Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is being adopted worldwide as a more comprehensive basis for comparing environmental impacts of alternative water and wastewater treatment processes than assessment methods that focus solely on operational energy use or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Two
reasons for this increased level of acceptance are that LCA more completely tracks environmental impacts across the entire supply chain and considers multiple environmental impacts. Software packages are available for conducting LCA in accordance with International Standards Organization (ISO
14040) standards and the databases required for application of LCA are expanding and improving. This paper presents LCA and discusses its strengths and limitations as an environmental assessment tool in the water sector.
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