This study analyzed greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) that uses a combination of physical, chemical, and biological processes and estimated the emissions generated from treatment of oil-rich wastewater from a locomotive repair factory in China. The WWTP produces 526.8 t CO2-equivalent/a corresponding to 4.3 t CO2-equivalent/t oil removed. The combustion of fossil fuels for onsite energy generation is the major source of GHG, accounting for 79.7% of overall emissions. Use of chemicals for metal cleaning, flocculation, and pH control accounts for 13.4% emissions; anaerobic digestion accounts for 3.8% emissions; and the transport of solid waste and subsequent generation of landfill biogas account for 3.1% emissions. Theoretical analysis of various process design alternatives demonstrated that the recovery of biogas produced during anaerobic sludge digestion and its use as fuel reduces the emissions of GHG by 93.9 t CO2-equivalent/a, which is 15.1% of the overall emissions of the treatment plant. The use of aerobic digestion instead of anaerobic digestion in this plant did not significantly effect GHG emissions. Using anaerobic digestion for sludge treatment and releasing the generated CH4 into the atmosphere without further flaring or recovery increased GHG emissions the greatest. The reuse of waste oil and proper management of solid waste are recommended as effective ways of reducing GHG emissions.

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