Secondary Sewage Treatment Versus Ocean Outfalls: An Assessment

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Science  09 Sep 1977:
Vol. 197, Issue 4308, pp. 1056-1060
DOI: 10.1126/science.197.4308.1056


Simplified models have been developed to obtain order of magnitude estimates of the oxygen demand of municipal and industrial wastes and of their potential eutrophication effects in the marine environment. The models have been applied to assess two major corrective actions that might be considered for such pollution problems—secondary sewage treatment and ocean outfalls. It is concluded that the arguments for secondary sewage treatment as the proper corrective action are not compelling and that the problem should be reexamined with appropriate scientific and engineering evaluations. One goal of such scientific evaluations should be a more thorough understanding of the life histories of possible trace contaminants and pathogens which may have long biological, chemical, or geological retention times in the marine environment.