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Spatial and Temporal Variability in Atmospheric Nitrous Oxide Generation and Emission from Full-Scale Biological Nitrogen Removal and Non-BNR Processes

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Biological nitrogen removal (BNR) strategies can contribute to atmospheric nitrous oxide (N2O). In the future, as BNR is implemented at more wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) around the globe, the emission and release of these gases to the atmosphere is expected to increase. This study focused on the quantification of N2O emissions rates and inventory at several WWTPs using a newly developed, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Washington, D.C.) (U.S. EPA)-reviewed protocol. Application of the protocol revealed nitrous oxide emissions from aerated zones therein, hitherto not considered in the current U.S. EPA approach to quantifying N2O fluxes from WWTPs. A high degree of diurnal variability in N2O fluxes was measured, which correlated well with diurnal total Kjeldahl nitrogen loadings. In combination, these results point to the diminishing utility of a single emission factor approach to estimate the N2O emissions from WWTPs, which has been followed to date.
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Keywords: biological nitrogen removal; nitrous oxide; spatial and temporal variability

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-12-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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