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Water Res. 2013 Sep 15;47(14):5003-17. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2013.05.037. Epub 2013 May 31.

Phosphate recovery using hybrid anion exchange: applications to source-separated urine and combined wastewater streams.

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Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences, Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure & Environment, University of Florida, P.O. Box 116450, Gainesville, FL 32611-6450, USA.


There is increasing interest in recovering phosphorus (P) from various wastewater streams for beneficial use as fertilizer and to minimize environmental impacts of excess P on receiving waters. One such example is P recovery from human urine, which has a high concentration of phosphate (200-800 mg P/L) and accounts for a small volume (≈ 1%) of total wastewater flow. Accordingly, the goal of this study was to evaluate the potential to recover P from source-separated and combined wastewater streams that included undiluted human urine, urine diluted with tap water, greywater, mixture of urine and greywater, anaerobic digester supernatant, and secondary wastewater effluent. A hybrid anion exchange (HAIX) resin containing hydrous ferric oxide was used to recover P because of its selectivity for phosphate and the option to precipitate P minerals in the waste regeneration solution. The P recovery potential was fresh urine > hydrolyzed urine > greywater > biological wastewater effluent > anaerobic digester supernatant. The maximum loading of P on HAIX resin was fresh urine > hydrolyzed urine > anaerobic digester supernatant ≈ greywater > biological wastewater effluent. Results indicated that the sorption capacity of HAIX resin for phosphate and the total P recovery potential were greater for source-separated urine than the combined wastewater streams of secondary wastewater effluent and anaerobic digester supernatant. Dilution of urine with tap water decreased the phosphate loading on HAIX resin. The results of this work advance the current understanding of nutrient recovery from complex wastewater streams by sorption processes.


Anaerobic digestion; Decentralization; Fertilizer; Greywater; Hydrous ferric oxide; Ligand exchange; Nutrient recovery; Phosphorus

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