Characterization of Fugitive Emissions of Greenhouse Gases from a Wastewater Treatment Plant Using The Radial Plume Mapping Technique

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An existing anaerobic wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) near Bucaramanga, Colombia is being upgraded to include nitrification/denitrification and improvements in capture and recovery of methane. The existing plant utilizes upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors followed by facultative lagoons. For this project, the UASB reactors will be retrofit to maximize the collection of biogas, and the lagoons will be converted into an aerobic/anoxic activated sludge (aerated oxidation tank) process for biological nitrogen removal. It is anticipated that the upgrade will result in a reduction in odors associated with plant operation, and a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions via the recovery of methane and the reduction in nitrous oxide emissions from the plant and the receiving river. This will result in carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol’s clean development mechanism (CDM) which would be purchased by carbon finance trust funds at the World Bank. In order to document the emissions reductions, an accurate and cost-effective monitoring of the emissions before and after the upgrades is crucial to the success of the project.

The first round of emission measurements were conducted in October 2005 using a scanning Open-Path Fourier Transform Infrared (OP-FTIR) spectrometer, and a technique known as Radial Plume Mapping (RPM).

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