Induced by stringent standards for surface and drinking water, a cadmium balance for the Ruhr river basin has been calculated. This balance indicates the dominating impact of industrial wastewater discharge while the cadmium load of other sources is comparatively small. In order to reduce cadmium concentrations in river water and in sewage sludges and to avoid disturbances in municipal wastewater treatment plant operation, a control strategy has been developed to identify discharges under cover of darkness and to consult the particular industries. First positive results are dealt with.

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