The spreading of livestock wastewater onto the grassland poses the inevitable risk of pollutants into the surface water or ground water, causing adverse environmental problems. Although the constructed wetlands (CWs) represent a cost-effective treatment system, they fail to achieve satisfactory total nitrogen (TN) removal performance. Dewatered alum sludge (DAS) based CW with tidal flow operation strategy is set up to intensify the TN removal efficiency by creating alternating aerobic and anoxic conditions, which relies on the water pumps instead of air pumps. In the present study, the environmental performance of a four-stage field tidal flow CW system treating swine wastewater was evaluated based on the life cycle assessment (LCA). The contribution of each process in LCA was clarified and compared whereby the potential improvement was indicated for further application. The results showed that the electricity almost dominated all the environmental impact categories while the water pumps (used for creating tidal flow) were the dominant electricity consumer. Moreover, the mitigation effect of vegetation by uptaking CO2
was relatively marginal. Overall, compared with conventional CWs, the tidal flow CW brought about more adverse impact to the environment although the tidal flow could achieve better treatment efficiency.
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