Threats of highly alkaline wastewater discharge to surface water

Wojciech Balcerzak,

Zbigniew Mucha


The paper discusses the discharge of highly concentrated alkaline wastewater from an industrial reservoir and its effect on surface waters. The discharge source is the Górka industrial reservoir, located in Trzebinia. The wastewater constitutes a threat to groundwater, which serves as a source of drinking water for surrounding villages. A detailed analysis of pH confirmed a high alkalinity of the tank content; the pH values were in the range of 12.5 to 13.5. Other water quality parameters (COD, sulfates, chlorides, TSS) were also very high. Initially, wastewater was discharged to the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in Chrzanów. Then, since the plant had refused further treatment due to operational disturbances, wastewater had to be discharged directly to the Chechło and Ropa creeks and finally to the Vistula river. A simultaneous monitoring of the water quality in these streams was provided. Wastewater discharged from the Górka reservoir was gradually diluted on its way to the Vistula river and therefore its impact on the Vistula river has been insignificant. The method turned out to be both effective and safe for the aquatic environment.

Słowa kluczowe: alkaline wastewater, groundwater quality protection, surface water quality

Water permit for wastewater discharge from the Górka reservoir (Trzebinia) to surface waters in the Vistula river catchment through the Ropa and Chechło creeks, Malopolska Provincial Office in Krakow 2012.

Pietrzyk-Sokulska E., Kulczycka J., Master Plan for the Górka and Balaton reservoirs, Pub. IGŚMiE, Polish Academy of Sciences, Krakow 2013.

Update of the environment protection program for the municipality of Trzebinia for 2010−2013, City Hall in Trzebinia, 2010.

Records from pumping wastewater from the Górka reservoir, made available by the Trzebinia City Hall, 2006‒2008.

Materials provided by the Regional Water and Sewage Works in Chrzanów, characteristic of wastewater for 2006‒2007.

Regulations of the Minister of Environment of November 9, 2011 on classification of surface water bodies and environmental quality standards for priority substances (Journal of Law, 2011, No. 257, paragraph 1545).