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.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant unlimited access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
ABNT. NBR 12713. Aquatic ecotoxicology - acute toxicity - test with Daphnia spp (Cladocera, Crustacea). 2016. (In Portuguese)
Almeida CA, Costa JB, Berni CR (2002) Na alternative approach for statistical analysis of the results of chronic toxicity tests. In ESPÍNDOLA et al. (Org). Ecotoxicologia perspectivas para o século XXI: São Carlos: Rima. (In Portuguese)
APHA (2012) Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater, American Public Health Association.
ASSOCIATION OF OFFICIAL ANALYTICAL CHEMISTS, A. Official methods of analysis of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists. Association of Official Analytical Chemists., 2000. ISBN 0066-961X.
Aston JE et al (2018. ISSN 2211-9264) Application of aqueous alkaline extraction to remove ash from algae harvested from an algal turf scrubber. Algal Res 35:370–377. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.algal.2018.09.006
Boelee NC. et al. (2011) Nitrogen and phosphorus removal from municipal wastewater effluent using microalgal biofilms. Water Research, v. 45, n. 18, p. 5925-5933. ISSN 0043-1354.
Brienza M et al (2016) Use of solar advanced oxidation processes for wastewater treatment: follow-up on degradation products, acute toxicity, genotoxicity and estrogenicity. Chemosphere 148:473–480
Burlinson, Brian et al. (2007) Fourth international workgroup on genotoxicity testing: results of the in vivo Comet assay workgroup. Mutation Research/Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis, 627(1):31-35.
Chernicharo CAL (2007) Anaerobic reactors. IWA publishing. isbn:1843391643
Choi H-J, Lee S-M (2012) Effects of microalgae on the removal of nutrients from wastewater: various concentrations of Chlorella vulgaris. Environ Eng Res 17(1):3–8
CONAMA 357 (2005) Environment National Council. (In Portuguese)
CONAMA 430 (2011) Environment National Council.(In Portuguese)
CONSEMA 129 (2006) Rio Grande do Sul, Secretary of the Environment. Resolution no. 129/2006. Displays on the definition of emission criteria and standards for effluent toxicity released in surface waters of the State of Rio Grande do Sul. 2009. (In Portuguese)
Daud MK et al (2016) Physiological, biochemical, and genotoxic effects of wastewater on maize seedlings. Pol J Environ Stud 25(2):563–571
De Souza Celente G. et al. (2019) Algae turf scrubber and vertical constructed wetlands combined system for decentralized secondary wastewater treatment. Environ Sci Pollut Res, p. 1-7.
Düpont A, Lobo EA (2012) Evaluation of the efficiency of the sewage treatment plant from the University of Santa Cruz do Sul (UNISC), RS, Brazil. Acta Limnologica Brasiliensia 24(2):119–126. https://doi.org/10.1590/s2179-975x2012005000031
Firbas P (2017) Genotoxicity testing with Allium M test daring the cleaning process for constructed wetlands (CW) and environmental quality samples, Slovenia. SF J Material Res Let 1:2
Fonseca JCL et al. (2006) Evaluation of the analytical reliability of the determinations of total organic carbon (COT). Eclet. Quím., São Paulo, 31(3):47-52
Franchino M et al (2016) Microalgae treatment removes nutrients and reduces ecotoxicity of diluted piggery digestate. Sci Total Environ 569:40–45
Gorazda K et al (2013) Phosphorus cycle-possibilities for its rebuilding. Acta Biochim Pol 60(4):725–730 ISSN 0001-527X
GraphPad (2012) InStat guide to choosing and interpreting statistical tests. San Diego, Ca (http//www.graphpad.com).
Hamilton MA, Russo RC, Thurston RV (1977) Trimmed Spearman-Karber method for estimating median lethal concentrations in toxicity bioassays. Environ Sci Technol 11(7):714–719 ISSN 0013-936X
Hecker M, Hollert H (2009) Environ Sci Pollut ReS. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-009-0229-y
Horn TB et al (2014) Constructed wetland and photocatalytic ozonation for university sewage treatment. Ecol Eng 63(2014):134–141
Kaiser KL (1998) Correlations of Vibrio fischeri bacteria test data with bioassay data for other organisms. Environ Health Perspect 106(suppl 2):583–591
Lavorgna M et al (2016) Toxicity and genotoxicity of the quaternary ammonium compound benzalkonium chloride (BAC) using Daphnia magna and Ceriodaphnia dubia as model systems. Environ Pollut 210:34–39
Lepp NW (2004) Bioindicators & biomonitors: principles, concepts and applications. J Environ Qual 33(3):1161
Lobo EA; Rathke FS, Brentano DM (2006) Applied ecotoxicology: the case of tobacco growers in the Pardinho River basin, RS, Brazil. ETGES, VE; FERREIRA, MAF Tobacco production: impact on the ecosystem and human health in the region of Santa Cruz do Sul/RS. Santa Cruz do Sul: EDINISC, p. 41-68.
