Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

ISSN 2095-2201

ISSN 2095-221X(Online)

CN 10-1013/X

Postal Subscription Code 80-973

2018 Impact Factor: 3.883

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REVIEW ARTICLE
Take back and treatment of discarded electronics: a scientific update
Ab STEVELS, Jaco HUISMAN, Feng WANG, Jinhui LI, Boyang LI, Huabo DUAN
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (4): 475-482.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-013-0538-8

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This paper indicates that the performance of tack-back and treatment of electronic waste (e-waste) system can be improved substantially. This can be reached by better taking into account in a better way the big variety in material composition and potential toxicity of electrical and electronic products – from a technical, organizational and regulatory perspective. Realizing that there is no ‘one size fit for all’ and combining smart tailor made solutions with economic of sale will result in the best environmental gain/cost ratio. Several examples show how science and engineering have supported or will support this approach.

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RESEARCH ARTICLE
Improvement of the assimilable organic carbon (AOC) analytical method for reclaimed water
Xin ZHAO, Hongying HU, Shuming LIU, Feng JIANG, Xiaolei SHI, Mingtang LI, Xueqiao XU
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (4): 483-491.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-013-0525-0

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Microbial growth is an issue of concern that may cause hygienic and aesthetic problems during the transportation and usage of reclaimed water. Assimilable organic carbon (AOC) is an important parameter which determines the heterotrophic bacterial growth potential of water. Pseudomonas fluorescens P17 and Spirillum sp. NOX are widely used to measure AOC in drinking water. The AOC values of various reclaimed water samples determined by P17 and NOX were compared with those determined by the new strains isolated from reclaimed water in this study. It showed that the conventional test strains were not suitable for AOC measurement of reclaimed water in certain cases. In addition to P17 and NOX, Stenotrophomonas sp. ZJ2, Pseudomonas saponiphila G3 and Enterobacter sp. G6, were selected as test strains for AOC measurement of reclaimed water. Key aspects of the bioassay including inoculum cell density, incubation temperature, incubation time and the pH of samples were evaluated for the newly selected test strains. Higher inoculum density (104 CFU·mL-1) and higher incubation temperature (25°C) could reduce the time required for the tests. The AOC results of various collected samples showed the advantages of the method proposed based on those five strains in evaluating the biologic stability of reclaimed water.

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Preparation and characterization of poly (vinylidene fluoride)/TiO2 hybrid membranes
Weiying LI, Xiuli SUN, Chen WEN, Hui LU, Zhiwei WANG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (4): 492-502.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-012-0407-x

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Poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF)/titanium dioxide (TiO2) hybrid membranes were prepared using nano-TiO2 as the modifier, and characterized by Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), scanning electron microscope (SEM), atomic force microscope (AFM), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The characterization results demonstrated that nano-sized TiO2 particles dispersed homogeneously within the PVDF matrix, contributing to more hydroxyls and smoother surfaces. Moreover, permeate flux, retention factor, porosity, contact angle and anti-fouling tests were carried out to evaluate the effect of TiO2 concentration on the performance of PVDF membranes. Among all the prepared membranes, PVDF/TiO2 membrane containing 10 vol.% TiO2 exhibited the best hydrophilicity with an average pure water flux up to 237 L·m-2·h-1, higher than that of unmodified PVDF membranes (155 L·m-2·h-1). Besides, the bovine serum albumin rejection of the hybrid membrane was improved evidently from 52.3% to 70.6%, and the contact angle was significantly lowered from 83° to 60°, while the average pore size and its distribution became smaller and narrower.

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Adsorption property of direct fast black onto acid-thermal modified sepiolite and optimization of adsorption conditions using Box-Behnken response surface methodology
Chengyuan SU, Weiguang LI, Yong WANG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (4): 503-511.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-012-0477-9

