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The Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant (SRWTP) recently evaluated several alternatives to address long-term biosolids dewatering, drying, and handling and disposal issues. SRWTP decided to evaluate air quality emissions and impacts including permitting requirements, criteria pollutants, greenhouse gases, hazardous air pollutants (HAPS), controlled emissions, and air emissions from hauling trucks and secondary sources that are related to biosolids treatment (e.g., boilers or furnaces for heat drying, fugitive emissions from storage tanks, etc.). This paper provides a full picture of total air quality impacts from biosolids treatment and direct insights into any air quality permitting concerns under current Sacramento Metro Air Quality Management District (SMAQMD) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air quality laws and regulations.

Air emission totals for each biosolids treatment alternative included air emissions from secondary sources, controlled sources, and truck hauling. Air emissions from the following biosolids treatment alternatives were evaluated:

Centrifuge dewatering emissions

Plate and frame press dewatering emissions

Indirect drying emissions – including dewatering and secondary emissions

Direct drying emissions – including dewatering and secondary emissions

Controlled emissions – odor control, impingement plate scrubber, regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO)

Trucking emissions for each alternative

All air emissions from the biosolids treatment alternatives and their associated regulatory impacts were insignificant. No problems were predicted in attaining air district permits or significantly impacting the environment. Emissions from dewatering with no drying, were much lower than any of the drying alternatives (with trucking emissions included). The overall emissions for the combined dewatering, drying, and trucking alternatives presented minimal environmental impacts and should therefore readily receive permits. It should be noted, however, that other non-air quality factors such as odors, cost effectiveness, reliability, and ease of operation may have a strong influence on which alternative is selected.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-01-01

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