Article

Wastewater treatment in Antarctica

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Abstract

Since the exploration of Antarctica began, procedures for dealing with human wastes have changed considerably. The establishment of research stations made it necessary to provide for sewage disposal. However, the introduction of advanced wastewater treatment processes has been driven largely by an intensifying concern to protect the Antarctic environment. A key step was the adoption by Antarctic Treaty nations of the so-called Madrid Protocol, in which minimum standards for sewage treatment and disposal are prescribed. The provisions of this protocol are not particularly onerous and some countries have elected to go beyond them, and to treat Antarctic research station wastewater as they would at home. Transferring treatment technologies to Antarctica is not simple because the remoteness, isolation, weather and other local conditions impose a variety of unusual constraints on plant design. The evolution of advanced treatment plant designs is examined. Most countries have opted for biofilm-based processes, with Rotating Biological Contactors (RBC) favoured initially while more recently contact aeration systems have been preferred. Sludges are now generally repatriated, with a diversity of sludge dewatering techniques being used. The evolution of treatment process designs is expected to continue, with growing use, especially at inland stations, of sophisticated processes such as membrane technologies and thermally efficient evaporative techniques.

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... Wastewater treatment and disposal has long been recognised as a practical and human health concern for countries managing Antarctic research stations and more recently is also seen as an environmental issue (Connor, 2008;Gröndahl et al., 2009). Currently 30 countries operate a combined total of 82 research stations which includes both permanently occupied stations and summer only stations, which are occupied for up to 6 months over the spring/summer period (COMNAP, 2013). ...
... Effective treatment of wastewater in Antarctica requires an understanding of the properties of the wastewater, local conditions and the receiving environment, and of the constraints imposed by Antarctic environmental conditions on the efficacy of treatment technologies. Various mechanisms and pathways through which wastewater discharges may cause detrimental environmental impacts in Antarctica have recently been identified Hughes and Thompson, 2004;Smith and Riddle, 2009) and attention has turned to the development of new approaches to wastewater treatment specifically designed to prevent or mitigate these impacts (Barker et al., 2013;Connor, 2008;Gröndahl et al., 2009;Hughes, 2004). ...
... There is a growing movement, however, towards regarding the obligations under the Protocol as the minimum, with several nations applying the same requirements as they would to equivalent communities within their respective countries. For example, a replacement wastewater treatment plant installed at New Zealand's Scott Base in 2001/02 was designed to meet domestic standards then in place in New Zealand (Connor, 2008). ...
... Overall, this describes the Zero Pollution Action Plan and fits within the European Green Deal objectives, which also might be applied to polar regions, where proper wastewater management is still under evaluation (Water Europe, 2021). Wastewater treatment and disposal is a challenge for all countries managing Antarctic research stations, as they may pose a threat to the environment and to human health in the Antarctic Region (Connor, 2008;Gröndahl et al., 2009). There is a total of 82 summer and all-year-round research stations in the Antarctic (COMNAP, 2013). ...
... Some scientific Antarctic stations use much stricter standards (based on their national requirements) than required by the Protocol. For example, the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) installed in New Zealand's Scott Base in 2001/02 was designed to meet the national standards then in force in New Zealand (Connor, 2008). Despite restrictive regulations and effective methods of wastewater management at research stations in Antarctica, the presence of long-lasting emerging contaminants (ECs) in the environment, e.g., pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) detergents and even microplastics, is worrying (Bhardwaj et al., 2018). ...
Article
Considering how the impact of human activity in Antarctica is growing, the aim of this study was to conduct the first assessment of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), other emerging contaminants (ECs), and antibiotic resistance genes present in the western shore of the Admiralty Bay region of King George Island. In total, more than 170 substances were evaluated to assess the potential environmental risks they pose to the study area. The major evaluated source of pollutants in this study is discharged untreated wastewater. The highest PPCP concentrations in wastewater were found for naproxen (2653 ngL˗1), diclofenac (747 ngL˗1), ketoconazole (760 ngL˗1), ibuprofen (477 ngL˗1) and acetaminophen (332 ngL˗1). Moreover, the concentrations of benzotriazole (6340 ngL˗1) and caffeine (3310 ngL˗1) were also high. The Risk Quotient values indicate that azole antifungals (ketoconazole), anti-inflammatories (diclofenac, ibuprofen) and stimulants (caffeine) are the main groups responsible for the highest toxic burden. In addition, antibiotic resistance genes integrons (int 1) and sulphonamide resistance genes (sul 1–2) were detected in wastewater and seawater. These results indicate that regular monitoring of PPCPs and other ECs is of great importance in this environment. Additionally, the following mitigation strategies are suggested: (1) to create a centralised record of the medications prescribed and consumed in situ (to improve knowledge of potential contaminants without analysis); (2) to use more environmentally friendly substitutes both for pharmaceuticals and personal care products when possible (limiting consumption at the source); and (3) to apply advanced systems for wastewater treatment before discharge to the recipient (end-of-pipe technologies as a final barrier).
... Overall, this describes the Zero Pollution Action Plan and fits within the European Green Deal objectives, which also might be applied to polar regions, where proper wastewater management is still under evaluation (Water Europe, 2021). Wastewater treatment and disposal is a challenge for all countries managing Antarctic research stations, as they may pose a threat to the environment and to human health in the Antarctic Region (Connor, 2008;Gröndahl et al., 2009). There is a total of 82 summer and all-year-round research stations in the Antarctic (COMNAP, 2013). ...
