The environmental impact of informal and home productive arrangement in the jewelry and fashion jewelry chain on sanitary sewer system
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The outsourcing informal home practices adopted in jewelry and fashion jewelry chain can cause toxic substance elimination in the effluents and raise a concern for its environmental impact. This study evaluates if this informal work alters the concentration of potentially toxic elements (PTEs: As, Cd, Cr total and Cr-VI, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, Sn, and Zn) in the sewage network. The sanitary sewage samples (n = 540) were collected in 15 manholes during two campaigns in three different areas of Limeira-SP, Brazil (industrial area, with informal work and without known industrial/informal activity). The sewage sludge (n = 12), raw (n = 12), and treated sewage (n = 12) were collected in two wastewater treatment plants (WWT: AS and TATU) operating with different treatment process. The PTE determination was performed by ICP-OES, direct mercury analysis, and UV–Vis spectroscopy. Cr-VI, Cu, Ni, and Zn were the only elements above the quantification limit. Four samples exceeded Cu or Zn values permitted to be discharged into sewage system; however, the concentration average was lower than that established by Brazilian legislation. A difference was found between values above and below the 75th percentile for campaign and total organic carbon values (p < 0.015). The AS-treated sewage presented low concentrations of Cu (p < 0.05), Zn (p = 0.02), and Ni (p = 0.01) compared to treated sewage from TATU. In the sludge samples, the Cu means exceeded the limits of the Brazilian legislation (1500 mg kg−1) and the Zn results were very close to the limits (2800 mg kg−1). The heterogeneity of the results can indicate the sporadic nature of the PTE’s sanitary disposal. PTEs used in jewelry and fashion jewelry chain may precipitate on the sludge, where presented high concentrations of Cu and Zn which require controlled destination.
KeywordsEnvironment impact Metals Sewage Sludge Contamination Legislation
The authors acknowledge the collaboration of all technicians and managers from State of São Paulo Environmental Company and Limeira’s Water and Sewage Company (Odebrecht Ambiental). We are grateful to Prof. Dr. Rodolfo Andrade de Gouveia Vilela for the collaboration at the beginning of this work and Matheus Angelini (scholarship student of CNPq Scientific Initiation) for the aid with sample digestion. We would like to thank the intermediation of GAEMA (Special Action Group for the Environment Defense of the Public Prosecution Office of the State of São Paulo).
This work was supported by the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP, Grants 2015/21253-0 and 2016/11087-8).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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