2014 Progress Report: Water Environment and Reuse Foundation (WE&RF)'s National Center for Resource Recovery and Nutrient Management

EPA Grant Number: RD835567
Center: Water Environment and Reuse Foundation's National Center for Resource Recovery and Nutrient Management
Center Director: Pramanik, Amit
Title: Water Environment and Reuse Foundation (WE&RF)'s National Center for Resource Recovery and Nutrient Management
Investigators: Chandran, Kartik , Frear, Craig , Luthy, Richard G. , Sedlak, David L. , Stensel, David , Wigginton, Krista
Current Investigators: Pramanik, Amit , Chandran, Kartik , Khunjar, Wendell , Luthy, Richard G. , Radke, Christine , Sedlak, David L. , Skerlos, Steven J. , Stack, William , Stensel, David , Wigginton, Krista , Yorgey, Georgine
Institution: Columbia University in the City of New York , Stanford University , University of California - Berkeley , University of Michigan , University of Washington , Washington State University
Current Institution: Water Environment and Reuse Foundation , Center for Watershed Protection , Columbia University in the City of New York , Hazen and Sawyer , University of California - Berkeley , University of Michigan , University of Washington , Washington State University , Water Research Foundation
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: November 1, 2013 through October 31, 2018
Project Period Covered by this Report: November 1, 2013 through October 31,2014
Project Amount: $3,370,298
RFA: Centers for Water Research on National Priorities Related to a Systems View of Nutrient Management (2012) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water and Watersheds , Water

Objective:

The objective of this project is to research innovative practices in sustainable water management dealing with resource recovery, green infrastructure systems, nutrient removal, and energy production. The practices will be developed along with active engagement with user communities and education programs. By exploring the scientific aspects of nutrient recovery and removal along with community and stakeholder acceptance, this project will provide strategies for reducing nutrients in watersheds across the nation.

Nutrient Recovery Through Urine Separation

There are four major objectives to address practical and safety issues related to urine reuse:

  1. Provide design and permitting guidelines to address practical issues related to the implementation of urine separation and collection systems.
  2. Understand how urine pretreatments impact pharmaceutical and biological contaminant concentrations.
  3. Compare the efficacy of using natural urine and urine-derived product as agricultural fertilizers.
  4. Evaluate the fate of nutrients, pharmaceuticals, and biological contaminants following urine product applications.

Development and Implementation of a Process Technology Toolbox for Sustainable Biological Nitrogen Removal using Mainstream Deammonification

Mainstream deammonification offers a significantly more energy and cost-efficient alternative to conventional approaches for biological nitrogen removal (BNR). The overarching goal of this project is to develop a fundamental science and technology driven approach and a process toolbox to harness the potential offered by mainstream deammonification for sustainable nitrogen management. The specific objectives are as follows:

  1. Out-select nitrite oxidizing bacteria (NOB) growth to achieve aeration and savings through short-cut BNR (ScBNR) and deammonification.
  2. Maximize energy recovery by redirecting carbon away from energy intensive processes to energy producing.
  3. Optimize anaerobic ammonia oxidation (anammox) retention alternatives in order to independently control anammox solids residence times (SRTs) effectively.
  4. Meet stringent permit limits with less or no supplemental carbon by autotrophic effluent polishing.
  5. Develop and optimize strategies to overcome flocculant biomass settleability limitations associated with ScBNR and autotrophic nitrogen removal processes.

Manure Resource Recovery

To demonstrate the performance and economic link between co-digestion and low-input (i.e., reduced pH and temperature) in anaerobic manure digestion, demonstrate ammonia stripping with nitrogen recovery, and the ability to reduce ammonia concentrations in, and emissions from, animal and municipal wastewater. Collected nitrogen will be stabilized as ammonia salts either as a single product or blended with bio-solids. Anaerobic digester performance will be offset by reducing capital/operating costs, and incorporating the operation within a total system approach (i.e., using co-digestion for enhanced biogas and ammonia concentration), and producing more-valued bio-fertilizers.

Enhanced Removal of Nutrients from Urban Runoff with Novel Unit-Process Capture, Treatment, and Recharge Systems

Provide guidance on the design and operation of systems for controlling nutrient releases to surface waters. Specific objectives include:

  • Developing quantitative models for predicting and optimizing nutrient removal in unit-process stormwater treatment and recharge systems under conditions representative of regions where the majority of nutrient releases occur in a small number of precipitation events.
  • Assessing the impacts of different urban runoff treatment schemes at the watershed scale.
  • Evaluating systems-level drivers of treatment systems design with respect to community acceptance and sustainability.

