Special Issue "Advances in Environmental Engineering"

A special issue of Environments (ISSN 2076-3298).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2017).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Adriana Estokova

Department of Material Engineering, Institute of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Kosice, Vysokoskolska 4, Kosice 042 00, Slovakia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: environmental assessment of buildings and building materials (heavy metals and leachability, radioactivity, durability); LCA analysis of buildings and building materials; bio-corrosion of concretes; indoor air quality
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Magdalena Balintova

Department of Environmental Engineering, Institute of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Kosice, Vysokoskolska 4, Kosice 042 00, Slovakia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: environmental engineering; waste water treatment; water and sediment quality; remediation methods; heavy metals removal; soil protection

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Environmental quality is crucial to our health, our economy and our living. However, it faces several serious challenges, not least those of climate change, unsustainable consumption and production, as well as various forms of pollution. This Special Issue invites research papers aimed at a wide range of environmental issues: Water and wastewater management, water and sediment pollution control and remediation, soil degradation, conservation and remediation, waste management, landscape management, air quality and indoor environment, environmental impacts of buildings and materials, and LCA (Life-cycle assessment). Contributions should describe novel and significant knowledge, scientific results and advanced applications in the field of environmental engineering. Each manuscript should contribute to engineers and scientists stay on top of technological advances in all areas associated with the environment. This Special Issue provides an integrated view of the trends in solving the problems associated with the achievement of sustainability.

Prof. Dr. Adriana Estokova
Prof. Dr. Magdalena Balintova
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Environments is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • water and wastewater management
  • water and sediment pollution control and remediation
  • soil degradation
  • conservation and remediation
  • waste management
  • landscape management
  • air quality and indoor environment
  • environmental impacts of buildings and materials
  • LCA

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Advances in Environmental Engineering
Environments 2018, 5(5), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5050054
Received: 25 April 2018 / Revised: 25 April 2018 / Accepted: 30 April 2018 / Published: 4 May 2018
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Environmental Engineering) Printed Edition available

