A novel methodology to quantify nitrous oxide emissions from full-scale wastewater treatment systems with surface aerators

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-268
Journal / PublicationWater Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


The quantification of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from open-surface wastewater treatment systems with surface aerators is difficult as emissions from the surface aerator zone cannot be easily captured by floating hoods. In this study, we propose and demonstrate a novel methodology to estimate N2O emissions from such systems through determination of the N2O transfer coefficient (kLa) induced by surface aerators based on oxygen balance for the entire system. The methodology is demonstrated through its application to a full-scale open oxidation ditch wastewater treatment plant with surface aerators. The estimated kLa profile based on a month-long measurement campaign for oxygen balance, intensive monitoring of dissolved N2O profiles along the oxidation ditch over a period of four days, together with mathematical modelling, enabled to determine the N2O emission factor from this treatment plant (0.52±0.16%). Majority of the N2O emission was found to occur in the surface aerator zone, which would be missed if the gas hood method was applied alone. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Research Area(s)

  • Emission factor, Greenhouse gases, Modelling, Nitrous oxide, Surface aerators, Wastewater treatment

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