... Some scientific Antarctic stations use much stricter standards (based on their national requirements) than required by the Protocol. For example, the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) installed in New Zealand's Scott Base in 2001/02 was designed to meet the national standards then in force in New Zealand (Connor, 2008). Despite restrictive regulations and effective methods of wastewater management at research stations in Antarctica, the presence of long-lasting emerging contaminants (ECs) in the environment, e.g., pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) detergents and even microplastics, is worrying (Bhardwaj et al., 2018). ...
... However, signs of anthropogenic activity in Antarctica have been visible since the 1960s (Sladen et al., 1966). The environmental consequences of human activities (both scientific and touristic) have been documented by several authors (Bargagli, 2008;Benninghoff and Bonner, 1985;Corsolini, 2009;Szopińska et al., 2017;Potapowicz et al., 2019), indicating different sources of pollution, such as atmospheric deposition and diesel fuel combustion; however, recently, waste and wastewater management have gained increasing concern (Connor, 2008;Kumar Bharti et al., 2016). Improper wastewater discharge in pristine Antarctic marine water may introduce not only persistent organic pollutants and other emerging organic and inorganic contaminants but also non-indigenous microorganisms, including human-associated pathogens and viruses (Tort et al., 2017). ...
... As an example, we may consider BOD values in the non-treated wastewater, which in Antarctica are relatively high (up to 3167 mg/L at Davis Station ) and associated with high calorific value food input that is rich in fat within the standard diet (Connor, 2008). In addition to organic matter, conventional wastewater treatment plants are designed to remove nutrients and suspended solids. ...
Article
In Antarctica, waste is generated mainly during scientific research programmes and related logistics. In this study, the impact of wastewater on the western shore of Admiralty Bay was investigated during austral summer in 2017 and 2019. A range of physicochemical parameters and the presence of selected trace metals, formaldehyde and different groups of surfactants were determined in wastewater coming from Arctowski Station and in nearby coastal waters. The presence of selected trace metals (e.g., Cr: 2.7–4.4 μg/L; Zn: 15.2–37.3 μg/L; and Ni: 0.9–23.3 μg/L) and the sums of cationic (0.3–1.5 mg/L), anionic (3.1–1.7 mg/L), and non-ionic (0.6–2.4 mg/L) surfactants in wastewater indicated the potential influence of anthropogenic factors on sea water. The determined surfactants are found in many hygiene products that end up in the waste water tank after human use and, if untreated, can be released into surface waters with discharge. In addition, the levels of some trace metals indicate that they cannot come only from natural sources, but are the result of human activity. The reported data show disturbances in the marine environment caused by non-treated wastewater discharge, e.g. by comparing the obtained results from the values of the no observed effect concentrations (NOECs) on selected Antarctic bioindicators, and provide information for the implementation of proper wastewater treatment at any Antarctic station in the future.
... Australia's Davis Station in East Antarctica has discharged wastewater containing phenolic compounds into the marine environment, potentially threatening local wildlife (Jonathan et al. 2016). According to Hughes & Nobbs (2004) and Connor (2008), discharge of wastewater in inland areas, including burial in snow, can lead to discharge into inland streams and lakes and onto ice-free ground, constituting a major pollution source in the Antarctic. ...
... Phenol and phenolic compounds are trace contaminants in fuel oil and petroleum products and have been found in soil, water and snow in contaminated areas of Antarctica, generally close to research stations where spills have occurred (Connor 2008, Lee et al. 2018. Decontamination of phenol-polluted areas is widely practiced globally. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study focused on the ability of the Antarctic bacterium Rhodococcus sp. strain AQ5-14 to survive exposure to and to degrade high concentrations of phenol at 0.5 g l ⁻¹ . After initial evaluation of phenol-degrading performance, the effects of salinity, pH and temperature on the rate of phenol degradation were examined. The optimum conditions for phenol degradation were pH 7 and 0.4 g l ⁻¹ NaCl at a temperature of 25°C (83.90%). An analysis using response surface methodology (RSM) and the Plackett-Burman design identified salinity, pH and temperature as three statistically significant factors influencing phenol degradation. The maximum bacterial growth was observed (optical density at 600 nm = 0.455), with medium conditions of pH 6.5, 22.5°C and 0.47 g l ⁻¹ NaCl in the central composite design of the RSM experiments enhancing phenol degradation to 99.10%. A central composite design was then used to examine the interactions among these three variables and to determine their optimal levels. There was excellent agreement ( R ² = 0.9785) between experimental and predicted values, with less strong but still good agreement ( R ² = 0.8376) between the predicted model values and those obtained experimentally under optimized conditions. Rhodococcus sp. strain AQ5-14 has excellent potential for the bioremediation of phenol.
... A rough estimation of sewageassociated HBCD discharge can be developed for other research stations. Although the level of sewage treatment currently applied at research stations varies considerably (Gr€ ondahl et al., 2009), the per capita designed flow rates used in recently constructed WTPs at medium sized research stations were quite consistent, i.e. approximately 150 L/day/capita (Connor, 2007). The designed effluent TSS load varies between stations, e.g. ...
