Heavy Metals Sources and Waste Minimization for a POTW

by Dan Bostrom,
Tom Higgins,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Supplying Water and Saving the Environment for Six Billion People


This paper presents a summary of recent studies conducted to minimize heavy metals discharged to a South San Francisco Bay Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW). The studies identified and quantified the sources of heavy metals sent to the POTW and then looked at ways to reduce these heavy metals at their sources. It was expected that industries with sewer discharge permits ('permitted industry') discharged the bulk of heavy metals to the POTW. Surprisingly, residential and commercial discharges contributed a significant fraction of the mass loading of metals in the POTW influent. These are extremely difficult sources to control and reduce. Therefore, tightening industrial limits alone will not result in significant metals reduction to the POTW. Programs to better control non-permitted sources (residential/commercial and industrial sources exempt from monitoring and regulating requirements) are equally important, implying a strong need for public education programs.

Subject Headings: Industries | Heavy metals | Waste management | Sewage | Waste treatment plants | Municipal wastes | Waste treatment | Sewers | California | United States

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