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      Hydroeconomic modeling of resource recovery from wastewater: Implications for water quality and quantity management

      research-article

      , 1 , 2

      Journal of Environmental Quality

      John Wiley and Sons Inc.

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          Abstract

          Emerging technologies and practices allow wastewater treatment facilities to recover valuable resources such as nutrients, energy, and recycled water during the wastewater treatment process. The ability to recover resources from wastewater introduces new tradeoffs in both water quality and quantity management. In particular, the fact that communities can obtain revenue from the sale of resources that are recovered from wastewater may help internalize the externalities of insufficient wastewater treatment. In this paper, we develop a theoretical model to characterize these tradeoffs within a hydroeconomic framework of optimal wastewater treatment with resource recovery, which is particularly well suited for applications in nutrient management. We use this model to derive analytical results that describe the economically optimal level of deployment, accounting for the fact that the technology or practice is costly and it generates benefits in the form of revenue from the recovered resource, as well as other societal benefits, such as improvements in human and ecosystem health. In addition, we present two examples using specific functional forms for treatment costs to demonstrate how the model can be applied to obtain general principles regarding societally optimal deployment. Our hydroeconomic framework can be used to explore the socioeconomic implications of strategies that target deployment of wastewater treatment with resource recovery, especially nutrients, at multiple scales.

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          Most cited references 58

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          Domestic wastewater treatment as a net energy producer--can this be achieved?

          In seeking greater sustainability in water resources management, wastewater is now being considered more as a resource than as a waste-a resource for water, for plant nutrients, and for energy. Energy, the primary focus of this article, can be obtained from wastewater's organic as well as from its thermal content. Also, using wastewater's nitrogen and P nutrients for plant fertilization, rather than wasting them, helps offset the high energy cost of producing synthetic fertilizers. Microbial fuel cells offer potential for direct biological conversion of wastewater's organic materials into electricity, although significant improvements are needed for this process to be competitive with anaerobic biological conversion of wastewater organics into biogas, a renewable fuel used in electricity generation. Newer membrane processes coupled with complete anaerobic treatment of wastewater offer the potential for wastewater treatment to become a net generator of energy, rather than the large energy consumer that it is today.
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            Hydro-economic models: Concepts, design, applications, and future prospects

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              Recent advances in removing phosphorus from wastewater and its future use as fertilizer (1997-2003).

              Large quantities of phosphate present in wastewater is one of the main causes of eutrophication that negatively affects many natural water bodies, both fresh water and marine. It is desirable that water treatment facilities remove phosphorus from the wastewater before they are returned to the environment. Total removal or at least a significant reduction of phosphorus is obligatory, if not always fulfilled, in most countries. This comprehensive review summarizes the current status in phosphorus-removal technologies from the most common approaches, like metal precipitation, constructed wetland systems, adsorption by various microorganisms either in a free state or immobilized in polysaccharide gels, to enhanced biological phosphorus removal using activated sludge systems, and several innovative engineering solutions. As chemical precipitation renders the precipitates difficult, if not impossible, to recycle in an economical industrial manner, biological removal opens opportunities for recovering most of the phosphorus and beneficial applications of the product. This review includes the options of struvite (ammonium-magnesium-phosphate) and hydroxyapatite formation and other feasible options using, the now largely regarded contaminant, phosphorus in wastewater, as a raw material for the fertilizer industry. Besides updating our knowledge, this review critically evaluates the advantage and difficulties behind each treatment and indicates some of the most relevant open questions for future research.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                kuwayama@rff.org
                Journal
                J Environ Qual
                J. Environ. Qual
                10.1002/(ISSN)1537-2537
                JEQ2
                Journal of Environmental Quality
                John Wiley and Sons Inc. (Hoboken )
                0047-2425
                1537-2537
                18 March 2020
                May-Jun 2020
                : 49
                : 3 ( doiID: 10.1002/jeq2.v49.3 )
                : 593-602
                Affiliations
                [ 1 ] Resources for the Future 1616 P Street NW Suite 600 Washington DC 20003
                [ 2 ] Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs Univ. of Texas at Austin P.O. Box Y Austin TX 78713
                Author notes
                [* ] Correspondence

                Yusuke Kuwayama, Resources for the Future, 1616 P Street NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20003.

                Email: kuwayama@ 123456rff.org

                Article
                JEQ220050
                10.1002/jeq2.20050
                7317512
                © 2020 The Authors. Journal of Environmental Quality published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America

                This is an open access article under the terms of the http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 1, Pages: 10, Words: 7638
                Product
                Funding
                Funded by: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency , open-funder-registry 10.13039/100000139;
                Award ID: 83556901
                Categories
                Special Section: Systems‐level Nutrient Pollution Control Strategies
                Special Section: Systems‐level Nutrient Pollution Control Strategies
                Custom metadata
                2.0
                May/June 2020
                Converter:WILEY_ML3GV2_TO_JATSPMC version:5.8.4 mode:remove_FC converted:26.06.2020

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