Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2011SD195B

Life Cycle Assessment Analysis of Engineered Stormwater Control Methods Common to South Dakota

Institute: South Dakota
Year Established: 2011 Start Date: 2011-03-01 End Date: 2012-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $19,730 Total Non-Federal Funds: $39,460

Principal Investigators: Molly Gribb, Jennifer Benning, James Stone

Abstract: This research will focus on the development of a life cycle assessment (LCA) model for evaluating the design, construction, and performance of engineered (active and passive) stormwater control measures (SCMs), otherwise known best management practices or BMPs, commonly considered or utilized by South Dakota municipalities and environmental consultants. Deployment of engineered SCMs are typically required to meet Clean Water Act and EPA Phase II Stormwater Permit Rules criteria, however selection criteria generally focus on construction and operations costs and treatment criteria (e.g., NPDES permit requirements), with little consideration towards LCA-determined environmental burdens associated with BMP selection. LCA provides a holistic view of the environmental impacts associated with a product or process from a cradle to grave perspective following international standards developed by the International Organization for Standardization, ISO (e.g., ISO 14040:2006 and ISO 14044:2006). Mandates requiring LCA evaluations are becoming increasingly common within state governments and industries for the promotion of sustainability (e.g., see Oregon DEQ LCA mandates for building materials at http://www.deq.state.or.us/lq/sw/wasteprevention/wpstrategyupdates.htm). SCMs are control measures used to prevent the permittees stormwater discharges from degrading local waterbodies. The consideration of these applied measures - that is, their effectiveness in meeting treatment goals, their cost, and how they are coordinated with one another - often does not include a review of their environmental LCA impacts. SCMs are a vital part of managing flooding and drainage problems for South Dakota municipalities, and they emphasize the removal of pollutants from stormwater (e.g., heavy metals, biological contaminants) and/or provide groundwater recharge. SCM practices include both structural or engineered devices as well as nonstructural measures such as land-use planning, site design, land conservation, education, and stewardship practices. For this project, we will investigate various structural or engineered SCMs applicable to South Dakota, including: peak reduction and runoff treatment (e.g., stormwater wetlands, dry/wet ponds); runoff treatment (e.g., sand filters and other manufactured devices); vegetated runoff volume reduction (e.g., bioretention and bioinfiltration); and subsurface runoff volume reduction (e.g., infiltration trenches, pervious pavements). The research team assembled has extensive experience in developing LCA models for agricultural practices and products for South Dakota. In particular, Dr. Stones research group has used LCA modeling software SimaPro (www.pre.nl/simapro/; PRonsultants, Netherlands) in collaboration with researchers from SDSU Plant Sciences (David Clay, Sharon Clay) and Animal Sciences (Robert Thaler, Chris Hostetler) to develop comprehensive LCA models for South Dakota pork production (Stone et al, 2010 a,b). We propose using similar LCA modeling methodology for these investigations that will include: establishing an appropriate LCA functional unit as basis of SCM comparison (e.g., treatment of defined volume of stormwater meeting NPDES discharge criteria); defining system boundaries for each scenario; and performing a detailed inventory analysis for construction methods and materials, operations and maintenance, and waste disposal scenarios. The LCA environmental burdens determined for each SCM will include climate change (primarily CO2 emissions), terrestrial acidification, freshwater and marine eutrophication, and terrestrial ecotoxicity using ReCiPe 2008, an European Union (EU) based assessment methodology that combines the strengths of previous midpoint (e.g., CML 2000) and endpoint (Eco-indicator 99) assessment approaches. The objectives of this research are to: 1. Develop life cycle assessment (LCA) models for evaluating the design, construction, and performance of engineered (active and passive) SCMs commonly considered and utilized by South Dakota municipalities and environmental consultants; 2. Create evaluation matrices for SCMs that will address treatment effectiveness, economic costs, and LCA environmental burdens; 3. Provide one year of continuous funding for one SDSM&T MS CEE graduate student to complete this research as part of an MS thesis, leading to a publication in a leading LCA peer-reviewed journal. 4. Disseminate research findings to South Dakota governmental agencies, municipalities, and consulting firms through oral conference presentations (e.g., annual ESDWC and WSDHC conferences) and research web-sites. References: Stone, J.J., Aurand, K., Dollarhide, C., Jinka, R., Thaler, R., Clay, D., Clay, S. Determination of environmental impacts of antimicrobial usage for Northern Great Plains U.S. swine production facilities: a life cycle assessment approach. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment. In press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11367-010-0241-y Stone, J.J., Dollarhide, C., Jinka, R., Aurand, K., Thaler, R., Hostetler, C., Clay, D., 2010. Life cycle assessment of a modern Northern Great Plains U.S. swine production facility. Environmental Engineering Science. 27(12): 1009-1018. http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/ees.2010.0051