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Comparison of ammonia volatilisation rates in algae and duckweed-based waste stabilisation ponds treating domestic wastewater

Comparison of ammonia volatilisation rates in algae and duckweed-based waste stabilisation ponds treating domestic wastewater

Water Research 37(19): 4587-4594

Quantification of ammonia volatilisation from wastewater stabilisation ponds is important in order to understand its significance for overall nitrogen removal in these widely applied low-cost treatment systems. Ammonia volatilisation rates were measured in pilot plant facilities consisting of one line of four algae-based ponds in series and a parallel line of four ponds with a floating mat of duckweed (Lemna gibba). Ammonia volatilisation was assessed during a period of one and a half years. The method applied is accurate, convenient and is proposed for analysis of a wide range of gasses emitted from stabilisation ponds and possibly other aquatic systems. The ammonia volatilisation rates in algae-based ponds (ABPs) were higher than in duckweed-based ponds (DBPs). This can be explained by the lower values of NH3 in DBPs due to shading and lower pH values, since the volatilisation rate highly correlated with free ammonia concentration (NH3) in pond water. The duckweed cover appeared not to provide a physical barrier for volatilisation of unionised ammonia, because whenever NH3 concentrations were equal in ABP and DBP also the volatilisation rates were equal. Volatilisation was in the range of 7.2-37.4 mg-N m-2 d-1 and 6.4-31.5 mg-N m-2 d-1 in the ABPs and DBPs, respectively. Average influent and effluent ammonium nitrogen measurements showed that the ammonia volatilisation during the study period in any system did not exceed 1.5% of total ammonium nitrogen removal. Therefore this study confirmed results from simultaneous experimental work in our laboratory indicating that nitrification/denitrification, rather than ammonia volatilisation, is the most important mechanism for N removal in ABPs and DBPs.

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Accession: 004081665

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 14568043

DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2003.08.013

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