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Assessing the Energetic and Environmental Impacts of the Operation and Maintenance of Spanish Sewer Networks from a Life-Cycle Perspective

2015 / Petit-Boix, A., Sanjuan-Delmás, D., Chenel, S., Marín, D., Gasol, C.M, Farreny, R., Villalba, G., Suárez-Ojeda, M.E, Gabarrell, X., Josa, A., Rieradevall, J.

Water Resources Management 5 March 2015, 17p, ISSN: 09204741, DOI: 10.1007/s11269-015-0958-2

The environmental impacts resulting from sewer networks are best analysed from a life-cycle perspective to integrate the energy requirements into the infrastructure design. The energy requirements for pumping wastewater depend on the configuration of the city (e.g., climate, population, length of the sewer, topography, etc.). This study analyses and models the effect of such site-specific features on energy consumption and related effects in a sample of Spanish cities. The results show that the average annual energy used by sewers (6.4 kWh/capita and 0.014 kWh/m3 of water flow) must not be underestimated because they may require up to 50 % of the electricity needs of a typical treatment plant in terms of consumption per capita. In terms of Global Warming Potential, pumping results in an average of 2.3 kg CO2eq./capita. A significant positive relationship was demonstrated between the kWh consumed and the length of the sewer and between other factors such as the population and wastewater production. In addition, Atlantic cities can consume 5 times as much energy as Mediterranean or Subtropical regions. A similar trend was shown in coastal cities. Finally, a simple predictive model of the electricity consumption was presented that considers the analysed parameters. © 2015 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht Author keywords City; Energy; LCA; Operation; Sewer Indexed keywords Engineering controlled terms: Carbon dioxide; Energy utilization; Environmental design; Flow of water; Global warming; Life cycle; Sewers City; Electricity-consumption; Energy; Global warming potential; LCA; Life cycle perspectives; Operation; Operation and maintenance Engineering main heading: Environmental impact