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Methane and Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Wastewater Treatment Plant Processes

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A preliminary screening level study to estimate the emissions of methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and carbon dioxide (CO2) from the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant was performed. Limited gas emission samples were collected from solids and liquid treatment processes of the secondary treatment plant. Preliminary estimates indicate the highest CH4 fluxes were found in the Imhoff tanks, digesters, and aeration batteries. The highest N2O estimates were found in the grit chamber and aeration batteries. The highest CO2 flux estimates were found in the grit chambers, aeration batteries, and digesters. No greenhouse gases were detected at the plant perimeter. The estimated fluxes of CH4 and N2O were compared to the results of the International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) emission models for CH4 and N2O. The CH4 estimates were below the IPCC prediction, and the N2O estimates were one to one and half orders of magnitude higher than the IPCC prediction.

Keywords: Greenhouse gas emissions; methane; nitrous oxide; wastewater

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-01-01

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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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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