... For stations that do not have any sewage treatment facilities or use simple maceration, we assigned an effluent TSS value of 400 mg/L, approximating the average TSS value (e.g. 390 mg/L) observed for the McMurdo Station effluent after simple maceration (Connor, 2007 ...
Article
Full-text available
Historical persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are banned from Antarctica under international treaty; but contemporary-use POPs can enter as additives within polymer and textile products. Over their useful lives these products may release additives in-situ. Indeed, we observed 226 and 109 ng/g dry weight (dw) of the total concentrations of α-, β- and γ-hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) in indoor dust from McMurdo Station (U.S.) and Scott Station (New Zealand), respectively. Sewage sludge collected from wastewater treatment facilities at these stations exhibited ∑HBCD of 45 and 69 ng/g dw, respectively. Contaminants originally within the bases may exit to the local outdoor environment via wastewaters. Near McMurdo, maximum ∑HBCD levels in surficial marine sediments and aquatic biota (invertebrates and fish) were 2350 ng/g (total organic carbon basis) and 554 ng/g lipid weight, respectively. Levels declined with distance from McMurdo. Our results illustrate that Antarctic research stations serve as local HBCD sources to the pristine Antarctic environment. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
... For the past 10 years, Davis Station, one of four Australian Antarctic stations, has released untreated macerated sewage into the marine environment (Connor, 2008). Here we genetically characterized E. coli isolated from seawater, sediment and wildlife faeces collected in the vicinity of Davis Station. ...
... Our analysis shows that E. coli isolated from Antarctic water and wildlife have genetic attributes that are commonly associated with E. coli from humans. At Davis station, sewage is macerated prior to disposal into the sea, a practice that meets the recommendations defined in the Antarctic Treaty, but one that does not control the release of microorganisms (Connor, 2008;Smith and Riddle, 2009). Assumptions that mesophilic organisms do not survive the extreme conditions in Antarctica may be a potential reason for accepting less stringent methods for sewage disposal than those practiced elsewhere. ...
... Legacy pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls are ubiquitous in the Antarctic environment (Bargagli, 2008; Borghesi et al., 2008; Corsolini, 2009; Corsolini et al., 2006; Miller et al., 1999). More recently, despite waste treatment practices at McMurdo Station (Conlan et al., 2004) and Scott Base (Connor, 2008 ), a number of polybrominated diphenyl ether congeners (PBDEs) were detected in both as fire preventative chemicals, in existing household items and appliances in the Antarctic research stations ensures long lasting releases into the marine environment; and yet the effects of such exposure on Antarctic fish is not known. It is well known that the enzyme cytochrome P450 1A1 (cyp1a1) is involved in the metabolism of contaminants, such as PAHs, by activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) in the aryl hydrocarbon pathway within the liver (Chen et al., 2001; Guengerich, 2008). ...
Article
Although polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have the ability to undergo long-range atmospheric transport to remote ecosystems like Antarctica, a recent study found evidence for a local source within the Antarctic. PBDEs from sewage treatment outfalls of McMurdo Station and Scott Base on Ross Island have been attributed to the high concentrations measured in emerald rock cod (Trematomus bernacchii). The potential impact of PBDEs on Antarctic fish physiology is unknown and therefore, the aim of this study was to obtain a greater understanding of physiological responses of emerald rock cod for assessing changes in ecosystem quality. A PBDE mixture (ΣPBDE 8 congeners) was administered fortnightly over 42 days and physiological changes were observed throughout this period and for a further 14 days thereafter. Changes in liver composition, molecular level changes and enzyme activities of selected detoxification-mediated and antioxidant defence markers were measured. Changes in total lipid, lipid peroxide and protein carbonyl concentrations in emerald rock cod liver were consistent with increases in nucleus surface area in the PBDE-treated groups, suggesting alterations in cellular function. Changes in the activities of selected antioxidant enzymes indirectly indicated oxidative stress, possibly resulting in the changes in liver composition. Additionally, glutathione-S-transferase (GST) activity reached its peak faster than that of ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD), suggesting that during the early response to PBDE exposures there could be a greater involvement of GST-mediated detoxification. Thus, for at least the species examined here, protein carbonyl and lipid peroxides were useful and informative biomarkers for cellular level responses following PBDE-related exposure. Furthermore, our findings suggest that emerald rock cod exposed to PBDEs develop oxidative stress - a condition with potential consequences for fish growth, health and reproduction.
