Contribution to the evaluation of the environmental risks induced by the worn-water discharges of an Algerian tannery

Published date02 October 2017
Date02 October 2017
AuthorSaadia Saadi,Mebarek Djebabra,Wafa Boulagouas
Subject MatterPublic policy & environmental management,Environmental technology & innovation
Contribution to the evaluation of
the environmental risks induced
by the worn-water discharges
of an Algerian tannery
Saadia Saadi, Mebarek Djebabra and Wafa Boulagouas
Institute of Health and Safety, University of Batna, Batna, Algeria
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the environmental risks of the worn-water discharges of
an Algerian tannery.
Design/methodology/approach It consists of a proposal for a combined methods based on the
simultaneous use of the environmental structured analysis and design techniques and environmental failure
mode and effect analysis (EFMEA).
Findings In the contribution, the authors insist on the complementarity between these two methods to the
identification and measurement of the environmental parameters of an Algerian tannery. The identified
environmental impacts were prioritized on the environmental priority number combined with the
improvement possibility (F).
Research limitations/implications The contribution makes it possible to deduce the environmental
aspects and, consequently, to emphasize the contribution of the environmental risk assessment on the
environmental performance evaluation.
Practical implications The contribution constitutes an invaluable help to the implementation of
environmental performance evaluation process.
Originality/value The employing coupled structured analysis and technical design and EFMEA methods
have remarkably reduced the significance of the environmental impacts of an Algerian tannery.
Keywords Risk management, Assessment, Case study, Industrial wastewater
Paper type Technical paper
1. Introduction
Leather industry in Algeria is characterized not only by the high water consumption but
also by the important discharges that are significant in volume and carrying very high
pollutant loads. Indeed, the tanneriesdischarges are more polluted. They contain protein
colloids, greases, tannins, debris of flesh and hair, dyes as well as toxic elements such as
chromium and sulfides (Kowalski, 1994; Song et al., 2000; Khan, 2001; Azom et al., 2012).
These very polluting discharges give rise to unpleasant smells that impede all the
aquatic life in the receiving environment that generally is the fluvial ecosystem (Ros and
Ganter, 1998; Burbridge et al., 2012).
To deal with this environmental problem, caused by the tanneries, several studies have
been conducted on this subject from different points of view: chemical pollution (Arslan, 2009;
Lofrano et al., 2013), waste pollution (Hu et al., 2011), dischargestoxicity(Shakir et al., 2012), etc.
These studies, which are concerned with evaluating the potential impacts of the tannery
wastewater discharges, have evolved over time from a hazard identification inherent to
the intrinsic property of a pollutant discharge to the risk evaluation that combines data
on the severity, the frequency and the exposure duration (Archeti and Salvador, 2000; Tigini
et al., 2011). In this context, the US Environmental Protection Agency during 1990s (USEPA,
1998) is one of the main reference frameworks of the environmental risk assessment (ERA).
Moreover, one of the advantages of the ERA is its possibility to be applied to the
tanneries: upstream, at the level, and downstream of the wastewater discharges produced
by the tanneries (Ball, 2002; Aven and Kristensen, 2005). In this regard, the ERA
World Journal of Science,
Technology and Sustainable
Vol. 14 No. 4, 2017
pp. 268-278
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/WJSTSD-12-2016-0064
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