Chemical and microbial analysis of selected waste stabilisation pond systems in Western Australia.

Yolanta Gruchlik1*, Kathryn L. Linge1, Deborah Liew1, Cynthia A. Joll1, Andrea Paparini2, Francesco Busetti1, Una Ryan2, Keith Cadee1 and Arron Lethorn3

1Curtin Water Quality Research Centre, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987, Perth, Australia 2Vector- and Water-Borne Pathogen Research Group, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, 90 South Street, Murdoch, Perth, Australia 3Water Corporation of Western Australia, 629 Newcastle Street, Leederville, Perth, Australi


In this paper we present data on the occurrence and removal of several anthropogenic chemicals in Western Australian Waste Water Treatment Plants (WWTPs) that differ in geographical location and design. Treatment efficiency was also characterised by monitoring nutrient concentrations and molecular characterisation of microbial communities by next generation DNA sequencing. A wide variety of anthropogenic compounds were detected in the WWTPs. Wastewater treatments reduced the concentrations of some of these chemicals to varying extents, while other chemicals were persistent through treatment. While there was no consistent pattern in chemical removal at different WWTPs, preliminary results indicate that the simple pond systems generally performed less effectively compared to oxidation ditch and combined pond systems. Multivariate analysis of the DNA sequencing results indicated that microbiomes (i.e., the microbial DNA) associated with the treatment plants could be differentiated based on location, treatment stage and treatment technology. For 3 out of the 4 plants (WWTP 1, WWTP 3, WWTP 4), all influents were similar, but microbial communities after treatment varied widely, depending on the location or technology. The microbial community of WWTP 2 influent was different from the other treatment plants and the microbial profile remained similar even after treatment.

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