Recovery, Environmental Quality, and Reuse of Phosphate Minerals Mined from Wastewater
Event Type: Webinar (Zoom)
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Speaker: Dr. Ashaki Rouff, Rutgers University
Sustainable use of resources is essential for environmental preservation while supporting an expanding human footprint. Anthropogenically-derived wastes are a sink for used, but valuable materials that can be recycled and reused. Therefore, wastewater “mining” can supplement human resource needs, while reducing reliance on natural and geologic reserves. In this study, plant and animal wastewaters are evaluated as a source of phosphate mineral resources through struvite (MgNH4PO4×6H2O) precipitation. The recovery process lowers the phosphorus content of the effluent, mitigating nutrient discharge to, and pollution of surface waters. The environmental properties of the recovered mineral are assessed, including impurity content (trace metals and organics), and potential for release of components to soil and atmosphere (ammonia gas, water vapor) using standard and advanced geoanalytical techniques. The mineralized phosphate can be repurposed, most commonly as a fertilizer product. Alternate uses are also explored.