Progress Summary:

During the period, four research projects were started. At the end of the reporting period all projects are progressing with their stated and Science Advisory Committee (SAC)-approved aims, without deviations. 

The objectives identified and fulfilled during the report period were:

  1. Ensure all projects are proceeding successfully.
  2. Review and provide technical comments on research progress reports or products produced by the sub awardees from all previous year projects.
  3. Outreach, including web seminars and conference presentations, by WERF staff and Principal Investigators.

Nutrient Recovery Through Urine Separation

Team members attended a project kick-off meeting at the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) on March 10th to discuss objectives and updated tasks and subtasks of each team. The sample collection schedule, the specific analytical analyses that would be conducted on the samples, and details on the 2014 Rich Earth Institute (REI) growth season are reflected in the QAPP. The project research activities thus far have been focused primarily on urine collection, the growing season at REI, and analytical method development at the University of Buffalo (UB) and the University of Michigan (UM).

Development and Implementation of a Process Technology Toolbox for Sustainable Biological Nitrogen Removal Using Mainstream Deammonification

  • Contract has been signed.
  • The QAPP is being prepared.

Manure Resource Recovery

  • Signed the contract.
  • Prepared the QAPP.
  • Began operation of three anaerobic digestion reactors treating manure from Edaleen Dairy (Lynden, WA).
  • Developed and validated method for extracting and measuring long-chain fatty acids in bioreactor samples.
  • Developed experimental protocol for conducting batch kinetic assays with long-chain fatty acids.
  • Collected first set of 5-day data samples from post-digestion operations and version 1.0 ammonia stripping system. Data have been analyzed.
  • Completed engineering design for version 2.0 of ammonia stripping system and construction was started.
  • Incorporated collected data parameters for post-digestion operations into farm model (leveraged with USDA).

Enhanced Removal of Nutrients from Urban Runoff with Novel Unit-Process Capture, Treatment, and Recharge Systems

Throughout the first part of the project reporting period (4th quarter, 2014), the ReNUWIt (Re-Inventing the Nation's Urban Water Infrastructure) team members from three universities (Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Colorado School of Mines) met bi-weekly via videoconferencing to discuss the project design. Tasks were assigned to sub-teams for research between meetings, action items were set, and minutes for each meeting were taken. Also during this period, the contract was signed and the QAPP was submitted.

The proposed design for the experimental setup is a column-scale version of the conceptual design in the original project proposal. Stormwater is collected and pumped through an iron-sand filter to a stabilizing reservoir then split into two flow paths. One pathway is designed to determine different configurations of materials and operations to improve nitrate removal via woodchip bioreactors. The other experimental pathway will focus on different geologic media and operational parameters for the removal of trace organic contaminants. The research team spent significant effort investigating the optimum path forward in the sensing and control technologies that will be used in the setup. Although there have been some challenges in obtaining necessary pieces of sensor equipment, the team made important decisions along the way to ensure that the needed data are acquired from the sensors. The research team is working with Geosyntec Consultants, for the sensing and control element of the experiment.

The research team also has built prototypes of the columns that will be used in the field. A simple PVC column design will be used for the denitrifying bioreactors; this has been tested in the laboratory. After further exploration, an acrylic column design will be used for the geologic media columns (to reduce the possible leaching of organic materials that could cause background contamination in the trace chemical experiments).

The QAPP and statement of work for the EPA grant were written and submitted. The research team responded to the comments provided.

Future Activities:

Nutrient Recovery Through Urine Separation

  • In early 2015, research teams will take part in a webinar to discuss and plan for the 2015 planting season. With regards to the analytical methods, the research teams are working on a total phosphorus method for the urine and lysimeter water, qPCR methods for monitoring viruses and ARGs in the urine, struvite, soil and lysimeter water, and pharmaceutical/biological contaminant extractions from plant material.
  • A trip to REI by team members from UM and UB is planned for October 12-14, to talk in person about the data collected thus far in the project, the analytical and fieldwork challenges teams have faced since the project kick-off, and plans for the coming months.
  • HRSD is in the process of installing indoor piping and outdoor storage tank at their headquarters that is necessary for their urine collection system.

