Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Methane emissions from “wastewater” twice as high as previously thought | Science

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The researchers used the Princeton Mobile Laboratory to test atmospheric chemistry and take measurements to determine methane emissions at 63 wastewater treatment plants.

A new study finds that sewage treatment plants are releasing twice as much methane gas into the atmosphere as previously thought, meaning we’re facing a bigger problem of increasing global warming.

Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the first 20 years of entering the atmosphere.

Greenhouse gases – or as they are called “greenhouse gases” – include many chemical compounds, the most important of which are carbon dioxide, methane and ozone. The increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere leads to serious risks, the most important of which are climate changes and global warming.

Anthropogenic methane is estimated to account for at least 25% of global warming today, and the waste sector is one of the world’s largest anthropogenic sources.

showed study It was published Feb. 27 — in the journal “Environmental Science and Technology” and produced by researchers at Princeton University — and found that sewage treatment plants are releasing nearly twice as much methane into the atmosphere as scientists had previously thought.

guidelines

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has developed guidelines that allow researchers and agencies such as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to estimate methane emissions from wastewater treatment plants based on their treatment processes. However, these guidelines were developed from measurements limited to a relatively small number of WWTPs.

In the new study, researchers used the Princeton Mobile Laboratory to test atmospheric chemistry and take measurements to determine methane emissions at 63 wastewater treatment plants in the United States. They used machine learning methods to analyze published literature data from methane monitoring studies for various wastewater collection and treatment processes around the world.

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They found that guidelines set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change underestimate the amount discharged from wastewater treatment plants, depending on the size of these plants and the materials used in the treatment processes.

The authors point out that – in Press release Considering a representative sample of the 63 plants examined in the study, actual methane emissions from wastewater treatment plants across the U.S. are 1.9 times higher than emissions estimates using current guidelines from government agencies such as the International Climate Change Agency and the Environmental Protection Agency, meaning these guidelines limit methane emissions to 5.3 million metric tons. A Princeton University press release states that it reduces the equivalent of tons of carbon dioxide.

Unknown hotspots

Mark Jundlow, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and civil and environmental engineering professor at Princeton University’s Endlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, said study co-author Mark Jundlow said the methane emissions associated with wastewater infrastructure were not understood in previous studies, even though experts knew how dangerous the hotspot was. For methane production..

Zundlo added – in a statement to Al Jazeera Net – that by using two different methods, the team was able to demonstrate that methane emissions from sanitation facilities are higher than previously thought, especially since the approved guidelines consider the scale of the practices and sewage treatment systems that are not actually available in most stations. He pointed out that there are many violations in these facilities that may go undetected or may not be included in performance reports, such as poor performance of equipment and leaks.

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The researcher pointed out that the anaerobic treatment process used to treat wastewater in sewage facilities could be a dangerous source of emissions. These anaerobic treatments are sealed vessels containing anaerobic microorganisms that break down sewage sludge or solid waste without oxygen, producing methane-rich biogas in the process.

Zundlu emphasized the need to account for all emissions from health facilities at different time scales, taking into account variations in exposure levels during the four seasons of the year.

Nadia Barnett
Nadia Barnett
"Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator."

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