ETP

ETP (Effects of Wastewater Pollutants)

If wastewater is not properly treated, then the environment and human health can be negatively impacted. These impacts can include harm to fish and wildlife populations, oxygen depletion, beach closures and other restrictions on recreational water use, restrictions on fish and shellfish harvesting and contamination of drinking water. Environment Canada provides some examples of pollutants that can be found in wastewater and the potentially harmful effects these substances can have on ecosystems and human health.

  • Decaying organic matter and debris can use up the dissolved oxygen in a lake so fish and other aquatic biota cannot survive.
  • Excessive nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen (including ammonia), can cause eutrophication, or over-fertilization of receiving waters, which can be toxic to aquatic organisms, promote excessive plant growth, reduce available oxygen, harm spawning grounds, alter habitat and lead to a decline in certain species.
  • Chlorine compounds and inorganic chloramines can be toxic to aquatic invertebrates, algae and fish.
  • Bacteria, viruses and disease-causing pathogens can pollute beaches and contaminate shellfish populations, leading to restrictions on human recreation, drinking water consumption and shellfish consumption.
  • Metals, such as mercury, lead, cadmium, chromium and arsenic can have acute and chronic toxic effects on species.
  • Other substances such as some pharmaceutical and personal care products, primarily entering the environment in wastewater effluents, may also pose threats to human health, aquatic life and wildlife.