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Frontiers in Freshwater Ecology, Conservation and Water Treatment Technologies

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2022) | Viewed by 21295

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
1. Centro de Investigação de Montanha (CIMO), Instituto Politécnico de Bragança, Campus de Santa Apolónia, 5300-253 Bragança, Portugal
2. Laboratório Associado para a Sustentabilidade e Tecnologia em Regiões de Montanha (SusTEC), Instituto Politécnico de Bragança, Campus de Santa Apolónia, 5300-253 Bragança, Portugal
Interests: limnology; reservoirs; lakes and rivers; ecology; conservation and biodiversity; monitoring and management; water quality and freshwater ecosystems ecological integrity; anthropogenic Impacts; bioremediation, water efficiency and conservation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR/CIMAR), University of Porto, Novo Edifício do Terminal de Cruzeiros do Porto de Leixões, Avenida General Norton de Matos, S/N, 4450-208 Matosinhos, Portugal
2. Institute of Science and Environment, University of St. Joseph, Rua de Londres 106, Macao 999078, China
Interests: water and wastewater treatment; environmental biotechnology; environmental engineering; phytomanagement; bioremediation; phytoremediation; nature-based solutions; freshwater ecosystem conservation and restoration; education for sustainability
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Freshwater ecosystems are biodiversity ‘hotspots’ and offer a wide range of services to humanity, particularly in regards to water and food supplies, aesthetic, spiritual and scientific stimuli, and water purification. Despite the well-known importance of these ecosystems, they are threatened and face complex challenges. Indeed, freshwater habitats and existing water resources are rapidly being pushed towards their limits due to urban population growth, the rising demand for food and consumer goods, and pressures caused by pollution. Furthermore, climate change is causing changes to global average temperature, as well as variations in the patterns and intensity of precipitation, increasing the risks of more frequent droughts and floods, with the knock-on impact of compromising water quantity and quality. Therefore, the scope of this Special Issue is very broad; under the umbrella of “Frontiers in Freshwater Ecology and Conservation”, this special issue welcomes research in the format of original research papers, case studies, systematic reviews, and new insights addressing the following topics:

  • Freshwater ecosystem conservation and management;
  • Freshwater ecosystem services;
  • Freshwater ecosystem restoration and rehabilitation;
  • Freshwater biodiversity;
  • Effects of climate change in freshwater ecosystems;
  • Water quality monitoring;
  • Water resources system models;
  • Integrated assessment;
  • Urban water management;
  • Water footprint;
  • Freshwater pollution and contaminants;
  • Emerging contaminants in freshwater ecosystems;
  • Nature based and other technological solutions for water treatment;
  • Water circular economy;
  • Water policy;
  • Education and awareness;
  • Other relevant topics related to the scope covered by this Issue.

Dr. Ana Maria Antão-Geraldes
Dr. Cristina Sousa Coutinho Calheiros
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • freshwater ecosystem
  • freshwater biodiversity
  • water quality
  • water management
  • water footprint
  • freshwater pollution and contaminants

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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4 pages, 213 KiB  
Editorial
Frontiers in Freshwater Ecology, Conservation and Water Treatment Technologies
by Ana M. Antão-Geraldes and Cristina Sousa Coutinho Calheiros
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(4), 2605; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13042605 - 17 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1151
Abstract
Freshwater ecosystems are biodiversity ‘hotspots’ and offer a wide range of vital services to humanity, particularly water and food supplies, aesthetic, spiritual, and scientific stimuli, and water purification [...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial

22 pages, 2101 KiB  
Article
A Snapshot on the Occurrence and Risk Assessment of Organic Pollutants in an Urban River
by Moisés Canle and Ana M. Antão-Geraldes
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(1), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/app13010146 - 22 Dec 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1752
Abstract
A snapshot screening was carried out in an urban river at the end of a dry period in the water and sediments to assess the presence and environmental risk for the following CECs: paracetamol, ibuprofen, diclofenac, clofibric acid, carbamazepine, ofloxacin, caffeine, tonalide, galaxolide, [...] Read more.
