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Tiber River Quality in the Stretch of a Sewage Treatment Plant: Effects of River Water or Disinfectants to Daphnia and Structure of Benthic Macroinvertebrates Community


The evaluation of Tiber River quality, in a stretch including a sewage treatment plant, has been carried out by the contemporary evaluation of water effect on Daphnia and benthic macroinvertebrates community structure. To achieve a good status of a river water by the end of 2015, as provided in the Water Framework Directive (WFD) 2000/60/EC, is necessary to know the quality starting point. To this end, several endpoints are expected by the WFD, including Daphnia toxicity test and macroinvertebrate community analysis.

River water sampling was conducted in the four seasons, from upstream to downstream a sewage treatment plant. I endpoint. At the outfall of the sewage treatment plant, river water showed very high acute toxicity to Daphnia only in summer; some toxic effect can be found also upstream in spring. Results at the outfall were consistent with the hypothesis that disinfectants, mainly used in summer to treat discharging waters, are responsible of river water acute toxicity: Daphnia tests with each disinfectant (NaClO, PAA, ClO2) showed high toxicity.

River waters were also utilized in Daphnia reproduction tests. Samples at the outfall (excluding the summer one, undoubtedly toxic) caused slight reduction in survival and fecundity. Disinfectants were also checked in reproduction tests. Still at NOEC24h, they caused a significant toxicity on both death rate and reproduction.

II endpoint. Macroinvertebrate benthic community composition was evaluated upstream and downstream the sewage treatment plant, on these data Extended Biotic Index (EBI), was determined to get a score as quality class. A reduction of water quality score was found downstream the plant, one season delayed (autumn) respect the acute test on Daphnia.

Effect of disinfectant discharge, river dilution capability on a short spatial scale and use of different endpoints are discussed in term of river stretch quality.

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Correspondence to Luciana Migliore.

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Mattei, D., Cataudella, S., Mancini, L. et al. Tiber River Quality in the Stretch of a Sewage Treatment Plant: Effects of River Water or Disinfectants to Daphnia and Structure of Benthic Macroinvertebrates Community. Water Air Soil Pollut 177, 441–455 (2006).

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  • daphnia acute/reproduction toxicity
  • biological quality index
  • chlorine dioxide
  • peracetic acid
  • sodium hypochlorite
  • Tiber River