Ecological risks of heavy metals/metalloid discharged from two sewage treatment works to Mai Po Ramsar site, South China

Yu Bon Man, Kim Man Lei, Ka Lai Chow, Anna Oi Wah Leung, Wing Yin Mo, Ming Hung Wong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The concentrations of six heavy metal/metalloids (HMs) cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), mercury (Hg), lead (Pb), zinc (Zn), and arsenic (As) were determined in the influent, effluent, and dewatered sludge of two sewage treatment works (Yuen Long Sewage Treatment Work (YLSTW) and Shek Wu Hui Sewage Treatment Work (SWHSTW)) and river waters and sediment (Shan Pui River and Ng Tung River) within the Mai Po Ramsar site in Hong Kong SAR, China. In both STWs, Pb had the highest removal efficiencies (YLSTW 86.5 ± 19.0% to 97.3 ± 3.04%; SWHSTW 87.4 ± 12.8% to 100 ± 0.0800%). In the whole effluent toxicity test, both STWs were effective in lowering the toxicity of the effluent to zebrafish and cherry shrimp. The environmental risk assessments of these HMs on three local aquatic organisms, three species of fish, two species of crustaceans, and three species of algae, were calculated based on measured HMs concentrations in river water and sewage samples, and the predicted no-effect concentrations. Results showed that Zn concentrations in all collected samples posed potential risks to all studied aquatic organisms (average risk quotient = 445). The concentrations of Cu in the rivers posed potential risks (average risk quotient = 5.42) to all fish species. It was concluded that Zn and Hg derived from the STWs might pose potential risks to the living organisms inhabiting the Ramsar site, and Cu, Cd, Pb, and As in the rivers were originated from the two rivers and possibly other tributaries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number466
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

User-Defined Keywords

  • Environmental risk assessment
  • Removal efficiency
  • Secondary treatment
  • Water quality parameters
  • Whole effluent toxicity test


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