Risk assessment methods for water resource recovery for the production of bio-composite materials

Literature review and future research directions

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Bio-composite materials made from resources recovered from the water cycle are the future of the holistic approach towards sustainable wastewater treatment. The raw ingredients for these materials are coming from contaminated sources such as wastewater resources, water plants from surface water etc.. Thus, different risks like human health, environmental and product quality risks need to be assessed. Existing literature was analysed regarding these risks, especially methods concerning the risk assessment in wastewater and drinking water treatment and water/wastewater-based resource recovery for reuse. The reviewed literature identified several risk assessment methods such as FMEA, FMECA, FTA, QMRA and QCRA as frequently used ones for these purposes. However, no dedicated methods were identified for the corresponding risk assessments related to bio-composite materials representing key knowledge gaps. The literature review also showed that the above identified risk assessment methods cannot be directly applied for bio-composite materials as many required input data are missing. To overcome above gaps, future research directions have been identified. These include use of qualitative risk assessment methods such as HAZOP and ETA to first identify hazards and map the risks. Once this is done, QMRA and QCRA could be used in combination with Monte Carlo analysis to assess the actual risks. However, before this can be done, additional work should be carried out to collect the missing data required for the use of these methods in the context of bio-composite materials. In addition, additional experimental work such as column leaching tests should be carried out to assess the environmental risks, in particular, looking at the release of toxic chemical compounds such as heavy metals in the aquatic environment. Finally, a list of quality requirements for bio-composite material and related products (e.g. requirements for mechanical properties, purity of raw materials, etc.) should be made, so that the related product quality risks can be assessed.