National Study of Nutrient Removal and Secondary Technologies
EPA is conducting a national study focused on nutrient removal at municipal wastewater treatment plants, also called publicly owned treatment workspublicly owned treatment worksA waste-treatment works owned by a state, unit of local government, or a tribal entity, usually designed to treat domestic wastewaters. (POTWs).
is one of America’s most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems impacting water quality. Excessive nitrogen and phosphorus in our waters can lead to a variety of problems including eutrophication and Nutrient pollutionharmful algal blooms, with impacts on drinking water, recreation and aquatic life. A wide range of human activities can contribute to nutrient pollution including stormwater runoff, agriculture, and wastewater discharges.
Many POTWs have added treatment processes for extensive nutrient removal, but these upgrades are not affordable or necessary for all facilities. Some POTWs have reduced their nutrient discharges by optimizing operation and maintenance practices without incurring large capital expenses.
Improving Nutrient Removal at POTWs
Currently, there are no comprehensive nationwide data on nutrient discharges and removal at POTWs. EPA and POTWs can use the information gathered from this study to learn about low-cost, effective solutions for reducing nutrient discharges.
- Obtain nationwide data on nutrient removal to help set more realistic and achievable nutrient reduction targets.
- Encourage improved POTW performance with less expense.
- Provide a forum for stakeholders to share best practices.
EPA plans to collect basic information from all facilities nationwide using an interactive, online screening questionnaire. The screener will collect data on technology in place and typical operations challenges. The questionnaire is tailored to minimize the number of questions, and reduce burdens on facilities that have limited staff available.
Following the screening questionnaire, EPA plans to select a sample of facilties for further study, through a detailed questionnaire, or influent/effluent sampling.
Many people reviewed the September 2016 draft questionnaire and provided EPA with useful comments. The comments have been addressed and the revised questionnaire has been converted into an on-line electronic format. EPA expects to distribute the questionnaire in early 2018.
Help POTWs optimize nutrient removal by providing operation and performance information from similar types of POTWs that have already achieved cost-effective approaches to nutrient removal.
Serve as a major new nationwide data resource on nutrient removal to help stakeholders evaluate and develop achievable nutrient reduction values.
Provide a rich database of nutrient removal performance for POTWs, states, academic researchers, and other interested parties.
- Federal Register Notice: Proposed Information Collection Request and Draft Screener Questionnaire (September 19, 2016)
The comment period for this notice has closed. Documents related to the notice are available in EPA’s docket at regulations.gov. The Docket Number is EPA-HQ-OW-2016-0404. Facilities do not need to respond to the draft questionnaire at this time.
EPA plans to publish a revised draft questionnaire in the Federal Register in fall 2017.
- Clean Watersheds Needs Survey
- Improving Nutrient Reduction at Wastewater Treatment Plants - Case Studies (2015)
For more information on the study, please send inquiries to email@example.com.
Jane Thomas, Integration and Application Network, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.Exit