... Nevertheless, temporary camps still comprise most of the local impacts in remote areas. Described impacts in these areas include expansion of human footprint associated with land use and soil trampling (Campbell et al. 1998, Ayres et al. 2008), unintentional nonnative species introduction (Frenot et al. 2005, Convey et al. 2006, Hughes & Convey 2010, wastes (Connor 2008) and soil pollution (Evans et al. 2000, Snape et al. 2002. Inevitably, scientific research activity has an environmental cost including disturbance of neighbouring fauna (Pfeiffer 2005, De Villiers et al. 2006, De Villiers 2008, damage to vegetation (Gremmen et al. 2003) and direct interference with biotic and abiotic components of the local ecosystem associated with scientific sampling. ...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract: Currently, a substantial proportion of Antarctic research is carried out through deployment of field camps, but little detailed information on the running of these facilities is often available. The remoteness of camps and the fragility of local Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems make the running of sustainable, low impact field science and logistics in ice-free areas a challenge for environmental managers. In this study we examined the environmental management at the Spanish camp within Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA) No. 126 Byers Peninsula, Livingston Island, South Shetland Islands. Firstly, the input of materials and generation of pollution associated with the camp during a ten year period of operation was quantified. Examination of greenhouse gas emissions shows a mean of 14 t CO2 equivalent per researcher associated with transportation of people to the site, plus 44 t CO2 equivalent per researcher, associated with transportation of cargo to the field site. Secondly, the cumulative trampling footprint across Byers Peninsula and associated local impacts were recorded. Results showed the pattern of human movement within the ASPA and how activities concentrated around the field camp site. At the same time every effort was taken to ensure scientific outputs from research activities within the ASPA were maximized. Practical recommendations on operational logistics are discussed to minimize environmental impacts and optimize scientific benefits.
... While many Parties go to great efforts to ensure compliance with the Protocol, and may even implement higher environmental standards than normally required in their own country, some Parties are less stringent (e.g. Connor 2008). While some breaches of the Protocol are due to the actions of individuals, in other cases significant environmental damage has been caused by inadequate management on stations and poor education of personnel on environmental issues. ...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract. Antarctic terrestrial biodiversity is challenged by rapid climatic changes and expansion of the human footprint. As well as the potential for environmental damage at the local level, these challenges are likely to act synergistically to increase the risk of introduction and establishment of non-native species and diseases and reduce the resilience of native ecosystems. The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (‘the Protocol’) entered into force in 1998 and is the main governance mechanism that regulates environmental management in Antarctica. We examine how well the Protocol and associated management tools are currently equipped to protect Antarctic terrestrial biodiversity in a warmer and busier Antarctic, considering likely future challenges, current levels of compliance with the Protocol and implementation of its requirements, and participation in environmental matters by Antarctic Treaty Parties. We argue that a strategic-level response will be needed to boost the ability of the Antarctic Treaty System to deal with the large-scale, pervasive challenges of climate change and increased human activity. A strategic planning approach that can (1) account for trends over long periods, (2) take into consideration cumulative effects, (3) be guided by a set of consciously chosen priorities, and (4) take an integrated approach towards management of human activities and the conservation of the Antarctic environment, will permit the anticipation of upcoming challenges and risks and adoption of proactive and holistic management strategies.
... Examples abound in the real word, such as multiple pumps in a hydroelectric plant, computer networks with multiple servers, and a four-engine aircraft that can continue to operate as long as at least two engines are working. Systems in remote locations are often designed as k-out-of-N systems; for example, wastewater treatment * Corresponding author plants and the Scott base in Antartica (Connor, 2008). The k-out-of-N systems occupy a prominent position in applied engineering due to their simplicity, economic advantage, and high reliability. ...
Article
Full-text available
Consider a multi-component repairable cold standby system and assume that repaired units are as good as new. The operational times of the units follow phase-type distribution. Downtime cost is occurred when failed components are not repaired or replaced. There are also fixed, unit repair and replacement costs associated with the maintenance facility, which carried out after a fixed leadtime τ. Closed form results are derived for three classes of group replacement policies (m-failure, T-age, and (m, T, τ), which is a refinement of the classical (m, T) policy) for the expected discounted case and for the long run average criteria. Illustrative examples are provided.
... In addition, existing treatment facilities risk inefficiency or even failure during peak occupancy periods (Gr€ ondahl et al., 2009; Stark et al., 2015). Wastewater treatment system operation and design must be robust and flexible enough to cope with conditions unique to the Antarctic environment: extreme cold and dry climatic conditions, high energy requirement for heating, pumps and motors, considerable daily and seasonal variation in volume and timing of discharge (Connor, 2008; Smith and Riddle, 2009; Stark et al., 2015). Faecal material accounts for a large portion of discharged effluent due to lack of available water for dilution (Stark et al., 2015). ...
Article
A quantitative Histological Health Index (HHI) was applied to Antarctic rock cod (Trematomus bernacchii) using gill, liver, spleen, kidney and gonad to assess the impact of wastewater effluent from Davis Station, East Antarctica. A total of 120 fish were collected from 6 sites in the Prydz Bay region of East Antarctica at varying distances from the wastewater outfall. The HHI revealed a greater severity of alteration in fish at the wastewater outfall, which decreased stepwise with distance. Gill and liver displayed the greatest severity of alteration in fish occurring in close proximity to the wastewater outfall, showing severe and pronounced alteration respectively. Findings of the HHI add to a growing weight of evidence indicating that the current level of wastewater treatment at Davis Station is insufficient to prevent impact to the surrounding environment. The HHI for T. bernacchii developed in this study is recommended as a useful risk assessment tool for assessing in situ, sub-lethal impacts from station-derived contamination in coastal regions throughout Antarctica. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
... The Rotating Biological Contactor (RBC) are a range of complete self-contained sewage treatment plants which are designed for small communities and manufactured in different range of sizes ( Connor, 2008). These units are ideal for single house, small housing developments, hotels, public houses and small commercial developments. ...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental monitoring is integral part of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Continuous efforts of Scientific
... Clear symptoms of a range of anthropogenic impacts have been observed for several decades, including changes in the surface (e.g. O'Neill et al., 2012), direct pollution from hydrocarbons (Aislabie et al., 2004) and urban effluent (Connor, 2008), among others; and indirect pollution carried through the atmosphere from remote areas (e.g. Vinit et al., 2004). ...