Lofrano G et al (2016) Photocatalytic degradation of the antibiotic chloramphenicol and effluent toxicity effects. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 123:65–71
Lutterbeck CA et al (2017a) Life cycle assessment of integrated wastewater treatment systems with constructed wetlands in rural areas. J Clean Prod 148:527–536
Lutterbeck CA et al (2017b) Combined use of VUV and UVC photoreactors for the treatment of hospital laundry wastewaters: reduction of load parameters, detoxification and life cycle assessment of different configurations. Sci Total Environ 590:233–241
Lutterbeck CA et al (2018) Integrated system with constructed wetlands for the treatment of domestic wastewaters generated at a rural property–evaluation of general parameters ecotoxicity and cytogenetics. Ecol Eng 115:1–8
Machado A et al (2016) Overview of the state of the art of constructed wetlands for decentralized wastewater management in Brazil. J Environ Manag ISSN 0301-4797
Marker AFH, Nusch H, Rai H, Riemann B (1980) The measurement of photosynthetic pigments in freshwater and standardization of methods: conclusion and recommendations. Arch Hydrobiol Beih 14:91–106
Micheletto J et al (2019) Acute ecotoxicity on Daphnia magna to evaluate effluent samples of kraft pulp mill treated by UV/H2O2 process. Revista Ambiente & Água 14(2)
Miralles-Cuevas S et al (2017) Combination of nanofiltration and ozonation for the remediation of real municipal wastewater effluents: acute and chronic toxicity assessment. J Hazard Mater 323:442–451
Moura DC, Rieger A, Lobo EA (2017) Aplicação de ensaios ecotoxicológicos e genotoxicológicos utilizando Daphnia magna e Eisenia andrei como bioindicadores em solos de cultivo de tabaco orgânico e convencional, Município de Santa Cruz do Sul, RS, Brasil. p. 288-308. In: Descobertas das Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais 2. ALFARO, A. T. S.; TROJAN, D. G. (Orgs). Ponta Grossa (PR): Atena Editora. ISBN 978-85-93243-35-6. https://doi.org/10.22533/at.ed.3562508.
Nadin SB, Vargas-Roig LM, Ciocca DR (2001) A silver staining method for single-cell gel assay. J Histochem Cytochem 49(9):1183–1186
Nogueira R et al (2009) Economic and environmental assessment of small and decentralized wastewater treatment systems. Desalin Water Treat 4(1-3):16–21 ISSN 1944–3994
Pacheco MM, Hoeltz M, Moraes MS, & Schneider RC (2015). Microalgae: cultivation techniques and wastewater phycoremediation. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A, 50(6):585–601
Park SY, Choi J (2007) Cytotoxicity, genotoxicity and assay using human cell and environmental species for the screening of the risk from pollutant exposure. Environ Int 33:817–822
Park KY et al (2016) Comparison of formation of disinfection by-products by chlorination and ozonation of wastewater effluents and their toxicity to Daphnia magna. Environ Pollut 215:314–321
Perales E et al (2017) Ecotoxicity and QSAR studies of glycerol ethers in Daphnia magna. Chemosphere 183:277–285, ISSN 0045-6535. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2017.05.107
Scholz RW et al (2013) Sustainable use of phosphorus: a finite resource. Sci Total Environ 461–462:799–803 ISSN 0048-9697. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004896971300586X
Shaw J et al. (2008) Daphnia as an emerging model for toxicological genomics, Editor(s): Christer Hogstrand, Peter Kille, Advances in experimental biology, Elsevier, 2:165-328, ISSN 1872-2423, ISBN 9780444532749, https://doi.org/10.1016/S1872-2423(08)00005-7.
Silveira EO, Moura D, Rieger A, Machado EL, Lutterbeck CA (2017) Performance of an integrated system combining microalgae and vertical flow constructed wetlands for urban wastewater treatment. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24:20469–20478. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-9656-3
Souza JP, Medeiros LS, Winkaler EU, Machado-Neto JG (2011) Acute toxicity and environmental risk of diflubenzuron to Daphnia magna, Poecilia reticulata and Lemna minor in the absence and presence of sediment. Pesticidas: Revista de Ecotoxicologia e Meio Ambiente, Brazil 21:1–12
Sun J et al (2015) Potential contribution of inorganic ions to whole effluent acute toxicity and genotoxicity during sewage tertiary treatment. J Hazard Mater 295:22–28
Tamura I et al (2017) Contribution of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) to whole toxicity of water samples collected in effluent-dominated urban streams. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 144:338–350
USEPA (2002) Methods for measuring the acute toxicity of effluents and receiving waters to freshwater and marine organisms. Fifth Edition. United State Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC. EPA-821-R-02-012.
Verhoeven JTA, Meuleman AFM (1999) Wetlands for wastewater treatment: opportunities and limitations. Ecol Eng 12(1):5–12
Verlicchi P, Zambello E (2014) How efficient are constructed wetlands in removing pharmaceuticals from untreated and treated urban wastewaters? A review. Sci Total Environ 470–471:1281–1306, ISSN 0048-9697. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.10.085
Von Sperling (2007) Wastewater characteristics, treatment and disposal. IWA publishing.. ISBN 1843391619.
White PA, Rasmussen JB (1998) The genotoxic hazards of domestic wastes in surface waters. Summary of material presented at the workshop sources, effects and potential hazards of genotoxic complex mixtures in the environment held at the annual meeting of the Environmental Mutagen Society, April 20, 1997, Minneapolis, MN.1, Mutation Research/Reviews in Mutation Research, 410(3):223-236, ISSN 1383-5742, https://doi.org/10.1016/S1383-5742(98)00002-7. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1383574298000027)
WHO/UNICEF Joint Water Supply, & Sanitation Monitoring Programme. Progress on drinking water and sanitation: 2014 update. World Health Organization. 2014.
WHO/UNICEF Joint Water Supply, & Sanitation Monitoring Programme. Progress on sanitation and drinking water: 2015 update and MDG assessment. 2015.
Zenkner FF et al (2012) Genotoxic analysis of hospital laundry effluent: comet assay with Daphnia magna Straus, 1820. Revista Jovens Pesquisadores 1 (In Portuguese)
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).
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues
About this article
Cite this article
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). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-07308-y
- Acute toxicity
- Algae turf scrubber
- Daphnia magna
- Constructed wetlands