THE EFFICIENCY OF MICROPLASTIC REMOVAL BY FIVE WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANTS WITHIN THE MONOCACY RIVER WATERSHED
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DepartmentHood College Biology
Wastewater treatment plants have been identified as a large contributor to the release of microplastic particles into the environment globally. The purpose of this project was to compare five different wastewater treatment facilities and their microplastic removal efficiency from treated wastewater. Another goal for this project was to determine if microplastics were entering the Monocacy River watershed in Maryland, United States. Influent, effluent, and sludge samples were collected from each facility and microplastics were extracted and microscopically examined. Microplastic particles were present in all 50 samples and microfibers under 1.0mm were most predominant. Millions of microplastic particles are entering the Monocacy River watershed from wastewater effluent and millions of microplastic particles are reentering the terrestrial environment as sludge either applied as fertilizer or deposited in landfills.