Data Collection

Assessment teams should not collect exhaustive documentation, most of which is marginally useful. Material balances and process diagrams are minimum requirements, but many assessments require little more than that.

For each assessment, some combination of the following information is useful during the assessment phase:

• Operating procedures

• Waste concentrations within streams

• Raw materials and finished product specifications

• Information about laboratory experiments or plant trials.

The project team may want to obtain or generate a material balance before the area inspection. The material balance is the most useful piece of documentation. In most cases, having sufficient data to compile a material balance is all that is required for an assessment. Table 3.2.1 lists the potential sources of material balance information.

Energy balances are not considered useful because of their bias in the waste stream selection. Energy consumption is rated low as a criterion for selecting streams, and few of the options generated during an assessment have a significant impact on energy consumption. However, energy costs are included in the calculations for economic feasibility. Similarly, water balances are not considered useful, but water costs are included in the calculations for economic feasibility.

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