Article
Human presence in the Antarctic is increasing due to research activities and the rise in tourism. These activities contribute a number of potentially hazardous substances. The aim of this study is to conduct the first characterisation of the pharmaceuticals and recreational drugs present in the northern Antarctic Peninsula region, and to assess the potential environmental risk they pose to the environment. The study consisted of a single sampling of ten water samples from different sources, including streams, ponds, glacier drains, and a wastewater discharge into the sea. Twenty-five selected pharmaceuticals and 21 recreational drugs were analysed. The highest concentrations were found for the analgesics acetaminophen (48.74 μg L⁻¹), diclofenac (15.09 μg L⁻¹) and ibuprofen (10.05 μg L⁻¹), and for the stimulant caffeine (71.33 μg L⁻¹). All these substances were detected in waters that were discharged directly into the ocean without any prior purification processes. The hazard quotient (HQ) values for ibuprofen, diclofenac and acetaminophen were far in excess of 10 at several sampling points. The concentrations of each substance measured and used as measured environmental concentration values for the HQ calculations are based on a one-time sampling. The Toxic Unit values indicate that analgesics and anti-inflammatories are the therapeutic group responsible for the highest toxic burden.
... The reuse of pre-treated wastewater in hydroponic cultivation is a polishing step in the treatment and a means of recycling nutrients (especially N and P), organic matter and water for efficient agricultural use [3,4]. In the other hand wastewater treatment and disposal is recognized as a practical, human health and environmental concern for countries managing Antarctic research stations [5,6,7]. Also, Antarctic expeditioners are frequently faced with months of isolation, with no new supplies, and thus no fresh food arriving [8]. ...
Poster
Full-text available
The objective of this study was to investigate a low cost and simple system that would treat wastewater to reuse and discharge standards in locations where low resources (natural, logistic or economic) sometimes make this impracticable. Therefore, a system composed by the following processes was developed: lime chemical precipitation wastewater treatment with mixing by hand (LCPm), followed by effluent natural neutralization (NN) with atmospheric CO2 and agricultural effluent reuse as a nutrient solution (NS) in hydroponic system (NFT-LED). The importance of applying the LCPm treatment stems from the fact that it is: fast, predictable and easily automated; tolerant to compounds of some toxicity and temperature variations; supports load and flow variations easily; used as a pretreatment improves the efficiency of subsequent biological treatments. But after LCPm treatment the effluent has too high pH (> 9.5) to be reused in irrigation, a pH of at least≈8 is required. It is possible, however, to achieve this pH lowering without reagents by using atmospheric CO2 in carbonation reactions. The reuse of pre-treated wastewater in hydroponic cultivation is a polishing step in the treatment and a means of recycling nutrients (especially N and P), organic matter and water for efficient agricultural use. In the other hand, wastewater treatment and disposal is recognized as a practical, human health and environmental concern for countries managing Antarctic research stations. Also, Antarctic expeditioners are frequently faced with months of isolation, with no new supplies, and thus no fresh food arriving. With the implementation of the Antarctic Treaty and subsequently the Madrid Protocol, the growth of plants at Antarctic stations requires adherence to strict requirements aimed at preventing the introduction of non-native species and limiting waste production leaving hydroponic cultivation the only alternative for fresh food production. In addition to access to fresh products, the presence of plants within such remote environments provides psychological benefits to expeditioners.
... For this reason, and due to the presence of freshwater in summer and an active hydrological cycle (Moreno et al. 2012), the northern Antarctic Peninsula region is a particularly suitable place to study the presence and impact of anthropogenic pollutants. So far, a range of pollutants have been found in this area, including microplastics (Munari et al. 2017), hydrocarbons (Aislabie et al. 2004) from wastewater discharges (Connor 2008), as point sources of contamination, and also diffuse pollution carried through the atmosphere (Vinit et al. 2004). The presence of endocrine disruptors (Esteban et al. 2016), pharmaceuticals, and psychotropic drugs (González- Alonso et al. 2017) has been reported in freshwater in the northern Antarctic Peninsula region. ...
Article
This study aimed to evaluate the presence of ultraviolet filters (UV-Fs), benzotriazoles, pyrethroids and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in freshwater and wastewater from the northern Antarctic Peninsula region. All water samples analyzed contained UV-Fs residues and high concentrations were detected in anthropogenic impacted sites (< LOD up to 1300 ng/L). Likewise, benzotriazoles were detected in all water samples (< LOQ–920 ng/L). Regarding suspended particulate matter, almost all UV-Fs and all benzotriazoles were measured at concentrations ranging from < LOQ to 33 µg/g dry weight. Pyrethroids were also detected (< LOQ–250 ng/L) and their presence implies the existence of a gateway to the Antarctica Peninsula from other regions. The data confirmed the presence of PFASs (< LOD–7500 ng/L) in this area, in agreement with previous studies. In light of these results, extended monitoring in Antarctica should be carried out to perform a reliable environmental risk assessment leading to propose recommendations to minimize the anthropic impact.