A snapshot screening was carried out in an urban river at the end of a dry period in the water and sediments to assess the presence and environmental risk for the following CECs: paracetamol, ibuprofen, diclofenac, clofibric acid, carbamazepine, ofloxacin, caffeine, tonalide, galaxolide, and bisphenol-A. Concomitantly, the occurrence and environmental risk of sixteen PAHs congeners, six indicator PCBs, and twelve dioxin-like PCBs were evaluated in sediments. The most abundant and ubiquitous CECs were bisphenol A (BPA) and caffeine, and the total contents in the surface water varied between 90.95–212.18 and 3.17–167.38 ng·L−1, respectively. The concentrations found in lixiviates ranged from 134.94–772.85 (BPA) and 14.43–92.60 ng·L−1 (caffeine). Other CECs were detected in lower concentrations, and their presence varied between sampled sites. Values of total PAHs congeners in sediment varied between 10.39–52.91 ng·g−1 dw. The majority of the detected PAHs seem to have a pyrolitic origin with a small petrogenic contribution. Total PCBs’ concentrations ranged from 5.06 to 6.13 ng·g−1 dw. Despite the relatively low concentration of most of the detected compounds, the overall environmental risk, considering the screened compounds altogether, cannot be considered negligible. The obtained results are discussed in terms of other data available (though highly dispersed) in the literature. A four-color alert system is included to inform about the level of risk associated with the amount of each CEC, PAH, and PCB. Full article
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18 pages, 2856 KiB  
Article
Microhabitat and Landscape Drivers of Richness and Abundance of Freshwater Mussels (Unionida: Unionidae) in a Coastal Plain River
by Corinne T. Bird, Michael D. Kaller, Tiffany E. Pasco and William E. Kelso
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(20), 10300; https://doi.org/10.3390/app122010300 - 13 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1281
Abstract
Although rivers support significant unionid mussel (Unionida: Unionidae) diversity, Gulf of Mexico tributary rivers have been subject to changes in water quality and habitat due to altered watershed land use. We quantified mussel species richness and relative abundance and environmental factors in small [...] Read more.
Although rivers support significant unionid mussel (Unionida: Unionidae) diversity, Gulf of Mexico tributary rivers have been subject to changes in water quality and habitat due to altered watershed land use. We quantified mussel species richness and relative abundance and environmental factors in small tributary streams of the Pearl River, Mississippi-Louisiana. Freshwater mussel and habitat surveys were conducted at 27 stream sampling sites over two summers (9 sites revisited), and coverage of seven land use categories and seven geological categories above each reach were calculated. Mussels were patchily distributed (53% of sites sampled yielded mussels) and typically not abundant (only 26% of sites yielded >10 mussels). Surveys revealed nine species, with total abundance ranging from 0–66 mussels and richness ranging from 0–5 species per site. Assemblages were driven by an upper to lower watershed gradient of decreasing CPUE and richness, with microhabitat and water quality, land cover, and geology locally modifying this gradient. Environmental variables did not seem of sufficient magnitude to account for the patchy distributions and low abundances of mussels at most study sites, and we hypothesize that high discharge events related to tropical storm passage may have exerted an overriding influence on mussel assemblages in these streams through direct mortality and/or altered availability of suitable glochidial hosts. Full article
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16 pages, 3189 KiB  
Article
Optimization of Microalgae–Bacteria Consortium in the Treatment of Paper Pulp Wastewater
by Josivaldo Sátiro, André Cunha, Ana P. Gomes, Rogério Simões and Antonio Albuquerque
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(12), 5799; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12125799 - 7 Jun 2022
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3300
Abstract
The microalgae–bacteria consortium is a promising and sustainable alternative for industrial wastewater treatment, since it may allow good removal of organic matter and nutrients, as well as the possibility of producing products with added value from the algae biomass. This research investigated the [...] Read more.
The microalgae–bacteria consortium is a promising and sustainable alternative for industrial wastewater treatment, since it may allow good removal of organic matter and nutrients, as well as the possibility of producing products with added value from the algae biomass. This research investigated the best bacterial and microalgae inoculation ratio for system start-up and evaluation of removing organic matter (as chemical oxygen demand (COD)), ammoniacal nitrogen (NH4+–N), nitrite nitrogen (NO2–N), nitrate nitrogen (NO3–N), phosphate phosphorus (PO43−–P) and biomass formation parameters in six photobioreactors with a total volume of 1000 mL. Reactors were operated for 14 days with the following ratios of pulp mill biomass aerobic (BA) and Scenedesmus sp. microalgae (MA): 0:1 (PBR1), 1:0 (PBR2), 1:1 (PBR3), 3:1 (PBR4), 5:1 (PBR5), and 1:3 (PBR6). Results show that COD removal was observed in just two days of operation in PBR4, PBR5, and PBR6, whereas for the other reactors (with a lower rate of initial inoculation) it took five days. The PBR5 and PBR6 performed better in terms of NH4+–N removal, with 86.81% and 77.11%, respectively, which can be attributed to assimilation by microalgae and nitrification by bacteria. PBR6, with the highest concentration of microalgae, had the higher PO43−–P removal (86%), showing the advantage of algae in consortium with bacteria for phosphorus uptake. PBR4 and PBR5, with the highest BA, led to a better biomass production and sedimentability on the second day of operation, with flocculation efficiencies values over 90%. Regarding the formation of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), protein production was substantially higher in PBR4 and PBR5, with more BA, with average concentrations of 49.90 mg/L and 49.05 mg/L, respectively. The presence of cyanobacteria and Chlorophyceae was identified in all reactors except PBR1 (only MA), which may indicate a good formation and structuring of the microalgae–bacteria consortium. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis revealed that filamentous microalgae were employed as a foundation for the fixation of bacteria and other algae colonies. Full article
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16 pages, 1306 KiB  
Article
Zero-Emission of Palm Oil Mill Effluent Final Discharge Promoted Bacterial Biodiversity Rebound in the Receiving Water System
by Noor Shaidatul Lyana Mohamad-Zainal, Norhayati Ramli, Nurhasliza Zolkefli, Nur Azyani Jamari, Nurul Asyifah Mustapha, Mohd Ali Hassan and Toshinari Maeda
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(22), 10814; https://doi.org/10.3390/app112210814 - 16 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1864
Abstract
Zero-emission technology for palm oil mill effluent (POME) has led to a breakthrough in the palm oil industry in relation to the goal of sustainable development. However, there are limited resources on how this technology has affected the bacterial community in the receiving [...] Read more.
