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Biosolids Management Optimization and Alternatives Analysis Based on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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The City of Columbus owns and operates two wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), the Southerly WWTP (SWWTP) and the Jackson Pike WWTP (JPWWTP). Like many US cities, Columbus is facing difficult management and operational decisions due to escalating energy prices and heightened awareness of the social and environmental impacts of treating and disposing of municipal biosolids. The development and the application of EcoFlow™, a material flow optimization tool, represents a novel use of existing operations data and an application of network theory to facilitate decision-making by synthesizing financial, environmental and technical process data. This tool provides an analytical framework to solve a broad variety of resource and waste management problems.

Due to both economic and environmental concerns, the City of Columbus is closely scrutinizing the efficiency of its biosolids operations in order to deliver sustainable solutions for future wastewater treatment. As part of Columbus' Solids Treatment and Utilization Master Plan, the Eco-Flow™ modeling software, developed by the Center for Resilience at The Ohio State University, was applied to the management of biosolids generated from the two WWTPs. The model provided guidance for improving of the current disposal methods employed and analyzed the feasibility of implementing many new technologies. The model also optimized operations relative to three main objectives associated with biosolids management: cost reduction, energy conservation and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction.

Keywords: Biosolids; Master Planning; Sustainability

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-01-01

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