... The use of fossil fuels with current techniques leads to regular spilling of oil products that contaminate the surface and soils of terrestrial environments, inland and oceanic waters (Kennicutt et al., 1991;Waterhouse, 2001;Aislabie et al., 2004;Frenot et al., 2005). Numerous logistic aspects in Antarctic region result in waste disposal management, which often leads to the sporadic transportation of the untreated sewage into the ocean and on the territory around the stations (Connor, 2008;Tin et al., 2009;Martins et al., 2010). ...
Article
Full-text available
The investigation conducted was dialed to quantitative and qualitative evaluation of 15 priority polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Potentially Toxic Elements (Cu, Pb, Zn, Cd, Ni, and Cr) is soils and cryoconites on “St. Kliment Ohridski” Antarctic station territory and its vicinities. Estimation of benzo(a)pyrene (BaP)–equivalents, PAHs and different PAHs isomer pair ratios were used for identification of general toxicity, nature and origin of individual PAHs and their groups. Total concentrations of PAHs in BaP–equivalents showed, that ∑15PAH of all selected points was higher than the threshold concentration (20 μg × kg−1–Russian environmental legislation) for benzo(a)pyrene. Different PAHs isomer ratios showed the natural (petrogenic) source of PAHs at all soils examples (except Cryosol Toxic Transportic). The maximum content among potentially toxic elements was recorded for Zn (75.7 mg × kg−1 at L26), the minimum for Cd (0.201 mg × kg−1 at L1A). Average concentrations of potentially toxic elements are generally lower compared to the results of previous studies. Application of I geo index, characterizes the majority of the studied soils as unpolluted or practically unpolluted. Data obtained indicates that there is no current critical anthropogenic load on the environmental components of the landscapes investigated.
... To remove the pharmaceutical residues in wastewater, secondary effluents, and brine prior to disposal into the sea Certainly, water reuse is not a widespread practice in costal zones, especially when one refers to (a) temperate zones where water shortage is not a problem and untreated wastewater is directly discharged into the sea [118]; (b) impoverished coastal zones; (c) remote regions, like the Arctic and Antarctica [119,120]; and (d) offshore platforms, ships, yachts, and boats navigating near the coast or in the open sea (except for those plying near the coast in special areas in accordance to the MARPOL Annex IV). For these cases and any other activity discharging sewage into the sea, tertiary treatment must be used in order to avoid pharmaceutical residues-and their intermediates-to reach and spread out through the ocean. ...
Chapter
There is abundant evidence on the occurrence of pharmaceutical residues in seawater. Even when these pollutants are dispersed in a huge mass of water, dilution is not fully achieved and thus quantifiable concentrations (ng L− 1) of antiinflammatory, antibiotics, antidepressants, and other drugs have been reported in the Mediterranean Sea, the Bohai Sea, and the Baltic Sea. Different to that happening in freshwater bodies, the removal of pharmaceutical residues in seawater is not a priority, since other important pollution problems, like garbage, oil spills, and nutrients have captured the attention of environmentalists, NGO, policy makers, and most of the scientific community. Due to this, very few efforts are made to recognize, reduce, and remove pharmaceutical residues in coastal and seawater. In this chapter, wastewater discharges and brine are recognized as the main sources of pharmaceutical residues in the marine environment. Three strategies to reduce the loads of pharmaceuticals discharged into the sea are explored: (a) water reuse schemes in coastal urbanizations, (b) the implementation of zero-liquid discharge regimes in membrane-based and thermal-based desalination processes, and (c) the implementation or tertiary treatment systems based on advanced oxidation processes to remove pharmaceutical residues from wastewater and brine prior to dispose of them into the sea. The role of international legislation to lessen the volume of wastewater discharged into the sea is explored through the most recent amendment of the MARPOL Annex IV document, aimed to protect the water quality of the Baltic Sea.
... On the other hand, some larger stations have implemented sewage-treatment procedures that clean their effluent in excess of their national standards for water quality. [95][96][97][98] Processing generally includes maceration, screening, and settling of raw sewage, followed by aerobic biological treatment and in some cases disinfection by ultraviolet (UV) irradiation. 98 The use of such complex systems at smaller stations is widely regarded as expensive and impractical, and it will be a challenge to scale down existing technologies. ...
Article
Antarctica is the most isolated continent on Earth, but it has not escaped the negative impacts of human activity. The unique marine ecosystems of Antarctica and their endemic faunas are affected on local and regional scales by overharvesting, pollution, and the introduction of alien species. Global climate change is also having deleterious impacts: rising sea temperatures and ocean acidification already threaten benthic and pelagic food webs. The Antarctic Treaty System can address local- to regional-scale impacts, but it does not have purview over the global problems that impinge on Antarctica, such as emissions of greenhouse gases. Failure to address human impacts simultaneously at all scales will lead to the degradation of Antarctic marine ecosystems and the homogenization of their composition, structure, and processes with marine ecosystems elsewhere.
