Clementson et al
Greener Journal of Environmental Management and Public Safety Vol. 5 (3), pp. 074-087, August 2016.
Manuscript Number: 071916120
An Investigation of the Spatial Variability of Elements Due to Vinasse Disposal in Waterways at the Albion Bioethanol Plant, Berbice Guyana
Clairmont Clementson1*, Bibi Nariefa Abrahim2,
National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute, Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara, Guyana
The development and diversification of energy sources have recently been given much attention in Guyana. The establishment of the Albion Bioethanol Demonstration Plant is one step forward for the country to achieve a sustainable and green economy. It was observed that the effluent “vinasse” that is discharged from the plant is acidic with high levels of chemical oxygen demand, turbidity, total solids and heavy metals. This study investigated the spatial variability of elements due to vinasse disposal into the main canal that runs through to the sugar factory and meanders into the secondary channels around the cane fields.
Water samples were collected in triplicates at four locations along the canal: (1) point of effluent discharge, (2) five metres, (3) twenty metres and (4) one hundred metres downstream for five different time periods (one week prior, first day of operation, one month after, two months after commencement of the crop and approximately one week after completion of the operation for that season). These samples were analyzed for the following physical and chemical parameters: electrical conductivity, total suspended solids, turbidity, total dissolved solids, pH, chemical oxygen demand, nitrates, orthophosphates, magnesium, aluminum, iron, manganese, copper, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, nickel, lead and zinc. It was determined that continuous disposal of vinasse in the waterway could result in the depletion of the oxygen supply and the accumulation of very toxic levels of heavy metals eventually causing the canal to become uninhabitable for aquatic life. Further, the impact could be detrimental to human life hence it is recommended that studies be conducted on various techniques for the utilization and treatment of this effluent, making it more environmentally friendly.
Keywords: vinasse, water quality, waste management, water pollution, bioethanol.
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