Methane emission from sewers

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Journal Article
Science of the Total Environment, 2015, 524-525 pp. 40 - 51
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© 2015 Elsevier B.V. Recent studies have shown that sewer systems produce and emit a significant amount of methane. Methanogens produce methane under anaerobic conditions in sewer biofilms and sediments, and the stratification of methanogens and sulfate-reducing bacteria may explain the simultaneous production of methane and sulfide in sewers. No significant methane sinks or methanotrophic activities have been identified in sewers to date. Therefore, most of the methane would be emitted at the interface between sewage and atmosphere in gravity sewers, pumping stations, and inlets of wastewater treatment plants, although oxidation of methane in the aeration basin of a wastewater treatment plant has been reported recently. Online measurements have also revealed highly dynamic temporal and spatial variations in methane production caused by factors such as hydraulic retention time, area-to-volume ratio, temperature, and concentration of organic matter in sewage. Both mechanistic and empirical models have been proposed to predict methane production in sewers. Due to the sensitivity of methanogens to environmental conditions, most of the chemicals effective in controlling sulfide in sewers also suppress or diminish methane production. In this paper, we review the recent studies on methane emission from sewers, including the production mechanisms, quantification, modeling, and mitigation.
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