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[en] Phosphorus (P) is an essential resource for agriculture and also a pollutant capable of causing eutrophication. The possibility of a future P scarcity and the requirement to improve the environment quality necessitate P management to increase the efficiency of P use. This study applied a substance flow analysis (SFA) to implement a P management procedure in a crop production–consumption (PMCPC) system model. This model determined the life-cycle P use efficiency (PUE) of the crop production–consumption system in China during 1980–2012. The system includes six subsystems: fertilizer manufacturing, crop cultivation, crop processing, livestock breeding, rural consumption, and urban consumption. Based on this model, the P flows and PUEs of the subsystems were identified and quantified using data from official statistical databases, published literature, questionnaires, and interviews. The results showed that the total PUE of the crop production–consumption system in China was low, notably from 1980 to 2005, and increased from 7.23% in 1980 to 20.13% in 2012. Except for fertilizer manufacturing, the PUEs of the six subsystems were also low. The PUEs in the urban consumption subsystem and the crop cultivation subsystem were less than 40%. The PUEs of other subsystems, such as the rural consumption subsystem and the livestock breeding subsystem, were also low and even decreased during these years. Measures aimed to improve P management practices in China have been proposed such as balancing fertilization, disposing livestock excrement, adjusting livestock feed, changing the diet of residents, and raising the waste disposal level, etc. This study also discussed several limitations related with the model and data. Conducting additional related studies on other regions and combining the analysis of risks with opportunities may be necessary to develop effective management strategies. - Highlights: • A model of P management of the crop production–consumption system was established. • P use efficiencies of the system in China during 1980-2012 were analyzed. • The rate of increase in PUE was low, ranging from 7.23% in 1980 to 20.13% in 2012. • PUEs in the subsystems of urban consumption and crop planting were less than 40%. • Measures aimed to improve P management practices in China have been proposed
[en] Radiological doses to terrestrial wildlife were examined in this model inter-comparison study that emphasised factors causing variability in dose estimation. The study participants used varying modelling approaches and information sources to estimate dose rates and tissue concentrations for a range of biota types exposed to soil contamination at a shallow radionuclide waste burial site in Australia. Results indicated that the dominant factor causing variation in dose rate estimates (up to three orders of magnitude on mean total dose rates) was the soil-to-organism transfer of radionuclides that included variation in transfer parameter values as well as transfer calculation methods. Additional variation was associated with other modelling factors including: how participants conceptualised and modelled the exposure configurations (two orders of magnitude); which progeny to include with the parent radionuclide (typically less than one order of magnitude); and dose calculation parameters, including radiation weighting factors and dose conversion coefficients (typically less than one order of magnitude). Probabilistic approaches to model parameterisation were used to encompass and describe variable model parameters and outcomes. The study confirms the need for continued evaluation of the underlying mechanisms governing soil-to-organism transfer of radionuclides to improve estimation of dose rates to terrestrial wildlife. The exposure pathways and configurations available in most current codes are limited when considering instances where organisms access subsurface contamination through rooting, burrowing, or using different localised waste areas as part of their habitual routines. - Highlights: ► Assessment of modelled dose rates to terrestrial biota from radionuclides. ► The substantial variation among current approaches is quantifiable. ► The dominant variable was soil-to-organism transfer. ► Variation also from exposure configuration, progeny, and dose parameters ► Current models have recently improved capability, but still lacking in applied scope.
[en] The widely spread rural unsanitary landfills in South China pose an environmental threat to water bodies and soil. Although various processing technologies have been utilized for treatment of landfill leachate, their application to the landfills in rural areas is restricted by the availability of skilled professionals and high operation costs. In this experiment, four MSLs with altered soil mixed block (SMB) and different hydraulic load rate (HLR) were applied in the experiment to investigate the treatment of the landfill leachate without aeration or under low aeration supply. The experiment results showed that the improved MSL could effectively treat the chemical oxygen demand (COD), NH4–N and P. COD and NH4–N removal efficiencies of MSL were 97.4%, 82.4% and 72.0%, 62.0%, respectively under HLRs of 200 and 400 L/(m2·d) without aeration; COD and NH4–N removal efficiencies of M800 and M1600 were 62.3%, 53.4% and 45.3%, 35.3% respectively under intermittent aeration. N removal efficiency was low due to a strong nitrification effect, and the nitrogen removal capacity of the MSL was greatly reduced at the end of the experiment. P removal efficiency of MSL was 75.6 to 91.9% under HLR 200 and 400 L/(m2·d). The intermittent aeration was helpful to remove the clogging of MSLs, after they were clogged under HLRs of 800 and 1600 L/(m2·d). MSL is promising as an appealing nitrifying biofilm reactor. - Highlights: ► Modified MSL could treat leachate from rural unsanitary landfills in South China. ► Intermittent aeration was helpful to remove the clogging of MSLs. ► MSL is a promising nitrifying biofilter.
