Life cycle assessment of a large water treatment plant in Turkey

Saad A., Elginöz Kanat N., Babuna F. F., Iskender G.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND POLLUTION RESEARCH, vol.26, no.15, pp.14823-14834, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 26 Issue: 15
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11356-018-3826-9
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.14823-14834
  • Keywords: Water treatment, Environmental impacts, Life cycle assessment, Operation, Sustainability, ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT, PERFORMANCE, ELECTRICITY, DESIGN, TOOL, LCA
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The objective of this study is to assess the environmental sustainability of a large water treatment plant through life cycle assessment (LCA) approach. This study is a pioneering one that explores the environmental impacts of a water treatment plant in Turkey by using the data collected from an actual plant. Decision makers of the treatment plant under investigation, operators of similar installations, and the scientific researchers that work on LCA of water treatment facilities are defined as the target audience. GaBi software is used for the LCA model, and CML 2001 method is adopted to calculate the results given per 1m(3) water ready to be distributed to the city. The plant serves about 2,600,000 people generating a maximum potable water flow rate of 400,000m(3)/day. In the facility, 0.57kWh of electricity is required to obtain 1m(3) of water. Of this total electricity consumption, 85% is allocated to inlet and outlet pumping stations. The results denote that the environmental impacts are dominated by electricity consumption that in turn depends on the energy source/s adopted. Sensitivity analysis on energy sources reveals the following outcomes: In case of using hard coal as energy source rather than grid mix, impacts are increased apart from freshwater aquatic ecotoxicity potential, ozone layer depletion potential, and abiotic depletion potential elements. Once solar panels are used instead of grid mix, values for all impact categories except abiotic depletion potential elements and human toxicity potential are lowered. The usage of wind turbines in place of grid mix results in 29 to 84% reductions in all investigated impact categories. The best option to decrease the environmental impacts is attained when energy is generated using wind turbines. As pumps having 90% efficiency replace the pumps with 60% efficiency, reductions ranging from 15 to 24% on all impact categories are obtained. The work performed for this study should be further pursued to obtain more representative inventory data for countries with scarce LCA studies.