WIT Press

The Environmental Impact Of A Municipal Solid Waste Incinerator: 15 Years Of Monitoring


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E. Venturini, I. Vassura, F. Passarini, E. Bernardi, L. Ciacci, L. Ferroni & L. Morselli


A Municipal Solid Waste Incinerator located in Rimini province (Italy) has been monitored for 15 years in order to assess its environmental impact. An integrated environmental monitoring system was designed and implemented over the years. Furthermore, the impact assessment was supported by other tools, such as life cycle analysis (LCA) and risk assessment. In order to fulfil new rules, over the years, the plant underwent several revamping processes. The environmental monitoring was activated in 1997 an involved the analysis of several matrices: soil, atmospheric deposition, vegetation and particulate airborne matter. Based on the obtained results, the monitoring evolved and the sampling sites, analites, matrices and/or sampling techniques were modified. LCA application to the plant was carried out both to investigate the contribution of the incinerator to different environmental categories and to evaluate the effect of the revamping process on plant impacts. In order to assess health effects connected to plant activity, risk assessment applied to air emissions was evaluated for the period 1997–2006. All the study results show that incineration plant emissions do not appreciably affect the contaminant load in the study area. Source apportionment techniques demonstrated that the main sources in the study area are vehicular traffic and regional contribution. LCA indicates quantitatively the lower environmental impact resulting from structural upgrade operations. Risk