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Top-down and Bottom-up Approaches for Establishing Greenhouse Gas Emissionsand Carbon Footprints at Wastewater Treatment Plants

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An increasing number of municipal wastewater utilities are conducting Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission inventories. These inventories are useful for setting GHG emission reduction targets, preparing to meet future regulatory requirements or to sell carbon offsets on the voluntary carbon market, or assessing the sustainability of wastewater treatment process alternatives. This paper defines the common terminology used in sustainability assessments and discusses a systematic framework of GHG emission inventories and carbon footprinting. The framework includes setting organizational boundaries and categorizing direct and indirect emissions into different scopes for assessment. Various methodologies used in calculating GHG emission inventories and carbon footprints at Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs) are discussed using examples drawn from actual assessments at wastewater treatment facilities.

Keywords: Carbon footprints; GHG emissions inventory; Triple-bottom-line; WWTPs; “Bottom-up”; “Top-down”

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2175/193864710802767894

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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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