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Sustainable phosphorus removal in onsite wastewater treatment
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Land and Water Resources Engineering, Environmental Geochemistry and Ecotechnology.
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Aquatic eutrophication is a serious environmental problem that occurs all over the world. To protect surface waters (in particular the Baltic Sea), the regulatory pressure on onsite wastewater treatment (OWT) systems have increased in Sweden. Stringent requirements have led to uncertainties regarding the capability of conventional treatment techniques (soil treatment systems (STS)) to remove phosphorus (P), but they have also stimulated the development and introduction of enhanced P treatment techniques. In this thesis the accumulation and mobility of P as well as the chemical P removal mechanisms were studied in soils and reactive filter media. This knowledge was then used in environmental systems analysis. A model based on life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology was developed to evaluate the overall environmental performance of conventional and enhanced P treatment systems under various local conditions. The P accumulation in the studied STS varied (320-870 g m-3) and the accumulated P was rather mobile in some soils. Phosphorus compounds were identified in alkaline reactive filter media (calcium phosphates predominated) by means of X-ray Absorption Near Edge Structure (XANES). In sandy soils from STS aluminium was found to be a key element for P removal, as evidenced by a strong relationship between oxalate-extractable P and Al. The LCA studies indicated that enhanced P treatment systems may be beneficial from an eutrophication and P recycling perspective but causes increased impacts in terms of global warming and acidification. Despite the drawbacks, enhanced P treatment techniques should be considered suitable substitutes to surface water discharge STS under most conditions. This is because the latter systems have such a strong eutrophication impact. On the other hand, under appropriate conditions, STS with groundwater discharge may be advantageous. These systems generally caused low environmental impacts except for the dispersion of P resources. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2013. , xii, 34 p.
Series
Trita-LWR. PHD, ISSN 1650-8602 ; 1070
Keyword [en]
Onsite wastewater treatment, Soil treatment system, Phosphorus, Removal mechanisms, Environmental impacts, Life cycle assessment
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-121049ISBN: 978-91-7501-730-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-121049DiVA: diva2:616601
Public defence
2013-05-13, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20130419

Available from: 2013-04-19 Created: 2013-04-17 Last updated: 2013-04-19Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Environmental systems analysis of four on-site wastewater treatment options
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental systems analysis of four on-site wastewater treatment options
2008 (English)In: Resources, Conservation and Recycling, ISSN 0921-3449, E-ISSN 1879-0658, Vol. 52, no 10, 1153-1161 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Four on-site wastewater treatment systems with an end-of-pipe approach were compared for their relative environmental impacts and use of natural resources with the help of an environmental systemsanalysis (ESA) approach. The treatment techniques compared were infiltration, chemical precipitation, and P removal using the reactive filter media Filtra P and Filtralite® P. The chemical precipitation system attained the most favourable results from an environmental and resource conservation perspective.The reactive filter alternatives showed very high capacity for reduction of eutrophying substances. Both Filtralite® P and Filtra P, however, produce large environmental impacts in energy use related areas. The infiltration system attained low impact scores in all impact categories save eutrophication potential. However, the alternative possessed no nutrient recycling potential and its actual phosphorus removal capacity is highly uncertain, which makes it difficult to perform reliable comparisons with other alternatives. The reactive filter systems should be advantageous especially in very eutrophication-sensitive areas, where excess emissions of eutrophying substances under no circumstances can be tolerated. However, to limit the negative environmental impact in other areas, a topic for future research must be to improve the general performance of the reactive filter systems so that their lifespan can be increased.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2008
Keyword
Chemical precipitation, Environmental systems analysis, Infiltration, Life cycle assessment, On-site wastewater treatment, Small scale wastewater treatment, Reactive filter materials
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering Water Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-12042 (URN)10.1016/j.resconrec.2008.06.004 (DOI)000259888000005 ()2-s2.0-51049117915 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20100914

Available from: 2010-02-25 Created: 2010-02-25 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
2. XANES Speciation of P in Environmental Samples: An Assessment of Filter Media for on-Site Wastewater Treatment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>XANES Speciation of P in Environmental Samples: An Assessment of Filter Media for on-Site Wastewater Treatment
2009 (English)In: Environmental Science and Technology, ISSN 0013-936X, E-ISSN 1520-5851, Vol. 43, no 17, 6515-6521 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) spectroscopyis a useful technique for characterization of chemical speciesof phosphorus in complex environmental samples. To developand evaluate bed filters as sustainable on-site wastewater treatment solutions, our objective in this study was to determine the chemical forms of accumulated phosphorus in a selectionof promising filter materials: Filtralite P, Filtra P, Polonite, Absol, blast furnace slag, and wollastonite. Full-scale operational wastewater-treatment systems were sampled and in addition, filter samples collected from laboratory studies provided access to additional media and complementary samples.Phosphorus species were characterized using phosphorus K-edge XANES spectroscopy, complemented by X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD) and attenuated total reflectance Fouriertransform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR). No systematic differences could be seen in the results between laboratory and full-scale samples. All six filter media contained significant amounts of crystalline calcium phosphates. Some samples also contained amorphous calcium phosphate (>60 % of totalP in Absol). In Filtralite P and blast furnace slag, more than 35 % of the accumulated phosphorus was associated with Fe or Al. Both the power and shortcomings of XANES analysis for characterizing P species in these filter media are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Washington, DC: American Chemical Society (ACS), 2009
Keyword
AMORPHOUS CALCIUM-PHOSPHATE, PHOSPHORUS SPECIATION, SPECTROSCOPY; REMOVAL, HYDROXYAPATITE, MECHANISMS, SOILS, SLAG, PRECIPITATION, FILTER MATERIAL
National Category
Soil Science Analytical Chemistry Water Engineering Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-12045 (URN)10.1021/es901084z (DOI)000269258000017 ()2-s2.0-69549090592 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20101005

