An alliance of businesses in the business of water

SA Water poo research changes UN climate guildelines

August 22, 2019

The United Nations has included SA Water’s leading research in greenhouse gas emissions as part of its global climate change policies, setting a benchmark for reporting nitrous oxide emissions at wastewater treatment plants around the world.

The ground-breaking research conducted at South Australia’s largest wastewater treatment plant at Bolivar used floating hoods anchored on sludge pools to capture, monitor and better understand emissions in real time.

As part of the trial, optimisation of aeration profiles at one of Bolivar’s activated sludge plants led to a reduction in nitrous oxide emissions of 30%.

SA Water’s Lead Scientist Environment and Wastewater Dr Ben van den Akker said acknowledgement from the UN is a feather in the cap for science and water research in South Australia.

“Nitrous oxide is a by-product of biologically removing nitrogen from wastewater which represents up to 50 per cent of total emissions from wastewater treatment plants,” Ben said.

“We can now say that we’ve positively impacted international climate change policy, which is a pretty cool thing for SA Water and South Australia.”

You can read more about the research on the SA Water website.

See this video for more background.

*Main photo: A floating gas-capture hood in action at SA Water’s Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant (source: SA Water)

SA Water’s Lead Scientist Environment and Wastewater Dr Ben van den Akker. Source: SA Water
SA Water's Lead Scientist Environment and Wastewater, Dr Ben van den Akker.
Source: SA Water