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Open AccessArticle

Effect of Nutrient Removal and Resource Recovery on Life Cycle Cost and Environmental Impacts of a Small Scale Water Resource Recovery Facility

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Eastern Research Group, 110 Hartwell Ave., Lexington, MA 02421, USA
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United States Environmental Protection Agency, National Risk Management Research Laboratory, 26 West Martin Luther King Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45268, USA
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United States Environmental Protection Agency, National Exposure Research Laboratory, 26 West Martin Luther King Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45268, USA
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United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region 1, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 100, OEP 5-2, Boston, MA 02109, USA
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Water Research Foundation, 1199 N Fairfax Street, Suite 900, Alexandria, VA 22314, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3546; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103546
Received: 6 September 2018 / Revised: 27 September 2018 / Accepted: 28 September 2018 / Published: 3 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Wastewater Treatment Systems)
To limit effluent impacts on eutrophication in receiving waterbodies, a small community water resource recovery facility (WRRF) upgraded its conventional activated sludge treatment process for biological nutrient removal, and considered enhanced primary settling and anaerobic digestion (AD) with co-digestion of high strength organic waste (HSOW). The community initiated the resource recovery hub concept with the intention of converting an energy-consuming wastewater treatment plant into a facility that generates energy and nutrients and reuses water. We applied life cycle assessment and life cycle cost assessment to evaluate the net impact of the potential conversion. The upgraded WRRF reduced eutrophication impacts by 40% compared to the legacy system. Other environmental impacts such as global climate change potential (GCCP) and cumulative energy demand (CED) were strongly affected by AD and composting assumptions. The scenario analysis showed that HSOW co-digestion with energy recovery can lead to reductions in GCCP and CED of 7% and 108%, respectively, for the upgraded WRRF (high feedstock-base AD performance scenarios) relative to the legacy system. The cost analysis showed that using the full digester capacity and achieving high digester performance can reduce the life cycle cost of WRRF upgrades by 15% over a 30-year period. View Full-Text
Keywords: LCA; LCCA; wastewater treatment; anaerobic digestion; biogas; resource recovery; nutrient removal; water-energy-nutrient nexus LCA; LCCA; wastewater treatment; anaerobic digestion; biogas; resource recovery; nutrient removal; water-energy-nutrient nexus
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Morelli, B.; Cashman, S.; Ma, X.C.; Garland, J.; Turgeon, J.; Fillmore, L.; Bless, D.; Nye, M. Effect of Nutrient Removal and Resource Recovery on Life Cycle Cost and Environmental Impacts of a Small Scale Water Resource Recovery Facility. Sustainability 2018, 10, 3546.

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