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Other Titles: Nitrons oxide emissions from the aeration tank of a wastewter treatment plant with conventional activated sludge process.
Keywords: tratamento de esgotos;  lodos ativados;  óxido nitroso;  fatores de emissão;  wastewater treatment;  activated sludge;  nitrous oxide;  emission factors
Issue Date: 18-Feb-2013
Abstract: Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a major greenhouse gas and the main source of nitric oxide in the stratosphere, contributing indirectly to consumption of the stratospheric ozone. Wastewater treatment is an anthropogenic source of N2O, whose contribution is considered to be quantitatively of minor importance. However, little is known about the actual contribution of these emissions due to the wide variability reported in the emission factors (EFs), based on amount of N2O emitted relative to the influent total nitrogen (TN) load, both from full-scale and laboratory-scale studies. The 2006 guidelines of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for national inventories of greenhouse gases as proposed EF 3.2 (2-8) g N2O person-1 yr-1 for the case of advanced centralized wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) with controlled nitrification and denitrification steps. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between some operational parameters, such as TN concentration (especially NH4+), chemical oxygen demand (COD) and dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations, on N2O emissions from the aeration tank of a WWTP located in the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro, Southeast Brazil. The wastewater treatment employed is conventional activated sludge process with a differentiated aeration system. The entire aeration system consists of four adjacent aeration tanks with six zones each. N2O emissions were measured monthly in the period from January to June 2010, always in the morning, over the six zones of the four aeration tanks. The average N2O emission was 1.11 kg N day-1 corresponding to 0.02% of the influent TN load. N2O emissions were lower in summer than winter and were positively related (r = 0.90; n = 6; P < 0.01) with influent NH4+ concentrations. Regarding the COD and DO concentrations, the highest N2O emissions occurred in regions of low concentrations of COD and DO concentrations above 2.0 mg L-1, with the highest average emission of N2O in DO concentration close to 3.0 mg L-1. The reduction of the organic load along the zones and gradually increase the DO concentration, contributes directly to higher N2O emissions, due to the greater availability of DO for both the oxidation of organic matter and nitrification, and consequently higher production and emission of N2O. The removal efficiencies of biological oxygen demand (BOD), COD and TN were 97%, 93% and 80%, respectively. The average EF calculated from population served was 2.5 lower than that proposed by the IPCC for N2O emission inventories in WWTPs with controlled processes of nitrification and denitrification. Therefore, the results suggest that the process employed in the WWTP study is very efficient in removing the organic load and TN, and in addition, with smaller N2O emissions when compared to other systems studied in Brazil and those available in literature. It is suggested that this efficiency is related to the use of aeration sufficiently to promote conditions favorable for the microbial oxidation of organic matter and complete nitrification, even under conditions of high BOD, COD and TN concentrations (especially NH4+), as observed during winter.
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