Combined seawater toilet flushing and urine separation for economic phosphorus recovery and nitrogen removal: a laboratory-scale trial

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Freshwater toilet flushing consumes 20–35% of typical household water demand. Seawater toilet flushing, as practised by Hong Kong since 1958, provides an alternative water source. To maximise the benefits of this unique dual water supply, urine separation could be combined to allow low-cost struvite production and subsequent urine nitrification – in-sewer denitrification. This paper reports on a laboratory-scale study of seawater urine phosphate recovery (SUPR) and seawater–urine nitrification. A laboratory-scale SUPR reactor was run under three phases with hydraulic retention time between 1.5 and 6 h, achieving 91–96% phosphorus recovery. A urine nitrification sequencing batch reactor (UNSBR) was also run for a period of over 650 days, averaging 90% ammonia removal and loading of up to 750 mg-N/L.d. Careful control of the SUPR phosphate removal was found necessary for operation of the downstream UNSBR, and system integration considerations are discussed.

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