Available from: 2010-02-25 Created: 2010-02-25 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
3. Wastewater treatment by soil infiltration: Long-term phosphorus removal
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Wastewater treatment by soil infiltration: Long-term phosphorus removal
2012 (English)In: Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, ISSN 0169-7722, E-ISSN 1873-6009, Vol. 140, 24-33 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Phosphorus (P) leaching from on-site wastewater treatment systems may contribute to eutrophication. In developed countries the most common on-site treatment technique is septic systems with soil infiltration. However, the current knowledge about long term P removal in soil treatment systems is not well developed and the data used for estimation of P losses from such systems are unreliable. In this study we sampled four filter beds from community-scale soil treatment systems with an age of between 14 and 22 years to determine the long-term P removal and to investigate the chemical mechanisms behind the observed removal. For one site the long-term P removal was calculated using a mass balance approach. After analysis of the accumulated P. it was estimated that on average 12% of the long-term P load had been removed by the bed material. This indicates a low overall capacity of soil treatment systems to remove phosphorus. Batch experiments and chemical speciation modelling indicated that calcium phosphate precipitation was not an important long-term P removal mechanism, with the possible exception of one of the sites. More likely, the P removal was induced by AlPO4 precipitation and/or sorption to poorly ordered aluminium compounds, as evidenced by strong relationships between oxalate-extractable Al and P.

Keyword
Soil infiltration, On site waste water treatment, Phosphorus removal, Adsorption, Precipitation
National Category
Soil Science Other Environmental Engineering Water Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-12046 (URN)10.1016/j.jconhyd.2012.08.003 (DOI)000310768800004 ()2-s2.0-84866040536 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2006-632
Note

QC 20121206. Updated from manuscript to article in journal.

Available from: 2010-02-25 Created: 2010-02-25 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
4. Phosphorus in soil treatment systems: accumulation and mobility
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Phosphorus in soil treatment systems: accumulation and mobility
Show others...
2014 (English)In: Water Research, ISSN 0043-1354, E-ISSN 1879-2448, Vol. 64, 42-52 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In several western countries, septic tanks with subsequent soil treatment systems (STS) are a common treatment technique for domestic wastewater in rural areas. However the suitability of STS (especially relatively close to surface waters) can be questioned since the discharge of phosphorus (P) from such effluents is not well known. In this study, six STS in Sweden (11 to 28 years old) were investigated by means of batch and column experiments on samples taken from the unsaturated subsoil beneath the distribution pipes. At all sites the wastewater had clearly influenced the soil. This was observed through decreased pH, increased amounts of oxalate extractable metals and altered P sorption properties. The amount of accumulated P in the STS (defined as the amount of total P in the STS samples minus the amount of total P in unused soil samples) were found to be between 0.32 and 0.87 kg m-3, which in most cases was just a small fraction of the estimated P load (< 30%). Column studies revealed that remarkably high P concentrations (up to 6 mg L-1) were leached from the material when deionized water was applied. However, the response to deionized water varied between the sites. The affinity for P in the soils was well correlated to the amount of oxalate-extractable aluminium (as evidenced by a strong relationship between oxalate-extractable Al and oxalate-extractable P) and generally soils with high content of oxalate extractable Al was also less vulnerable to P leakage.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2014
Keyword
onsite wastewater treatment, Soil treatment system, Septic system, Phosphorus leakage, Column studies, Removal mechanisms
National Category
Geochemistry Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Land and Water Resources Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-121047 (URN)10.1016/j.watres.2014.06.034 (DOI)000341348500005 ()2-s2.0-84904362663 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2006-632
Note

Updated from manuscript to article.

QC 20141003

Available from: 2013-04-17 Created: 2013-04-17 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
5. Environmental systems analysis on enhanced phosphorus removal in onsite wastewater treatment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental systems analysis on enhanced phosphorus removal in onsite wastewater treatment
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In order to minimize phosphorus (P) loads to surface waters, the regulatory pressure on onsite wastewater treatment systems has increased. However, the environmental side-effects of implementing secondary P treatment have not been seriously reviewed. In this study we hypothesized that local conditions will largely govern the overall environmental benefits and drawbacks of different options for onsite wastewater treatment from a regional perspective. To explore the validity of this hypothesis an environmental systems analysis (ESA) model was developed that could handle differences in local conditions. The model was applied for four different treatment options, two conventional and two enhanced P treatment options. In a sensitivity analysis three diverse local contexts (type cases) were configured to evaluate the overall environmental impacts from the local and the regional perspective. The evaluation indicated that the eutrophication impacts from onsite wastewater treatment systems are significant in relation to the mean per capita contributions. This statement was valid even at a regional perspective as long as the natural retention was not very strong. Thus, the environmental side effects (increased emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) and acidifying substances) of implementation of enhanced treatment solutions might be justifiable in many situations. However, due to a low impact in most of the studied environmental aspects, groundwater discharging soil treatment systems (STS) seemed to be preferable in areas were hydrogeological conditions are satisfactory and the distance to surface water is sufficient.

Keyword
Onsite wastewater treatment, Soil treatment system, Reactive filter, Eutrophication, Environmental impact, Environmental Systems Analysis, Life cycle assessment
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-121048 (URN)
Note

QS 2013

Available from: 2013-04-17 Created: 2013-04-17 Last updated: 2013-04-19Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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