In this context, wastewater includes treated and untreated sewage, untreated stormwater, used aquacultural pond water and water from industrial activities that is released directly into waterways. It can carry a mixture of dissolved and suspended contaminants that may have negative affects on the natural environment. The temperature of the water may also have negative impacts on aquatic life. The impacts of wastewater release depend on the contaminants present, the level of treatment the water has received and the nature of the waterway into which it is being released – better quality water is less likely to have negative impacts.
The direct impacts of wastewater release may include:
- Altered water temperature
- Increased water nutrient concentrations
- Increased water faecal contamination
- Increased water chemical contamination
- Increased water sediment load
- Increased plant detritus in water
- Increased debris in waterways, e.g. plastic bags – debris can choke, suffocate or disable aquatic life such as ducks, fish, turtles and birds.
- Reduced recreational value of waterway
Last updated 7 September 2010