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The adsorption of direct fast black onto acid-thermal modified sepiolite was investigated. Batch adsorption experiments were performed to evaluate the influences of experimental parameters such as initial dye concentration, initial solution pH and adsorbent dosage on the adsorption process. The three-factor and three-level Box-Behnken response surface methodology (RSM) was utilized for modeling and optimization of the adsorption conditions for direct fast black onto the acid-thermal modified sepiolite. The raw sepiolite was converted to acid-thermal modified sepiolite, and changes in the fourier transform infrared spectrum (FTIR) adsorption bands of the sample were noted at 3435 cm-1 and 1427 cm-1. The zeolitic water disappeared and the purity of sepiolite was improved by acid-thermal modification. The decolorization rate of direct fast black adsorbed increased from 68.2% to 98.9% on acid-thermal modified sepiolite as the initial solution pH decreased from 10 to 2. When the adsorbent dosage reached to 2.5 g·L-1, 2.0 g·L-1, 1.5 g·L-1 and 1.0 g·L-1, the decolorization rate was 90.3%, 86.7%, 61.0% and 29.8%, respectively. When initial dye concentration increased from 25 to 200 mg·L-1, the decolorization rate decreased from 91.9% to 60.0%. The RSM results showed that the interaction between adsorbent dosage and pH to be a significant factor. The optimum conditions were as follows: the adsorbent dosage 1.99 g·L-1, pH 4.22, and reaction time 5.2 h. Under these conditions, the decolorization rate was 95.1%. The three dimensional fluorescence spectra of direct fast black before and after treatment showed that the direct fast black was almost all adsorbed by the acid-thermal modified sepiolite.

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Effect of K and Ca on catalytic activity of Mn-CeOx/Ti-PILC
Boxiong SHEN, Lidan DENG, Jianhong CHEN
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (4): 512-517.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-013-0519-y

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Mn-CeOx/Ti-pillared clay (PILC) is an attractive catalyst for selective catalytic reduction of NOx at low temperature because of its low cost. The poisoning of K and Ca on the catalyst of Mn-CeOx/Ti-PILC is an important problem because K and Ca are always in presence in flue gas. To investigate the effect of K and Ca on the physicochemical characters of the catalysts, the techniques of NH3-temperature programmed desorption (TPD), H2-temperature programmed reduction (TPR), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) were used to analyze the fresh and deactivated catalysts of Mn-CeOx/Ti-PILC. (Ca)Mn-CeOx/Ti-PILC and (K)Mn-CeOx/Ti-PILC are denoted for the dopes of the catalyst of Mn-CeOx/Ti-PILC with Ca and K, respectively. The activities of Mn-CeOx/Ti-PILC, (Ca)Mn-CeOx/Ti-PILC and (K)Mn-CeOx/Ti-PILC for NH3-selective catalytic reduction (SCR) reaction at low temperature were investigated. The results showed that with the dopes of K and Ca on the catalysts, the SCR activities of the catalysts decreased greatly, and K exhibited more poisoning effect than Ca. With the dopes of K and Ca, the acidity, the redox property and chemisorbed oxygen on the surfaces of the catalysts were decreased, which resulted in a decreasing in SCR activity.

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Adsorption of sulfonamides on lake sediments
Zhenxing ZHONG, Jian XU, Yuan ZHANG, Lei LI, Changsheng GUO, Yan HE, Wenhong FAN, Beiping ZHANG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (4): 518-525.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-013-0500-9

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Sulfonamides (SAs) are one class of the most widely used antibiotics around the world. Their fate and transport in the aquatic environment is of great concern. In this study, adsorption of four SAs—sulfadiazine (SD), sulfamethoxazole (SMZ), sulfadimethoxine (SDM) and sulfamethazine (SM2)—in single-solute and multi-solute systems on sediments of Dianchi (DC) Lake and Taihu (TH) Lake, China was investigated with batch experiments. In the single-solute adsorption system, the Langmuir model and the dual-mode model described the adsorption process better than the Freundlich model. Model fitness was better on DC sediment than on TH sediment. The order of adsorption capacity approximately followed a decreasing order of SDM>SD>SM2>SMZ on both sediments, which was likely attributed to the distinctly different water solubility of the four SAs. In the multi-solute system, the order of adsorption capacity was SM2>SDM>SD>SMZ, which was probably related to the compound speciation caused by the pH values of the experimental solution. In the multi-solute system, both competitive and cooperative adsorption played important roles in the adsorption of sulfonamides on sediments.

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SHORT COMMUNICATION
DOW CORNING 1-2577 Conformal Coating as an efficient diffusion material for cathode in the microbial fuel cell
Yanping HOU, Haiping LUO, Guangli LIU, Renduo ZHANG, Yong LUO, Bangyu QIN, Shanshan CHEN
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (4): 526-530.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-013-0532-1

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In this study, DOW CORNING 1-2577 Conformal Coating was proposed for the cathode diffusion layer of the microbial fuel cell (MFC). In MFCs, stainless steel mesh cathodes using DOW CORNING 1-2577 Conformal Coating/carbon as the diffusion layer and two poly (dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS)/carbon diffusion layers and carbon cloth cathode with four poly (tetrafluoroethylene) (PTFE) diffusion layers were constructed for comparison. Under the same operational condition, the MFCs with the DOW CORNING 1-2577 Conformal Coating/carbon diffusion layer produced the maximum power density of 1585±52 mW·m-2, compared with those using poly (tetrafluoroethylene) (PTFE) diffusion layers (1421±45 mW·m-2) and poly (dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS)/carbon diffusion layers (1353±49 mW·m-2). The DOW CORNING 1-2577 Conformal Coating could be an alternative for the diffusion layer construction in the MFC due to its remarkable performance and much simple construction procedure.

