The use of multiple tracers for tracking wastewater discharges in freshwater systems

Williams, Mike, Kumar, Anupama, Ort, Christoph, Lawrence, Michael G., Hambly, Adam, Khan, Stuart J. and Kookana, Rai (2013) The use of multiple tracers for tracking wastewater discharges in freshwater systems. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 185 11: 9321-9332. doi:10.1007/s10661-013-3254-8

Author Williams, Mike
Kumar, Anupama
Ort, Christoph
Lawrence, Michael G.
Hambly, Adam
Khan, Stuart J.
Kookana, Rai
Title The use of multiple tracers for tracking wastewater discharges in freshwater systems
Journal name Environmental Monitoring and Assessment   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0167-6369
Publication date 2013-11-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10661-013-3254-8
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 185
Issue 11
Start page 9321
End page 9332
Total pages 12
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Language eng
Subject 2300 Environmental Science
2310 Pollution
2308 Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
Abstract The assessment of potential impacts of wastewater effluent discharges in freshwater systems requires an understanding of the likely degrees of dilution and potential zones of influence. In this study, four tracers commonly present in wastewater effluents were monitored to compare their relative effectiveness in determining areas in freshwater systems that are likely to be impacted by effluent discharges. The four tracers selected were the human pharmaceutical carbamazepine, anthropogenic gadolinium, fluorescentdissolved organic matter (fDOM), and electrical conductivity (EC). The four tracers were monitored longitudinally in two distinct freshwater systems receiving wastewater effluents, where one site had a high level of effluent dilution (effluent <1 % of total flow) and the other site had a low level of effluent dilution (effluent ∼50 % of total flow). At both sites, the selected tracers exhibited a similar pattern of response intensity downstream of discharge points relative to undiluted wastewater effluent, although a number of anomalies were noted between the tracers. Both EC and fDOM are non-specific to human influences, and both had a high background response, relative to the highly sensitive carbamazepine and anthropogenic gadolinium responses, although the ease of measuring EC and fDOM would make them more adaptable in highly variable systems. However, the greater sensitivity and selectivity of carbamazepine and gadolinium would make their combination with EC and fDOM as tracers of wastewater effluent discharges highly desirable to overcome potential limitations of individual tracers.
Keyword Carbamazepine
Electrical conductivity
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
Advanced Water Management Centre Publications
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 13 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 13 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Sun, 10 Nov 2013, 10:12:34 EST by System User on behalf of Advanced Water Management Centre