As a consequence of the EU Water Framework Directive more focus is now on discharges of hazardous substances from wastewater treatment plants and sewers. Thus, many municipalities in Denmark may have to adopt to future advanced treatment technologies. This paper describes a holistic assessment, which includes technical, economical and environmental aspects. The technical and economical assessment is performed on 5 advanced treatment technologies: sand filtration, ozone treatment, UV exclusively for disinfection of pathogenic microorganisms, membrane bioreactor (MBR) and UV in combination with advanced oxidation. The technical assessment is based on 12 hazardous substances comprising heavy metals, organic pollutants, endocrine disruptors as well as pathogenic microorganisms. The environmental assessment is performed by life cycle assessment (LCA) comprising 9 of the specific hazardous substances and three advanced treatment methods; sand filtration, ozone treatment and MBR. The technical and economic assessment showed that UV solely for disinfection purposes or ozone treatment is the most advantageous advanced treatment methods if the demands are restricted to pathogenic microorganisms. In terms of sustainability, sand filtration is the most advantageous method based on the technical and environmental assessment due to the low energy consumption and high efficiency with regards to removal of heavy metals. Key words | advanced wastewater treatment, life cycle assessment, MBR, ozone treatment, sand filtration, UV treatment.
Water Science and Technology, 2008, Vol 58, Issue 5, p. 963-968