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Optimizing resources – studying ways to recycling phosphorus from onsite wastewater treatment plants.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Eutrophication of the Baltic Sea has been an issue for decades and the pollution constantly continues with oxygen deficient bottoms and a damaged marine life as a result. One of the main causes of eutrophication are elevated levels of the nutrient phosphorus. Phosphorus leaks to the sea from various human activities such as agriculture, animal farming and sewage. In Sweden, the onsite wastewater treatment systems are a big problem since they load the Baltic Sea with nearly as much phosphorus as all Swedish municipal wastewater treatment plants. The need for a reduced impact on the Baltic Sea is major and the individual wastewater treatment systems must therefore be looked over.

While phosphorus is a contributing factor to eutrophication, it is one of the most important nutrients for all life. Phosphorus builds up our DNA, helps transport of various substances in and out of our cells and provides energy to the cell's processes. We would simply not be able to survive without phosphorus. We ingest phosphorus through the food we eat, which in turn is dependent on fertilizers containing phosphorus. Phosphorus is mined from phosphate ore and the majority of it is used to produce fertilizers. Unfortunately, phosphate ore is not a finite resource and in the last few years it has been realized that the economically extractable phosphorus is a dwindling resource. To be able to produce food for the world's growing population, we need to find ways to recycle phosphorus. In individual drainage systems there is a large potential to catch up phosphorus and then reuse it on agricultural land. This thesis deals with the problems of onsite wastewater treatment systems and suggests measures to improve their status. Ways to recycle phosphorus in combination with having a well-functioning drainage is being investigated and difficulties about the regulations are being discussed. To recover phosphorus and at the same time reduce the burden on the environment should be seen as an incredibly important action, since our sea’s health is acute but lack of the nutrient could have devastating consequences.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
, TRITA-LWR Degree Project, ISSN 1651-064X ; 2015:30
Keyword [en]
The Baltic Sea; Anthropogenic eutrophication; Onsite wastewater treatment; Phosphorus recycling
National Category
Civil Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-180286OAI: diva2:892267
Available from: 2016-01-11 Created: 2016-01-09 Last updated: 2016-01-11Bibliographically approved

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