Need for a fresh look at phosphorus management in wastewater treatment: Trash to treasure

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Sustainable Environment Research, 2013, 23 (1), pp. 23 - 31
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Eutrophication of water bodies is a major, global environmental problem. It is now well understood that its main cause is excessive amounts of nutrients such as phosphorus. Stringent laws were therefore introduced across the world, requiring that the level of the P be significantly reduced. Consequently, the focus for wastewater treatment industry became the elimination of phosphorus in effluent stream. Treatment technologies capable of removing over 90% of phosphorus from wastewater have now been developed. However, these phosphorus removal options are likely to be ineffective in the future. The future would call for a shift to the primary goal of phosphorus removal to 'capturing and reusing' phosphorus. This paper calls for a re-think in developing phosphorus management programs. Discussing Fertigation as step-one in phosphorus reclamation, the paper will further elaborate phosphorus recovery opportunities such as ion-exchange that can be retrofitted to existing wastewater treatment plants.
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