Fugitive Emissions

In the process of treating wastewater and biosolids, greenhouse gases are emitted which we refer to as fugitive emissions. These emissions are mainly methane, CH4, and nitrous oxide, N2O.

Both gases are of most noticeable concern due to their high global warming potentials 28-36 times and 265-298, respectively. Global warming potential, GWP, is a measure of how much energy the emissions of a gas will absorb, the larger the GWP the more the gas will warm the Earth compared to CO2 over the same time period (the time period usually used is 100 years).

To make a significant reduce in fugitive emissions we aim to have advanced process control on at least 30 of our Welsh Water treatment works by 2030. Our research and innovation programme will be key to achieving the step-change reduction that is needed to support the 2040 targets will require wide deployment of novel waste water treatment technologies.

Over the coming months we will begin monitoring some of our wastewater treatment works to further understand the impact the process has on nitrous oxide production. This will allow us to understand what improvements can and should be made to improve the process and in doing help us achieve our emission reduction (50%) of process emissions.