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Influence of Integrated Membrane Treatment on the Phytotoxicity of Wastewater from the Coke Industry

Smol, Marzena, Włóka, Dariusz, Włodarczyk-Makuła, Maria
Water, air, and soil pollution 2018 v.229 no.5 pp. 154
cotton, culture media, filtration, germination, in vitro studies, industrial effluents, industry, models, monitoring, phytotoxicity, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, reverse osmosis, sand, toxic substances, wastewater
In this paper, coke wastewater that had passed through biological and integrated membrane processes (filtration on sand bed—reverse osmosis) was chosen to assess the phytotoxicity of selected industrial wastewater with regard to the test plant—Vicia faba. An innovative research technique in vitro test was conducted in a large scale phytothrone chamber on two matrices: cotton and Murashige and Skoog Basal Medium (MSBM). The toxicity of wastewater was evaluated for samples: (1) treated in the treatment plant by biological processes, (2) filtrated through a sand bed and filtrated (3) reverse osmosis (RO) membrane. The results showed that there is a noticeable correlation between increasing concentrations of wastewater and seed germination of the test plant. Although the wastewater collected from the coke plant was treated biologically, it showed very high levels of germination inhibition (90–98% for cotton matrix and 92–100% for MSBM matrix) and strong toxic effects. The wastewater collected from the coke plant showed a significantly greater phytotoxic effect compared with those obtained from the effluent treated on a sand bed and in RO. However, wastewater, even after treatment on a sand bed (reduction of COD—39%, TN—46%, TOC—42%, TC—47%, SS—50%, 16PAHs—53%), was still toxic and germination inhibition was in the range of 24–48% for the cotton matrix and 14–54% for the MSBM matrix. The toxicity of wastewater treated in the membrane process was the lowest (reduction of COD—85%, TN—95%, TOC—85%, TC—86%, SS—98%, 16PAHs—67%). The germination inhibition was in the range of 4–10% for the cotton matrix and 2–12% for the MSBM matrix. These samples are classified as non-toxic or slightly toxic to the model plant. The present study highlights the necessity of monitoring not only the basic physical and chemical indicators (including the level of toxic substances as PAHs), but also their effect on the test organisms in wastewater samples.