Article
Energy-efficient technologies that allow for the effective recovery of water from urine are desirable in a variety of environments. While light-weight and portable forward osmosis (FO) systems have many advantages over other energy-intensive approaches, they often do not achieve a high water recovery, while small and uncharged solutes such as urea are efficiently rejected by the FO membrane. Hollow fiber aquaporin-based membranes (ABMs) represent potential candidates to be used in urine filtration and past work has demonstrated that charged ammonium ions are rejected more efficiently than uncharged urea at low pH. In this study, we examined urea hydrolysis via the enzyme urease as a pre-FO treatment strategy to see if rejection of nitrogenous compounds can be enhanced. Our results demonstrate that urea hydrolysis in combination with lowering the feed solution pH significantly improved total nitrogen (TN) rejection. Nonetheless, the increased osmolarity of the resulting feed solution compromised water recovery, which was especially noticeable when glucose draw solutions were utilized. Therefore, our results suggest that the introduced strategy is not practicable for general field application. However, the introduced approach may still be beneficial in applications where draw solutions of high osmolarity can be used to allow for an efficient water recovery from urine.
Article
To date, Antarctica is the only continent to have escaped the COVID-19 pandemic. This was facilitated by the continent's isolation and low human presence, combined with the global emergence of the pandemic at the end of the Antarctic summer season and the rapid action of those national governmental operators and other actors still active on and around the continent during the early phases of the outbreak. Here, we consider the implications of the pandemic for Antarctic governance, national operator logistics, science, tourism and the fishing industry, as well as for Antarctic environmental protection. Global disruption will result in a temporary decrease in human activity in Antarctica, in turn leading to a reduction in environmental impacts for a period, but also a reduced capacity to respond to environmental incidents. Given the diversity of transmission routes and vectors, preventing the introduction of the virus will be difficult, even with stringent quarantine procedures in place, and the risks and implications of virus transmission to Antarctic wildlife are largely unknown. With control of the pandemic a major global challenge, international cooperation will be essential if Antarctica is to remain free of coronavirus.
Conference Paper
In this paper, we will present a model for joint optimization of periodic inspection and inventory levels for a k-out-of-n system. The component failures follow a Non-Homogeneous Poisson Process and failed components can only be revealed at inspection times. We have two types of inspections; planned periodic inspections and non-planned opportunistic inspections. Opportunistic inspections are performed when the system fails, which occurs when n-k+1 components are down at the same time. Failed components are either minimally repaired or replaced with spare parts from the inventory. The inventory policy needs to support the inspection policy so that spare parts are available when needed. The inventory is replenished to level S at periodic inspections, after a random lead-time. However, when the system fails within an inspection interval, the inventory is replenished to level s, with no lead-time (because it is an emergency order). We assume that placing an emergency order is more expensive, and that it depends on the number of spares which is ordered. A simulation model is developed to find the expected total cost for given inspection interval τ and inventory levels S and s. In order to find the combination of τ, s and S, that minimizes the total cost over the system life cycle, we use a genetic algorithm. It is necessary to use a search heuristic method because the size of the search space makes it not feasible to find the optimal solution by trying all combinations of τ, s and S.
Chapter
The increasing knowledge and awareness concerning the presence of pharmaceutical residues and their negative impact on the marine environment create a need to develop new tools to investigate and monitor their pathways. Multiresidue methods allow the determination of a vast number of target compounds from different classes of pharmaceuticals in a single analysis. The application of these methods to seawater samples is more complicated compared with freshwater analysis due to matrix impact and dilution of the target compounds. This chapter presents a review of the published research papers from the last decade and discusses the analytical methodologies presented there. Based on the current knowledge, authors also try to predict and point out the future trends and challenges in multiresidue analysis methodology.
Article
Full-text available
We review the scientific literature, especially from the past decade, on the impacts of human activities on the Antarctic environment. A range of impacts has been identified at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. Chemical contamination and sewage disposal on the continent have been found to be long-lived. Contemporary sewage management practices at many coastal stations are insufficient to prevent local contamination but no introduction of non-indigenous organisms through this route has yet been demonstrated. Human activities, particularly construction and transport, have led to disturbances of flora and fauna. A small number of non-indigenous plant and animal species has become established, mostly on the northern Antarctic Peninsula and southern archipelagos of the Scotia Arc. There is little indication of recovery of overexploited fish stocks, and ramifications of fishing activity on bycatch species and the ecosystem could also be far-reaching. The Antarctic Treaty System and its instruments, in particular the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources and the Environmental Protocol, provide a framework within which management of human activities take place. In the face of the continuing expansion of human activities in Antarctica, a more effective implementation of a wide range of measures is essential, in order to ensure comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment, including its intrinsic, wilderness and scientific values which remains a fundamental principle of the Antarctic Treaty System. These measures include effective environmental impact assessments, long-term monitoring, mitigation measures for non-indigenous species, ecosystem-based management of living resources, and increased regulation of National Antarctic Programmes and tourism activities.
Article
Full-text available
The survival of human enteric bacteria in the aquatic environment has attracted much interest in view of its public health significance. Untreated sewage has been released from Dumont d'Urville station, Antarctica, into the Southern Ocean for several years. The spatial distribution of faecal bacteria indicators was investigated in summer ice-free seawater near the French Base station of the Adélie land area. A complementary seasonal survey of the occurrence of faecal coliform bacteria was conducted in seawater under the winter sea ice in a specific station. Relatively high bacterial densities (maximum 103 CFU 100 ml−1) were found in seawater surrounding the sewage outfall. However, the contamination decreased rapidly with increasing distance from the outfall. In all samples collected further than 2 km, the bacterial indicators were absent or present in very small numbers. Faecal coliforms were not detected in samples collected at pristine sites. Despite these relatively low contamination levels, faecal bacteria were always detected in the vicinity of the sewage outfall during the seasonal survey conducted in ice and under-ice seawater.
