbiological load were measured at various locations throughout the wastewater discharge system. Wastewater quality and properties varied greatly between buildings on station, each ofwhich has separate holding tanks. Nutrients, BOD and settleable solid levelswere higher than standard municipal wastewaters. Microbiological loads were typical of untreated wastewater. Contaminants detected in the wastewater included metals and persistent organic compounds, mainly polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). The toxicity of wastewater was also investigated in laboratory bioassays using two local Antarctic marine invertebrates, the amphipod Paramoera walkeri and the microgastropod Skenella paludionoides. Animals were exposed to a range of wastewater concentrations from3% to 68% (test 1) or 63% (test 2) over 21 days with survival monitored daily. Significant mortality occurred in all concentrations of wastewater after 14 to 21 days, and at higher concentrations (50–68% wastewater) mortality occurred after only one day. Results indicate that the local receiving marine environment at Davis Station is at risk from existing wastewater discharges, and that advanced treatment is required both to remove contaminants shown to cause toxicity to biota, as well as to reduce the environmental risks associated with non-native micro-organisms in wastewater.

Impact and interest:

9 citations in Scopus
9 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 80827
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: PBDEs, Metals, Wastewater Treatment, Sewage, Antarctic Stations, Environmental Risk
DOI: 10.1016/j.coldregions.2015.02.006
ISSN: 0165-232X
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Elsevier BV
Deposited On: 03 Mar 2015 22:39
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2015 22:49

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