The effectiveness of conventional trickling filter treatment plants at reducing concentrations of copper in wastewaters. Academic Article uri icon


  • Eight different sewage treatment works were sampled in the North West of England. The effectiveness of the conventional treatment processes (primary sedimentation and biological trickling filters) as well as various tertiary treatment units in terms of both total and dissolved copper removal was evaluated. The removal of total copper across primary sedimentation averaged 53% and were relatively consistent at all sites, however, at three sites the removal of dissolved copper also occurred at this stage of treatment. Removal of total copper by the biological trickling filters averaged 49%, however, substantial dissolution of copper occurred at two sites, which highlighted the unpredictability of this treatment process in the removal of dissolved copper. Copper removal during tertiary treatment varied considerably even for the same treatment processes installed at different sites, primarily due to the variability of insoluble copper removal, with little effect on copper in the dissolved form being observed. The proportion of dissolved copper increased significantly during treatment, from an average of 22% in crude sewages to 55% in the final effluents. There may be the potential to optimise existing, conventional treatment processes (primary or biological treatment) to enhance dissolved copper removal, possibly reducing the requirement for installing any tertiary processes specifically for the removal of copper.

published proceedings

  • Sci Total Environ

author list (cited authors)

  • Ziolko, D., Hala, D., Lester, J. N., & Scrimshaw, M. D.

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • Ziolko, Dominik||Hala, David||Lester, John N||Scrimshaw, Mark D

publication date

  • January 1, 2009 11:11 AM