Water Environment Federation (WEF)

Reducing Effects Of Endocrine Disrupting Compounds: Effluent Blending

Treatment of Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) sewage effluents to minimize adverse impacts to the environment has rapidly progressed through time. However, the increasing population and industrial demand for increased treatment combined with the developing interest in endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) in receiving waters are becoming a critical environmental concern. EDC levels in effluents must be below (currently undefined) public and regulatory concern. We propose a new method to monitor and evaluate the potential impact of EDCs in POTW effluents. EDCs in POTW effluents are often perceived as hazardous and as having an unacceptable risk, especially to fish. EDCs must be present in very high concentrations in the fish’s bloodstream to produce sexual abnormalities. Several species of fish are able to switch sexes or show behavioral and color characteristics based on maleness and dominance of secondary sexual characteristics. These fishes would be excellent species for determination of EDC effects and tests to monitor these effects. The concentrations, potential for exposure and the effects of EDCs in effluents and receiving waters need to be monitored and reduced, where necessary, to provide appropriate protection of aquatic ecosystems. We present one approach to define safe levels, and ameliorate the potential adverse effects of EDCs.

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