Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) report – IVL

15 December 2020

The Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL) has published a Life Cycle Analysis of different Wastewater Treatment Plant Processes.  The study has been co-funded by INCOPA. 

 It is well known that municipal wastewater treatment plants consume energy in their processes, but also has a potential to produce energy in the form of biogas.  There are a number of “standard” process solutions when treating wastewater depending on wastewater quality, treatment requirements, available space and perception on what is a good solution or not. 

This study compares the environmental impact of treating wastewater to two different levels of effluent quality (total phosphorus concentration, 1 mg P/L and 0.3 mg P/L) in three different process configurations (Pre-precipitation, Simultaneous precipitation and Biological Phosphorous Removal).  The incoming water quality were the same in all scenarios.  Automatic process control in the models was used to achieve similar treatment results for the different processes. 

The main conclusion of the study is that pre-precipitation with coagulants has the lowest carbon footprint, while Biological phosphorus removal has the highest.  The more stringent phosphorus removal limits the higher carbon footprint with still lowest values for pre-precipitation and highest for Biological phosphorus removal. 

Read the full report.