The assessment of the actual impact of discharged wastewater on the whole ecosystem and, in turn, on human health requires the execution of bioassays. In effect, based on the chemical characterization alone, the synergistic/antagonistic effect of mixtures of pollutants is hardly estimable. The aim of this work was to evaluate the applicability of a battery of bioassays and to suggest a smart procedure for results representation. Two real wastewater treatment plants were submitted to analytical campaigns. Several baseline toxicity assays were conducted, together with tests for the determination of endocrine activity, genetic toxicity and carcinogenicity of wastewater. A “traffic light” model was adopted for an easy-to-understand visualization of the results. Although the legal prescriptions of chemical parameters are fully complied with, bioassays show that a certain biological activity still residues in the treated effluents. Moreover, influent and effluent responses are not always appreciably different. Some tests employing human cells were revealed to be only partially adequate for environmental applications. An interesting and helpful development of the present approach would consist in the estimation of biological equivalents of toxicity, as shown for the estrogenic compound 17-β-estradiol.

Environmental footprint of wastewater treatment: A step forward in the use of toxicological tools

Bertanza G.;Ceretti E.;Feretti D.;Mazzoleni G.;Menghini M.;Pedrazzani R.
;
Viola G. C. V.;Zerbini I.;
2021-01-01

Abstract

The assessment of the actual impact of discharged wastewater on the whole ecosystem and, in turn, on human health requires the execution of bioassays. In effect, based on the chemical characterization alone, the synergistic/antagonistic effect of mixtures of pollutants is hardly estimable. The aim of this work was to evaluate the applicability of a battery of bioassays and to suggest a smart procedure for results representation. Two real wastewater treatment plants were submitted to analytical campaigns. Several baseline toxicity assays were conducted, together with tests for the determination of endocrine activity, genetic toxicity and carcinogenicity of wastewater. A “traffic light” model was adopted for an easy-to-understand visualization of the results. Although the legal prescriptions of chemical parameters are fully complied with, bioassays show that a certain biological activity still residues in the treated effluents. Moreover, influent and effluent responses are not always appreciably different. Some tests employing human cells were revealed to be only partially adequate for environmental applications. An interesting and helpful development of the present approach would consist in the estimation of biological equivalents of toxicity, as shown for the estrogenic compound 17-β-estradiol.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11379/553681
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