Skip to main content

Quantifying Methane Evolution from Sewers: Phase 1 Results of the WERF/DeKalb County, Georgia, Case Study

Buy Article:

$17.50 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Or sign up for a free trial


Collection-system-wide methane emission estimates are being developed from field sampling of pumping stations in DeKalb County, GA. This effort is part of a Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) project entitled “Methane Evolution from Wastewater Treatment and Conveyance” (number U2R08) under WERF's newly formed Climate Change Program.

Methane (CH4) production from sewers is a suspected, yet relatively undocumented source of greenhouse gases (GHG). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the “2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories” (IPCC, 2006) which says that “In most developed countries and in high-income urban areas in other countries, sewers are usually closed and underground. Wastewater in closed underground sewers is not believed to be a significant source of CH4.” In contrast to this statement, a more recent publication (Guisasola, 2008) suggests that “relatively large amounts of dissolved CH4 can occur in the liquid phase of a sewer system, with the possibility of CH4 being supersaturated. In reality, CH4 produced in the sewer will remain dissolved until there is a point of release to the atmosphere and may thus contribute significantly to the greenhouse effect.” CH4 is a greenhouse gas that has a global warming impact that is 21 times that of carbon dioxide (CO2) and, as such, is of heightened interest in GHG modeling and inventories.

This paper summarizes the results of the first phase assessment of DeKalb pumping station methane emissions using instantaneous gas-phase samples and a wet-well-breathing cycle approach to approximate the volume and mass of CH4 emissions. CH4 was detected using this approach. While the Phase 1 approach is considered to underreport the mass evolved, follow-on efforts are underway to better quantify these emissions.

Keywords: Collection Systems; Greenhouse Gases; Methane; Quantification

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-01-01

More about this publication?
  • 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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

    WEF Members: Sign in (right panel) with your IngentaConnect user name and password to receive complimentary access.
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • About WEF Proceedings
  • WEFTEC Conference Information
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free ContentFree content
  • Partial Free ContentPartial Free content
  • New ContentNew content
  • Open Access ContentOpen access content
  • Partial Open Access ContentPartial Open access content
  • Subscribed ContentSubscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed ContentPartial Subscribed content
  • Free Trial ContentFree trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more