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Impact of Tannery Effluent on the Self-purification Capacity and Biodiversity Level of a River

Abstract

The present study investigates the impact of tannery effluents on the self-purification capacity and the local macroinvertebrate community of one natural stream. As the concentration of chromium and sulfide increased from up- to downstream sites, the reduction of suspended solids, 5-days biological oxygen demand (BOD5), chemical oxygen demand and nitrification capacity decreased by 61 %, 21 %, 30 % and 74 %, respectively. Similarly, the share of Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera on the macroinvertebrate community decreased from 24 % to 0 %. Also the diversity (Simpson’s) index and the correlation between the physicochemical parameters, BOD5 reduction, the macroinvertebrate abundance and the chromium concentration underpin the importance of the contamination by tannery effluents for the degradation of the stream habitat quality. In conclusion, although the physicochemical parameters indicate that the self-purification of the river can be maintained for a certain stream section, the biodiversity of the river is severely compromised.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the Flemish Institutional University Cooperation (IUC), Jimma University (JU) partnership program and the SRS 2011 Scholarship Programme (BTP) of VLIR-UOS for funding this study.

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Correspondence to Embialle Mengistie.

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Mengistie, E., Ambelu, A., Van Gerven, T. et al. Impact of Tannery Effluent on the Self-purification Capacity and Biodiversity Level of a River. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 96, 369–375 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-016-1735-5

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Keywords

  • Tannery effluent
  • Chromium
  • Sulfide
  • Self-purification
  • Macroinvertebrate