Set or improve minimum sewage treatment standards

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    23%
  • Certainty
    28%
  • Harms
    0%

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study examined the effects of improving minimum sewage treatment standards on subtidal benthic invertebrates. The study was in the Bay of Biscay (Spain).

 

COMMUNITY RESPONSE (1 STUDY)

  • Overall community composition (1 study): One before-and-after, site comparison study in the Bay of Biscay found that after introducing a secondary treatment of sewage wastewaters, invertebrate community composition at an impacted site did not significantly change compared to unimpacted sites.
  • Overall richness/diversity (1 study): One before-and-after, site comparison study in the Bay of Biscay found that after introducing a secondary treatment of sewage wastewaters, invertebrate richness and diversity at an impacted site did not significantly change compared to unimpacted sites.

POPULATION RESPONSE (1 STUDY)

  • Overall abundance (1 study): One before-and-after, site comparison study in the Bay of Biscay found that after introducing a secondary treatment of sewage wastewaters, total cover of invertebrates significantly increased at an impacted site at 8 m but not 3 m depth, compared to unimpacted sites.

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A before-and-after, site comparison in 2001–2009 of four rocky seabed sites in Plentzia Bay, southern Bay of Biscay, northern Spain (Bustamante et al. 2012) found that improving the treatment of sewage wastewaters before discharge at one impacted site did not result in changes in invertebrate community composition or diversity after three years. Community composition did not change over time at the impacted site nor at three adjacent unimpacted sites, and communities appeared to be similar at all sites both before and after sewage treatment improvement (data reported as statistical model results and graphical analyses). In addition, diversity did not change at the impacted site or unimpacted sites over time (data reported as five diversity indices). Total species cover significantly increased at 8 m depth at the impacted site (before: 14–20%; after: 42–46%) compared to the unimpacted site (before: 3–42%; after: 4–42%), but not at 3 m depth where cover changed similarly at the impacted site (before: 11–20%; after: 31–63%) and the unimpacted sites (before: 5–50%; after: 23–98%). Raw sewage had been released into the intertidal area at the study area for 40 years until physical-chemical treatment was introduced in 1998. In 2006, a secondary biological treatment was introduced. Every two years between 2001 and 2009, one impacted site and three adjacent unimpacted sites were surveyed. Six locations/site were surveyed in summer (three at 3 m depth, three at 8 m). Invertebrate species were counted, and their cover visually estimated in three 40 x 40 cm quadrats.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Lemasson, A.J., Pettit, L.R., Smith, R.K. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation. Pages 635-732 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation
Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation - Published 2020

What Works 2021 cover

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