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Effects of dechlorination conditions on the developmental toxicity of a chlorinated saline primary sewage effluent: Excessive dechlorination is better than not enough

Pan, Long, Zhang, Xiangru, Yang, Mengting, Han, Jiarui, Jiang, Jingyi, Li, Wanxin, Yang, Bo, Li, Xiaoyan
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.692 pp. 117-126
Lewis bases, Polychaeta, aquatic organisms, bromination, bromine, byproducts, chlorine, dechlorination, developmental toxicity, direct contact, disinfection, iodine, long term effects, mixing, sewage, sewage effluent, sewage treatment, sodium bisulfite, sodium sulfite
Chlorine-disinfected sewage effluents are typically dechlorinated by using NaHSO₃, Na₂SO₃, or Na₂S₂O₃, as chlorine residual could be harmful to aquatic organisms upon discharge of sewage effluents into receiving marine water. In this study, we systematically investigated the effects of dechlorination-related factors on the developmental toxicity of a chlorinated saline primary sewage effluent, via direct exposure of the embryos of a marine polychaete to the effluent. The results showed that dechlorination ratio (i.e., the ratio of the dosed amount to the requisite stoichiometric amount of a dechlorination agent) and mixing condition were critical factors affecting the toxicity of the effluent. The toxicity of the effluent under insufficient dechlorination conditions was mainly caused by residual chlorine, especially monochloramine. Although the three dechlorination agents generally performed similarly, dechlorination with Na₂S₂O₃ required a more vigorous mixing condition than that with NaHSO₃ or Na₂SO₃, as the relatively high density of Na₂S₂O₃ might affect the mixing efficiency. Under insufficient mixing conditions, a prolonged dechlorination time was beneficial to achieving complete dechlorination and thus lowered the toxicity of the effluent. Moreover, because disinfection byproducts (DBPs) may have chronic effects on aquatic organisms, the developmental toxicity of the DBP mixtures in the chlorinated effluent in different dechlorination scenarios was also evaluated. The results indicated that increasing the dechlorination ratio reduced the developmental toxicity of the DBP mixture in the chlorinated saline sewage effluent, which might be ascribed to the decrease of the levels of overall brominated and iodinated DBPs; the dechlorination agent (NaHSO₃ or Na₂S₂O₃) might act as a nucleophile in the nucleophilic substitution and cause the substitution of bromine or iodine atoms in brominated and iodinated DBPs. The results from this study might aid in the design and operation of dechlorination facilities in sewage treatment plants.