Trace metal speciation and fluxes within a major French wastewater treatment plant: impact of the successive treatments stages

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsBuzier, R, Tusseau-Vuillemin, M-H, C. Meriadec, Mdit, Rousselot, O, Mouchel, J-M
Start Page2419
Date Published12/2006
Mots-clésDGT, heavy metals, municipal wastewater, sewage treatment plant, speciation, water quality
Seven metals (Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ni and Pb) were monitored at the Seine-Aval wastewater treatment plant during 6 sampling campaigns in April 2004. Particulate and dissolved metals have been measured in 24 h composite samples at each treatment stage (primary settling, secondary activated sludge and tertiary flocculation by FeCl3). In addition, the diffusive gradient in thin film technique (DGT) was used to determine the dissolved inert and labile metal fraction. Although all treatment stages were able to decrease particulate metals concentrations in wastewater, most dissolved metals concentrations were mainly affected during primary settling. This unexpected result was attributed to tertiary sludge filtrate recirculation. Metals added via the FeCl3 reagent at the tertiary treatment were shown to lower the overall Cr removal from wastewater and to enrich Ni in effluents. The plant operating conditions (recirculation and reagent addition) appear therefore as important as treatment processes for the metals removal. Total metal fluxes were highly decreased by the whole treatment plant for Cd, Cr, Cu and Pb and to a lesser extend for Co and Ni. However, the labile metal fluxes were poorly decreased for Cu (18%), not significantly decreased for Ni and increased for Fe. The labile fraction of Cd, Co and Cr was not detectable at any stage of the plant. Discharged labile fluxes, at least for Ni, were potentially significant compared to the labile metal fluxes in the river measured downstream the plant. Treated urban wastewater discharges should be carefully considered as a possible source of bioavailable trace metals.