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RESEARCH ARTICLE
Removal of Zn2+ from aqueous solution by biomass of Agaricus bisporus
Feng XUE, Beicheng XIA, Rongrong YING, Shili SHEN, Peng ZHAO
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (4): 531-538.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-013-0506-3

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Biosorption of Zn2+ from aqueous solutions by biomass of Agaricus bisporus was investigated. The removal rates of Zn2+ by A. bisporus under different parameters (e.g., solution pH, bio-sorbent dosage and initial Zn2+ concentration) were studied. The inhibition of A. bisporus’s biosorption by anionic ligands EDTA (Ethylene Diamine Tetraacetic Acid), acetate and citrate) implied that EDTA and citrate might be used as eluting reagents. Regular and simultaneous solution pH change and light metal ions release after biosorption indicated that an ion exchange mechanism was involved. From FT-IR (Fourier Transform Infrared) spectroscopy, the main functional groups participated in biosorption were found. Biosorption of Zn2+ by A. bisporus could be well described by the Freundlich and Langmuir models. In conclusion, the biomass of A. bisporus showed high potential for the treatment of wastewater containing Zn2+.

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Selective pseudosolubilization capability of Pseudomonas sp. DG17 on n-alkanes and uptake mechanisms analysis
Fei HUA, Hongqi WANG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (4): 539-551.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-013-0498-z

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Pseudosolubilized ability of Pseudomonas sp. DG17 on n-alkanes, role of biosurfactants in n-octadecane uptake and trans-membrane transport mechanism of n-octadecane were studied by analyzing amount of pseudosolubilized oil components in water phase, and the fraction of radiolabeled 14C n-octadecane in the broth and cell pellet. GC-MS results showed that pseudosolubilized oil components were mainly C12 to C28 of n-alkanes. In n-octadecane broth, pseudosolubilized n-octadecane could be accumulated as long as pseudosolubilized rate was faster than mineralization rate of substrate, and the maximum concentration of pseudosolubilized n-octadecane achieved to 45.37 mg·L-1. All of these results showed that Pseudomonas sp. DG17 mainly utilized alkanes by directly contacting with pseudosolubilized small oil droplets in the water phase. Analysis of 14C amount in cell pellet revealed that an energy-dependent system mainly controlled the trans-membrane transport of n-octadecane.

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Study on removing selenate from groundwater by autohydrogenotrophic microorganisms
Siqing XIA, Shuang SHEN, Jun LIANG, Xiaoyin XU
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (4): 552-558.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-013-0531-2

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Performance of autohydrogenotrophic bacteria for bio-reduction of selenate (Se(VI)) under anaerobic conditions was investigated with batch experiments. Results showed Se(VI) was bio-reduced to selenite (Se(IV)) as an intermediate product, and then to elemental selenium (Se0). Reduction kinetics could be described by the pseudo-first-order model. In particular, the influences of pH value and temperature on Se(VI) reduction by autohydrogentrophic organisms were examined. The high degradation rate was achieved at pH 7.0 to 8.0; and the best reduction temperature was between 25°C and 35°C. This study is of help for treating groundwater with selenium contamination by autohydrogenotrophic bacteria as well as its reactor development.

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Response of bacterial communities to short-term pyrene exposure in red soil
Jingjing PENG, Hong LI, Jianqiang SU, Qiufang ZHANG, Junpeng RUI, Chao CAI
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (4): 559-567.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-013-0501-8

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Pyrene, a representative polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) compound produced mainly from incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, is hazardous to ecosystem health. However, long-term exposure studies did not detect any significant effects of pyrene on soil microorganism. In this study, short-term microcosm experiments were conducted to identify the immediate effect of pyrene on soil bacterial communities. A freshly-collected pristine red soil was spiked with pyrene at 0, 10, 100, 200, and 500 mg·kg-1 and incubated for one day and seven days. The bacterial communities in the incubated soils were analyzed using 16S rRNA sequencing and terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) methods. The results revealed high bacterial diversity in both unspiked and pyrene-spiked soils. Only at the highest pyrene-spiking rate of 500 mg·kg-1, two minor bacteria groups of the identified 14 most abundant bacteria groups were completely suppressed. Short-term exposure to pyrene resulted in dominance of Proteobacteria in soil, followed by Acidobacteria, Firmutes, and Bacteroidetes. Our findings showed that bacterial community structure did respond to the presence of pyrene but recovered rapidly from the perturbation. The intensity of impact and the rate of recovery showed some pyrene dosage-dependent trends. Our results revealed that different levels of pyrene may affect the bacterial community structure by suppressing or selecting certain groups of bacteria. It was also found that the bacterial community was most susceptible to pyrene within one day of the chemical addition.

