Articles | Volume 8, issue 7
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 2853–2867, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-8-2853-2015
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 2853–2867, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-8-2853-2015

Research article 17 Jul 2015

Research article | 17 Jul 2015

Methane emission estimates using chamber and tracer release experiments for a municipal waste water treatment plant

C. E. Yver Kwok1, D. Müller2, C. Caldow3, B. Lebègue1, J. G. Mønster4, C. W. Rella5, C. Scheutz4, M. Schmidt1,6, M. Ramonet1, T. Warneke2, G. Broquet1, and P. Ciais1 C. E. Yver Kwok et al.
  • 1Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et l'Environnement (LSCE/IPSL), CNRS-CEA-UVSQ, Centre d'Etudes Orme des Merisiers, Gif sur Yvette, France
  • 2Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen, Otto-Hahn-Allee 1, 28359 Bremen, Germany
  • 3Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, 2522, Australia
  • 4Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Bygningstorvet – Building 115, 2800 Lyngby, Denmark
  • 5Picarro Inc., 3105 Patrick Henry Drive, Santa Clara, CA, USA
  • 6Institut für Umweltphysik, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany

Abstract. This study presents two methods for estimating methane emissions from a waste water treatment plant (WWTP) along with results from a measurement campaign at a WWTP in Valence, France. These methods, chamber measurements and tracer release, rely on Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and cavity ring-down spectroscopy instruments. We show that the tracer release method is suitable for quantifying facility- and some process-scale emissions, while the chamber measurements provide insight into individual process emissions. Uncertainties for the two methods are described and discussed. Applying the methods to CH4 emissions of the WWTP, we confirm that the open basins are not a major source of CH4 on the WWTP (about 10 % of the total emissions), but that the pretreatment and sludge treatment are the main emitters. Overall, the waste water treatment plant is representative of an average French WWTP.

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Short summary
This study presents two methods for estimating methane emissions from a waste water treatment plant (WWTP) along with results from a measurement campaign at a WWTP in Valence, France. We show that the tracer release method is suitable to quantify facility emissions, while the chamber measurements, provide insights into individual processes. We confirm that the open basins are not a major source of CH4 on the WWTP but that the pretreatment and sludge treatment are the main emitters.