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Overcoming Challenges to Struvite Recovery from Anaerobically Digested Dairy Manure

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Recovering struvite from dairy manure has consistently posed problems for researchers. This study separated solids from anaerobically digested dairy manure using a filtration system. Filtrate was rich in free magnesium (160 to 423 mg/L), ammonium (320 to 1800 mg N/L) and orthophosphate (93 to 332 mg P/L). High concentrations of free calcium (128 to 361 mg/L) and alkalinity (3309 to 6567 mg/L as CaCO3), however, may hinder struvite precipitation. Batch precipitation tests were conducted to identify and overcome factors that interfere with struvite formation. Precipitation tests at pH 9 identified calcium and ionic strength as most probable interferences. Calcium addition did not significantly change phosphorus removal efficiency, but decreased struvite purity because of formation of calcium phosphates when Ca:P activity ratio was greater than 0.5 to 1. Batch tests demonstrated effective calcium removal from anaerobically digested dairy manure through precipitation of calcium carbonate at pH 9 to 10 while retaining magnesium and orthophosphate, lessening hindrance to struvite formation.

Keywords: calcium interference; calcium removal; dairy manure; phosphorus recovery; struvite

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2012

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  • 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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