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Species distribution of arsenic in sediments after an unexpected emergent discharge of high-arsenic wastewater into a river
Ruiping LIU, Wei XU, Kun WU, Wenxin GONG, Huijuan LIU, Jiuhui QU
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (4): 568-578.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-013-0514-3

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The unexpected emergent discharge of high-arsenic wastewater into water environments results in significantly increased levels of arsenic in water; however, the species distribution of arsenic in sediments has never been reported before for such cases. This study focuses on an As pollution accident in the Dasha River, and uses sequential extraction procedures with deionized water, 1?mol·L-1 MgCl2 at pH= 8, 1?mol·L-1 NaH2PO4 at pH= 5, and 1?mol·L-1 HCl to investigate four binding phases of arsenic (i.e., water soluble, ion-exchangeable, strongly-bound, and precipitates) in sediments at different layers in different cross-sections along the river. The average ratio of arsenite (As(III)) to arsenate (As(V)) was found to decrease from 0.74:1 in river water to 0.48:1 in sediment, owing to its higher affinity toward As(V) than As(III). The content of arsenic in the sediments was relatively low and the maximum content was observed to be 36.3?mg·kg-1 for As(III) and 97.5?mg·kg-1 for As(V). As(III) and As(V) showed different binding phases in sediments, and the average fractions of these four species were determined to be 0.09, 0.11, 0.17, and 0.63 for As(III) and 0.03, 0.14, 0.63, and 0.20 for As(V), respectively. For all the sediment samples, the content of arsenic showed no relationship with the characteristics of the sediments such as the particle diameter, the content of organic carbon, Fe, and Mn, although a negative correlation with particle diameter was observed for the sediments in the uppermost 2-cm layer. The unexpected emergent As incident results in the high content of total arsenic in the surface sediment, which may be potential secondary source to the elevated As levels in surface water.

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Seasonal variations in leaf capturing of particulate matter, surface wettability and micromorphology in urban tree species
Huixia WANG, Hui SHI, Yangyang LI, Ya YU, Jun ZHANG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (4): 579-588.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-013-0524-1

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The seasonal changes in leaf particulate matter (PM) accumulation, surface wettability and micromorphology in urban tree species, including Sophora japonica (S. japonica), Platanus acerifolia (P. acerifolia) and Cedrus deodara (C. deodara), were studied during a single growing season. The three species showed distinct seasonal trends in PM accumulation, increasing from spring to autumn (or winter) even during the rainy season, but at different rates. During the study, the leaf PM retention amount of P. acerifolia, a species with ridged leaf surfaces, was significantly higher than that of S. japonica and C. deodara, species with waxy leaf surfaces. The contact angles of water droplets on leaves decreased with leaf age except on the abaxial surface of S. japonica, which remained non-wettable or highly non-wettable throughout the growing season; the decrease in the contact angle on adaxial surface of S. japonica was greater when compared with P. acerifolia and C. deodara. A significant and negative relationship existed between leaf PM retention amounts and contact angles on adaxial surface of leaves of all three species. The increase in wettability, probably caused when epicuticular wax was destroyed by mechanical and chemical abrasion, seemed to be the main factor leading to seasonal variations in leaf PM accumulation.

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PCDD/Fs emission, risk characterization, and reduction in China’s secondary copper production industry
Haiqian LI, Yonglong LU, Li LI
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (4): 589-597.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-013-0495-2

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Secondary copper production is one of the key polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) emission sources in China, but research and data on this issue are rare. In 2004, when the Stockholm Convention entered into force in China, PCDD/Fs emissions from secondary copper production contributed to 32.2% of the total release. In this paper, PCDD/Fs emission dynamics from secondary copper industry were discussed and cumulative risks were characterized. From 2004 to 2009, industrial policies played an indirect role in PCDD/Fs reduction, but its effects are still limited. The Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta and central regions were among the top three of dioxin emissions from secondary copper production in China. Shanghai, Shandong, Zhejiang, and Jiangxi had comparatively higher accumulated risk and were recommended as the priority regions for promoting PCDD/Fs emission control in China. From 2009 to 2015, the PCDD/Fs emission dynamics in the secondary copper industry were presented through simulation. PCDD/Fs emission equations were established, resulting in the recommendation of control technology conversion rate at 30% for small scale smelters and 51%–57% for large and medium-sized enterprises in 2015. In conclusion, both indirect policy and direct control technology retrofitting should be integrated for more effective PCDD/Fs emission reduction in secondary copper industry.

