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Accueil du site → Doctorat → Afrique du Sud → 2003 → The development of a method for the inclusion of salinity effects into environmental life cycle assessments.

University of KwaZulu-Natal (2003)

The development of a method for the inclusion of salinity effects into environmental life cycle assessments.

Leske, Anthony

Titre : The development of a method for the inclusion of salinity effects into environmental life cycle assessments.

Auteur : Leske, Anthony.

Université de soutenance : University of KwaZulu-Natal

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2003

Résumé
The work presented in this thesis stemmed out of the apparent lack of a method for incorporating salinity effects into environmental life cycle assessments. Salination of the water resources is a well-known problem in South Africa, and is of strategic concern. Any environmental decision support. tool that does not allow the evaluation of salinity effects therefore has limited applicability in the South African context. The starting-point for the work presented in this thesis was to evaluate existing impact categories, and the characterisation models used to calculate equivalency factors for these impact categories, in an attempt to incorporate salinity effects into existing categories and/or characterisation models. The types of effects that elevated (above normal background levels) dissolved salt concentrations have on the natural and man-made environment were evaluated, and it was concluded that, although there was some overlap with existing impact categories, some of the salinity effects could not be described by existing impact categories. It was also concluded that there are clear and quantifiable causal relationships between releases to the environment and salinity effects. A separate salinity impact category was therefore recommended that includes all salinity effects, including ; aquatic ecotoxicity effects, damage to man-made environment, loss of agricultural production (livestock and crops), aesthetic effects and effects to terrestrial fauna and flora. Damage to the man-made environment is evaluated in terms of effects on equipment and structures, interference with processes, product quality and complexity of waste treatment, and is used as an indicator for the environmental consequences derived from the caused additional activity in the man-made environment. Once a conceptual model for a separate salinity impact category had been formulated, existing characterisation models were evaluated to determine their applicability for modelling salinity effects. Salination is a global problem, but generally restricted to local or regional areas, and in order to characterise salinity effects, an environmental fate model would be required in order to estimate salt concentrations in the various compartments, particularly surface and subsurface water. A well-known environmental fate and effect model was evaluated to determine if it could be used either as is, or in modified form to calculate salinity potentiaIs for LCA. It was however concluded that the model is not suitable for the calculation of salinity potentials, and it was therefore decided to develop an environmental fate model that would overcome the limitations of existing model, in terms of modelling the movement of salts in the environment. In terms of spatial differentiation, the same approach that was adopted in the existing model was adopted in developing an environmental fate model for South African conditions.

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