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Development of a self-sustaining wastewater treatment with phosphorus recovery for small rural settlements

  • Global trends such as climate change and the scarcity of sustainable raw materials require adaptive, more flexible and resource-saving wastewater infrastructures for rural areas. Since 2018, in the community Reinighof, an isolated site in the countryside of Rhineland Palatinate (Germany), an autarkic, decentralized wastewater treatment and phosphorus recovery concept has been developed, implemented and tested. While feces are composted, an easy-to-operate system for producing struvite as a mineral fertilizer was developed and installed to recover phosphorus from urine. The nitrogen-containing supernatant of this process stage is treated in a special soil filter and afterwards discharged to a constructed wetland for grey water treatment, followed by an evaporation pond. To recover more than 90% of the phosphorus contained in the urine, the influence of the magnesium source, the dosing strategy, the molar ratio of Mg:P and the reaction and sedimentation time were investigated. The results show that, with a long reaction time of 1.5 h and a molar ratio of Mg:P above 1.3, constraints concerning magnesium source can be overcome and a stable process can be achieved even under varying boundary conditions. Within the special soil filter, the high ammonium nitrogen concentrations of over 3000 mg/L in the supernatant of the struvite reactor were considerably reduced. In the effluent of the following constructed wetland for grey water treatment, the ammonium-nitrogen concentrations were below 1 mg/L. This resource efficient decentralized wastewater treatment is self-sufficient, produces valuable fertilizer and does not need a centralized wastewater system as back up. It has high potential to be transferred to other rural communities.

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Author:Jingsi XiaoORCiD, Ulrike Alewell, Ingo Bruch, Heidrun SteinmetzORCiD
URN (permanent link):urn:nbn:de:hbz:386-kluedo-64596
ISSN:2071-1050
Parent Title (English):Sustainability
Publisher:MDPI
Place of publication:Basel
Document Type:Article
Language of publication:English
Publication Date:2021/01/28
Year of Publication:2021
Publishing Institute:Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Date of the Publication (Server):2021/07/09
Issue:13(3), 1363
Number of page:12
Source:https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031363
Faculties / Organisational entities:Fachbereich Bauingenieurwesen
DDC-Cassification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 624 Ingenieurbau und Umwelttechnik
Collections:Open-Access-Publikationsfonds
Licence (German):Zweitveröffentlichung