Chea Eliyan, a PhD student from the group attended WWW 2023 in Stockholm from August 20-24. WWW is annual event organized by SIWI. For this year, it sets out to tackle the questions under the theme, Seed of Change: Innovative Solutions for a Water-Wise World.
Many side events, exhibitions from various stakeholder, as well as a wide range of topics presented during those four days event. It was a great opportunity for her to learn and networking with different people in the field for her future career. Despite attended the selected sessions which are related to wastewater reuse and resource recovery, Eliyan got a chance to talk to some of the researchers from who she previously only had read their publications. It was an impressive event and Eliyan is looking forward to be part of it next year.
We at Kretsloppsteknik are currently giving a hybrid (onsite/online) course on Safe nutrient recycling and management (10 credit) within the
research school Sustainable systems for food, energy and biomaterials (SSFEB). The aim of the course is to give the student knowledge in current waste and wastewater management techniques, with focus on technologies for plant nutrient recovery and reuse. Today, 75% of all biodegradable solid waste is landfilled or dumped and 90% of all wastewater generated is either not treated or only partially treated. In cases when the waste is treated, treatments are not focused on recycling, but rather removal, of plant nutrients, as they can otherwise risk to pollute the environment. If the plant nutrients in the waste and wastewater were collected they could replace 25-50% of the virgin resources used for production of chemical fertilizers used in agriculture. Looking at waste and wastewater as resources is a paradigm shift, and for this shift to happen new technologies and management systems are required. When closing the loop of nutrients there is a risk of recycling unwanted substances as well, e.g. heavy metals and pathogens. Upon completion of the course the student should know the flow of waste and wastewater in society, possible treatment methods for closing the loop of nutrients and the risks associated with closed loop systems, as well as methods for mitigating circulation of unwanted substances.
Research and development of circular nutrient technologies has intensified over the past years, making research output in this field increasingly hard to navigate and keep track of. There is a need for a robust and comprehensive mapping and synthesis of existing relevant research and better brokering of knowledge to policy and practice.
Researchers at our group are involved in the collaborative project End-of-wastewater that aims to:
Collate available peer-reviewed English language research on nutrient recovery and reuse into a comprehensive evidence base using systematic mapping methodology.
Develop an online evidence platform to navigate relevant scientific papers with ease.
My name is Gabriella and I have just started working as a research assistant at SLU. I have studied environmental engineering and I graduate recently. My dissertation focused on small-scale water purification and was carried out as an MFS (Minor Field Study) project in the Kenyan capital Nairobi 2019. In Nairobi’s slum Kibera, the possibility of purifying irrigation water with a vertical biochar garden filter was designed, implemented and evaluated. I am generally interested in water issues, but especially in water purification technology and small-scale sewage systems. As a research assistant, I will focus on microplastic analyzes and filtration, which feels both new, important and exciting!
Robin and Jennifer from the group are collaborating in the End of Wastewater project that is also led by Robin. The aim of the project is to co-create, together with committed Swedish actors, a knowledge brokering and public engagement toolbox to support and encourage acceptance, implementation and upscaling of innovative and sustainable solutions to recirculate nutrients and carbon from human excreta and other organic residuals to agriculture. We are circulating a survey to collect information from diverse actors about how to design this knowledge tool and the support engagement material.
This study investigated the occurrence and removal in wastewater and water bodies in Nakivubo wetland area and Inner Murchison Bay, Lake Victoria, of common prescription and non-prescription pharmaceutically-active substances (PhACs) sold in Kampala city, Uganda. A questionnaire was sent to 20 pharmacies in Kampala, to identify the most commonly sold PhACs in the city. During two sampling campaigns, samples were collected from Bugolobi wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) influent and effluent and surface water samples from Nakivubo channel, Nakivubo wetland and Inner Murchison Bay. The concentrations of 28 PhACs, organic matter, solids and nutrients in water samples were analysed. Ciprofloxacin (antibiotic), cetirizine (anti-allergy), metformin (anti-diabetes), metronidazole (antibiotic) and omeprazole (gastric therapy) were reported by pharmacies to be the PhACs most commonly sold in the study area. Chemical analysis of water samples revealed that trimethoprim (antibiotic) and sulfamethoxazole (antibiotic) were the dominant PhACs in water from all sites except Lake Victoria.
Phosphorus has long
been the highest priority when recovering plant nutrients from sewage. However,
nitrogen should be given top priority according to a new evaluation of criteria
linked to the use of non-renewable resources, vulnerability, and potentially
reduced climate impact.
When prioritizing recovery from wastewater, phosphorus often
emphasised as it is necessary for all life and as it is stated to soon run out
(Peak phosphorus). There is reason to question this one-sided emphasis on
phosphorus. The report “Phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium and sulphur – access,
vulnerability and recovery from wastewater” reviews a) risks linked to the
production of artificial fertilizers from non-renewable resources; b) the
vulnerability of Swedish plant production to blocked import of artificial
fertilizers; and c) potentially reduced climate impact in the recovery of plant
nutrients from wastewater.
All investigated criteria show that the recovery of nitrogen from wastewater should be given highest prioritized, and significantly higher than the recovery of both phosphorus and potassium. According to its directives, the presently working governmental investigation on sewage sludge is obliged to submit a proposal focused on recycling of phosphorus from sewage sludge by 10 January 2020. The risk is obvious that the wastewater sector will be forced to devote considerable resources to phosphorus recovery, resources that should be invested in nitrogen recovery to best contribute towards increased sustainability for both the wastewater system and the entire food system.
For more information, read the report: Fosfor, kväve, kalium och svavel – tillgång, sårbarhet och återvinning från avlopp. Download from: https://pub.epsilon.slu.se/16407/
Earlier this week, a few members of Kretsloppsteknik hosted a group of SIDA’s International Training Programme participants in Uppsala. NIRAS on behalf of SIDA implements a number of International Training Programmes. Kretsloppsteknik is involved as part of this program through NIRAS with focus on participants from both Asian and African countries. During these visits, we teach, present, and do technology demonstration through field visits talking about safe nutrient recycling, source-separating sanitation systems, management of organic wastes, socio-technical systems analysis, etc.
In this article, the occurrence and fate of 29 multiple-class pharmaceuticals (PhACs) in two source separated sanitation systems based on: (i) batch experiments for the anaerobic digestion (AD) of fecal sludge under mesophilic (37 °C) and thermophilic (52 °C) conditions, and (ii) a full-scale blackwater treatment plant using wet composting and sanitation with urea addition. For more information, please read: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004896971935524X .