IWA Publishing

Nutrient recovery from airplane wastewater: composition, treatment and ecotoxicological assay

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

For the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, Brazil has expanded its airport infrastructure. This will lead to an increase in wastewater generation from aircrafts. This wastewater is traditionally taken from the aircrafts and disposed in the public sewage collection system. However, this residual water may have a different composition than the usual sanitary sewage. Therefore, it is important to study an alternative to treat this kind of wastewater. Thus, the objective of this study was to characterize and analyze the treatment of wastewater from airplane toilets through chemical precipitation for the removal of ammonia in the form of struvite. The airplanes' effluent showed a composition similar to human urine with pH 8.9, ammonia nitrogen 4,215 mg L−1, phosphorus 430 mg L−1 and a very high acute toxicity (Vibrio fischeri). The best treatment for struvite formation was with pH 9.0 and molar ratio Mg:NH4:PO4 equal to 1.5:1.0:1.0. In this case, the removal of ammonia and phosphorus achieved 97.0% and 95.3%, respectively. After this procedure, the toxicity by Vibrio fischeri decreased.

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