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Integrated water quality, emergy and economic evaluation of three bioremediation treatment systems for eutrophic water
Lu, H., Y. Yuan, Daniel E. Campbell, P. Qin, AND L. Cui. Integrated water quality, emergy and economic evaluation of three bioremediation treatment systems for eutrophic water. ECOLOGICAL ENGINEERING. Elsevier Science Ltd, New York, NY, 69:244-254, (2014).
This study was targeted at ﬁnding one or more environmentally efficient, economically feasible and ecologically sustainable bioremediation treatment modes for eutrophic water. The methods section included a reformulation of the Environmental Loading Ratio (ELR) to include the emergy of those factors that enhance processing capacity in the denominator and those factors that add to loading in the numerator, regardless of their origin as purchased or free inputs. This change may prove to be a significant innovation in the future.
This study was targeted at ﬁnding one or more environmentally efficient, economically feasible and ecologically sustainable bioremediation treatment modes for eutrophic water. Three biological species, i.e. water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica), loach (Misgurus anguillicaudatus) and a pseudomonad (Rhodopseu- domonas palustris), were combined in different ways: (A) water spinach–loach–pseudomonad; (B) water spinach–loach; (C) water spinach–pseudomonad, to construct three ecological engineering systems tar- geted at removing nutrients from the eutrophic water of Taihu Lake, PR China. An integrated water quality, emergy and economic evaluation of the three treatment systems was performed based on the observed changes in biomass, water quality, and other natural and economic inputs and outputs. The three ecologi- cal engineering treatment systems showed a different order of efﬁciency in removing nutrients (treatment A > B > C), produced different environmental loadings at the foreground (treatment B > C > A), background (treatment C = A > B) and whole system scales (treatment C > A > B), and had different economic feasibility (treatment B > A > C). Finally, after taking all direct and indirect environmental and economic impacts into account, treatment A was found to be the best choice at the foreground scale, followed by treatment C and then B, while at the background and whole system scales, treatment B was the best option followed by A and C. In this analysis, emergy evaluation was found to be an ideal ecological integration tool for quantify- ing both the environmental and economic characteristics of ecological engineering systems and processes at multiple scales, including pollution treatment systems. The complex results of this study obtained by considering water treatment efﬁciency, emergy indices of sustainability and loading on multiple scales besides economic output/input analysis can inform decision-makers about trade-offs that confront them in the management of eutrophic waters.