Energy use and carbon footprint for potable water and wastewater treatment

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Abstract

Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs) are sources of emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4). Carbon dioxide emissions have a big contribution to climate change. In general they come from burning fossil fuels to generate the electricity necessary for operating the treatment processes. The demand of energy depends on the treatment processes, but also on the quality of water source or wastewater influent. Water companies have to continuously supply safe drinking water to population and to treat and discharge wastewater according to regulations at a cost as low as possible. In Romania reporting of GHGs is not mandatory for water companies. Evaluation of GHG emissions from water industry have become a subject of great interest because of concern regarding climate change. Research and regulation have been conducted by different authors based on a regional basis. This paper proposes to estimate and compare the carbon emissions resulting from power consumption of Constanta South WWTP and PALAS Constanta DWTP. The energy supplier is different for these plants. In order to calculate the carbon emissions the amount of specific CO2 emissions is determined. The contribution of each primary source to produce the amount of electricity which is consumed is taken into account. WWTP has high power consumption in biological processes, because there are the aeration tanks, the sewage pumping station and the equipment for sludge. DWTP has high power consumption because of the pumping equipment used for raw water abstraction from deep wells and those for drinking water distribution to consumers. In order to identify, sort and display possible causes of the high power consumption of WWTP, Ishikawa chart is used. Through its configuration, the diagram allows highlighting and prioritizing the causes which generate this effect. Some management options are presented in order to reduce power consumption in WWTP.

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