In this study, nine metals (Al, Cd, Cr. Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn) found in urban wastewater treatment plants (WTPs) in Bursa (Turkey) were monitored for 23 months in 2002 and 2007. Metal influent and effluent concentrations of wastewater stabilization ponds (WSPs) and the activated sludge process (ASP) measured via 24-h composite samples were used to determine removal efficiencies. Average influent concentrations ranged between 2 mu g/L (Cd) and 1975 mu g/L (Fe). In the stabilization ponds, the removal efficiency was 58% for Cr, while for Cd. Mn, and Pb, it was less than 20%. The activated sludge process yielded high removal efficiencies, ranging from 47% for Ni to 95% for Cr. The use of treated wastewaters for agricultural purposes was investigated, and it was determined that all metal concentrations met application limits, with the exception of Cr in wastewater stabilization pond effluent. Results showed that wastewater stabilization pond effluent reduced the receiving water quality with respect to Cr, Cu, Ni. and Pb. In addition, it was shown that effluent from the activated sludge process temporarily improved the receiving water quality with regard to the Cd, Cu, Mn, and Zn parameters. However, considering the periodic variations of the metals in both processes, water quality, and agricultural practices, it was determined that they should be monitored continuously. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.