Article
Full-text available
The Controlled Ecological Life Support system (CELSS) Antarctic Analog Project (CAAP) is a joint National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA project for the development, deployment and operation of CELSS technologies at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. NASA goals are operational testing of CELSS technologies and the conduct of scientific studies to facilitate technology selection and system design. The NSF goals are that the food production, water purification, and waste treatment capabilities which will be provided by CAAP will improve the quality of life for the South Pole inhabitants, reduce logistics dependence, and minimize environmental impacts associated with human presence on the polar plateau. This report presents an analysis of wastewater samples taken from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica. The purpose of the work is to develop a quantitative understanding of the characteristics of domestic sewage streams at the South Pole Station. This information will contribute to the design of a proposed plant growth/waste treatment system which is part of the CELSS Antarctic Analog Project (CAAP).
Article
The summer populations at the Australian Antarctic Base, Davis, have climbed from 30 to almost 100. The current wastewater treatment facility is overloaded, and an upgrade is required. In addition, there is a desire for disinfection of the effluent to prevent potential transmission of viruses and bacteria from humans to wildlife. A number of wastewater treatment technologies for replacing the existing wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) were recently assessed and a concept design has been developed.
Article
Untreated sewage has been released from McMurdo Station, Antarctica, into McMurdo Sound for several years. In this study organic carbon degradation was compared in seawater from McMurdo Sound at −1.8°C and 20°C using the BOD test. The ultimate BOD was 3 times larger at 20°C than at −1.8°C following 25 days of incubation. On the basis of on these findings, sewage from McMurdo Station, Antarctica, should receive at least secondary treatment before release to lessen the impact of anthropogenic organic carbon on the polar marine environment of McMurdo Sound.
Article
Microorganisms that are found in domestic wastewater and that can cause illness in humans include bacteria viruses protozoan cysts and helminth ova. This literature review attempts to determine whether organisms contained in a frozen sewage bulb in the Antarctic ice would survive for decades. This review briefly examines the structural differences between these organisms; examines the susceptibility of these organisms to chilling freezing thawing and frozen storage and the effect these processes have on the structural components of the organisms; and compares findings from field studies including some archeo-logical studies on the ability of these organisms to withstand natural cold environments.
Article
This report contains a design analysis for a freezing bed for sewage sludge at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. This analysis indicates that all the sludge produced by the proposed wastewater treatment plant at McMurdo could be dewatered in a 10-by 16-m by 2-m-deep freezing bed. Sludge would be frozen by pumping it into the bed in 8-to 10-cm layers during the months of March through September. The total depth of frozen sludge by the end of this period is estimated to be 1.5 m. This sludge would be thawed and drained during the austral summer months of October through January. The sludge would be removed and the bed would be reconditioned during February. The sludge would be thawed with solar radiation and waste heat from the effluent. Installation of the freezing bed would reduce operation and maintenance costs by 98% compared to a conventional belt press.
Article
The spatial distribution and movement of the sewage plume from McMurdo Station, Antarctica, was investigated in the ocean under the early summer sea ice. Ocean currents were also examined to determine their effect on the movement of the plume. Samples of sea water were obtained via holes drilled through the ice and analyzed for coliform bacteria. Coliform densities in ice cores were also determined. Densities of coliform bacteria as high as 10(5)/100 ml were found along the c. 1 km shoreline of McMurdo Station and the plume extended 200-300 m seaward. The relocation of the outfall from a surface configuration to the subsurface (11 m deep) had little influence on the distribution of the plume that sometimes reached the seawater intake station, 400 m to the south. Ocean current measurements in the study area confirmed that, while the prevailing advection was to the north and away from the intake area, episodic reversals of flow at some current meter stations coincided with pulses of sewage that moved to the intake. These findings support the use of bacterial indicators as one means to map the distribution and movement of recent sewage contamination in cold (-1.8 degrees C) sea water and provide evidence that the disposal and movement of domestic wastes deserves attention in coastal [correction of costal] polar environments.
Article
The majority of coastal Antarctic stations release untreated sewage into the near-shore marine environment. This study examined bacterial reproduction within the temporary sewage-holding tanks of Rothera Research Station (Adelaide Island, Antarctic Peninsula) and monitored sewage pollution in the local marine environment. By continuously flushing the sewage-holding tanks with cold seawater we inhibited microbial reproduction and decreased the numbers of bacteria subsequently released into the sea by >90%. The widespread use of this simple method could significantly reduce the numbers of faecal coliform and other non-native microorganisms introduced into the Antarctic marine environment.
Article
Despite Antarctica being the largest pristine wilderness on Earth, many coastal Antarctic research stations release untreated sewage waste into the marine environment, which may have negative effects on local wildlife. In February 2003 a sewage treatment plant was installed at Rothera Research Station (Adelaide Island, Antarctic Peninsula). After one year of operation the sewage treatment plant had dramatically reduced the microbiological pollution in the near-shore marine environment around the outfall and seawater quality conformed to European Union Bathing Water Standards.
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