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Effect of lockdown on wastewater characteristics: A comparison of two large urban areas

Abstract : The effect of the lockdown imposed to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in France between March 14 and May 11, 2020 on the wastewater characteristics of two large urban areas (with between 250,000 and 300,000 inhabitants) was studied. The number of outward and inward daily commuters was extracted from national census databases related to the population and their commuting habits. For urban area A, with the larger number of daily inward commuters (110,000, compared to 53,000 for B), lockdown was observed to have an effect on the monthly load averages of chemical oxygen demand, biochemical oxygen demand, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, total suspended solids and total phosphorus, all of which decreased (confidence level of 95%). This decrease, which varied between 20% and 40% and reached 45% for COD, can be related to the cessation of catering and activities such as hairdressing, which generate large amounts of graywater. The ammonium loads, due to the use of toilets before leaving for work and after returning from work, remained constant. In the case of urban area B, lockdown had no noticeable effect. More data would be necessary in the long term to analyze the effect of changes in the balance between ammonia and carbon sources on the operation of wastewater treatment plants.
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Contributor : Marie-Noëlle Pons <>
Submitted on : Sunday, December 20, 2020 - 8:47:25 AM
Last modification on : Monday, April 5, 2021 - 5:46:02 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Sunday, March 21, 2021 - 6:04:40 PM


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Marie-Noëlle Pons, Pauline Louis, Davide Vignati. Effect of lockdown on wastewater characteristics: A comparison of two large urban areas. Water Science and Technology, IWA Publishing, 2020, 82 (12), pp.2813-2822. ⟨10.2166/wst.2020.520⟩. ⟨hal-03083964⟩



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