Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

Qiong Zhang, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sarina Ergas, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Treavor Boyer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Elizabeth Strom, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Babu Joseph, Ph.D.


life cycle assessment, life cycle cost analysis, drinking water, potable water systems


This research investigated using a life cycle environmental and economic approach to evaluate IX technology for small potable water systems, allowing for the identification and development of process and design improvements that reduce environmental impacts and costs. The main goals were to evaluate conventional IX in terms of life cycle environmental and economic sustainability, develop a method for improving designs of IX systems from a environmental and economic sustainability standpoint, evaluate potential design improvements, and make the research findings accessible to water professionals through user-friendly tools and frameworks that take into account their feedback. This research provides an understanding, from the perspective of life cycle environmental impacts and costs, of the tradeoffs between various reactor designs of IX, the effects of scale, key contributors to impact and cost, design trends that improve sustainability, and how combined cation anion exchange compares to conventional IX. Furthermore, tools were developed that can be used to identify design choices that improve sustainability of IX systems. These tools were made into a user-friendly format to better bridge the gap between research and practice.