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Treated Effluent as Environmental Flows: A Climate Change Response

This project seeks to detect and measure the impact of discharges from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) on ecosystems and some organisms in riverine environmental systems. Under sustained drought in regional Australia treated effluents are increasingly used for environmental flows. Fish populations in the Murray Darling Basin have already undergone a major decline in the last 50 years and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) could be a contributing factor in some regions.

Using the best available techniques this project is measuring and reporting on the impact of EDCs and other micropollutants (e.g. antimicrobial agent triclosan) in three locations. The project has developed the detection protocols, gathered preliminary samples from prospective sites and has then set-up a research facility on a suitable site. Results from that site are expected in the 3rd Quarter of 2009.

This research builds on other work done for Land & Water Australia by Dr Rai Kookana of CSIRO [link to CLW57] that showed that EDC chemicals were present in Australian environments where existing treatment technology substantially reduces but does not make concentrations ecologically trivial (Leusch et al. 2005; Tan et al. 2007; Ying and Kookana 2007).

Publications and Resources

None listed


Land & Water Australia. 2009. Treated Effluent as Environmental Flows: A Climate Change Response. [Online] (Updated June 25th, 2009)
Available at: [Accessed Wednesday 23rd of October 2013 10:19:49 PM ].

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  • Innovation
  • Theme: Innovation Call

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    State & NRM Region(s)

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    id: 2960 / created: 11 March, 2009 / last updated: 25 June, 2009