Abstract

Four conventional activated sludge sewage treatment plants (STPs) in Southern India were chosen to investigate the occurrence of major ions and trace metals in dissolved fraction of the wastewater. Samples were collected from inlet and outlet of STPs during the pre-monsoon and monsoon seasons. Except for a few elements (Mn, Mo and Ni), the concentrations of the rest increased at the outlet of STPs, suggesting that there is an addition of these elements during the treatment process. The increase in concentrations at the STP outlet ranged from 1.25 times for Mn to 3,254 times for Ag during the pre-monsoon. In the monsoon, the increase ranged from 1.75 (Fe) to 1,510 (Ag). This suggests that there is a substantial anthropogenic input of these elements as they pass through the treatment process. Removal rates of elements in STPs also varied. 59% of Mn was removed during the treatment process during pre-monsoon as compared to 67% removal during monsoon.

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