The debate as to whether carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gas emissions will become subject to increasing regulation, increased restrictions, and probably to some form of carbon tax, has moved from a simple “yes” or “no” to “when”. Wastewater treatment plants will be significantly impacted by increased energy costs and by specific regulations and/or penalties associated with emissions of methane and nitrous oxide. In this paper, the greenhouse gases emissions of different wastewater process options are estimated. The paper outlines the increasing need for wastewater treatment plants to factor greenhouse gas mitigation issues into their medium- as and long-term strategies, and identifies anaerobic enhouse as processes as being at the core of such strategies. Further, the paper identifies a number of key research challenges to be addressed if such strategies are to play a larger role in attenuating the likely impacts of GHG mitigation requirements on wastewater treatment plant design and operation.

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