Discover the Editor's Choice: From each issue of the leading journal Water Science & Technology a member of the Editorial Board selects one outstanding paper to share across IWA Publishing platforms.  

IWA Publishing is pleased to announce that the 57th Editor's Choice Paper, chosen by Fabrizio Sabba, is:

Unwanted mainstream nitritation–denitritation causing massive N2O emissions in a continuous activated sludge process

A. Kuokkanen, K. Blomberg, A. Mikola and M. Heinonen

https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.2021.127

Why was this paper chosen?

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a potent greenhouse gas that, along with other gases, is responsible for promoting global warming.  It has been shown that N2O is a 300 times more potent gas than the amount of one pound of carbon dioxide over a 100-year timescale.

Different processes have shown to contribute to N2O production. Specifically, municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) have been recognized as major contributors to N2O emissions. In the last few years, researchers have furthered our knowledge of N2O emissions at the fundamental level understanding its mechanisms of production. However, more studies at the field scale level are needed. Kuokkanen et al. carried out a long-term monitoring campaign of N2O emissions at a municipal WWTP (Finland) and evaluated two spontaneous and prolonged periods of nitritation–denitritation in a process normally performing full nitrification and denitrification. The authors found that nitrite can be a key indicator for long-term variation in N2O emissions and for the deterioration of a healthy nitrification process.

Although N2O emissions from WWTP has become a hot topic, few studies have carried out long-term monitoring campaigns for N2O emissions.  I appreciate reading this paper as it states the importance of long-term wastewater process monitoring and it provides the basis for practitioners and operators in the field. I am certain this work will be of great relevance to the scientific community.

Fabrizio Sabba, Editor

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