Various discussions around the Anammox process, nitrogen removal in wastewater treatment plants, nitrogen cycle, oxygen-free pockets in oceans

  • AquaVerde
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Various discussions around the Anammox process, nitrogen removal in wastewater treatment plants, nitrogen cycle, oxygen-free pockets in oceans

Note by moderator: the origin of this thread was here:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/34-uri...ally-the-future#6774




Hydrazine
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrazine
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anammox

Hazards

Hydrazine is highly toxic and dangerously unstable, especially in the anhydrous form. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

Symptoms of acute (short-term) exposure to high levels of hydrazine may include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, dizziness, headache, nausea, pulmonary edema, seizures, coma in humans. Acute exposure can also damage the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. The liquid is corrosive and may produce dermatitis from skin contact in humans and animals. Effects to the lungs, liver, spleen, and thyroid have been reported in animals chronically exposed to hydrazine via inhalation. Increased incidences of lung, nasal cavity, and liver tumors have been observed in rodents exposed to hydrazine.[37]

Limit tests for hydrazine in pharmaceuticals suggest that it should be in the low ppm range.[38] Hydrazine may also cause steatosis.[39] At least one human is known to have died, after 6 months of sublethal exposure to hydrazine hydrate.[40]

On February 21, 2008, the United States government destroyed the disabled spy satellite USA 193 with a sea-launched missile, reportedly due to the potential danger of a hydrazine release if it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere intact.[41]


Keith is very right with his comment.
The question to the Dutch developer would be "How they handle the danger of Hydrazine hazards within the ANAMMOX-part of wwtp's?

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Detlef

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  • KeithBell
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Re: Is urine diversion really the future?

Detlef and Marijn, regarding use of anammox bacteria in wastewater treatment, I believe this technology (as well as all activated sludge process which is only 100 years old, developed in Manchester, England, 1913) has been developed in complete disregard, ignorance and oblivion with respect to effect on crucial flora balance required for health of all things. The world is just beginning to acknowledge the importance of flora balance.

Yes, water-based sanitation was great in its first 50 years to lower death by acute illness, but we've traded that for something far more ominous: now epidemic, chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as autism, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, heart and lung. The global obesity epidemic is a stark illustration of microbial imbalance. This microbial imbalance leads to genetic mutation from which there is no return.

And while I agree there are other factors causing imbalance such as antibiotic abuse and vaccination (no comprehensive studies exist about collateral damage to flora by vaccination) as well as toxic air and soil pollution, water pollution by raw and poorly treated sewage must change. Ocean acidification and algae blooms are killing sea life everywhere. There is no future in water-based sanitation regardless of how many nutrients are recycled as we're altering water beyond repair, multiplying the wrong kinds of mircoorganisms in the name of sanitation, then releasing them back into our environment unregulated by obsolete law. You can bet this imbalance finds its way into our intestines. Evidence is rapidly accumulating that the activated sludge process leads to antibiotic resistant superbugs via horizontal gene transfer. The same process occurs in our own guts where antibiotic resistance is transferred to what were once commensal flora. It's a very dangerous game ranking in the top three of all health issues.

Anammox bacteria do indeed exist in nature. In recent years they have been blamed for disturbing Earth's nitrogen cycle, speeding global warming:
www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130913101817.htm
www.uni-kiel.de/aktuell/pm/2013/2013-056...kstoffgehalt-e.shtml

It doesn't take much imagination to consider potential negative consequence on the human microbiome. Molecular studies reveal anammox now in fish intestines:
repository.ubn.ru.nl/bitstream/2066/91560/1/91560.pdf

Perhaps anammox serve important purpose in nitrogen metabolism, but overgrowth would lead to metabolic imbalance and we have more than enough of that to deal with currently.
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  • Marijn Zandee
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Re: Dutch sustainable water-sanitation developments ("green" decentralized gas-works+CHP's)

Dear Keith,

I have moved your comment to this thread to keep the other one more on topic.

I will only comment briefly on your comment that

Anammox bacteria do indeed exist in nature. In recent years they have been blamed for disturbing Earth's nitrogen cycle, speeding global warming:

.

I did read the two articles you posted, as far as I understand there are some oxygen free pockets in the ocean. In these pockets Annamox bacteria thrive, they consume nitrogen compounds. The scale at which this happens is such that it influences the overall Nitrogen cycle on the planet. As the oxygen free pockets grow (probably caused by global warming) the amount of ammonium and nitrate consumed by Annamox processes increases. This leads to less nitrogen availability for algea growth, which may lead to increased CO2 levels. As the Annamox process does not use oxygen, I think the growth of the oxygen free zones can not be attributed to the existence of the Annamox bacteria (neither of the articles does this). Thus I find the claim that annamox is "blamed" for disturbing the nitrogen cycle to be somewhat misleading.

Further, the fishery article, seems to indicate that Annamox bacteria are more widespread in nature than we now know. From what I know I would expect they will be found in oxygen depleted zones, where ammonium and nitrate are present. This can even be in the bottom of layers of agea growth of a few mm thickness.

