Presence of Chemicals of Emerging Concern in the Great Lakes & Impact of Advanced Technologies on their Removal.
Dr. Saad Jasim, Director of SJ Environmental Consultants (Windsor) Inc.
November 20, 2014 — 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
ATAC building (Room 1003) at Lakehead University.
The Great Lakes and their connecting channels form the largest fresh surface water system on earth. Over the past 10 years, focus on environmental monitoring has shifted to an array of recently discovered compounds known as ‘chemicals of emerging concern’ (CEC). These chemicals are found in products used daily in households, businesses, agriculture and industry, such as flame-retardants, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and pesticides.
Wastewater treatment plants are among the important pathways by which CEC enter the Great Lakes, with concentrations highest in the vicinity of wastewater discharges. Treated sewage is often discharged into the nearshore waters, which also provide a source of drinking water to the public. They are released into aquatic environments mainly via sewage treatment plant effluents and agricultural runoff. Since conventional sewage treatment processes fail to eliminate them efficiently, they end up in natural waters.
Despite high transformation and removal rates, many EDCs and PPCPs are persistent in the environment due to their continuous release. Adverse impacts of this diverse group of chemicals have been documented for wildlife including increased feminization of fish, sexual disorders in snails and juvenile alligators, and kidney failure in vultures leading to death. Ozonation and advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) have been reported to be extremely effective in removing these compounds.