Set organic pollution as an impact category to achieve more comprehensive evaluation of life cycle assessment in wastewater-related issues

Xinyue Zhao, Jixian Yang, Fang Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

For wastewater-related issues (WRI), life cycle assessment (LCA) is often used to evaluate environmental impacts and derive optimization strategies. To promote the application of LCA for WRI, it is critical to incorporate local impact of water pollutants. Organic pollution, a main type of water pollution, has not been given much consideration in current LCA systems. This paper investigates the necessity of setting a regionalized impact category to reflect the local impact of organic pollution. A case study is conducted concerning an upgraded wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in China, which is assumed to meet different sewage control strategies. Chemical oxygen demand (COD) is selected to represent the organic pollution and treated as an individual impact category. CML 2002 is used to quantify the environmental impacts of different strategies. Results show that abnormal LCA results are generated with the traditional eutrophication impact category, and after the introduction of COD, more reasonable LCA results are obtained, making the entire comparison of different control strategies more meaningful and compelling. Moreover, BEES, Ecovalue 08, and Chinese factors are adopted here as different weighting methods. Different weighting results exhibited various trade-offs for the increasingly strict control strategies; the results of BEES and Ecovalue08 underlined the potential environmental burden, but the results of Chinese factors only emphasized the local environmental improvement. It is concluded that setting regionalized impact category for organic pollution can make LCA results more reasonable in wastewater treatment, especially in evaluating Chinese cases because of the serious water pollution caused by large quantities of COD emission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2018

Keywords

  • Chemical oxygen demand
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Weighting method

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