Process economics is the next step of a wastewater treatment and management design project after preliminary selections of wastewater treatment processes have been completed in accordance with the project objectives. The economical considerations of the wastewater treatment and management project, including aspects of material and energy recovery, are among the most important factors that influence the final decision of the project.
To develop meaningful cost estimates, the data from the wastewater characterization and other possible alternatives to the selected processes should be available. The cost estimates of the unit operations in waste-water treatment and management operations can be evaluated with the cost correlations developed by the EPA (1983). The cost correlations for alternative processes should also be gathered prior to the final estimation.
Capital costs usually refer to the process unit construction costs; the land costs; the costs of treatment equipment; financial costs in association with loan and services; costs of environmental impact or other community-imposed costs; and the costs of engineering, administration, and contingencies.
There are several important factors that determine the operational costs: energy costs, labor costs, materials and chemical costs, costs of transportation of treated sludge and treated wastewater, and discharge costs.
The relative importance of these costs is highly dependent on locality and the quality of the influent and effluent of the wastewater treatment plant.
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