Abrahim et al
Greener Journal of Agricultural Sciences Vol. 6 (3), pp. 102-109, March 2016.
Manuscript Number: 022416043
Assessment of the Potential Water Quality effects Resulting from the Release of Vinasse, from the Bioethanol Demonstration Plant, into the Surrounding Waterway
Abrahim BN1, Clementson C*, Homenauth O2
National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute, Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara, Guyana.
Guyana commissioned its very own Bioethanol Demonstration Plant in Albion, Berbice in August, 2013. Unfortunately, the plant releases an effluent (vinasse) that could be environmentally unsafe if not properly channeled or utilized.
This study entailed an assessment of the effects on water quality due to the release of vinasse into the waterway surrounding the Albion Bioethanol Demonstration Plant. Water samples were collected at four locations along the waterway; at the point of effluent discharge, five metres downstream, twenty metres and one hundred metres downstream. These samples were collected at five different time periods. The first set of samples was collected on February 19, 2015 which was two weeks before resumption of plant operations. Samples were also collected February 27, 2015 upon resumption of operations, March 26, 2015 one month after, April 24, 2015 two months after operation commenced and May 28, 2015 one week after the end of seasonal operation. The water samples were analyzed for pH, turbidity, electrical conductivity, total suspended solids, total dissolved solids, chemical oxygen demand, nitrates, orthophosphates and heavy metals including Magnesium, Aluminum, Iron, Manganese, Copper, Cadmium, Chromium, Cobalt, Nickel, Lead andZinc.
The study indicated that vinasse is acidic in nature and upon dumping, increases the acidity of the canal. Also, the effluent has a high chemical oxygen demand, total suspended solids, total dissolved solids and turbidity which may be the reason for the water samples having such high concentrations of the above listed. Additionally, these parameters revealed a general increase with time and decrease with distance. Contrary to these, the remaining chemical parameters showed varying trends with respect to both distance and time. Furthermore, the analyses revealed that the concentrations of the heavy metals were high even before the plant commenced operations; this may imply that there was leaching of the various metals from the factory into the water course. Moreover, the presence of dissolved organic matter within the water may have resulted in chemical reactions with the heavy metals leading to the formation of aqueouscomplexes.
The concentrations of many of the physical and chemical parameters tested in the water course indicated that the levels were above the maximum recommended limits set out by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization.
Keywords: Albion Bioethanol Demonstration Plant, Water Quality, Physical Parameters, Chemical Parameters.
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