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Nicole Berge

Nicole Berge

Nicole Berge

University of Central Florida, Ph.D.
Francois Fiessinger Scholar 2004

Full-Scale Management of Nitrogen at a Bioreactor LandfillWhere Are They Now? Nicole is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of South Carolina.

Project Description (while EREF Scholar):
Nicole’s research focused on understanding how different environmental conditions influence the in-situ removal of ammonia-nitrogen from leachate in bioreactor landfills. Bioreactor landfills are controlled systems in which moisture addition and/or air injection are used as enhancements to create a solid waste environment capable of actively degrading the biodegradable organic fraction of the waste. Although there are many advantages associated with bioreactor landfills, some challenges remain. One such challenge is the ammonia-nitrogen concentration found in the leachate. Ammonia-nitrogen is typically removed from leachate outside of the landfill. However, additional costs are associated with ex-situ treatment of ammonia, as separate treatment units on site must be maintained or the leachate must be pumped to a publicly owned wastewater treatment facility.  Therefore, the development of an in-situ nitrogen removal technique would be an attractive alternative. Several recent in-situ treatment approaches have been explored, but lacked the information necessary for field-scale implementation. The objectives of this study were to develop information necessary to implement in-situ ammonia removal at the field-scale.

Research was conducted to evaluate the kinetics of in-situ ammonia removal and to subsequently develop guidance for field-scale implementation. An aerobic reactor and microcosms containing digested municipal solid waste were operated and parameters were measured to determine nitrification kinetics under conditions likely found in bioreactor landfills. The environmental conditions evaluated include: ammonia concentration (500 and 1000mg N/L), temperature (25o, 35o and 45oC), and oxygen concentration in the gas-phase (5, 17 and 100%). Results suggest that in-situ nitrification is feasible and that the potential for simultaneous nitrification and denitrification in field-scale bioreactor landfills is significant due to the presence of both aerobic and anoxic areas.  All rate data were fitted to the Monod equation, resulting in an equation that describes the impact of pH, oxygen concentration, ammonia concentration, and temperature on ammonia removal.

BergeResearch1 BergeResearch2

Nicole grew up in Beaufort, SC.  She graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1999 with a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering and in 2001 with a MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering.  She completed her PhD in Environmental Engineering at the University of Central Florida in 2006.  Following completion of her PhD, Nicole worked as a Postdoctoral Associate in the Integrated Multiphase Environmental Systems Laboratory at Tufts University. Nicole is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of South Carolina. She is currently conducting research to explore the fate of discarded nanomaterials, pharmaceuticals, personal care products and endocrine disrupting compounds in bioreactor landfills and thermochemical conversion of municipal solid waste.

Research Publications:
Berge, N.D., Flora, J.R.V., Ro, K. and Bae, S. (2009). “Hydrothermal carbonization of municipal solid waste for carbon sequestration and energy generation.” Submitted for inclusion in the American Chemical Society Spring 2010 National Meeting and Exposition, March 21-25 2010, San Francisco, Ca.
Berge, N.D., and Ramsburg, C. A. (2009). “Oil-in-Water Emulsions for Encapsulated Delivery of Reactive Iron Particles.” Environmental Science and Technology 43 (13), 5060-5085.
Berge, N.D., Reinhart, D.R., and Batarseh, E.S. (2009) “An Economic Comparison Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Bioreactor Landfills,” Waste Management 29 (5), 1558-1567.
Berge, N.D., Reinhart, D.R. and Hudgins, M. (2008). “An Overview of Aerobic Landfills in the US.”  Landfill Aeration Monograph, Edited and Published by the IWWG.
Crocker, J.J., Berge, N.D., and Ramsburg, C.A. (2007) “Encapsulated Delivery of Reactive Iron Particles using Oil-in-Water Emulsions,” In Proceedings of 6th International Groundwater Quality Conference: Securing Groundwater Quality in Urban and Industrial Environments, Fremantle, Western Australia, December 2-7, 2007.
Berge, N.D., Reinhart, D.R., Batarseh, E.S. (2007) “Strategy for Complete Nitrogen Removal in Bioreactor Landfills,” Journal of Environmental Engineering-ASCE 133 (12), 1117-1125.
Berge, N.D., Reinhart, D.R., Dietz, J., and Townsend, T.G. (2007) “The Impact of Temperature and Gas-Phase Oxygen on Kinetics of In-Situ Ammonia Removal in Bioreactor Landfill Leachate,” Water Research 41 (9), 1907-1914.
Berge, N.D., Reinhart, D.R., Dietz, J., and Townsend, T.G. (2006) “In-Situ Ammonia Removal from Bioreactor Landfill Leachate,” Waste Management 26 (4), 334-343.
Berge, N.D., Reinhart, D.R., and Townsend, T.G. (2005) “The Fate of Nitrogen in Bioreactor Landfills,” Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology 35 (4), 365-399.
Jain, P., Townsend, T.G., Reinhart, D.R., Berge, N. and Gawande, N. (2005) “Bioreactor Landfill: How a Florida Demonstration Project Measures Up”, Waste Management World March-April 2005, 63-70.