Life cycle assessment of a large water treatment plant in Turkey

  • Alaa Saad
  • Nilay Elginoz
  • Fatos Germirli BabunaEmail author
  • Gulen Iskender
Environmental management, engineering, planning and economics


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 1 m3 water ready to be distributed to the city. The plant serves about 2,600,000 people generating a maximum potable water flow rate of 400,000 m3/day. In the facility, 0.57 kWh of electricity is required to obtain 1 m3 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.


Water treatment Environmental impacts Life cycle assessment Operation Sustainability 



The authors wish to thank the staffs of Buyukcekmece Water Treatment Plant (located in Istanbul, Turkey) for their cooperation and would like to express deep appreciation to Chief Technical Advisor Mr. Cengiz Ileten for sharing his valuable knowledge.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental EngineeringIstanbul Technical UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringIstanbul Technical UniversityIstanbulTurkey

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