The objective was to outline a process for selecting hazardous substances as pollution indicators that imply a chemical risk for the recycling of wastewater residues on arable land and for wastewater discharge into receiving waters. The reviewed methodologies showed one commonality: grouping of various characteristics that symbolise hazardous properties. From each group, one or several indicator substances were selected to represent the hazardous property of that specific group. The selected set of indicator substances represented the chemical risk characteristics as a whole. One conclusion is that it is difficult to create a comprehensive list of indicator substances for the monitoring of chemical risks in wastewater and residues. Due to the insufficiency of knowledge about the chemical risks from complex systems such as a wastewater system and the methodology for selecting indicator substances, many simplifications have to be accepted. The 100,000 substances present in the technosphere, of which 30,000 are regarded as “everyday” chemicals, may end up in wastewater systems. We have a limited knowledge of many of these substances, thereby providing a weak base for assessing the true chemical risks in wastewater and residues for reuse on arable land. Although the pollution situation will not entirely be understood by measuring the status of only a few substances (important substances may be overlooked), detected substances indicate a specific pollution situation in wastewater or sludge, thus increasing our knowledge about the current concentrations.
Palmquist, H. and Hanæus, J. (2004), "A Swedish overview of selecting hazardous substances as pollution indicators in wastewater", Management of Environmental Quality, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 186-203. https://doi.org/10.1108/14777830410523116Download as .RIS
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