Zinc distribution in a small stream receiving treated textile wastewater
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Effluent samples for a treated textile waste water and treated domestic sewage waste water and water and sediment samples for an 8.2 km region of Ash Camp Creek near Keysville, Virginia, were collected in June, 1977. Effluent and stream water samples were analyzed for various water quality parameters and for suspended, dissolved, and total zinc. Sediment samples were analyzed for zinc and percent loss on ignition. The treated textile waste water was the major source of zinc to the stream. The effluent and stream water samples exhibited a marked partitioning of zinc among the dissolved and suspended fractions of the water column. The ratios of mean dissolved to mean suspended zinc ranged from about 0.76 to about 1.40. The ratios of mean dissolved to total zinc and mean suspended to total zinc ranged from about 0.42 to 0.62 and from about 0.38 to 0.57, respectively. Anomalously high zinc concentrations were found in the sediments 0.80 m downstream from the point of discharge of the treated textile wastewater and appeared to be caused by sedimentation of suspended zinc induced by a reduction in stream velocity. The domestic discharge together with flow from a small unnamed tributary had a moderating effect on the water quality of the stream functioning to dilute stream pollutant load. Sulfide precipitation appeared to be an important mechanism by which zinc was concentrated in the sediments 40 m below the domestic sewage discharge. Zinc concentrations declined further downstream likely as a result of such factors as dilution, sedimentation, and sorption by inorganic sediment particles.
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