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Heavy Metal Pollutants in Wastewater Effluents: Sources, Effects and Remediation
Advances in Bioscience and Bioengineering
Volume 2, Issue 4, August 2014, Pages: 37-43
Received: Sep. 23, 2014; Accepted: Oct. 10, 2014; Published: Nov. 10, 2014
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Oghenerobor Benjamin Akpor, Microbiology Unit, Department of Biological Sciences, Landmark University, Omu- Aran, Kwara State, Nigeria
Gladys Onolunose Ohiobor, Microbiology Unit, Department of Biological Sciences, Landmark University, Omu- Aran, Kwara State, Nigeria
Tomilola Debby Olaolu, Biochemistry Unit, Department of Biological Sciences, Landmark University, Omu- Aran, Kwara State, Nigeria
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Heavy metals, also known as trace metals, are one of the most persistent pollutants in wastewater. The discharge of high amounts of heavy metals into water bodies leads to several environmental and health impacts. The exposure of humans to heavy metals can occur through a variety of routes, which include inhalation as dust or fume, vapourisation and ingestion through food and drink. Some negative impacts of heavy metals to aquatic ecosystems include death of aquatic life, algal blooms, habitat destruction from sedimentation, debris, increased water flow, other short and long term toxicity from chemical contaminants. Abundant amounts of heavy metals present in soils cause reduction in quality and quantity of food preventing plants’ growth, uptake of nutrients, physiological and metabolic processes. Severe effects on animals may include reduced growth and development, cancer, organ damage, nervous system damage, and in extreme cases, death. To help mitigate the negative impacts of heavy metals on the health of humans, animals and the environment, a variety of remediation processes exists. These remediation processes are broadly classified into chemical and biological, although the latter is advocated in recent years. Biological remediation processes (microbial remediation and phytoremediation) are indicated to be very effective in the treatment of heavy metal pollutants in wastewater. Microbial remediation is the restoration of the environment and its quality using microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, protozoan and algae while phytoremediation is the use of plants to degrade or accumulate toxic metals, thereby leading to a reduction in the bioavailability of the contaminant in the soil or water. This paper was therefore aimed at reviewing the sources, impacts and remediation processes for heavy metals in wastewater.
Heavy Metals, Remediation, Wastewater
To cite this article
Oghenerobor Benjamin Akpor, Gladys Onolunose Ohiobor, Tomilola Debby Olaolu, Heavy Metal Pollutants in Wastewater Effluents: Sources, Effects and Remediation, Advances in Bioscience and Bioengineering. Vol. 2, No. 4, 2014, pp. 37-43. doi: 10.11648/
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