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Geometric Factor as the Characteristics of the Three-Dimensional Process of Volume Changes of Heavy Soils
Environments 2018, 5(4), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5040045
Received: 24 January 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 24 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
During simulation of a water regime of heavy soils, it is necessary to know the isotropy parameters of any volume changes. Volume changes appear in both vertical and horizontal directions. In vertical directions, they appear as a topsoil movement, and in horizontal directions [...] Read more.
During simulation of a water regime of heavy soils, it is necessary to know the isotropy parameters of any volume changes. Volume changes appear in both vertical and horizontal directions. In vertical directions, they appear as a topsoil movement, and in horizontal directions as the formation of a crack network. The ratio between horizontal and vertical change is described using the geometric factor, rs. In the present paper, the distribution of volume changes to horizontal and vertical components is characterized by the geometric factor, in selected soil profiles, in the East Slovakian Lowland. In this work the effect of soil texture on the value of the geometric factor and thus, on the distribution of volume changes to vertical and horizontal components was studied. Within the hypothesis, the greatest influence of the clay soil component was shown by the geometric factor value. New information is obtained on the basis of field and laboratory measurements. Results will be used as inputs for numerical simulation of a water regime for heavy soils in the East Slovakian Lowland. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Environmental Engineering) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Selection of the Best Alternative of Heating System by Environmental Impact Assessment—Case Study
Environments 2018, 5(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5020019
Received: 9 December 2017 / Revised: 22 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 26 January 2018
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Abstract
The Framework Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources aims at developing the local and regional electricity market in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A comparison study of the proposed activities of construction of a new [...] Read more.
The Framework Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources aims at developing the local and regional electricity market in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A comparison study of the proposed activities of construction of a new biomass-fired power plant or reconstruction of an old one-gas power plant in town located in eastern Slovakia is presented in this paper. The method of the index coefficient was used for choosing the best alternatives. Multicriteria analysis proved that the construction of biomass-fired power plant is the most suitable solution chosen from three assessed variants (no activity is implemented, biomass power plant and modernized gas boiler). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Environmental Engineering) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Electrochemistry-High Resolution Mass Spectrometry to Study Oxidation Products of Trimethoprim
Environments 2018, 5(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5010018
Received: 26 November 2017 / Revised: 18 January 2018 / Accepted: 19 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract
The study of the fate of emerging organic contaminants (EOCs), especially the identification of transformation products, after water treatment or in the aquatic environment, is a topic of growing interest. In recent years, electrochemistry coupled to mass spectrometry has attracted a lot of [...] Read more.
The study of the fate of emerging organic contaminants (EOCs), especially the identification of transformation products, after water treatment or in the aquatic environment, is a topic of growing interest. In recent years, electrochemistry coupled to mass spectrometry has attracted a lot of attention as an alternative technique to investigate oxidation metabolites of organic compounds. The present study used different electrochemical approaches, such as cyclic voltammetry, electrolysis, electro-assisted Fenton reaction coupled offline to high resolution mass spectrometry and thin-layer flow cell coupled online to high resolution mass spectrometry, to study oxidation products of the anti-infective trimethoprim, a contaminant of emerging concern frequently reported in wastewaters and surface waters. Results showed that mono- and di-hydroxylated derivatives of trimethoprim were generated in electrochemically and possibly tri-hydroxylated derivatives as well. Those compounds have been previously reported as mammalian and bacterial metabolites as well as transformation products of advance oxidation processes applied to waters containing trimethoprim. Therefore, this study confirmed that electrochemical techniques are relevant not only to mimic specific biotransformation reactions of organic contaminants, as it has been suggested previously, but also to study the oxidation reactions of organic contaminants of interest in water treatment. The key role that redox reactions play in the environment make electrochemistry-high resolution mass spectrometry a sensitive and simple technique to improve our understanding of the fate of organic contaminants in the environment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Greenhouse Gas Emission Assessment from Electricity Production in the Czech Republic
Environments 2018, 5(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5010017
Received: 24 November 2017 / Revised: 12 January 2018 / Accepted: 22 January 2018 / Published: 23 January 2018
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Abstract
The paper deals with the computational life cycle assessment (LCA) model of electricity generation in the Czech Republic. The goal of the paper was to determine the environmental assessment of electricity generation. Taking into account the trend of electricity generation from 2000 to [...] Read more.
The paper deals with the computational life cycle assessment (LCA) model of electricity generation in the Czech Republic. The goal of the paper was to determine the environmental assessment of electricity generation. Taking into account the trend of electricity generation from 2000 to 2050, the paper was focused on electricity generation evaluation in this country in view of its current state and future perspectives. The computational LCA model was done using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) method, which allowed the assessment of greenhouse gas emissions. For the assessment, 1 Mega-watt hour of the obtained electricity (MWhe) was used as a functional unit. The cradle-to-gate approach was employed. The system boundary covered all the technologies included in the electricity mix of the country. Resulting from the analysis, the solids, lignite in particular, was assessed as an energy source with the most negative impact on the emissions of greenhouse gas. This article results from international cooperation of a Czech-Polish team in the field of computational LCA models. It presents partial results of the team cooperation which serves as a base for following comparison of Czech and Polish systems of electricity generation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Environmental Engineering) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Environmental Impact of Small Hydro Power Plant—A Case Study
Environments 2018, 5(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5010012
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 7 January 2018 / Accepted: 8 January 2018 / Published: 10 January 2018
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Abstract
Currently an international topic—not only among the members of the European Union—is the use of renewable energy, such as hydro power. The subject of this paper is the environmental impact assessment of the small hydropower (SHP) plant. The paper identifies the environmental impacts [...] Read more.
Currently an international topic—not only among the members of the European Union—is the use of renewable energy, such as hydro power. The subject of this paper is the environmental impact assessment of the small hydropower (SHP) plant. The paper identifies the environmental impacts of an SHP plant in Spišské Bystré, Slovakia. It also assesses the alternatives to a specific hydraulic structure by quantitative evaluation from the point of view of character of the impacts, their significance, and their duration. The conclusion of the work includes the selection of the optimal alternative of the assessed construction and proposes measurements to reduce the negative impacts. The benefit of this paper is in highlighting the importance of assessing the impact of construction on the environment in the planning phase. Eliminating the negative impacts of the construction on the environment is much more challenging than the implementation of preventive measures, and it is therefore necessary to assess at the planning phase how the construction and operation of the proposed activities impact the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Environmental Engineering) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Pervious Concrete as an Environmental Solution for Pavements: Focus on Key Properties
Environments 2018, 5(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5010011
Received: 29 November 2017 / Revised: 4 January 2018 / Accepted: 8 January 2018 / Published: 9 January 2018
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Abstract
Pervious concrete is considered to be an advanced pavement material in terms of the environmental benefits arising from its basic feature—high water-permeability. This paper presents the results of experimental work that is aimed at testing technically important properties of pervious concrete prepared with [...] Read more.
