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Source Separation of Urine as an Alternative Solution to Nutrient Management in Wastewater Treatment Plants: A Model-based Analysis

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Municipal wastewater contains a mixture of brown (feces and toilet paper), yellow (urine) and gray (kitchen, bathroom and wash) waters. Urine contributes approximately 70-80% of the nitrogen (N), 50-70% of the phosphate (P) load and 60-70% of the pharmaceutical residues in normal domestic sewage. This study evaluated the relative effects of source separation of urine on an existing BNR process. A calibrated model of an existing state-of-the-art biological nutrient removal process was used. It was found that by increasing the amount of urine diverted out of treatment works, an improvement in effluent ammonia concentration and a reduction in the sludge age requirements were not obtained. Furthermore, little benefits could be realized unless enough urine is diverted out of treatment facilities so the influent N can be reduced to low values to allow the elimination of nitrification. Lower effluent nitrate concentrations were realized due to the lower influent N content in the wastewater and a more favorable TKN/COD ratio for denitrification. The external carbon requirement for denitrification decreases as the urine separation efficiency increases due to the lower influent N content in the wastewater and a more favorable TKN/COD ratio for denitrification. The effluent phosphorus concentration decreases with reducing the amount of urine to treatment works due to the lower influent P concentrations. In the case of chemical phosphate removal, urine separation reduces the amount of chemicals required.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2012

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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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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