Zero-emission technology for palm oil mill effluent (POME) has led to a breakthrough in the palm oil industry in relation to the goal of sustainable development. However, there are limited resources on how this technology has affected the bacterial community in the receiving river that has previously been polluted with POME final discharge. Thus, the current study assessed the recoverability of the unexplored bacterial community in the receiving water of a constructed river water system post-zero emission of POME final discharge. An artificial river water system was constructed in this study, where the viability status and the composition of the bacterial community were assessed for 15 days using a flow cytometry-based assay and high-throughput sequencing by Illumina MiSeq, respectively. The zero-emission of POME final discharge reduced not only the physicochemical properties and nutrient contents of the receiving water, but also the bacterial cells’ viability from 40.3% to 24.5% and shifted the high nucleic acid (HNA) to low nucleic acid (LNA) content (38.7% to 34.5%). The proposed POME bacterial indicators, Alcaligenaceae and Chromatiaceae were not detectable in the rainwater (control) but were detected in the artificial river water system after the introduction of POME final discharge at the compositions of 1.0–1.3% and 2.2–5.1%, respectively. The implementation of a zero-emission system decreased the composition of Chromatiaceae from 2.2% on day 8 until it was undetectable on day 15, while Alcaligenaceae was continuously reduced from 1.2% to 0.9% within that similar time frame. As indicated by principal coordinate (PCO) analysis, the reductions in biological oxygen demand (BOD5) would further diminish the compositions of these bioindicators. The zero-emission of POME final discharge has demonstrated its efficacy, not only in reducing the polluting properties, but also in the bacterial biodiversity rebound in the affected water system. Full article
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12 pages, 1020 KiB  
Article
Improving Water Efficiency in a Municipal Indoor Swimming-Pool Complex: A Case Study
by Flora Silva, Ana M. Antão-Geraldes, Carmem Zavattieri, Maria João Afonso, Flávio Freire and António Albuquerque
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(22), 10530; https://doi.org/10.3390/app112210530 - 9 Nov 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3268
Abstract
This study aimed to determine the water demand of a municipal swimming pool complex to propose water use efficiency measures. Concomitantly, the possibility of recycling and reusing the water from filter backwashing was evaluated. The pools consumed 25.6% of water, the filter backwashing [...] Read more.
This study aimed to determine the water demand of a municipal swimming pool complex to propose water use efficiency measures. Concomitantly, the possibility of recycling and reusing the water from filter backwashing was evaluated. The pools consumed 25.6% of water, the filter backwashing 24.5%, and the showers 34.7%. Despite the current impossibility of reducing water consumption in pools and filter backwashing, it is feasible to promote more efficient use of water through reducing water consumption by adopting simple water-saving initiatives for showers, taps, and flushing cisterns. These were organized into three distinct scenarios: (a) flushing cistern volume adjustment and the replacement of washbasin and kitchen taps; (b) flushing cistern volume adjustment and shower replacement and (c) flushing cistern volume adjustment, shower, washbasin, and kitchen taps replacement. Under scenarios 1, 2, and 3, the water consumption reduction was 8.0, 13.2, and 20.4%, respectively. The initial investment for scenario 1 was €2290.5, €859.0 for scenario 2 and €3149.5 for scenario 3; the annual water bill reduction was €7115.4, €11,518.1, and €17,655.9, respectively. Therefore, the turnover of the investment was four (scenario 1), one (scenario 2), and three months (scenario 3). The filter washings attained the required standard for irrigation after being subjected to 15 h of sedimentation. Full article
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11 pages, 1681 KiB  
Article
Enhancement of a Spent Irrigation Water Recycling Process: A Case Study in a Food Business
by Guillermo Garcia-Garcia and Sandeep Jagtap
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(21), 10355; https://doi.org/10.3390/app112110355 - 4 Nov 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2270
Abstract
Food operations use vast amounts of water. To reduce utility costs as well as concerns regarding water depletion in ecosystems, food businesses usually try to reuse their water. However, this often needs a recycling process to ensure the water is of good quality [...] Read more.
