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Climate Change Impacts of Nitrous Oxide Emissions From Wastewater Treatment Operations and Discharges

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This analysis considers the impact of Nitrous Oxide (N2O) emissions from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) on global climate change. Given its high global warming potential (GWP), a small amount of this GHG can have a relatively large impact. Several processes in WWT operations result in releases of N2O. This paper examines theses processes and the extent to which N2O emissions impact the GHG footprint of a WWTP. Additionally, this paper explores the operational characteristics that influence facility specific N2O emissions in biological nutrient removal utilizing nitrification and denitrification. This issue is gaining notoriety as the regulatory environment shifts towards a low carbon economy.

Keywords: Nitrous oxide; carbon management; climate change; denitrification; effluent discharges; greenhouse gas emissions; nitrification; sludge processing

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2009

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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