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Even tiny amounts of toxins in rivers and lakes can endanger aquatic organisms. The public has become more aware of this environmental problem in recent years. Trace amounts of toxins found in our waterways are included in many of the things we use every day – dishwasher tablets, washing powder and shower gel – as well as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and pesticides. These substances are in household wastewater and are transported to wastewater treatment plants, where conventional techniques cannot completely remove or degrade them. The treated wastewater flows into our streams, taking the toxins with it. A group of researchers headed by the University of Tübingen's Professor Rita Triebskorn has been investigating the effects of various wastewater treatments on the health of fish. The scientists, from the Institute of Evolution and Ecology (EvE), found that the type of wastewater treatment needs to be decided on a case by case basis, depending on the composition of toxins in the wastewater. Their study has been published in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe.
In conventional wastewater treatment plants the wastewater from industry and private households runs through mechanical, biological, and chemical purification stages. Additional stages using activated carbon or ozonisation are increasingly being included as a fourth purifcation stage. "As part of an investigation on Lake Constance we were able to show that trace toxins can be effectively removed with an additional stage of powdered activated carbon, and that the health of aquatic organisms in the area clearly improves," says Rita Triebskorn. "But until now there have been relatively few studies on the long-term success of improved wastewater treatment on water ecosystems."
Experiments - Researchers - Wastewater - Treatment - Plants
In their comparative experiments the researchers looked at three conventional wastewater treatment plants – one of which, the Langwiese plant in the Ravensburg district,...
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