Main content area

Does duckweed ponds used for wastewater treatment emit or sequester greenhouse gases?

Mohedano, Rodrigo A., Tonon, Gustavo, Costa, Rejane H.R., Pelissari, Catiane, Belli Filho, Paulo
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.691 pp. 1043-1050
Araceae, Archaea, carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide fixation, chemical oxygen demand, gases, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, methane, methane production, monitoring, municipal wastewater, nitrogen content, ponds, wastewater treatment
The reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions is important challenge in the wastewater treatment plants. In this way, the present study aimed to evaluate the GHG emissions and carbon dioxide fixation by duckweed ponds (DWP) applied to treat municipal wastewater in a polishing stage. Two pilot DWP (3000 L) were operated in a series with real wastewater receiving a flow rate of 200 L d−1 and organic load rate of 39 g COD ha−1 d−1. Beyond the standard physicochemical parameters for wastewater monitoring, the gases emissions from pond surface were measures by using a static flux chamber with infrared probes installed inside to detect CO2 and CH4 concentration. Operating the DWP with a load of 18.1 kg TN ha−1 d−1 and 2 kg TP ha−1 d−1, across 425 days of monitoring, higher COD and nutrient removal efficiency was identified (79%, 93% and 84% for COD, TN and TP, respectively). The CO2 emission rate ranged from 3048 to 6017 mg CO2 m−2 d−1 and the fixation rate ranged from 19,592 to 42,052 mg CO2 m−2 d−1. Methane emission was not detected (less than 0.1%). Moreover, low abundance of archaeal community was identified in both DWP. The results showed that in presented conditions, under low COD loading rate DWP could fix at least three times more CO2 than it emits, highlighting the sustainability of this natural technology.