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Effects of Heat Transfer Fluid from District Heating Networks on Activated Sludge: A respirometric analysis using a dilution series to assess disruption of biological treatment processes in wastewater treatment facilities
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

District heating has a long standing tradition in Sweden and today it is the most common way of producing and transporting heat. A District heating system (DH system) is divided into three parts: a production facility, distribution network (DH network) and one more heat stations. The heat produced in the facilities is distributed to the customers via a heat transfer medium, usually water (DH water), in piping networks that make up the DH network. The heat is transferred to the customers via the heat exchanger at which point they can use it as heated tap water or for heating purposes. The DH networks are often constructed in steel as it is cheap and a relatively resistant material. However it has the disadvantages of corrosion and expansions when it is exposed high temperatures which lead to damages in the DH network resulting in loss of the DH water, this is an unavoidable occurrence in any DH network. This results in addition of pollutants by leakages into the DH network or with the water that is used to compensate for the losses. The pollutants cause further corrosion, leading to metal contamination, and more damages on the DH network meaning there is a continuous degradation. Therefore various treatments are used to clean and ascertain an acceptable chemical environment in the DH systems. These treatments are effective but not at a level which is required so many chemicals are used to enhance the treatment of the water. Some of these are known to be toxic to humans and water ecosystems.

As leakages are abundant and often end up in the WWTPs of the concerned municipality, which often have troubles with disturbances of the biological treatment, it was decided that an assessment of the toxic effects that DH water pose on activated sludge was to be investigated. This was done by testing water from two DH networks, Växjö and Kalmar, on the same activated sludge obtained from Tegelviken WWTP in Kalmar. A respirometric bioassay approach established by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), OECD standard 209; OECD Guidelines for the Testing of Chemicals was used with changes made to exposure and measuring time as this decrease the risk of misinterpretation of the results. A dilution series using different concentrations (6.25%, 25% and 100%) of DH water was tested and compered to a blank control samples containing only activated sludge. Assessment of toxicity on total oxidation, oxidation carbon and oxidation of nitrogen was made. To get some idea of what might cause toxic effect samples of the waters was sent to outside laboratories for analyses of metals. The result from the bioassay and metal analysis was used to formulate risk factors associated with a DH water spill and exposure to WWTPs.

It was found that both DH waters have a significant inhibition on nitrification in WWTPs. The DH water from Kalmar exhibited similar toxicity dynamics, roughly 20% inhibition, despite large differences in concentration. The DH water from Växjö showed a negative correlation between an increase in concentration of DH water and toxicity, 74% for the lowest concentration and 11% for the highest. The metal analysis concluded that there was no abundance of metal contamination which led to the inference that toxicity is probably caused by the chemicals used for treatment. This poses a great risk for the Baltic Ocean as many WWTPs release their treated water directly into water courses with a short detention time before reaching the sea.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 28 p.
Keyword [en]
activated sludge, respirometry, district heating, industrial waste water
National Category
Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-34038OAI: diva2:714703
Subject / course
Environmental Science
Educational program
Environmental Analysis Programme, 180 credits
Available from: 2014-06-02 Created: 2014-04-29 Last updated: 2014-06-02Bibliographically approved

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Bergseije, Victor
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