Carbon and nitrogen stable isotopic signatures of suspended particulate organic matter and seawater biological oxygen demand (BOD) were measured along a coastal transect during summer 2015 to investigate pollution impacts of a high-discharge submarine sewage outfall close to Salvador, Brazil. Impacts of untreated sewage discharge were evident at the outfall site by depleted δ13Corg and δ15N signatures and 4-fold increased BOD rates. Pollution effects of a sewage plume were detectable for more than 6 km downstream from the outfall site, as seasonal wind- and tide-driven shelf hydrodynamics facilitated its advective transport into near-shore waters. There, sewage pollution was detectable at recreational beaches by depleted stable isotope signatures and elevated BOD rates at high tides, suggesting high bacterial activity and increased infection risk by human pathogens. These findings indicate the urgent necessity for appropriate wastewater treatment in Salvador to achieve acceptable standards for released effluents and coastal zone water quality.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Aquatic Science