Understanding the microbial ecology of a system requires that the observed population dynamics can be linked to their metabolic functions. However, functional characterization is laborious and the choice of organisms should be prioritized to those that are frequently abundant (core) or transiently abundant, which are therefore putatively make the greatest contribution to carbon turnover in the system. We analyzed the microbial communities in 13 Danish wastewater treatment plants with nutrient removal in consecutive years and a single plant periodically over 6 years, using Illumina sequencing of 16S ribosomal RNA amplicons of the V4 region. The plants contained a core community of 63 abundant genus-level operational taxonomic units (OTUs) that made up 68% of the total reads. A core community consisting of abundant OTUs was also observed within the incoming wastewater to three plants. The net growth rate for individual OTUs was quantified using mass balance, and it was found that 10% of the total reads in the activated sludge were from slow or non-growing OTUs, and that their measured abundance was primarily because of immigration with the wastewater. Transiently abundant organisms were also identified. Among them the genus Nitrotoga (class Betaproteobacteria) was the most abundant putative nitrite oxidizer in a number of activated sludge plants, which challenges previous assumptions that Nitrospira (phylum Nitrospirae) are the primary nitrite-oxidizers in activated sludge systems with nutrient removal.
Because microalgae are known for quick biomass growth and nutrient uptake, there has been much interest in their use in research on wastewater treatment methods. While many studies have concentrated on the algal treatment of wastewaters with low to medium ammonium concentrations, there are several liquid waste streams with high ammonium concentrations that microalgae could potentially treat. The aim of this paper was to test ammonium tolerance of the indigenous algae community of Lake Mälaren and to use this mixed consortia of algae to remove nutrients from biogas digestate. Algae from Lake Mälaren were cultivated in Jaworski's Medium containing a range of ammonium concentrations and the resulting algal growth was determined. The algae were able to grow at NH4-N concentrations of up to 200 mg L(-1) after which there was significant inhibition. To test the effectiveness of the lake water algae on the treatment of biogas digestate, different pre-cultivation set-ups and biogas digestate concentrations were tested. It was determined that mixing pre-cultivated suspension algae with 25% of biogas digestate by volume, resulting in an ammonium concentration of around 300 mg L(-1), produced the highest algal growth. The algae were effective in removing 72.8±2.2% of NH4-N and 41.4±41.4% of PO4-P.
Source-separated blackwater from low-flush toilets contains plant-available nutrients and can be used as a fertilizer. The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact on pathogen inactivation when treating blackwater with urea and/or lime. Blackwater was spiked with Salmonella typhimurium, Escherichia coli O157, Enterococcus faecalis, and Ascaris suum eggs, and treated with urea and/or lime in concentrations up to 0.1% w/w. The bottles were kept in a storage facility (manure slurry tank) for 102 days while monitoring the pathogen concentrations. The treatment time needed to meet the requirement for Salmonella and E. coli reduction could be reduced at least six-fold. The enterococci were more persistent, and only the highest treatment doses had a significantly higher inactivation than the controls. The Ascaris egg viability was only reduced by around 50%, so higher urea/lime doses and/or longer treatment times are required to fulfill the treatment requirements of 3 log10 reductions of parasite eggs.
The methane potential and biodegradability of different ratios of acetate and lignin-rich effluents from a neutral sulfite semi-chemical (NSSC) pulp mill were investigated. Results showed ultimate methane yields up to 333±5mLCH4/gCOD when only acetate-rich substrate was added and subsequently lower methane potentials of 192±4mLCH4/gCOD when the lignin fraction was increased. The presence of lignin showed a linear decay in methane production, resulting in a 41% decrease in methane when the lignin-rich feed had a 30% increase. A negative linear correlation between lignin content and biodegradability was also observed. Furthermore, the effect of hydrotalcite (HT) addition was evaluated and showed increase in methane potential of up to 8%, a faster production rate and higher soluble lignin removal (7-12% higher). Chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal efficiencies between 64 and 83% were obtained for all samples.
