Recovery of benthic macrofauna from sewage sludge disposal in the New York Bight

  • Published source details Vitaliano J., Fromm S., Packer D., Reid R. & Pikanowski R. (2007) Recovery of benthic macrofauna from sewage sludge disposal in the New York Bight. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 342, 27-40.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Limit, cease or prohibit the dumping of sewage sludge

Action Link
Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation
  1. Limit, cease or prohibit the dumping of sewage sludge

    A before-and-after, site comparison study in 1987–1989 of three sandy sites in the inner New York Bight, North Atlantic Ocean, USA (Vitaliano et al. 2007) found that over the 21 months after sewage-sludge dumping ceased, invertebrate community composition became more similar to that of historically less-disturbed sites. Community data were reported as graphical analyses and statistical model results. In addition, the abundance of the pollution-indicator polychaete worm Capitella spp. decreased after dumping had ceased (before: 0–3,000; after: 0–43 individuals/0.1 m2) to similar levels as natural sites (approximately 0). Community composition at the less-disturbed sites remained stable over time. In 1987, dumping of sewage sludge in an area 22 km off the coast stopped after 63 years of activity. Monthly in July 1986–December 1987 (before complete cessation) and in January 1988–December 1989 (after cessation), one impacted site and two adjacent sites (low impact; no impact) were sampled at 29–31 m depths using a 0.1 m2 sediment grab. Each time, three samples were collected, and invertebrates (>0.5 mm) identified and counted.

    (Summarised by: Anaëlle Lemasson)

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