EVALUATING THE ECOLOGICAL RESILIENT DRIVEN PERFORMANCE OF A TROPICAL WASTE STABILIZATION POND SYSTEM USING ECOLOGICAL SIGNATURE OF BIOLOGICAL INTEGRITY
 
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International Centre for Ecological Engineering and Department of Environmental Management, University of Kalyani, Kalyani-741 235, West Bengal, India
Publish date: 2015-06-16
 
J. Ecol. Eng. 2015; 16(3):97–107
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ABSTRACT
Using ecological signature of biological integrity as a measure of performance, the reclamation efficiency of waste stabilization ponds was evaluated over a period of four years in a tropical sewage treatment plant – cum fish culture consisting of two anaerobic, two facultative and four maturation ponds located serially across the sewage effluent gradient. The four maturation ponds were used for batch culture of fish. Samples of surface and bottom water as well as surface sediment were collected twice a month from different ponds of the system and examined for some nutrient cycling bacteria, primary production, chlorophyll content of micro-algae, phytoplankton, zooplankton abundance, fish growth and water quality parameters. Computation of ecological signature using aerobic mineralization index for heterotrophic and ammonifying bacteria revealed steady increase across the sewage effluent gradient. The heterotrophic and ammonifying bacterial populations appeared to have a direct function with the concentrations of chemical oxygen demand of water. The sum of total scores for different optimal conditions for fish growth increased as a function of the distance from the source of effluent implying that ecological resilience of the waste stabilization ponds has been accomplished by the sedimentation, chelation, and biological functional attributes mediated through redundancy of different subsystems, self- purification capacity of the system as a whole.