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Sustainability and Disinfection: How to Incorporate Life Cycle Assessment into Wastewater Disinfection Design

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In the United States, the majority of the water and wastewater infrastructure components were built in the 30 years following the end of World War II as required by an increase in urban populations. In 1996, there were 16,024 publicly-owned wastewater treatment facilities in operation in the United States treating approximately 32,000 millions of gallons wastewater per day. These facilities served approximately 190 million people representing approximately 72 percent of the United States population (USEPA, 1996).

The USEPA released the Clean Water and Drinking Water Gap Analysis Report in 2002 (USEPA, 2002). This peer reviewed Gap analysis was performed for both drinking water and wastewater infrastructure systems for a 20-year period from 2000 to 2019 and included estimates of the funding gap for both capital costs and operations and maintenance. Using the most conservative estimates, the total funding gap for the drinking water infrastructure was estimated to be 45 billion dollars and 21 billion dollars for the wastewater collection and treatment infrastructure. Disinfection unit processes will be a significant portion of this funding gap.

The above information and the predicted infrastructure rehabilitation and replacement needs expected in the next decade prompted the USEPA to commit to promoting sustainable infrastructure practices. If successfully implemented, these practices would help reduce the predicted gap between infrastructure needs and infrastructure spending (USEPA, 2006). Disinfection is one of the key unit processes for the protection of public health. In order to fully implement the four pillars of the USEPA sustainable infrastructure model, approaches must be taken to incorporate sustainability into engineering design and operation of disinfection unit processes for water and wastewater infrastructure systems.

Keywords: Disinfection; Sustainability; Wastewater and Design

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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