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Title: Improving continuous monitoring of VOC emissions from alternative fertilizers

item ROMERO-FLORES, A. - University Of Maryland
item MCCONNELL, L.L. - University Of Maryland
item Hapeman, Cathleen
item Nguyen, Anh
item RAMERIZ, M. - District Of Columbia Water & Sewer Authority (DCWASA)
item TORRENTS, A. - University Of Maryland

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2014
Publication Date: 8/10/2014
Citation: Romero-Flores, A., Mcconnell, L., Hapeman, C.J., Nguyen, A., Rameriz, M., Torrents, A. 2014. Improving continuous monitoring of VOC emissions from alternative fertilizers [abstract]. American Chemical Society. AGRO 75.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Application of alternative fertilizers, such as biosolids, to agricultural fields is an environmentally beneficial practice. Biosolids provide producers with a ready source of organic matter and plant nutrients instead of using commercial fertilizers. However, concerns regarding nuisance odors caused by specific Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) can lead to public opposition and possible failure of biosolids management programs. One approach to avoid public opposition is to apply to fields far away from communities and cities. This solution presents a challenge to the sustainability of programs due to increased costs and CO2 emissions from hauling. The main goal of this project is to evaluate the effectiveness of on-line sensor technology to provide continuous monitoring of odorous VOC emissions from biosolids produced at a large advanced wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). Solids collected at various points in the WWTP process are evaluated using an electronic nose (candidate for on-line monitoring) and analyzed for compound-specific information using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry with a specialized volatile organic carbon compound pre-concentrator system. Target analytes are reduced sulfur compounds, amines and volatile fatty acids. Tests are under way with the Portable Electronic Nose (PEN3) as tool to produce reliable feedback for on-line VOC monitoring for decision making. The PEN3 fingerprints VOC profiles under different treatment process parameters and discriminates them by means of multivariate statistical analysis. The results of this research will support biosolids management programs by providing the scientific basis for designing effective decision-making tools for reducing odors in the final biosolids material. Decreased odor will reduce public opposition to biosolids reuse and increase the sustainability of biosolids field application programs.