Wastewater-based epidemiology is an efficient way to assess illicit drug use, complementing currently used methods retrieved from different data sources. The aim of this study is to compare stimulant drug use in five Nordic capital cities that include for the first time wastewater samples from Torshavn in the Faroe Islands. Currently there are no published reports that compare stimulant drug use in these Nordic capitals. All wastewater samples were analyzed using solid phase extraction and ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry. The results were compared with data published by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction based on illicit drugs in wastewater from over 50 European cities. Confirming previous reports, the results showed high amphetamine loads compared with other European countries. Very little apparent abuse of stimulant drugs was detected in Torshavn. Methamphetamine loads were the highest from Helsinki of the Nordic countries, indicating substantial fluctuations in the availability of the drug compared with previous studies. Methamphetamine loads from Oslo confirmed that the use continues to be high. Estimated cocaine use was found to be in the lower range compared with other cities in the southern and western part of Europe. Ecstasy and cocaine showed clear variations between weekdays and weekends, indicating recreational use. This study further demonstrates geographical trends in the stimulant drug market in five Nordic capitals, which enables a better comparison with other areas of the continent.
A fast and simple method for the analysis of 17 commonly used antibiotics in Finland in water samples was developed. The method combines online solid phase extraction using a reusable online trapping column combined with analytical separation on a C18 analytical column and detection by a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer. The method was fully validated for detection and quantification limits as well as linearity, repeatability, and matrix effects. The method gave an excellent linear response (r (2) > 0.99) and detection limits for all compounds (1-10 ng(-1)), except for tetracycline (20 ng l(-1)) and roxithromycin (50 ng l(-1)). The repeatability was evaluated at two concentrations, and the values at 5 ng l(-1) ranged from 5 to 39% and at 100 ng l(-1) ranged from 3 to 19%. To test the method on real samples at low environmental concentrations, water samples collected from a river receiving discharges from two wastewater treatment plants were analyzed as well as samples from a pristine river. Seven antibiotics as well as carbamazepine were detected in the samples. The concentration of the compounds ranged from 5 to 81 ng l(-1).
Domestic wastewater discharges may adversely impact arctic ecosystems and local indigenous people, who rely on being able to hunt and harvest food from their local environment. Therefore, there is a need to develop efficient wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), which can be operated in remote communities under extreme climatic conditions. WWTPs have been identified as reservoirs of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). The objective of this work was to quantify the presence of nine different ARG markers (int1, sul1, sul2, tet(O), erm(B), mecA, blaCTX-M, blaTEM, and qnr(S)) in two passive systems (waste stabilization ponds [WSPs]) and one mechanical filtration plant operating in two smaller and one large community, respectively, in Nunavut, Canada. Measurement of water quality parameters (carbonaceous oxygen demand, ammonia, total suspended solids, Escherichia coli and total coliforms) showed that the WWTPs provided only primary treatment. Low levels of the ARGs (2logcopies/mL) were observed in the effluent, demonstrating that bacteria residing in three northern WWTPs harbour ARGs conferring resistance to multiple clinically-relevant classes of antibiotics. Our results indicate that long-term storage in WSPs benefitted removal of organic material and some ARGs. However, one WSP system showed evidence of the enrichment of sul1, sul2, mecA, tet(O) and qnr(S). Further research is needed to fully understand if these ARG releases pose a risk to human health, especially in the context of traditional hunting and fishing activities.