Food operations use vast amounts of water. To reduce utility costs as well as concerns regarding water depletion in ecosystems, food businesses usually try to reuse their water. However, this often needs a recycling process to ensure the water is of good quality and safe to reuse in a food environment. This paper presents a case study of a grower of beansprouts and other varieties of sprouted seeds that uses six million litres of water weekly. Approximately 60% of their spent irrigation water is recycled using both 50 µm and 20 µm drum filtration. In addition, chlorine dioxide is used as part of the recycling process as a disinfectant. Our analysis demonstrated that the size of suspended solid particles in over 90% of the cumulative sample tested was smaller than the current 20 µm filter in place, highlighting that the existing system was ineffective. We, then, explored options to enhance the water recycling system of the company. After careful analysis, it was proposed to install a membrane-filtration system with ultraviolet technology to increase the finest level of filtration from the existing 20 µm to 0.45 µm absolute and sterilize any remaining bacteria. This not only improved water quality, but also allowed for the removal of chemicals from the recycling system, delivering both financial and technical improvements. Full article
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20 pages, 1230 KiB  
Article
Economic Sustainability in Wastewater Treatment Companies: A Regional Analysis for the Iberian Peninsula
by Eleonora Santos, Inês Lisboa and Teresa Eugénio
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(21), 9876; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11219876 - 22 Oct 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2087
Abstract
An important part of environmental degradation is caused by the discharge of untreated or mistreated wastewater. The reuse of water is paramount to the National Strategic Plan for the Water Supply and Wastewater Sanitation Sector in Portugal and Spain. Since centralized treatment systems [...] Read more.
An important part of environmental degradation is caused by the discharge of untreated or mistreated wastewater. The reuse of water is paramount to the National Strategic Plan for the Water Supply and Wastewater Sanitation Sector in Portugal and Spain. Since centralized treatment systems have proved to be inefficient, tackling environmental issues requires a regional approach. Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) mitigate environmental impacts and contribute to the financial savings of other firms. However, the literature evaluating WWTPs’ financial performance and economic sustainability is scarce. The implementation of a resource recovery technology depends heavily on economic viability. Thus, this paper analyses the financial sustainability of 222 WWTPs in the Iberian Peninsula by NUTS II regions in 2016–2019 to assess the region with the best performance and financial stability and provide regional policy implications. Using the SABI database, this research encompasses a numerical and narrative analysis of key financial ratios. Results show that firms in Algarve and La Rioja exhibit higher financial sustainability when compared to other regions. Results can foster enhancements in the governance of regulated utilities. Full article
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7 pages, 13204 KiB  
Article
Application of Electrocoagulation with a New Steel-Swarf-Based Electrode for the Removal of Heavy Metals and Total Coliforms from Sanitary Landfill Leachate
by Mayk Teles de Oliveira, Ieda Maria Sapateiro Torres, Humberto Ruggeri, Paulo Scalize, Antonio Albuquerque and Eric de Souza Gil
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(11), 5009; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11115009 - 28 May 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2026
Abstract
Sanitary landfill leachate (LL) composition varies according to climate variables variation, solid waste characteristics and composition, and landfill age. Leachate treatment is essentially carried out trough biological and physicochemical processes, which have showed variability in efficiency and appear a costly solution for the [...] Read more.
Sanitary landfill leachate (LL) composition varies according to climate variables variation, solid waste characteristics and composition, and landfill age. Leachate treatment is essentially carried out trough biological and physicochemical processes, which have showed variability in efficiency and appear a costly solution for the management authorities. Electrocoagulation (EC) seems a suitable solution for leachate treatment taking into account the characteristics of the liquor. One of the problems of EC is the electrode passivation, which affects the longevity of the process. One solution to this problem could be the replacement of the electrode by one made of recyclable material, which would make it possible to change it frequently and at a lower cost. The objective of the present work was to evaluate the removal of heavy metals (As, Ba, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Pb, Mn, Ni, Se and Zn) and coliforms from a LL by EC using electrodes made from steel swarf (SfE) up to 8 h. Removal efficiencies of detected heavy metals were 51%(Cr), 59%(As), 71%(Cd), 72%(Zn), 92%(Ba), 95%(Ni) and >99%(Pb). The microbial load of coliforms in leachate was reduced from 10.76 × 104 CFU/mL (raw leachate) to less than 1 CFU/mL (after treatment with SfE) (i.e., approximately 100% reduction). The use of SfE in EC of LL is very effective in removing heavy metals and coliforms and can be used as alternative treatment solution for such effluents. Full article
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