Hot springs are important centers for recreation and tourism. However, the pollution that may potentially be caused by hot spring wastewater has rarely been discussed. More than half of Taiwan's hot springs are located in areas where the water quality of water bodies is to be protected, and untreated wastewater could pollute the receiving water bodies. In this study, we investigate hot spring wastewater in the Wulai area, one of Taiwan's famous hot spring resorts. Used water from five hot spring hotels was sampled and ten sampling events were carried out to evaluate the changes in the quality of used water in different seasons, at different periods of the week, and from different types of hotels. The concentrations of different pollutants in hot spring wastewater were found to exhibit wide variations, as follows: COD, 10–250 mg/L; SS, N.D.−93 mg/L; NH3-N, 0.01–1.93 mg/L; TP, 0.01–0.45 mg/L; and E. coli, 10–27,500 CFU/100 mL. The quality of hot spring wastewater depends on the operation of public pools, because this affects the frequency of supplementary fresh water and the outflow volume. Two management strategies, namely, onsite treatment systems and individually packaged treatment equipment, are considered, and a multi-objective optimization model is used to determine the optimal strategy.

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