It would be interesting if someone more knowledge could answer your worry regarding the hydrazine. It should be noted that the bacteria do not excrete hydrazine, but use it as an internal energy storage facility.

Kind regards

Marijn Zandee

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Re: Dutch sustainable water-sanitation developments ("green" decentralized gas-works+CHP's)

Marijn, thanks so much for such excellent moderation. Compliments also go out to Elisabeth as I've yet to be on a forum with such active moderators.

"Oxygen free pockets" are not just natural phenomena. And they aren't only a product of global warming. They are caused by water-based sanitation, sewage which feeds microbial overgrowth, algae blooms which themselves are a significant source of CO2, speeding global warming.

It's also known as ocean acidification, but these low oxygen, acidic Dead Zones created by sewage are a global issue in lakes, rivers and oceans, please see here:
www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120919125604.htm

In other words, our sewage may be creating habitat for anammox and other anaerobes.
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Re: Dutch sustainable water-sanitation developments ("green" decentralized gas-works+CHP's)

Dear Keith,

I do have the impression that you tend to draw some conclusions where connections are not present - or you conclude things which are the other way round (as Marjin tried to explain or as well Joe Turner pointed out in another thread).
Please be more precise as this type of post is very misleading especially for people who might be afraid of the “dangers of bacteria in WWTP”.

Yours
Christoph
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Re: Dutch sustainable water-sanitation developments ("green" decentralized gas-works+CHP's)

Christoph, can you please be more specific? Which conclusions or connections are you having difficulty with?

Perhaps it's just the dramatic tone I use. Call it "Greenpeace tactics" where I'm drawing needed attention to a subject. It's about time the world begin to recognize WWTPs as the problem, not the solution. In other words, it's time to stop shitting in water™.

Marijn, I believe you've misconstrued my point. The problem is how flora shift damages the ocean's ability to absorb CO2, as you describe. I'm not saying anammox are responsible for the low oxygen Dead Zones, but I am saying sewage feeds algae blooms leading to Dead Zones possibly conducive to anammox growth.

Actually, I wonder if some people might construe anammox as a solution to algae blooms which themselves are a significant source of CO2 as they compound the CO2 absorbed from the air and then belch it back out into the atmosphere.
www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120919125604.htm
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Re: Dutch sustainable water-sanitation developments ("green" decentralized gas-works+CHP's)

Dear Marijn,

It should be noted that the bacteria do not excrete hydrazine, but use it as an internal energy storage facility.

No danger by hydrazine within the ANAMMOX-part of wwtp's?
All the Best
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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Various discussions around the Anammox process, nitrogen removal in wastewater treatment plants, nitrogen cycle, oxygen-free pockets in oceans

KeithBell wrote: "Oxygen free pockets" are not just natural phenomena. And they aren't only a product of global warming. They are caused by water-based sanitation, sewage which feeds microbial overgrowth, algae blooms which themselves are a significant source of CO2, speeding global warming.
It's also known as ocean acidification, but these low oxygen, acidic Dead Zones created by sewage are a global issue in lakes, rivers and oceans, please see here:
www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120919125604.htm


I have to agree with Christoph here, just to take the above quote (which is full of half-truths and distorted facts):

1. Oxygen free pockets are caused by eutrophication, which is over-fertilization which leads to algae blooms, which when they die off are a feed stock for bacteria that respirate all the oxigen below the algae, thus using up more oxygen than is produced by the algae.

1a: On a large scale (oceans, big lakes) this is mostly caused by bad agricultural practices like over use of fertilizers and heavy soil erosion.

1b: On a smaller scale near bigger cities, water based sanitation can be an issues causing this, but WWTPs are built precisely to prevent that.

1c: Nowhere in this cycle is a net surplus of C02, thus this does not contribute to global warming (simplified, as there can be issues with methane).

2. This has little to do with ocean acidification, which is caused by the increased amount of C02 in the atmosphere (due to human use of fossil fuels), which dissolves to some part in the oceans and causes an small drop in pH (which in turn can shift the equilibrium of calicum-carbonate capturing organisms like corals just below the level where they can build up their exosceletons etc.).

----

Of course using less water based sanitation and actually recycling the nutrients is a good idea... but there is no reason to blame systems like waste water treatment plants for something they are actually built to prevent and which is largely caused by other reasons anyways. And one can use a flush toilet and still recycle the nutrients... it is just more difficult to do.

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Re: Various discussions around the Anammox process, nitrogen removal in wastewater treatment plants, nitrogen cycle, oxygen-free pockets in oceans

Hi Keith,
Precisely I mean the dramatic tone –combined with incorrect information - citation.
Seems to be that you are aware the Anamox bacteria are not responsible for enlargement of the O2 free zones. Seems to be that you know that Anamox bacteria die under non anaerobic conditions and seems to be that you know that the aim of WW Activated sludge plants is to retain bacteria and microorganisms and to treat wastewater. Nevertheless you combine non treated wastewater which perhaps contributes to oxygen problems in the ocean, but not even that is totally clear up to what extend I guess and argue that this is the guilt of the wastewater treatment plants.
You combine and mention factors as antibiotic resistances – with obesity - with vaccination – only to say elegantly they are not combined (why do you mention those in this case?) – a well-known rhetoric strategic.
I think the case: “we need other concepts to attend sanitation for the humanity” does not justify such stile of arguments – at least I would wish that SUSANA keeps itself far from it, as this kind of “argumentation” (the word would mean working with arguments but I do see no real arguments) makes us loose credibility as a whole.

