Abstract

A life cycle assessment (LCA) approach was used in the assessment of environmental impacts of some polishing units for reuse of wastewater treatment plant effluents in agricultural irrigation. These alternative polishing units were assessed: (1) microfiltration and ultraviolet (UV) disinfection, (2) cartridge filter and ultrafiltration (UF), and (3) just UV disinfection. Two different energy sources, electric grid mix and natural gas, were considered to assess the environmental impacts of them. Afterwards, the effluent of each case was evaluated against the criteria required for irrigation of sensitive crops corresponding to Turkey regulations. Evaluation of environmental impacts was carried out with GaBi 6.1 LCA software. The overall conclusion of this study is that higher electricity consumption causes higher environmental effects. The results of the study revealed that cartridge filter and UF in combination with electric grid mix has the largest impact on the environment for almost all impact categories. In general, the most environmentally friendly solution is UV disinfection. The study revealed environmental impacts for three alternatives drawing attention to the importance of the choice of the most appropriate polishing processes and energy sources for reuse applications.

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