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Série IV - n.º 2
Strategy for phosphorus recovery from urban wastewaters
Rita Ribeiro, Catarina Silva, Maria João Rosa
Phosphorus is a non-renewable resource, essential for agricultural production and, therefore, strategic for Europe. The phosphorus paradox derives from the anticipation of future difficulties in satisfying its world demand, together with the increasing frequency and intensification of eutrophication of surface water bodies resulting from the excessive nutrient dispersal on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. It is therefore crucial to promote a sustainable management of phosphorus, namely by promoting its efficient use in agriculture and its recovery from organic materials. This article discusses the role of phosphorus for reducing the pressures on the water-energy-food nexus, in a circular economy context, and the potential associated with its recovery from urban wastewaters. A treatment strategy is proposed and several technological options are described for promoting phosphorus accumulation-release-recovery, and a set of key indicators is presented for assessing the performance of resource recovery facilities for phosphorus. The indicators cover water reuse, biosolids beneficial use and struvite production, as well as P release into the environment, and are part of a system designed to support the operation and asset management of these facilities.
KEYWORDS: circular economy, performance indicators, phosphorus recovery, resource recovery facilities, water-energy-food nexus.
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