Acute ecotoxicity and genotoxicity assessment of two wastewater treatment units


Water contamination by discharge of untreated or poorly treated wastewater into water bodies is a current issue that may cause harm to humans. Water quality assessment targets general parameters, which often misleads to underestimation of their implication in the environment. Acute and genotoxicity assays using Daphnia magna is a reliable tool for testing deleterious effects of wastewater exposure. This paper aimed at evaluating acute ecotoxicity as well as genotoxicity of a biological treatment system composed by an anaerobic bioreactor (AR), algal turf scrubber (ATS), followed by two downflow constructed wetlands (CW). The university’s wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) composed by an equalization tank (ET), an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB), followed by an aerobic bioreactor (AB) was also assessed for acute and genotoxicity. Our results showed the acute ecotoxicity ranged from moderately to extremely toxic, and from nontoxic to moderately toxic for ET and AB. For AR, most samples were moderately toxic. The outflow from ATS and CW’s tanks completely eliminated acute toxicity and genotoxicity evidencing that the proposed system combining ATS and vertical CWs is suitable for treating sanitary wastewater.

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The authors would like to thank CAPES for the scholarship granted to the first author. They would also like to thank Dr. Alexandre Rieger for his assistance in laboratory genotoxic routines at the Biotechnology Laboratory of the University of Santa Cruz do Sul (UNISC).

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Correspondence to Gleison de Souza Celente.

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de Souza Celente, G., Colares, G.S., da Silva Araújo, P. et al. Acute ecotoxicity and genotoxicity assessment of two wastewater treatment units. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2020).

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  • Acute toxicity
  • Genotoxicity
  • Algae turf scrubber
  • Daphnia magna
  • Constructed wetlands