Development and Implementation of a Process Technology Toolbox for Sustainable Biological Nitrogen Removal Using Mainstream Deammonification

We will complete the QAPP and begin the research.

Manure Resource Recovery

  • Obtain QAPP approval.
  • Continue operating anaerobic digesters treating dairy manure.
  • Test the effects of feeding strategy of long-chain fatty acids on microbial acclimation and digester performance.
  • Complete construction of ammonia stripping 2.0 and sample/analyze data for system.
  • Coordinate second set of post-digestion data collection and analysis, pending weather conditions.
  • Coordinate with Denver Metro.

Enhanced Removal of Nutrients from Urban Runoff with Novel Unit-Process Capture, Treatment, and Recharge Systems

During the next quarter, the research team will begin transition of the project into the field site in cooperation with the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA). In the next month, a site visit is scheduled with the SCWA engineer to tour the building where the experiments will be set up and to visit source-sites of stormwater for the project. The research team will work to further assemble the columns used in the field setup for both the geologic media and woodchip bioreactors. The team will identify the best combination of the sensing and control components, and the equipment availability for the project.


Journal Articles: 21 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other center views: All 86 publications 24 publications in selected types All 21 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Halaburka BJ, LeFevre GH, Luthy RG. Evaluation of mechanistic models for nitrate removal in woodchip bioreactors. Environmental Science & Technology 2017;51(9):5156-5164. RD835567 (2017)
RD835567 (Final)
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  • Journal Article Han M, Vlaeminck SE, Al-Omari A, Wett B, Bott C, Murthy S, De Clippeleir H. Uncoupling the solids retention times of flocs and granules in mainstream deammonification: a screen as effective out-selection tool for nitrite oxidizing bacteria. Bioresource Technology 2016;221:195-204. RD835567 (2016)
    RD835567 (2017)
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  • Journal Article Han M, De Clippeleir H, Al-Omari A, Wett B, Vlaeminck SE, Bott C, Murthy S. Impact of carbon to nitrogen ratio and aeration regime on mainstream deammonification. Water Science and Technology 2016;74(2):375-384. RD835567 (2016)
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  • Journal Article Kinyua MN, Elliott M, Wett B, Murthy S, Chandran K, Bott CB. The role of extracellular polymeric substances on carbon capture in a high rate activated sludge A-stage system. Chemical Engineering Journal 2017;322:428-434. RD835567 (2017)
    RD835567 (Final)
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  • Journal Article Kinyua MN, Miller MW, Wett B, Murthy S, Chandran K, Bott CB. Polyhydroxyalkanoates, triacylglycerides and glycogen in a high rate activated sludge A-stage system. Chemical Engineering Journal 2017;316:350-360. RD835567 (2017)
    RD835567 (Final)
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  • Journal Article Klaus S, Baumler R, Rutherford B, Thesing G, Zhao H, Bott C. Startup of a partial nitritation-anammox MBBR and the iplementation of pH-based aeration control. Water Environment Research 2017;89(6):500-508. RD835567 (2017)
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  • Journal Article Ma J, Zhao QB, Laurens LL, Jarvis EE, Nagle NJ, Chen S, Frear CS. Mechanism, kinetics and microbiology of inhibition caused by long-chain fatty acids in anaerobic digestion of algal biomass. Biotechnology for Biofuels 2015;8:141 (12 pp.). RD835567 (Final)
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  • Journal Article Miller MW, Elliott M, DeArmond J, Kinyua M, Wett B, Murthy S, Bott CB. Controlling the COD removal of an A-stage pilot study with instrumentation and automatic process control. Water Science and Technology 2017;75(11-12):2669-2679. RD835567 (2017)
    RD835567 (Final)
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  • Journal Article Mullen RA, Wigginton KR, Noe-Hays A, Nace K, Love NG, Bott CB, Aga DS. Optimizing extraction and analysis of pharmaceuticals in human urine, struvite, food crops, soil, and lysimeter water by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Analytical Methods 2017;9(41):5952-5962. RD835567 (2017)
    RD835567 (Final)
