A comparative assessment of the risks of three effluent disposal alternatives currently available to wastewater utilities in Southeast Florida is presented in this paper. The alternatives are: deep well injection and ocean outfalls following secondary treatment, and surface water (canal) discharges following secondary wastewater treatment, filtration and nutrient removal. Water quality data, relative to disposal of wastewater treatment plant effluent were gathered, along with water quality data on the receiving waters, from utilities. Comparisons and conclusions regarding potential health concerns associated with the three disposal alternatives are presented. The results indicated that health risks associated with deep wells were generally lower than those of the other two alternatives. The proximity of injection wells to aquifer storage and recovery wells was a determining factor relative to injection well risk. Urban ecological risks were also indicated to be lower, though impacts of urban water use/reuse to the Everglades were not studied. Additional data collection and analysis were recommended to understand the effects of wastewater management on the cycling of water, nutrients and other constituents on southeast Florida. In particular, it was recommended that monitoring of effluents for nitrosamines and pharmaceutically active substances be implemented on a broad scale.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry
- Ecological Modeling
- Water Science and Technology
- Waste Management and Disposal