Impact of Sewage Treatment Plant Effluents on the Population Structure of Freshwater Amphipods

The European Water Framework Directive (WFD) came into force in December 2000. The main aim of the WFD is to achieve a good qualitative and quantitative status of all surface water bodies by 2015. This means that the ecological status as well as the chemical status of surface water bodies needs to be at least good.

To achieve this goal in recent years efforts were made for river revitalization and to build up new and modern sewage treatment plants (STPs). Nevertheless, STP effluents contain low concentrations of so-called emerging contaminants with high biological activity (e.g. human and veterinary pharmaceuticals, steroids and hormones, flame retardants, personal care products, surfactants, plasticizers and other industrial additives). These contaminants enter surface waters continuously via STP discharges and may cause adverse effects in biological aquatic communities.

For that reason the project analyses potential impacts of STP effluents on the population structure of freshwater amphipods. At selected surface waters amphipod populations are sampled in regular intervals upstream and downstream of STP dischargers. These field investigations are accompanied by laboratory experiments under controlled conditions.

Project team:

Ilona Schneider (ilona.schneider2(at)
Kathrin Hoffmeister (derbiber(at)
Kevin Billau (k.billau(at)
Prof. Dr. Jörg Oehlmann (oehlmann(at)
Dr. Matthias Oetken (oetken(at)

Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt
Department Aquatic Ecotoxicology
Siesmayerstr. 70
D-60054 Frankfurt am Main
phone ++ 49-69 79824850
fax ++ 49-69 79824748

Funded by
Hessian State Ministry for Science and Arts