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J Environ Manage. 2009 Mar;90(3):1454-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2008.09.005. Epub 2008 Nov 12.

Environmental impact minimization of a total wastewater treatment network system from a life cycle perspective.

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  • 1Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, University of Minnesota, 1390 Eckles Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA.


Synthesis of distributed wastewater treatment plants (WTPs) has focused on cost reduction, but never on the reduction of environmental impacts. A mathematical optimization model was developed in this study to synthesize existing distributed and terminal WTPs into an environmentally friendly total wastewater treatment network system (TWTNS) from a life cycle perspective. Life cycle assessment (LCA) was performed to evaluate the environmental impacts of principal contributors in a TWTNS. The LCA results were integrated into the objective function of the model. The mass balances were formulated from the superstructure model, and the constraints were formulated to reflect real wastewater treatment situations in industrial plants. A case study validated the model and demonstrated the effect of the objective function on the configuration and environmental performance of a TWTNS. This model can be used to minimize environmental impacts of a TWTNS in retrofitting existing WTPs in line with cleaner production and sustainable development.

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