Download IPWEA Techpaper - What does global warming mean for my wastewater treatment plant?

Download What does global warming mean for my wastewater treatment plant 1

By Andrew Springer, Principal Wastewater Treatment Engineer

Global warming is now recognised as occurring and will lead to rising sea levels, changes in weather patterns, more extreme weather events, with potential for droughts, floods and other devastating impacts. Already New Zealand is committed to carbon reduction through the Kyoto agreement and Paris accord, which has resulted in a 2008 carbon trading scheme but levels of emission are increasing. The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill is proposed as a framework for further legislation to drive a change in the thinking and economy of New Zealand and is setting a target of net zero emissions.

Emissions from wastewater treatment plants are greater than water plants due to the high energy requirement for transport and treatment and the emissions of methane and nitrous oxide because of biological activity making up to 33% of all Water Industry emissions. With a Global Warming Potential of 84 x and 284 x carbon dioxide, small quantities of these persistent gases will have a large impact on our carbon footprint.

By understanding the sources of the emissions and how to compare technologies based on carbon footprint combined with reduction in energy, alternative energy sources and reduction in materials in construction the New Zealand Water Industry will be equipped to contribute to our targets.

This paper: 

    • Explains the nature of emissions on Wastewater Treatment Plants
    • Provides ways of estimation of our current and future Carbon Footprint
    • Describes the cause of N2O and CH4 emissions
    • Informs on how we can improve our GHG emissions on WWTP
    • Allows you to understand the impact on GHGs of the processes selected for wastewater treatment
    • Prepares the Water Engineers and Asset Managers for Zero Carbon thinking


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