[en] Identifying and evaluating the factors that might impact on the long-term integrity of a deep Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) and its surrounding geological and surface environment is central to developing a safety case for underground disposal of radioactive waste. The geological environment should be relatively stable and its behaviour adequately predictable so that scientifically sound evaluations of the long-term radiological safety of a GDF can be made. In considering this, it is necessary to take into account natural processes that could affect a GDF or modify its geological environment up to 1 million years into the future. Key processes considered in this paper include those which result from plate tectonics, such as seismicity and volcanism, as well as climate-related processes, such as erosion, uplift and the effects of glaciation. Understanding the inherent variability of process rates, critical thresholds and likely potential influence of unpredictable perturbations represent significant challenges to predicting the natural environment. From a plate-tectonic perspective, a one million year time frame represents a very short segment of geological time and is largely below the current resolution of observation of past processes. Similarly, predicting climate system evolution on such time-scales, particularly beyond 200 ka AP is highly uncertain, relying on estimating the extremes within which climate and related processes may vary with reasonable confidence. The paper highlights some of the challenges facing a deep geological disposal program in the UK to review understanding of the natural changes that may affect siting and design of a GDF. - Highlights: • Natural processes are key to developing a safety case for geological disposal. • Key factors include plate tectonic and climate-mediated processes. • Process variability is a challenge to predicting the natural environment. • We highlight the challenges for geological disposal programs using the example of the UK.
[en] The traditional life cycle assessment (LCA) does not perform quantitative uncertainty analysis. However, without characterizing the associated uncertainty, the reliability of assessment results cannot be understood or ascertained. In this study, the Bayesian method, in combination with the Monte Carlo technique, is used to quantify and update the uncertainty in LCA results. A case study of applying the method to comparison of alternative waste treatment options in terms of global warming potential due to greenhouse gas emissions is presented. In the case study, the prior distributions of the parameters used for estimating emission inventory and environmental impact in LCA were based on the expert judgment from the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) guideline and were subsequently updated using the likelihood distributions resulting from both national statistic and site-specific data. The posterior uncertainty distribution of the LCA results was generated using Monte Carlo simulations with posterior parameter probability distributions. The results indicated that the incorporation of quantitative uncertainty analysis into LCA revealed more information than the deterministic LCA method, and the resulting decision may thus be different. In addition, in combination with the Monte Carlo simulation, calculations of correlation coefficients facilitated the identification of important parameters that had major influence to LCA results. Finally, by using national statistic data and site-specific information to update the prior uncertainty distribution, the resultant uncertainty associated with the LCA results could be reduced. A better informed decision can therefore be made based on the clearer and more complete comparison of options
[en] An evidence-based methodology was adopted in this research to establish strategies to increase lead recovery and recycling via a systematic review and critical appraisal of the published literature. In particular, the research examines pollution prevention and waste minimization practices and technologies that meet the following criteria: (a) reduce/recover/recycle the largest quantities of lead currently being disposed of as waste, (b) technically and economically viable, that is, ready to be diffused and easily transferable, and (c) strong industry interest (i.e., industry would consider implementing projects with higher payback periods). The following specific aims are designed to achieve the study objectives: Aim 1 - To describe the recycling process of recovering refined lead from scrap; Aim 2 - To document pollution prevention and waste management technologies and practices adopted by US stakeholders along the trajectory of LAB and lead product life cycle; Aim 3 - To explore improved practices and technologies which are employed by other organizations with an emphasis on the aforementioned criteria; Aim 4 - To demonstrate the economic and environmental costs and benefits of applying improved technologies and practices to existing US smelting operations; and Aim 5 - To evaluate improved environmental technologies and practices using an algorithm that integrates quantitative and qualitative criteria. The process of identifying relevant articles and reports was documented. The description of evidence was presented for current practices and technologies used by US smelters as well as improved practices and technologies. Options for integrated environmental solutions for secondary smelters were introduced and rank ordered on the basis of costs (i.e., capital investment) and benefits (i.e., production increases, energy and flux savings, and reduction of SO2 and slag). An example was provided to demonstrate the utility of the algorithm by detailing the costs and benefits associated with different combinations of practices and technologies. The evidence-based methodology documented in this research reveals that it is technically and economically feasible to implement integrated environmental solutions to increase lead recovery and recycling among US smelters. The working example presented in this research can be confirmed with US stakeholders and form the basis for implementable solutions in the lead smelter and product industries to help reverse the overall trend of declining life-cycle recycling rates.
