Aquatic environment

Characteristics of greenhouse gas emission in three full-scale wastewater treatment processes

Xu Yan , Lin Li , Junxin Liu

DOI:DOI: 10.1016/S1001-0742(13)60429-5

Received March 15, 2013,Revised August 02, 2013, Accepted , Available online January 27, 2014

Volume ,2014,Pages 256-263

Three full-scale wastewater treatment processes, Orbal oxidation ditch, anoxic/anaerobic/aerobic (reversed A2O) and anaerobic/anoxic/aerobic (A2O), were selected to investigate the emission characteristics of greenhouse gases (GHG), including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Results showed that although the processes were different, the units presenting high GHG emission fluxes were remarkably similar, namely the highest CO2 and N2O emission fluxes occurred in the aerobic areas, and the highest CH4 emission fluxes occurred in the grit tanks. The GHG emission amount of each unit can be calculated from its area and GHG emission flux. The calculation results revealed that the maximum emission amounts of CO2, CH4 and N2O in the three wastewater treatment processes appeared in the aerobic areas in all cases. Theoretically, CH4 should be produced in anaerobic conditions, rather than aerobic conditions. However, results in this study showed that the CH4 emission fluxes in the forepart of the aerobic area were distinctly higher than in the anaerobic area. The situation for N2O was similar to that of CH4: the N2O emission flux in the aerobic area was also higher than that in the anoxic area. Through analysis of the GHG mass balance, it was found that the flow of dissolved GHG in the wastewater treatment processes and aerators may be the main reason for this phenomenon. Based on the monitoring and calculation results, GHG emission factors for the three wastewater treatment processes were determined. The A2O process had the highest CO2 emission factor of 319.3 g CO2/kg CODremoved, and the highest CH4 and N2O emission factors of 3.3 g CH4/kg CODremoved and 3.6 g N2O/kg TNremoved were observed in the Orbal oxidation ditch process.

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