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Gone Fishin’: What are the Impacts of Wastewater Effluent on Downstream Trout?

Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation District (SBWRD) discharges treated wastewater to trout streams in Park City, Utah. Recent concerns about pharmaceuticals, personal care products (PPCPs) and endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) in wastewater effluent have caused SBWRD to question the effects of these chemicals on downstream fish. Carollo Engineers is leading a multi-faceted team in a study designed to accomplish three goals: 1) identify the levels of PPCPs and EDCs in East Canyon Creek at different seasons and distances downstream of the treatment plant, 2) determine the accumulation and transfer of these compounds in the food chain, and 3) predict risks of exposure to trout in the creek.

Besides Carollo, the team includes Dr. Bryan Brooks of Baylor University, who first reported the detection of trace pharmaceuticals in fish exposed to wastewater effluent. Other team members include Dr. Nancy Winslow of the University of Florida, an expert in environmental toxicology including endocrine disruption in fish; Utah Division of Fish and Wildlife Resources field biologists; and SBWRD managers and operation staff.

The results of the study will help SBWRD better evaluate the risks to wildlife and identify what, if any, additional advanced treatment needs should be put in place to reduce those risks and impacts.

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