Use of a 6-steps microcosm for studying a wastewater discharge in a freshwater ecosystem: A multidisciplinary study
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An experimental microcosm has been designed for simulating and studying impacts of a wastewater treatment plant (WTP) discharge on a freshwater/sediment ecosystem. The study was focused on the changes in biodiversity of benthic populations, especially bacteria and oligochaetes. Effluents were discharged in the Saône river, near Lyon (France) from a small treatment plant which treated domestic raw water by an activated sludge process. Freshwater and sediments were sampled in the Saline river upstream of the discharge point and placed in microcosms. Following the WTP discharge, physicochemical parameters of the overlying water column and sediments exhibited only a slight change, as compared to a reference.
Characterization of the sediment bacterial populations was conducted with the Biolog and API systems. Strain identification and interpretation of data was difficult using thesetwo systems. Bacterial taxa in the sediments increased slightly below the WTP discharge. Grain negative strains dominated in the effluents, but G+ and G− bacteria were balanced in the sediments.Pseudomonas sp. andBacillus sp., were the dominant strains. Invertebrate populations indicated an effect of the WTP discharge, with increasing of pollution resistant strains (Tubificidae) and disappearance of pollution intolerant strains such asLimnodrilus undekemianus andQuistadrilus multicoetosus.
Taken as a whole, biological parameters indicated an environmental changes despite only slight changes in the physicochemistry of water. This experimental microcosm has proven to be a useful tool for studying impact of wastewater discharge on benthic populations.
KeywordsMicrocosm bacteria oligochaete wastewater treatment
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