Life Cycle Assessment of Decentralized Wastewater Systems and its Comparison to Centralized Wastewater Systems

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Abstract:

The goal of this study was to develop a detailed analysis of the economic and environmental impacts of decentralized wastewater systems. The LCA methodology was used to assist with an analogous comparison. A case study approach was taken, focusing on different life cycle phases of the infrastructure system.

Final results illustrated that when attempting to determine which system has the lower impact to the environment, it truly depends on which actual impact is being considered. In simply examining greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide is almost two orders of magnitude higher with centralized systems, while the reverse is true when analyzing methane. The same "flip flop" can be said for the toxic releases as well as conventional air pollutants. Thus, one must be careful to ensure that generalizing sweeping statements are not made for either treatment system.
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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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