Assessment of Water Quality Impacts in Marine Environments Receiving Municipal Wastewater Effluent Discharges in Nunavut
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Complying with newly developed federal wastewater discharge criteria represents a challenge to Canada’s Far North. Before implementation of these criteria, an understanding of the impacts of current discharge scenarios is required to identify the risks associated with current wastewater management practices. The objectives of the research were to better understand mixing processes, define extents of Initial Mixing Zones, and identify human and environmental risks through the completion of tracer studies and water quality monitoring at three study sites throughout Nunavut. Differences in effluent transport and Initial Mixing Zone extents between studies highlighted the significance of ambient conditions, timing and rates of discharge, and effluent quality on environmental and potential human health risk. These findings provide insight into what factors to examine when assessing wastewater discharge scenarios in northern communities, and can help identify which systems may be at highest risk for impacts as a result of their current discharge regime.