Pervious concrete is considered to be an advanced pavement material in terms of the environmental benefits arising from its basic feature—high water-permeability. This paper presents the results of experimental work that is aimed at testing technically important properties of pervious concrete prepared with three different water-to-cement ratios. The following properties of pervious concrete were tested—compressive and splitting tensile strength, unit weight at dry conditions, void content, and permeability. The mix proportions were expected to have the same volume of cement paste, and, to obtain the same 20% void content for all of the samples. The results show that changes of water-to-cement ratio from 0.35 to 0.25 caused only slight differences in strength characteristics. Arising tendency was found in the case of compressive strength and a decreasing tendency in the case of splitting tensile strength. The hydraulic conductivity ranged from 10.2 mm/s to 7.5 mm/s. The values of both the unit weight and void content were also analysed to compare the theoretical (calculated) values and real experiment results. A fairly good agreement was reached in the case of mixtures with 0.35 and 0.30 water-to-cement ratios, while minor differences were found in the case of 0.25 ratio. Finally, a very tight correlation was found between void content, hydraulic conductivity, and compressive strength. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Removal of Synthetic Dyes by Dried Biomass of Freshwater Moss Vesicularia Dubyana: A Batch Biosorption Study
Environments 2018, 5(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5010010
Received: 27 November 2017 / Revised: 4 January 2018 / Accepted: 6 January 2018 / Published: 9 January 2018
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Abstract
In this work the biosorption of cationic dyes thioflavin T (TT) and methylene blue (MB) from single and binary solutions on dried biomass of freshwater moss Vesicularia dubyana as a function of contact time, pH, and biomass or sorbate concentration has been investigated. [...] Read more.
In this work the biosorption of cationic dyes thioflavin T (TT) and methylene blue (MB) from single and binary solutions on dried biomass of freshwater moss Vesicularia dubyana as a function of contact time, pH, and biomass or sorbate concentration has been investigated. The prediction of maximum sorption capacities using adsorption isotherm models were also realized. Biosorption of TT and MB is a rapid process strongly affected by solution pH. Maximum sorption capacities Qmax calculated from Langmuir isotherm were 119 ± 11 mg/g for TT and 229 ± 9 mg/g for MB. In binary mixture, the presence of MB caused significant decrease of TT sorption, advocating the competitive sorption between TT and MB. Results revealed that V. dubyana biomass exhibited significantly higher affinity to thiazine dye MB in comparison with benzothiazole dye TT from both single and binary solutions. Based on the obtained results, the competitive effects in binary system can substantially influence the sorption process and should be thoroughly evaluated before application of selected adsorbents for removal of basic dyes from colored effluents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Environmental Engineering) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Prediction of Reservoir Sediment Quality Based on Erosion Processes in Watershed Using Mathematical Modelling
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 25 December 2017 / Accepted: 27 December 2017 / Published: 29 December 2017
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Abstract
Soil erosion, as a significant contributor to nonpoint-source pollution, is ranked top of sediment sources, pollutants attached to sediment, and pollutants in the solution in surface water. This paper is focused on the design of mathematical model intended to predict the total content [...] Read more.
Soil erosion, as a significant contributor to nonpoint-source pollution, is ranked top of sediment sources, pollutants attached to sediment, and pollutants in the solution in surface water. This paper is focused on the design of mathematical model intended to predict the total content of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in bottom sediments in small water reservoirs depending on water erosion processes, together with its application and validation in small agricultural watershed of the Tisovec River, Slovakia. The designed model takes into account the calculation of total N, P, and K content adsorbed on detached and transported soil particles, which consists of supplementing the soil loss calculation with a determination of the average nutrient content in topsoils. The dissolved forms of these elements are neglected in this model. Validation of the model was carried out by statistical assessment of calculated concentrations and measured concentrations in Kľušov, a small water reservoir (Slovakia), using the t-test and F-test, at a 0.05 significance level. Calculated concentrations of total N, P, and K in reservoir sediments were in the range from 0.188 to 0.236 for total N, from 0.065 to 0.078 for total P, and from 1.94 to 2.47 for total K. Measured nutrient concentrations in composite sediment samples ranged from 0.16 to 0.26% for total N, from 0.049 to 0.113% for total P, and from 1.71 to 2.42% for total K. The statistical assessment indicates the applicability of the model in predicting the reservoir’s sediment quality detached through erosion processes in the catchment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Biological Treatment by Active Sludge with High Biomass Concentration at Laboratory Scale for Mixed Inflow of Sunflower Oil and Saccharose
Environments 2017, 4(4), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments4040069
Received: 17 July 2017 / Revised: 21 September 2017 / Accepted: 25 September 2017 / Published: 28 September 2017
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Abstract
We studied and quantified the elimination of sunflower oil from a wastewater influent using a biological treatment by activated sludge. Estimation of the biodegraded material was obtained doing a mass balance, and we conducted a follow-up of the different operational parameters and design. [...] Read more.
We studied and quantified the elimination of sunflower oil from a wastewater influent using a biological treatment by activated sludge. Estimation of the biodegraded material was obtained doing a mass balance, and we conducted a follow-up of the different operational parameters and design. We delivered information about the operation of a system for treatment by activated sludge fed with an influent with sunflower oil and saccharose. The influent was previously agitated before entering the effluent sludge in a lab-scale plant. The working range for oil concentration was 100 to 850 mg/L in the influent. Biodegradation was in the range of 60% to 51%. The process works better with a high initial concentration of biomass (7500 mg/L) in order to absorb the impacts caused by the oil on the microorganisms. The lowest total suspended solids concentration was 4500 mg/L. The elimination of sunflower oil in biodegradation and flotation was on the order of 90%. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Physico-Chemical Post-Treatments on the Semi-Continuous Anaerobic Digestion of Sewage Sludge
Environments 2017, 4(3), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments4030049
Received: 20 June 2017 / Revised: 4 July 2017 / Accepted: 12 July 2017 / Published: 13 July 2017
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Abstract
Sludge production in wastewater treatment plants is increasing worldwide due to the increasing population. This work investigated the effects of ultrasonic (ULS), ultrasonic-ozone (ULS-Ozone) and ultrasonic + alkaline (ULS+ALK) post-treatments on the anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge in semi-continuous anaerobic reactors. Three conditions [...] Read more.
Sludge production in wastewater treatment plants is increasing worldwide due to the increasing population. This work investigated the effects of ultrasonic (ULS), ultrasonic-ozone (ULS-Ozone) and ultrasonic + alkaline (ULS+ALK) post-treatments on the anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge in semi-continuous anaerobic reactors. Three conditions were tested with different hydraulic retention times (HRT, 10 or 20 days) and sludge recycle ratios (R = QR/Qin (%): 50 or 100%). Biogas yield increased by 17.8% when ULS+ALK post-treatment was applied to the effluent of a reactor operating at 20 days HRT and at a 100% recycle ratio. Operation at 10 days HRT also improved the biogas yield (277 mL CH4/g VSadded (VS: volatile solids) versus 249 mL CH4/g VSadded in the control). The tested post-treatment methods showed 4–7% decrease in effluent VS. The post-treatment resulted in a decrease in the cellular ATP (Adenosine tri-phosphate) concentration indicating stress imposed on microorganisms in the reactor. Nevertheless, this did not prevent higher biogas production. Based on the results, the post-treatment of digested sludge or treating the sludge between two digesters is an interesting alternative to pre-treatments. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Particulate Matter from the Road Surface Abrasion as a Problem of Non-Exhaust Emission Control
Received: 27 October 2017 / Revised: 2 January 2018 / Accepted: 5 January 2018 / Published: 7 January 2018
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Abstract
Along with house heating and industry, emissions from road traffic (exhaust and tire, brake, car body or road surface abrasions) are one of the primary sources of particulate matter (PM) in the atmosphere in urban areas. Though numerous regulations and vehicle-control mechanisms have [...] Read more.
Along with house heating and industry, emissions from road traffic (exhaust and tire, brake, car body or road surface abrasions) are one of the primary sources of particulate matter (PM) in the atmosphere in urban areas. Though numerous regulations and vehicle-control mechanisms have led to a significant decline of PM emissions from vehicle exhaust gases, other sources of PM remain related to road and car abrasion are responsible for non-exhaust emissions. Quantifying these emissions is a hard problem in both laboratory and field conditions. First, we must recognize the physicochemical properties of the PM that is emitted by various non-exhaust sources. In this paper, we underline the problem of information accessibility with regards to the properties and qualities of PM from non-exhaust sources. We also indicate why scarce information is available in order to find the possible solution to this ongoing issue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Environmental Engineering) Printed Edition available

