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Incorporating Sustainability Considerations Into Process Selection for Biological Nutrient Removal

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Sustainability is normally an afterthought in process design. However, if it is incorporated early in the design process, the sustainability of wastewater treatment can be improved. This paper examines sustainability of wastewater treatment by presenting and comparing methods for quantifying sustainability (e.g. greenhouse gas emissions estimates), and by assessing treatment methods and unit processes that might result in a more sustainable treatment system. Specifically, several modifications to a base case Modified Ludzak-Ettinger (MLE) process are evaluated to quantify their impact in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and ecological footprint. In addition, construction and O&M costs for each alternative are estimated and compared. This analysis shows that providing anaerobic pre-treatment for a conventional MLE can result in financial savings in the long term and a nearly carbon neutral wastewater treatment plant.

Keywords: GHG; MLE; Modified Ludzak-Ettinger; Sustainability; alternative; biological nutrient removal; ecological footprint; greenhouse gas

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2009

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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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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