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Evaluation of the sustainability of controlling diffuse water pollution in urban areas on a life cycle basis

Tomasini Montenegro, Claudia

[Thesis]. Manchester, UK: The University of Manchester; 2013.

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Abstract

Diffuse water pollution in urban areas is growing due to polluted runoffs. Therefore, there is a need to treat this kind of pollution. Different structural treatment practices can be used for these purposes. However, little is known about their environmental, economic and social impacts. Therefore, the aim of this study has been to develop an integrated methodology for sustainability evaluation of structural treatment practices, considering environmental, economic and social aspects. Both environmental and economic evaluations have been carried out on a life cycle basis, using life cycle assessment and life cycle costing, respectively. For social evaluation, a number of social indicators, identified and developed in this research, have been used. The methodology has been applied to the case of the Magdalena river catchment in Mexico City. Three structural treatment practices have been analysed: bio-retention unit, infiltration trench and porous pavement. Based on the assumptions and the results from this work, the bio-retention unit appears to be environmentally the most sustainable option for treatment of diffuse water pollution. It is also the second-best option for social sustainability, slightly behind the porous pavement. However, if the costs of treatment are the priority, then the porous pavement would be the cheapest option. If all the sustainability aspects evaluated here are considered of equal importance, then the bio-retention unit is the most sustainable option.Therefore, trade-offs between the different sustainability aspects are important and should be considered carefully before any decisions are made on diffuse water pollution treatment. This also includes the trade-offs with the additional life cycle impacts generated by the treatment options compared to the impacts from the untreated runoff. The decisions can only be made by the appropriate stakeholders; however, some recommendations are given, based on the outcomes of this research.

Bibliographic metadata

Type of resource:
Content type:
Form of thesis:
Type of submission:
Degree type:
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree programme:
PhD Chemical Engineering & Analytical Science
Publication date:
Location:
Manchester, UK
Total pages:
210
Abstract:
Diffuse water pollution in urban areas is growing due to polluted runoffs. Therefore, there is a need to treat this kind of pollution. Different structural treatment practices can be used for these purposes. However, little is known about their environmental, economic and social impacts. Therefore, the aim of this study has been to develop an integrated methodology for sustainability evaluation of structural treatment practices, considering environmental, economic and social aspects. Both environmental and economic evaluations have been carried out on a life cycle basis, using life cycle assessment and life cycle costing, respectively. For social evaluation, a number of social indicators, identified and developed in this research, have been used. The methodology has been applied to the case of the Magdalena river catchment in Mexico City. Three structural treatment practices have been analysed: bio-retention unit, infiltration trench and porous pavement. Based on the assumptions and the results from this work, the bio-retention unit appears to be environmentally the most sustainable option for treatment of diffuse water pollution. It is also the second-best option for social sustainability, slightly behind the porous pavement. However, if the costs of treatment are the priority, then the porous pavement would be the cheapest option. If all the sustainability aspects evaluated here are considered of equal importance, then the bio-retention unit is the most sustainable option.Therefore, trade-offs between the different sustainability aspects are important and should be considered carefully before any decisions are made on diffuse water pollution treatment. This also includes the trade-offs with the additional life cycle impacts generated by the treatment options compared to the impacts from the untreated runoff. The decisions can only be made by the appropriate stakeholders; however, some recommendations are given, based on the outcomes of this research.
Thesis main supervisor(s):
Language:
en

Record metadata

Manchester eScholar ID:
uk-ac-man-scw:214755
Created by:
Tomasini Montenegro, Claudia
Created:
11th December, 2013, 19:22:19
Last modified by:
Tomasini Montenegro, Claudia
Last modified:
22nd January, 2014, 16:17:11