Environmental improvement of lead refining: a case study of water footprint assessment in Jiangxi Province, China
- 52 Downloads
China is currently facing water scarcity due to its large national population and rapid economic development. Lead is a typical non-ferrous metal. The lead industry is one of the top 10 water-consuming industries in China and suffers from the heavy burden of properly managing discharged wastewater containing heavy metals and organic pollutants. Accordingly, a water footprint analysis of lead refining was conducted in this study to enhance the water management in China’s lead industry. This study is part 2 of the environmental improvement for lead-refining series.
In accordance with the ISO 14046 standard, life cycle assessment-based water footprint analysis was applied to a lead-refining enterprise in Jiangxi Province, China. Five midpoint (i.e., water scarcity, aquatic eutrophication, carcinogens, non-carcinogens, and freshwater ecotoxicity) and two endpoint (i.e., human health and ecosystem quality) indicators are utilized to assess the water footprint impact results.
Results and discussion
Direct pollutant emissions are a major contributor to ecosystem quality and freshwater ecotoxicity, whereas indirect processes (i.e., industrial hazardous waste landfill, transport, and chemicals) contribute considerably to human health, aquatic eutrophication, and carcinogen categories. Chromium, copper, arsenic, and zinc were the key substances in the lead production chain, and their emissions exerted a significant impact on human health and ecosystem quality.
Reducing direct copper emission was the most important key to minimizing ecosystem quality decline in China’s lead industry, and optimizing indirect processes was effective in mitigating the impact on human health. Enhancing wastewater treatment, increasing chemical consumption efficiency, optimizing transport and industrial hazardous waste disposal, improving supervision, issuing relevant governmental regulations, and adopting advanced wastewater treatment technologies are urgently needed to control the water footprint.
KeywordsDirect pollutant emission Lead refining Life cycle assessment Water footprint Water resource
We acknowledge financial support from the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2017YFF0206702; 2017YFF0211605), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 71671105), Major Basic Research Projects of the Shandong Natural Science Foundation (ZR2018ZC2362), and the Fundamental Research Funds of Shandong University, China (2018JC049).
- Boulay A, Motoshita M, Pfister S, Bulle C, Munoz I, Franceschini H, Margni M (2014) Analysis of water use impact assessment methods (part A): evaluation of modeling choices based on a quantitative comparison of scarcity and human health indicators. Int J Life Cycle Assess 20:139–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Boulay A, Bare J, Benini L, Berger M, Lathuillière M, Manzardo A, Margni M, Motoshita M, Núñez M, Pastor A, Ridoutt B, Oki T, Worbe S, Pfister S (2018) The WULCA consensus characterization model for water scarcity footprints: assessing impacts of water consumption based on available water remaining (AWARE). Int J Life Cycle Assess 23(2):368–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- CPLCID (2015) Chinese process-based life cycle inventory database. Available from: http://www.huanke.sdu.edu.cn/info/1024/3400.htm. Accessed 4 May 2018
- Ecoinvent Centre (2014) Swiss centre for life cycle inventories. Zurich, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar
- EPA (1989) Aluminum, copper, and nonferrous metals forming and metal powder pretreatment standards—a guidance manual. Environmental Protection Agency of United States, Washington, USAGoogle Scholar
- GET (2017) Gravitate engineering and technology. Available from: http://www.gravitatechnomech.com/Lead-Metal/usesofLead.html. Accessed 4 May 2018
- Huijbregts M, Hauschild M, Jolliet O, Margni M, McKone T, Rosenbaum RK, Meent D (2010) USEtox™ user manual v. 1.01. USEtox International Center, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
- ISO (2014) Environmental management—water footprint—principles, requirements and guidelines. International Organization for Standardization 14046, Geneva, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar
- MEPC (2009a) Cleaner production standard—lead smelting industry (HJ 512-2009). Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing, ChinaGoogle Scholar
- MEPC (2009b) Cleaner production standard—lead electro-refining industry (HJ 513-2009). Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing, ChinaGoogle Scholar
- MEPC (2010) Emission standard of pollutants for lead and zinc industry (GB 25466-2010). The Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing, ChinaGoogle Scholar
- MEPH (2011) Emission standard of pollutants for lead smelting industry. (DB 41/684-2011) Ministry of Environmental Protection of Henan province, Zhengzhou, ChinaGoogle Scholar
- NBSC (2008) China economic census yearbook. National Bureau of Statistics of the People's Republic of China, Beijing, ChinaGoogle Scholar
- NBSC (2015) China statistical yearbook of 2015. National Bureau of Statistics of the People's Republic of China, Beijing, ChinaGoogle Scholar
- NBSC (2016a) China environmental statistical yearbook of 2016. National Bureau of Statistics of the People's Republic of China Beijing, ChinaGoogle Scholar
- NBSC (2016b) China statistical yearbook of 2016. National Bureau of statistics of the People's Republic of China. Beijing, ChinaGoogle Scholar
- Plouffe G, Bulle C, Deschĕnes L (2012) Including metal speciation in LCA terrestrial ecotoxicity: new regionalised characterization factors. SETAC Europe 22nd Annual Meeting. In 6th SETAC World Congress, BerlinGoogle Scholar
- Statistic (2018a) Lead metal production from 2004 to 2016. Available from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/264872/world-production-of-lead-metal/. Accessed 4 May 2018
- Statistic (2018b) Lead metal production by country. Available from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/264632/lead-mine-production-by-country/. Accessed 4 May 2018
- The WULCA group (2017) The AWARE model (Available water remaining). Available from: http://www.wulca-waterlca.org. Accessed 4 May 2018
- WBG (2014) Renewable internal freshwater resources per capita. World Bank Group, Washington, USAGoogle Scholar
- Yearbook of nonferrous metals industry of China in 2015 (2016) Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, Beijing, ChinaGoogle Scholar