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Integration of climate change considerations into environmental impact assessment — implementation, problems and recommendations for China
I-Shin CHANG, Jing WU
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (4): 598-607.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-013-0496-1

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Climate change plays an important role in affecting and altering the course of human development. So far, there have been no effective and efficient techniques to directly quantify the influences of climate change on human development, but there have been rough estimation and qualitative description of the effects. Since the 1990s, climate change considerations have been required to be included in environmental impact assessment, which is a flexible institutional framework of environmental risk evaluation and management. However, there have been no concrete achievements demonstrated. The purpose of this study was first to summarise the practical experience and to disclose the existing problems during the implementation of the process of integrating climate change considerations into environmental impact assessment in China through a case study. Currently in China, the practice of integrating climate change considerations into environmental impact assessment is mainly concentrated on the strategic environmental assessment level. The influences of climate change were identified as energy consumption, greenhouse gases emission, and the restraint of development under abnormal or extreme weather or climate conditions. Because of a lack of related technical guidelines and practical experience, the climate change considerations that have been selected and the evaluation methods that have been applied are quite different. Recommendations on policies, laws, and institutional regulations institution are proposed to better utilise environmental impact assessment to integrate climate change considerations into economic, social, and environmental decisions and actions.

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Analysis of Sydney’s recycled water schemes
Zhuo CHEN, Huu Hao NGO, Wenshan GUO, Xiaochang WANG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (4): 608-615.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-012-0468-x

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Recycled water provides a viable opportunity to partially supplement fresh water supplies as well as substantially alleviate environmental loads. Currently, thousands of recycled water schemes have been successfully conducted in a number of countries and Sydney is one of the leading cities, which has made massive effort to apply water reclamation, recycling and reuse. This study aims to make a comprehensive analysis of recycled water schemes in Sydney for a wide range of end uses such as landscape irrigation, industrial process uses and residential uses (e.g., golf course irrigation, industrial cooling water reuse, toilet flushing and clothes washing etc.). For each representative recycled water scheme, this study investigates the involved wastewater treatment technologies, the effluent quality compared with specified guideline values and public attitudes toward different end uses. Based on these obtained data, multi criteria analysis (MCA) in terms of risk, cost-benefit, environmental and social aspects can be performed. Consequently, from the analytical results, the good prospects of further expansion and exploration of current and new end uses were identified toward the integrated water planning and management. The analyses could also help decision makers in making a sound judgment for future recycled water projects.

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Short-term effects of excessive anaerobic reaction time on anaerobic metabolism of denitrifying polyphosphate- accumulating organisms linked to phosphorus removal and N2O production
Gang GUO, Yayi WANG, Chong WANG, Hong WANG, Mianli PAN, Shaowei CHEN
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (4): 616-624.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-013-0505-4

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The short-term effect of anaerobic reaction time (AnRT) (i.e., 90, 120 and 150 min) on the denitrifying phosphorus (P) removal performance and N2O production was examined using a denitrifying enhanced biologic phosphorus removal (EBPR) sludge acclimatized with mixed acetate (HAc) and propionate (Pro) (in the molar ratio 3∶1) as carbon sources. The results showed that when the AnRT was prolonged from 90 to 150 min, the anaerobic polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) synthesis was decreased by 15.3%. Moreover, the ineffective PHA consumption occurred in anaerobic phases and contributed to an increased NO2--N accumulation and higher free nitrous acid (FNA) concentrations (≥0.001–0.0011 mg HNO2-N/L) in the subsequent anoxic phases, causing a severe inhibition on anoxic P-uptake and denitrification. Accordingly, the total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) removal efficiencies dropped by approximately 6.3% and 85.5%, respectively; and the ratio of anoxic N2O-N production to TN removal increased by approximately 3.8%. The fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis revealed that the sludge was mainly dominated by Accumulibacter (62.0% (SEmean = 1.5%)). In conclusion, the short-term excessive anaerobic reaction time negatively impacted denitrifying P removal performance and stimulated more N2O production, and its effect on P removal was more obvious than that on nitrogen removal.

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