Hydrobiologia

, Volume 556, Issue 1, pp 365–379

Water Quality of Effluent-dominated Ecosystems: Ecotoxicological, Hydrological, and Management Considerations

  • Bryan W. Brooks
  • Timothy M. Riley
  • Ritchie D. Taylor
Primary Research Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10750-004-0189-7

Cite this article as:
Brooks, B.W., Riley, T.M. & Taylor, R.D. Hydrobiologia (2006) 556: 365. doi:10.1007/s10750-004-0189-7

Abstract

In arid and semi-arid regions of the southwestern United States and other parts of the world, flows of historically ephemeral streams are now perennially dominated by municipal and/or industrial effluent discharges, particularly in urbanized watersheds. Because effluent-dominated and dependent water bodies have previously received limited scientific study, we reviewed select contemporary topics associated with water quality of ephemeral streams receiving effluent flows. Our findings indicate that these ecosystems present numerous challenges to aquatic scientists and water resources managers, including: 1) appropriate ecosystems or upstream conditions used reference sites in biomonitoring are difficult to locate or do not exist; 2) water quality criteria, particularly for metals, are dramatically influenced by unique site-specific stream and land use conditions; 3) effluent-dominated streams represent worse-case scenarios for evaluating and predicting aquatic responses to emerging contaminants (e.g., pharmaceuticals and personal care products); 4) low-flow and drought conditions often preclude effective biomonitoring and water quality interpretation, or skew ambient assessment results; 5) chemical-physical water quality parameters (e.g., dissolved oxygen, conductivity, temperature) are dramatically altered by effluent and stormwater characteristics; and 6) beneficial reuse of reclaimed effluent waters potentially conflict with sustainability of ecological integrity. Subsequently, we recommend several water quality research priorities for effluentdominated water bodies.

instream flows effluent dependent streams whole effluent toxicity beneficial reuse arid ecosystem urban ecosystem 

Abbreviations

7Q2

Minimum average 7-day flow with a 2 year recurrence interval

7Q10

Minimum average 7-day flow with a 10 year recurrence interval

BLM

Biotic Ligand Model

CWA

United States Clean Water Act

EE2

17α-ethinylestradiol

NPDES

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System

PPCPs

Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products

SSRI

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor

TMDL

Total Maximum Daily Load

USEPA

United States Environmental Protection Agency

VTG

Vitellogenin

WER

Water Effect Ratio

WET

Whole Effluent Toxicity

WLA

Wasteload Allocation

WQC

Water Quality Criteria

WQS

Water Quality Standards

WWTP

Wastewater Treatment Plant

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bryan W. Brooks
    • 1
  • Timothy M. Riley
    • 2
  • Ritchie D. Taylor
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Studies, Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems ResearchBaylor UniversityWacoUSA
  2. 2.Barton Springs / Edwards Aquifer Conservation DistrictAustinUSA
  3. 3.Department of Public Health, Centre for Water Resource StudiesWestern Kentucky UniversityBowling GreenUSA

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