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The Effect of Advanced Treatment of Sewage Effluents on Metal Speciation and (bio)Availability


The bioavailability of metals can be strongly influenced by dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Wastewater treatment effluents add considerable quantities of DOC and metals to receiving waters, and as effluent controls become more stringent advanced effluent treatments may be needed. We assessed the effects of two types of advanced treatment processes on metal availability in wastewater effluents. Trace metal availability was assessed using diffuse gradients in thin films and predicted through speciation modelling. The results show little difference in metal availability post-advanced treatment. EDTA-like compounds are important metal complexants in the effluents.

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This work was funded by UKWIR as a technical sub-project of the UKWIR and Environment Agency Chemicals Investigation Programme (2008–2012).

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Correspondence to A. Peters.

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Peters, A., Merrington, G., Leverett, D. et al. The Effect of Advanced Treatment of Sewage Effluents on Metal Speciation and (bio)Availability. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 92, 248–252 (2014).

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  • Freshwater
  • DOC
  • Effluents
  • Metals
  • Bioavailability