Sanitation of blackwater via sequential wetland and electrochemical treatment View Full Text


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Article Info

DATE

2018-12

AUTHORS

Guruprasad V. Talekar, Priya Sharma, Anant Yadav, Peter Clauwaert, Korneel Rabaey, Srikanth Mutnuri

ABSTRACT

The discharge of untreated septage is a major health hazard in countries that lack sewer systems and centralized sewage treatment. Small-scale, point-source treatment units are needed for water treatment and disinfection due to the distributed nature of this discharge, i.e., from single households or community toilets. In this study, a high-rate-wetland coupled with an electrochemical system was developed and demonstrated to treat septage at full scale. The full-scale wetland on average removed 79 ± 2% chemical oxygen demand (COD), 30 ± 5% total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), 58 ± 4% total ammoniacal nitrogen (TAN), and 78 ± 4% ortho-phosphate. Pathogens such as coliforms were not fully removed after passage through the wetland. Therefore, the wetland effluent was subsequently treated with an electrochemical cell with a cation exchange membrane where the effluent first passed through the anodic chamber. This lead to in situ chlorine or other oxidant production under acidifying conditions. Upon a residence time of at least 6 h of this anodic effluent in a buffer tank, the fluid was sent through the cathodic chamber where pH neutralization occurred. Overall, the combined system removed 89 ± 1% COD, 36 ± 5% TKN, 70 ± 2% TAN, and 87 ± 2% ortho-phosphate. An average 5-log unit reduction in coliform was observed. The energy input for the integrated system was on average 16 ± 3 kWh/m3, and 11 kWh/m3 under optimal conditions. Further research is required to optimize the system in terms of stability and energy consumption. Where constructed wetlands are unable to remove pathogens from wastewater, an electrochemical cell could step in to tackle the challenge. Artificial wetlands can treat domestic wastewater outside of centralized facilities—making them particularly important in countries where safe wastewater transport is difficult—but the efficiency of pathogen removal varies greatly from site to site. A team led by Srikanth Mutnuri at the Institute of Technology and Science in Goa, India, now couple a constructed wetland with a vertical subsurface flow, able to remove organic matter and nutrients from waste, with an electrochemical cell designed to remove pathogens. The cell contains an anode chamber where acidic pH and oxidative species disinfect the effluent, effectively reducing the coliform count where the wetland couldn’t. Optimizing the stability and energy consumption of the system are the crucial next steps. More... »

PAGES

14

References to SciGraph publications

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URI

http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1038/s41545-018-0014-x

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41545-018-0014-x

DIMENSIONS

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41 schema:description The discharge of untreated septage is a major health hazard in countries that lack sewer systems and centralized sewage treatment. Small-scale, point-source treatment units are needed for water treatment and disinfection due to the distributed nature of this discharge, i.e., from single households or community toilets. In this study, a high-rate-wetland coupled with an electrochemical system was developed and demonstrated to treat septage at full scale. The full-scale wetland on average removed 79 ± 2% chemical oxygen demand (COD), 30 ± 5% total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), 58 ± 4% total ammoniacal nitrogen (TAN), and 78 ± 4% ortho-phosphate. Pathogens such as coliforms were not fully removed after passage through the wetland. Therefore, the wetland effluent was subsequently treated with an electrochemical cell with a cation exchange membrane where the effluent first passed through the anodic chamber. This lead to in situ chlorine or other oxidant production under acidifying conditions. Upon a residence time of at least 6 h of this anodic effluent in a buffer tank, the fluid was sent through the cathodic chamber where pH neutralization occurred. Overall, the combined system removed 89 ± 1% COD, 36 ± 5% TKN, 70 ± 2% TAN, and 87 ± 2% ortho-phosphate. An average 5-log unit reduction in coliform was observed. The energy input for the integrated system was on average 16 ± 3 kWh/m3, and 11 kWh/m3 under optimal conditions. Further research is required to optimize the system in terms of stability and energy consumption. Where constructed wetlands are unable to remove pathogens from wastewater, an electrochemical cell could step in to tackle the challenge. Artificial wetlands can treat domestic wastewater outside of centralized facilities—making them particularly important in countries where safe wastewater transport is difficult—but the efficiency of pathogen removal varies greatly from site to site. A team led by Srikanth Mutnuri at the Institute of Technology and Science in Goa, India, now couple a constructed wetland with a vertical subsurface flow, able to remove organic matter and nutrients from waste, with an electrochemical cell designed to remove pathogens. The cell contains an anode chamber where acidic pH and oxidative species disinfect the effluent, effectively reducing the coliform count where the wetland couldn’t. Optimizing the stability and energy consumption of the system are the crucial next steps.
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