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Comparison of life cycle toxicity assessment methods for municipal wastewater treatment with the inclusion of direct emissions of metals, PPCPs and EDCs

Comparison of life cycle toxicity assessment methods for municipal wastewater treatment with the inclusion of direct emissions of metals, PPCPs and EDCs
Comparison of life cycle toxicity assessment methods for municipal wastewater treatment with the inclusion of direct emissions of metals, PPCPs and EDCs
The occurrence of various micropollutants such as pharmaceuticals personal care products, endocrine disrupting chemicals (PPCPs/EDCs) and metals in municipal wastewater, and their poor removal efficiencies can lead to toxicity impact on humans, and freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems. Life cycle assessment is an efficient and effective tool to evaluate the environmental impact of wastewater treatment plants, but guidelines for toxicity assessment are lacking due to the complexity. This study aims to evaluate both life cycle inventory by including metals and PEC, and life cycle toxicity assessment (LCIA) methods namely CML-IA, Recipe, USEtox, EDIP 2003 and IMPACT 2002+ in midpoint category with a large centralised wastewater treatment plant in Malaysia as a case study. The removal efficiencies of metals and PPCPs/EDCs in the wastewater ranged from 9% to 99% and no clear patterns were found about occurrence and removal efficiencies of metals and PPCPs/EDCs in developing and developed countries. The inclusion of metals and PPCPs/EDCs in effluent resulted in 76% increase in freshwater ecotoxicity potential (FEP) and 88% increase in terrestrial ecotoxicity potential (TEP) while only 4% increase in human toxicity potential (HTP). The results indicate the importance of including direct emissions such as metals and PPCPs/EDCs even in low-strength municipal wastewater for environmental toxicity assessment. The comparison of five LCIA methods suggests that HTP assessment is more challenging due to inconsistency between five LCIA methods while CML-IA, Recipe, and IMPACT 2002+ achieved consistent human toxicity and ecotoxicity assessment results in the WWTP. The results highlight the importance of sampling and inclusion of metals and PPCPs/EDCs data especially prioritised micropollutants for life cycle toxicity assessment and recommends LCIA methods for ecotoxicity assessment of WWTPs in the current scientific development situation on toxicity studies, which can provide guidance to researchers for life cycle toxicity assessment of wastewater treatment.
0048-9697
Rashid, Siti Safirah
f6cb0563-9242-4cab-a678-5ed71de8a0c0
Liu, Yongqiang
75adc6f8-aa83-484e-9e87-6c8442e344fa
Rashid, Siti Safirah
f6cb0563-9242-4cab-a678-5ed71de8a0c0
Liu, Yongqiang
75adc6f8-aa83-484e-9e87-6c8442e344fa

Rashid, Siti Safirah and Liu, Yongqiang (2020) Comparison of life cycle toxicity assessment methods for municipal wastewater treatment with the inclusion of direct emissions of metals, PPCPs and EDCs. Science of the Total Environment. (doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.143849).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The occurrence of various micropollutants such as pharmaceuticals personal care products, endocrine disrupting chemicals (PPCPs/EDCs) and metals in municipal wastewater, and their poor removal efficiencies can lead to toxicity impact on humans, and freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems. Life cycle assessment is an efficient and effective tool to evaluate the environmental impact of wastewater treatment plants, but guidelines for toxicity assessment are lacking due to the complexity. This study aims to evaluate both life cycle inventory by including metals and PEC, and life cycle toxicity assessment (LCIA) methods namely CML-IA, Recipe, USEtox, EDIP 2003 and IMPACT 2002+ in midpoint category with a large centralised wastewater treatment plant in Malaysia as a case study. The removal efficiencies of metals and PPCPs/EDCs in the wastewater ranged from 9% to 99% and no clear patterns were found about occurrence and removal efficiencies of metals and PPCPs/EDCs in developing and developed countries. The inclusion of metals and PPCPs/EDCs in effluent resulted in 76% increase in freshwater ecotoxicity potential (FEP) and 88% increase in terrestrial ecotoxicity potential (TEP) while only 4% increase in human toxicity potential (HTP). The results indicate the importance of including direct emissions such as metals and PPCPs/EDCs even in low-strength municipal wastewater for environmental toxicity assessment. The comparison of five LCIA methods suggests that HTP assessment is more challenging due to inconsistency between five LCIA methods while CML-IA, Recipe, and IMPACT 2002+ achieved consistent human toxicity and ecotoxicity assessment results in the WWTP. The results highlight the importance of sampling and inclusion of metals and PPCPs/EDCs data especially prioritised micropollutants for life cycle toxicity assessment and recommends LCIA methods for ecotoxicity assessment of WWTPs in the current scientific development situation on toxicity studies, which can provide guidance to researchers for life cycle toxicity assessment of wastewater treatment.

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Accepted/In Press date: 8 November 2020
Published date: 20 November 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 445338
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/445338
ISSN: 0048-9697
PURE UUID: 97c2c826-56a4-40d8-8874-b6e14ef2bac1

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Date deposited: 02 Dec 2020 17:32
Last modified: 02 Dec 2020 17:32

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