Abstract

Currently, there is a worldwide trend towards reducing emissions into the environment generated by human activities. Pollutant emissions into the atmosphere are a major measure of the impact on environment. The construction industry is a major producer of such emissions due in part to the magnitude of operations and the vast array of equipment. Increased urbanization has resulted in a need for the installation of an expanded underground network of infrastructure that includes gas, water, wastewater, pipelines, power, and communications systems. Today, engineers are faced with engaging the construction option that not only provides the best cost advantage, but also considers environmental sensitivities to create the most sustainable solution. Reduction of pollutants such as carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxide (NOX), total organic compounds (TOC), and sulfur oxide (SOX) have been identified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as critical to sustainable development. This paper describes an approach for quantifying airborne emissions that is demonstrated through a comparison of two construction methods for installing a wastewater line. It was discovered that the option involving a traditional open cut method resulted in an overall average of about 80% greater emissions compared to trenchless pipe replacement. The findings of this paper should assist the utility construction industry in technology selection to minimize environmental impacts.

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