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The Application of Life Cycle Assessments for Water and Wastewater Facilities' Planning

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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.

Keywords: Planning; decision processes; environmental impact; life cycle assessment; sustainability

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2010

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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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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