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

Jeremy A. O'Neal, Treavor H. Boyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


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 (200-800mg 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5003-5017
Number of pages15
JournalWater Research
Issue number14
StatePublished - Sep 5 2013
Externally publishedYes


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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