The solar UV/chlorine process has emerged as a novel advanced oxidation process for industrial and municipal wastewaters. Currently, its practical application to oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) remediation has been studied to treat fresh OSPW retained in large tailings ponds, which can cause significant adverse environmental impacts on ground and surface waters in Northern Alberta, Canada. Degradation of naphthenic acids (NAs) and fluorophore organic compounds in OSPW was investigated. In a laboratory-scale UV/chlorine treatment, the NAs degradation was clearly structure-dependent and hydroxyl radical-based. In terms of the NAs degradation rate, the raw OSPW (pH ~ 8.3) rates were higher than those at an alkaline condition (pH = 10). Under actual sunlight, direct solar photolysis partially degraded fluorophore organic compounds, as indicated by the qualitative synchronous fluorescence spectra (SFS) of the OSPW, but did not impact NAs degradation. The solar/chlorine process effectively removed NAs (75-84% removal) and fluorophore organic compounds in OSPW in the presence of 200 or 300 mg L(-1) OCl(-). The acute toxicity of OSPW toward Vibrio fischeri was reduced after the solar/chlorine treatment. However, the OSPW toxicity toward goldfish primary kidney macrophages after solar/chlorine treatment showed no obvious toxicity reduction versus that of untreated OSPW, which warrants further study for process optimization.
Wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) have been suggested to be one of the major pathways of perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) from the technosphere to the aquatic environment. The origin of PFAAs in WWTP influents is either from current primary emissions or a result of recirculation of PFAAs that have been residing and transported in the environment for several years or decades. Environmental recirculation can then occur when PFAAs from the environment enter the wastewater stream in, e.g., tap water. In this study 13 PFAAs and perfluorooctane sulfonamide were analyzed in tap water as well as WWTP influent, effluent and sludge from three Swedish cities: Bromma (in the metropolitan area of Stockholm), Bollebygd and Umeå. A mass balance of the WWTPs was assembled for each PFAA. Positive mass balances were observed for PFHxA and PFOA in all WWTPs, indicating the presence of precursor compounds in the technosphere. With regard to environmental recirculation, tap water was an important source of PFAAs to the Bromma WWTP influent, contributing >40% for each quantified sulfonic acid and up to 30% for the carboxylic acids. The PFAAs in tap water from Bollebygd and Umeå did not contribute significantly to the PFAA load in the WWTP influents. Our results show that in order to estimate current primary emissions from the technosphere, it may be necessary to correct the PFAA emission rates in WWTP effluents for PFAAs present in tap water, especially in the case of elevated levels in tap water.
Aquatic pollution with faecal bacteria and subsequent consumption of contaminated water or food is a worldwide issue that causes severe health effects (e.g. meningitis, salmonellosis, dysentery). In addition, the excessive use of antibiotics in animal husbandry and human medicine has enhanced the selective pressure on pathogenic bacteria, further increasing human health risks and detrimental effects on natural microbial communities. This urges the need to monitor faecal contamination using a time-integrated approach, as grab water samples can miss pathogen peaks. We tested the ability of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) to take up and depurate faecal indicator bacteria such as Escherichia coli and intestinal enterococci. Furthermore, we quantified the frequency of antibiotic resistant bacteria in water and mussels both in controlled laboratory tests and under in situ conditions downstream of a sewage treatment plant (STP). Laboratory results show that bacterial indicators in mussels were 132 times higher than their concentration in water, and that mussels retained bacteria up to 2?days after pulse exposure. Field results show decreasing bacterial concentrations in both water and mussels downstream the STP, with maximum E. coli concentrations ranging 173-9?cfu?mL-1 in water and 2970-330?cfu?g-1 in mussels. Similarly, enterococci ranged 59-4?cfu?mL-1 and 1450-240?cfu?g-1 in water and mussels, respectively. High proportions of antibiotic resistant E. coli were found in mussels (72%) and water (65%), and slightly lower proportion of resistant enterococci was found in mussels (47%) and in water (34%). Moreover, 33% of the bacteria isolated from mussels were resistant to multiple antibiotics, which emphasizes that resistance is a common feature in surface waters and highlights the need for safe water management. Our results show that zebra mussels provide an efficient, time-integrating tool for quantifying faecal indicators, including resistant and multidrug resistant bacteria.