[en] Cyanobacteria and their metabolites are an issue for water authorities; however, little is known as to the fate of coagulated cyanobacterial-laden sludge during waste management processes in water treatment plants (WTPs). This paper provides information on the cell integrity of Anabaena circinalis and Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii during: laboratory-scale coagulation/sedimentation processes; direct filtration and backwashing procedures; and cyanobacterial-laden sludge management practices. In addition, the metabolites produced by A. circinalis (geosmin and saxitoxins) and C. raciborskii (cylindrospermopsin) were investigated with respect to their release (and possible degradation) during each of the studied processes. Where sedimentation was used, coagulation effectively removed cyanobacteria (and intracellular metabolites) without any considerable exertion on coagulant demand. During direct filtration experiments, cyanobacteria released intracellular metabolites through a stagnation period, suggesting that more frequent backwashing of filters may be required to prevent floc build-up and metabolite release. Cyanobacteria appeared to be protected within the flocs, with minimal damage during backwashing of the filters. Within coagulant sludge, cyanobacteria released intracellular metabolites into the supernatant after 3 d, even though cells remained viable up to 7 d. This work has improved the understanding of cyanobacterial metabolite risks associated with management of backwash water and sludge and is likely to facilitate improvements at WTPs, including increased monitoring and the application of treatment strategies and operational practices, with respect to cyanobacterial-laden sludge and/or supernatant recycle management. - Highlights: ► Coagulation removed cyanobacteria without an additional exertion on coagulant demand. ► During a stagnation period in direct filtration intracellular metabolites were released. ► Cyanobacterial cells were not damaged during backwashing of the filters. ► In coagulant sludge, cyanobacteria released intracellular metabolites into the supernatant.
[en] The dredged sediments of polluted seaports now raise complex management problems since it is no longer possible to discharge them into the sea. This results in the need to manage them on land, raising other types of technical, economic and environmental problems. Regarding the technical and economic dimensions, traditional waste treatment methods have proved to be poorly adapted, due to very high costs and low absorbable volumes. In this context, filling quarries in coastal areas with treated sediments could represent an interesting alternative for these materials. Nevertheless, for the environmental dimension, it is necessary to demonstrate that this possibility is harmless to inland ecosystems. Consequently, a specific ecotoxicological risk assessment methodology has been formulated and tested on three sediments taken from seaboards of France, in view to providing an operational and usable tool for the prior validation of any operation to fill quarries with treated seaport sediments. This method incorporates the formulation of a global conceptual model of the scenario studied and the definition of protocols for each of its steps: the characterisation of exposures (based on a simulation of sediment deposit), the characterisation of effects (via the study of sediments ecotoxicity), and the final ecotoxicological risk assessment performed as a calculation of a risk quotient. It includes the implementation in parallel of two types of complementary approach: the “substances” approach derived from the European methodology for assessing new substances placed on the market, and the “matrix” approach which is similar to methods developed in France to assess ecological risks in other domains (waste management, polluted site management, …). The application of this dual approach to the three sediments tested led to conclude with reliability that the project to deposit sediments “1” and “2” presented a low risk for the peripheral aquatic ecosystems while sediment “3” presented a high risk. - Highlights: ► Filling quarries with dredged seaport sediments represents an interesting alternative for these materials. ► A specific ecotoxicological risk assessment methodology has been formulated in order to validate this potential solution. ► This methodology has been tested on 3 sediments. ► The study concludes that the landfilling of sediments '1' and '2' presents a low risk for the aquatic ecosystems. ► At the opposite, sediment '3' presents a high ecotoxicological risk.
[en] Landfill, a matured and economically appealing technology, is the ultimate approach for the management of municipal solid wastes. However, the inevitable generation of leachate from landfill requires further treatment. Among the various leachate treatment technologies available, advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) are among powerful methods to deal with the refractory organic constituents, and the Fenton reagent has evolved as one promising AOPs for the treatment of leachates. Particularly, the combination of UV-radiation with Fenton's reagent has been reported to be a method that allows both the photo-regeneration of Fe2+ and photo-decarboxylation of ferric carboxylates. In this study, Fenton and photo-Fenton processes were fine tuned for the treatment of leachates from the Colmenar Viejo (Madrid, Spain) Landfill. Results showed that it is possible to define a set of conditions under which the same COD and TOC removals (approx 70%) could be achieved with both the conventional and photo-Fenton processes. But Fenton process generated an important quantity of iron sludge, which will require further disposal, when performed under optimal COD removal conditions. Furthermore conventional Fenton process was able to achieve slightly over an 80% COD removal from a 'young' leachate, while for 'old' and 'mixed' leachates was close to a 70%. The main advantage showed by the photo-assisted Fenton treatment of landfill leachate was that it consumed 32 times less iron and produced 25 times less sludge volume yielding the same COD removal results than a conventional Fenton treatment.
[en] This paper describes the development and application of a multi-channel monitoring system for recording, processing, and analyzing volatile organic compound (VOC) levels discharged to the atmosphere from a walk-in hood in a hazardous waste management facility. The monitoring system consists of an array of PID (photo ionization detector) sensors and a networked control program that provides operational schematic diagram, performs data analyses, and illustrates real-time graphical displays. Furthermore, the system records potential worker exposures, exhaust filtration efficiency and environmental release levels. Multi-channel continuous monitoring of VOCs is successfully implemented during chemical bulking operations. It is shown that a real-time monitoring system is effective for early warning detection of hazardous chemicals and for predicting the performance of adsorption filters used for VOC removal. In addition, a connected local weather visualization system supports efforts to minimize potential health and environmental impacts of VOC emissions to surrounding areas