Dr Alejandro Gallego Schmid has led a study about life cycle assessment (LCA) of wastewater treatment (WWT) in developing countries, published in Water Research
20 February 2019
This work presents a comprehensive review with the aim of critically analysing the main conclusions, gaps and challenges on the topic.
Goal and system boundaries are normally clearly defined, but significant stages for some technologies such as construction and sludge management are frequently not included and functional units should be defined accordingly to specific conditions in developing countries. At the inventory level, a more concise description of sources and technical parameters would greatly improve the quality of the LCAs along with accountability of direct greenhouse gas emissions. Eutrophication and global warming are the two most commonly assessed impacts; however, the calculation of terrestrial ecotoxicity when the sludge is used for agricultural purposes, of water use and of the land use change impacts associated to extensive technologies should be encouraged. The estimation of more site-specific databases, characterization factors (especially for eutrophication) or normalization and weighting values combined with more affordable access to background databases and LCA software, would deeply increase the accuracy of WWT-related LCAs in developing countries.
The most commonly assessed technologies in the 43 reviewed articles are different variations of activated sludge and extensive treatments applied in decentralized systems; however, studies focused on advanced technologies or new sources of pollution are still lacking.
Read the full article at the link below: