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Keywords:

  • botulism;
  • cyanobacteria;
  • disease;
  • salmonellosis;
  • sewage;
  • toxicants;
  • waterbirds;
  • waterfowl

Summary  The Western Treatment Plant, a major sewage treatment plant west of Melbourne, Australia, is widely regarded as a significant conservation site for waterbirds. But experiences from various parts of the world suggest that sewage can also be hazardous to waterbirds, and has probably been responsible for mass-kill events. The intent of this contribution is to raise awareness about the potential for adverse impacts of sewage treatment plants on waterbirds, and to stimulate debate on the issue, with the ultimate objective of developing appropriate management strategies to mitigate the risk of mass kills.