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  • Journal Article Park H, Brotto AC, van Loosdrecht MCM, Chandran K. Discovery and metagenomic analysis of an anammox bacterial enrichment related to Candidatus "Brocadia caroliniensis" in a full-scale glycerol-fed nitritation-denitritation separate centrate treatment process. Water Research 2017;111:265-273. RD835567 (2016)
    RD835567 (2017)
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  • Journal Article Park MR, Park H, Chandran K. Molecular and kinetic characterization of planktonic Nitrospira spp. selectively enriched from activated sludge. Environmental Science & Technology 2017;51(5):2720-2728. RD835567 (2017)
    RD835567 (Final)
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  • Journal Article Regmi P, Holgate B, Miller MW, Park H, Chandran K, Wett B, Murthy S, Bott CB. Nitrogen polishing in a fully anoxic anammox MBBR treating mainstream nitritation-denitritation effluent. Biotechnology and Bioengineering 2016;113(3):635-642. RD835567 (2015)
    RD835567 (2016)
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  • Journal Article Stewart HA, Al-Omari A, Bott C, De Clippeleir H, Su C, Takacs I, Wett B, Massoudieh A, Murthy S. Dual substrate limitation modeling and implications for mainstream deammonification. Water Research 2017;116:95-105. RD835567 (2017)
    RD835567 (Final)
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  • Journal Article Wett B, Podmirseg SM, Gómez-Brandón M, Hell M, Nyhuis G, Bott C, Murthy S. Expanding DEMON sidestream deammonification technology towards mainstream application. Water Environment Research 2015;87(12):2084-2089. RD835567 (2016)
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  • Journal Article Ziels RM, Karlsson A, Beck DA, Ejlertsson J, Yekta SS, Bjorn A, Stensel HD, Svensson BH. Microbial community adaptation influences long-chain fatty acid conversion during anaerobic codigestion of fats, oils, and grease with municipal sludge. Water Research 2016;103:372-382. RD835567 (2016)
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  • Journal Article Ziels RM, Beck DAC, Stensel HD. Long-chain fatty acid feeding frequency in anaerobic codigestion impacts syntrophic community structure and biokinetics. Water Research 2017;117:218-229. RD835567 (2017)
    RD835567 (Final)
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  • Journal Article Ziels RM, Sousa DZ, Stensel HD, Beck DAC. DNA-SIP based genome-centric metagenomics identifies key long-chain fatty acid-degrading populations in anaerobic digesters with different feeding frequencies. The ISME Journal 2017;12(1):112-123. RD835567 (2017)
    RD835567 (Final)
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  • Journal Article Ziels RM, Beck DAC, Marti M, Gough HL, Stensel HD, Svensson BH. Monitoring the dynamics of syntrophic β-oxidizing bacteria during anaerobic degradation of oleic acid. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 2015;91(4):5-28. RD835567 (2015)
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  • Journal Article Regmi P, Holgate B, Fredericks D, Miller MW, Wett B, Murthy S, Bott CB. Optimization of a mainstream nitritation-denitritation process and anammox polishing. Water Science & Technology 2015;72(4):632-642. RD835567 (2015)
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  • Journal Article Regmi P, Bunce R, Miller MW, Park H, Chandran K, Wett B, Murthy S, Bott CB. Ammonia-based intermittent aeration control optimized for efficient nitrogen removal. Biotechnology and Bioengineering 2015;112(10):2060-2067. RD835567 (2015)
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  • Journal Article Lahr RH, Goetsch HE, Haig SJ, Noe-Hays A, Love NG, Aga DS, Bott CB, Foxman B, Jimenez J, Luo T, Nace K, Ramadugu K, Wigginton KR. Urine bacterial community convergence through fertilizer production:storage, pasteurization, and struvite precipitation. Environmental Science & Technology 2016;50(21):11619-11626. RD835567 (Final)
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  • Supplemental Keywords:

    active control, ammonia recovery, anaerobic digestion, bioretention, co-digestion of FOG and food waste, combined sewer, CSO, economic viability, energy recovery, engineered N-cycle, fertilizer, field demonstration, linking N- and C- cycles, manure, nutrient removal, nutrient runoff, onsite use, phosphorus recovery, porous pavement, rainwater harvesting, real-time, RTC, source separated urine, stormwater, struvite, sustainable BNR, sustainable nutrient management, urine sterilization

    Relevant Websites:

    Water Environment & Reuse Foundation Exit

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2015 Progress Report
  • 2016 Progress Report
  • 2017 Progress Report
  • Final Report