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Web Date: March 16, 2011

Septic Tanks Produce Less Greenhouse Gases Than Expected

Climate Change: Researchers measure gases produced by tank microbes
Department: Science & Technology | Collection: Climate Change
News Channels: Environmental SCENE
Keywords: greenhouse gases, septic tanks, methane, climate models

Around one-fifth of the U.S. population uses septic tanks to treat wastewater from their homes. Because the microorganisms that break down the tanks' waste produce greenhouse gases including methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide, knowing the magnitude of tank emissions is critical to accurately model the climate. Now researchers report empirical measurements of septic tank emissions and show that they're about half as high as estimates (Environ. Sci. Technol., DOI: . . .

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