Piping Sewage to the Sea a Clear and Present Danger
… Abrahams said that the outfall extends 815 metres (2,700 feet) offshore with two distinct high density polyethylene lines (HDPE), which was installed by Ward Drilling Inc., with sub–contractor Marenco Marine Ltd. One 8-inch and one 12-inch lines have been installed, with both of them capable of taking the entire flow from the plant individually…. Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams
A recent discussion on another blog explained the threat to the environment of piping sewerage into the sea. Successive governments in their wisdom never allocated the resources to implement a tertiary treatment process as part of a relevant waste management system. An irony for the blogmaster is that the Cabinet now includes a Minister of the Blue Economy, another for the Environment and let us not forget Water Resources.
The following comments (in two parts) were shared by Dr. Robert Lucas, PH.D., CFS, Biotechnologist with the BU family in response to the question – what is the significance of a build up of phosphates and nitrates at the point of discharge in causing an algae bloom?
– David, Blogmaster
It is called eutrophication and is currently occurring off the south coast of Barbados where the escaping sewerage is being pumped into the sea. At the point of discharge there is a build up of phosphates and nitrates which cause an algae bloom that results in depletion of the oxygen content of the seawater. This creates a de facto desert in the sea. Halophilic anaerobic microorganisms predominate.
Nitrogen and phosphates occur in the foods humans ingest, Unused nitrates and phosphates are excreted into faecal matter. Nitrates and phosphates are soluble and are therefore easily dissolved in water. Nitrates and phosphates are essential elements required for microbial growth (note phosphates and nitrates are present as salts of potassium and sodium, i.e. all the major elements required for plant growth are present).
Also present in sea water are trace elements such as magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, sulphur, iron, zinc and copper. In other words you have an ideal medium for plant growth. There is therefore an algal bloom which depletes the oxygen content of the area where the sewerage discharge occurs. That is at the end of the pipeline from which the discharge occurs and as far as the diffused elements reach by a process of osmosis. This area is a virtual desert, deficient in all plant and animal life (biota). Remember bacteria are actually members of the plant family,
Also present will be unicellular parasites (protozoa) which can cause amoebic dysentery (the lack of oxygen kills the non-cyst stage). The cysts stage constitute what are called survival bodies and ingesting such contaminated water results in illness.note anaerobic halophilic (salt tolerant) microbes are predominant in the affected area.