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Mathematically formulated key performance indicators for design and evaluation of treatment trains for resource recovery from urban wastewater

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While urban wastewater infrastructure is aging and no longer adequate, climate change and sustainability are urging the transition from pollution management to resource recovery. Lacking evidence-based quantitative evaluation of the potential benefits and consequences of resource recovery from wastewater hinders the negotiation amongst stakeholders and slows down the transition. This study proposes mathematical formulations for technical, environmental, economic, and social key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be used to quantify the benefits and the risks of resource recovery. The proposed formulations are derived from the literature and validated with stakeholders. Each KPI is mathematically formulated at treatment train level by considering: (1) the characteristics of individual unit processes (UPs) in the treatment train (TT), (2) the context in which the TT is installed, and (3) the resources to be recovered. The mathematical formulations of the KPIs proposed in this study enable a transparent, consistent and informative evaluation of existing treatment trains, as well as support the (computer aided) design of new ones. This could aid the transition from urban wastewater treatment to resource recovery from urban wastewater.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111916
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Early online date16 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2021


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