alexa Problem or Resource - Why It Is Important For the Envir
ISSN: 2165-784X

Journal of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Open Access

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Research Article

Problem or Resource - Why It Is Important For the Environment to Keep Track of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Carbon in Wastewater and Sludge Management

Magdalena Svanström1*, Giuseppe Laera2 and Sara Heimersson1
1Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden
2CNR - Istituto di Ricerca sulle Acque, Bari, Italy
Corresponding Author : Magdalena Svanström
Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden
Tel: +46 31 772 3001
E-mail: [email protected]
Received: November 27, 2015 Accepted: November 30, 2015 Published: December 10, 2015
Citation: Svanström M, Laera G, Heimersson S (2015) Problem or Resource - Why It Is Important For the Environment to Keep Track of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Carbon in Wastewater and Sludge Management. J Civil Environ Eng 5:200.doi:10.4172/2165-784X.1000200
Copyright: © 2015 Svanström M, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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Abstract

This paper discusses how the fate of nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon in wastewater and sludge management affects the environmental performance as it may easily be shifted from a resource to a problem and vice versa. The paper explores the impact of some variations in wastewater treatment technology with resulting shifts of elements between forms and media. To this end, life cycle assessment (LCA) results were calculated for a model municipal wastewater treatment plant with primary settling and secondary treatment, and anaerobic digestion of mixed primary and secondary sludge and subsequent use of the sludge in agriculture (baseline scenario). The effect of changing plant operation to increase nitrogen removal and to add also phosphorus control was studied, using data from mass and energy balances. Further, the paper shows that how data for many flows containing nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon is selected in LCA within ranges found in literature may have a large influence on the results. This effect was studied by varying the flows in the baseline scenario between high and low values found in literature. It was shown that LCA results are considerably affected by both considered operational changes and by assumptions on the magnitudes of some flows. The paper argues that more careful consideration of flows of these elements should be made in the operation of wastewater treatment plants and in selection of data in life cycle assessment (LCA) studies.

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