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Municipal gravity sewers: an unrecognised source of nitrous oxide
Short, M., A. Daikeler, G. Peters, K. Mann, N. Ashbolt, R. Stuetz, AND W. Peirson. Municipal gravity sewers: an unrecognised source of nitrous oxide. SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT. Elsevier BV, AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, 468-469:211-218, (2014).
To estimate N2O emission ranges for municipal sewers, to aid in GHG emission partioning in wastewater management.
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a primary ozone-depleting substance and powerful greenhouse gas. N2O emissions from secondary-level wastewater treatment processes are relatively well understood as a result of intensive international research effort in recent times, yet little information exists to date on the role of sewers in wastewater management chain N2O dynamics. Here we provide the first detailed assessment of N2O levels in the untreated influent (i.e. sewer network effluent) of three large Australian metropolitan wastewater treatment plants. Contrary to current international (IPCC) guidance, results show gravity sewers to be an important source of N2O. Results from the monitoring program revealed hydraulic flow rate as a strong driver for N2O generation in gravity sewers, with microbial processes (nitrification and possibly denitrification) implicated as the main processes responsible for its production. Results were also used to develop a robust emission factor for N2O in the context of municipal gravity sewers. Considering the discrepancy with current IPCC Guidelines, further work is warranted to assess the scale and dynamics of N2O production in different sewers elsewhere.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LABORATORY
MICROBIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL EXPOSURE ASSESSMENT DIVISION