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Impacts of Advanced Treatment on Climate Change - Evaluating the Carbon Footprint of Uv Disinfection in Water Reuse Applications

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Indirect potable re-use (IPR) of treated wastewater is becoming more common in the U.S., particularly in drought-prone regions. Microbial effluent standards for this application are typically extremely stringent (e.g. < 2.2 cfu/100 ml fecal coliform, or lower). Treatment processes used for IPR typically include a filtration process (e.g., ultrafiltration) either in a membrane bioreactor or as a tertiary filter followed by a disinfection step. UV disinfection has become the preferred process alternative for reuse treatment considering the small footprint required for treatment and simple, operator friendly operation. UV disinfection systems for IPR are typically designed to deliver UV doses between 80 − 100 mJ/cm2 depending on the upstream treatment processes.

The green house gas production and related footprint on high level UV disinfection processes were evaluated compared to the health benefits of this disinfection in this study. The green house gas production was calculated as a function of the power consumption of the UV process and the health benefits were determined through a concept level rotovirus exposure risk assessment. The results of this concept level evaluation indicate that the benefits of high level disinfection determined as the reduction in potential infections resulting from water borne diseases outweighs the carbon footprint associated with UV operation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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