Yours
Christoph
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Re: Various discussions around the Anammox process, nitrogen removal in wastewater treatment plants, nitrogen cycle, oxygen-free pockets in oceans

JK, thanks so much for the effort to educate me and others. Do you actually believe WWTP effluent is not feeding coastal algae blooms?

Of course, there is a difference between coastal Dead Zones and algae blooms in oceans, but my point is they are both low oxygen environments suitable for anammox habitat.

I'm trying to locate the science explaining how ocean algae compound CO2 absorbed from the atmosphere and then release it, I believe mainly at night while they are taking-up oxygen resulting in fish kills (the reverse occurs during the day). Here's a good general article about CO2 release by microbes related to climate change:
e360.yale.edu/feature/the_microbe_factor...climate_future/2279/

Is there really no connection between coastal pollution and deep water algae blooms?

"In 1987 Britain dumped more than 4,700 tonnes of sewage sludge into the North Sea; in 1998 Britain stopped the dumping of sewage sludge (5% of sewage released was untreated)."
www.newscientist.com/article/mg12216683....-british-coasts.html

Here in Florida, the Indian River Lagoon is in peril. It's said to be North America's most important marine estuary. Scientists are blaming leaking septic tanks and treated wastewater, isolating human nitrogen isotopes in polluted, low oxygen, acidic algae blooms. This is a new 5-part series about the problem where dolphins, manatees and pelicans suffer mass deaths:
creative.news-journalonline.com/troubledwater/

My hometown of Chicago was part of a lawsuit, blamed for causing the massive Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico by sending its treated sewage effluent down the Mississippi River. "The sources of this pollution include agriculture, stormwater runoff, and sewage treatment plants."
switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/aalexander/nr...dead_zone_lawsu.html
switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/aalexander/ch..._gulf_dead_zone.html

Make no mistake, Cristoph, WWTPs are not the solution, they're the problem, guided by obsolete law..
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Re: Various discussions around the Anammox process, nitrogen removal in wastewater treatment plants, nitrogen cycle, oxygen-free pockets in oceans

Not sure if I should get into this or rather stay out of it... But I would like to support Christoph's and Marijn's points.

Keith:
You mention "treated sewage effluent" as being the cause of environmental pollution.

Let's get something straight:
(Untreated) sewage going into the environment is worse than treated sewage going in to the environment.
But when it comes to "treated sewage" we all know that there are different degrees of treatment, i.e. primary, secondary, tertiary and advanced.

The very advanced treatment (expensive!) can theoretically even make potable water out of wastewater!
But the "treated sewage" that you mentioned was probably only treated with primary treatment, maybe secondary, but most likely not tertiary, i.e. it had no biological nutrient removal (i.e. nitrogen concentrations in the sewage remained high).

So if anything the point should be that "insufficiently treated sewage is causing environmental pollution!". The degree of treatment required depens on the recieving water body.

Let's not demonise wastewater treatment plants, they are trying to REDUCE environmental pollution, not INCREASE it. What you can demonise, if you wish, is the sewage itself (before it gets to the wastewater treatment plant; and in many cities around the world there are no wastewater treatment plants yet and maybe never will be).

And whilst I personally also think that not shitting in the water is not a bad slogan, I also want to be realistic about this, i.e. consider how quickly a paradigm can be changed and what we can do in the meantime to still make the system work somehow.

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Re: Various discussions around the Anammox process, nitrogen removal in wastewater treatment plants, nitrogen cycle, oxygen-free pockets in oceans

Elisabeth, I tend to agree with you insofar as nutrient pollution is concerned, but I wonder about biological organisms purposely multiplied in sewage treatment, especially ciliate protozoans used to lower bacterial counts. When these protozoans are dumped into water supply unregulated, do you think they're finding their way to our intestines, then rapidly devouring our good bacteria? What a horrific thought. And are these protozoans also causing imbalance where they are dumped? Also the multiplication of clostridium spores may be an environmental health factor. Chlorine does not kill clostridium spores or protozoan cysts. How about helminth ova? These things are actually allowed by law in Class A biosolids. I'd like to learn more about different tertiary treatment technologies and their actual effect on these types of microorganisms.

I find it disturbing that ciliate protozoans are actually used as indicator of "healthy" wastewater when they are technically a parasite, released unregulated:
www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1319562X13001009
www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0043135407000747
www.riparia.org.rs/aqua/activated-sludge.htm


I've read 60% of the world's population--4.1 billion people--use water-based sanitation systems that simply dump the untreated waste back into the environment. How accurate do you think this is?
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