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Inicio  /  Water  /  Vol: 10 Par: 9 (2018)  /  Artículo

Determining Discharge Characteristics and Limits of Heavy Metals and Metalloids for Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs) in China Based on Statistical Methods

Yuhua Zhou    
Jing Lei    
Yu Zhang    
Jing Zhu    
Yanna Lu    
Xuefang Wu and Hao Fang    


Industrial wastewater and sewage are both important sources of heavy metals and metalloids in urban wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). China has made great efforts to control heavy metal and metalloid pollution by setting discharge limits for WWTPs. There is, however, limited discharge data and no systematic methodology for the derivation of discharge limits. In this study, 14 heavy metals and metalloids (Hg, alkyl mercury, As, Cd, Cr, Cr6+, Pb, Ni, Be, Ag, Cu, Zn, Mn, Se) that are listed in the Discharge Standard of Pollutants for Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant (GB 18918-2002) were selected for the analysis of discharge characteristics while using the supervised monitoring data from more than 800 WWTPs located in nine provinces in China. Of the 14 heavy metals and metalloids, all but alkyl mercury were detected in the discharge water. There was a high rate of detection of As, Cu, Mn, Se, and there were some samples that exceeded the standard concentrations of Cr, Cr6+, Pb, and Ni. Removal rates of Hg, As, Cd, Cr, Cr6+, Pb, Ni, Cu, Zn, Mn, and Se were higher than 40%, comparable to values from other countries. Hg and As were selected to analyze the influencing factors of effluent and derive discharge limits of WWTPs using a statistical method, because these two metals had more detected data than other metals. The study used supervised monitoring data from Zhejiang WWTPs with 99 for Hg and 112 for As. Based on the delta-lognormal distribution, the results showed that geographic location was significantly closely correlated with Hg (P = 0.027 < 0.05) and As (P ? 0 < 0.05) discharge concentrations, while size (for Hg P = 0.695 > 0.05, for As P = 0.088 > 0.05) and influent concentration (R2 < 0.5) were not. Derived Hg and As discharge limits suggest that it is necessary to establish stricter discharge limits for WWTPs, which is more consistent with the real-world situation in China. The study here comprehensively researches the discharge characteristics of heavy metals and metalloids in effluent of WWTPs in China, and developed for the first time in China heavy metals and metalloids discharge limits based on statistical methods. The results may inform special discharge limit settings for WWTPs in China.

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