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Correction published on 17 January 2022, see Water 2022, 14(2), 268.
Article

The Life Cycle Environmental Performance of On-Site or Decentralised Wastewater Treatment Systems for Domestic Homes

Department of Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering, Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin, D02 PN40 Dublin, Ireland
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Sathaa Sathasivan
Water 2021, 13(18), 2542; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13182542
Received: 16 July 2021 / Revised: 12 September 2021 / Accepted: 14 September 2021 / Published: 16 September 2021 / Corrected: 17 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue On-Site Wastewater Treatment)
There is little knowledge regarding the environmental sustainability of domestic on-site or decentralised wastewater treatment systems (DWWTS). This study evaluated six unique life cycle environmental impacts for different DWTTS configurations of five conventional septic tank systems, four packaged treatment units, and a willow evapotranspiration system. Similar freshwater eutrophication (FE), dissipated water (DW), and mineral and metal (MM), burdens were noted between the packaged and conventional system configurations, with the packaged systems demonstrating significantly higher impacts of between 18% and 56% for climate change (CC), marine eutrophication (ME), and fossils (F). At a system level, higher impacts were observed in systems requiring (i) three vs. two engineered treatment stages, (ii) a larger soil percolation trench area, and (iii) pumping of effluent. The evapotranspiration system presented the smallest total environmental impacts (3.0–10.8 lower), with net benefits for FE, ME, and MM identified due to the biomass (wood) production offsetting these burdens. Further analysis highlighted the sensitivity of results to biomass yield, operational demands (desludging or pumping energy demands), and embodied materials, with less significant impacts for replacing mechanical components, i.e., pumps. The findings highlighted the variation in environmental performance of different DWTTS configurations and indicated opportunities for design improvements to reduce their life cycle impacts. View Full-Text
Keywords: environmental impacts; wastewater treatment; treatment processes; evapotranspiration environmental impacts; wastewater treatment; treatment processes; evapotranspiration
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gallagher, J.; Gill, L.W. The Life Cycle Environmental Performance of On-Site or Decentralised Wastewater Treatment Systems for Domestic Homes. Water 2021, 13, 2542. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13182542

AMA Style

Gallagher J, Gill LW. The Life Cycle Environmental Performance of On-Site or Decentralised Wastewater Treatment Systems for Domestic Homes. Water. 2021; 13(18):2542. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13182542

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gallagher, John, and Laurence W. Gill. 2021. "The Life Cycle Environmental Performance of On-Site or Decentralised Wastewater Treatment Systems for Domestic Homes" Water 13, no. 18: 2542. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13182542

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