Other

Open AccessCase Report
Overview of Green Building Material (GBM) Policies and Guidelines with Relevance to Indoor Air Quality Management in Taiwan
Received: 30 October 2017 / Revised: 12 December 2017 / Accepted: 13 December 2017 / Published: 28 December 2017
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Abstract
The objective of this paper was to offer a preliminary overview of Taiwan’s success in green building material (GBM) efforts through legal systems and promotion measures, which are relevant to the contribution to indoor air quality (IAQ) due to sustainability and health issues. [...] Read more.
The objective of this paper was to offer a preliminary overview of Taiwan’s success in green building material (GBM) efforts through legal systems and promotion measures, which are relevant to the contribution to indoor air quality (IAQ) due to sustainability and health issues. In the first part of the paper, the IAQ regulations are summarized to highlight the second nation (i.e., Taiwan) around the world in IAQ management by the law. In addition, the permissible exposure limits (PEL) in Taiwan for airborne hazardous substances were first promulgated in 1974 to deal with occupational health issues in the workplace environment. In the second part of the paper, the developing status of the GBM in Taiwan is analyzed to unravel its connection with the Indoor Air Quality Management Act (IAQMA), promulgated on 23 November 2011. By the end of September 2017, a total of 645 GBM labels have been conferred, covering over 5000 green products. Due to the effectiveness of source control, the healthy GBM occupies most of the market, accounting for about 75%. The IAQMA, which took force in November 2012, is expected to significantly increase the use of healthy GBM in new building construction and remodeling, especially in low formaldehyde (HCHO)/volatile organic compound (VOC)-emitting products. Full article
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