Joint environmental and economical analysis of wastewater treatment plants control strategies: A benchmark scenario analysis

Montse Meneses, Henry Concepción, Ramon Vilanova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 by the authors. In this paper, a joint environmental and economic analysis of different Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) control strategies is carried out. The assessment is based on the application of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as a method to evaluate the environmental impact and the Benchmark Simulation Model No. 1 (BSM1). The BSM1 is taken as the benchmark scenario used to implement the control strategies. The Effluent Quality Index (EQI) and the Overall Cost Index (OCI) are two indicators provided by BSM1 and used to evaluate the plant's performance from the effluent quality and the economic points of view, respectively. This work conducts a combined analysis and assessment of ten different control strategies defined to operate a wastewater treatment plant. This analysis includes the usual economic and performance indexes provided by BSM1 joined with the LCA analysis that determines the environmental impact linked to each one of the considered control strategies. It is shown how to get an overall evaluation of the environmental effects by using a normalized graphical representation that can be easily used to compare control strategies from the environmental impact point of view. The use of only the BSM1 indexes provides an assessment that leads to a clustering of control strategies according to the cost/quality tradeoff they show. Therefore, regarding the cost/quality tradeoff, all strategies in the same group are almost equal and do not provide an indication on how to proceed in order to select the appropriate one. It is therefore shown how the fact of adding a new, complementary, evaluation (LCA based) allows either to reinforce a decision that could be taken solely on the basis of the EQI/OCI tradeoff or to select one control strategy among the others.
Original languageEnglish
Article number360
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Benchmarking
  • Control strategies
  • Decision making
  • Environmental impact
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Wastewater treatment


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