Multi-criteria decision analysis to assess remediation alternatives for PCDD/F contaminated soils : application to a swedish sawmill site

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Donlon, Justin
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Electronic thesis
Environmental engineering
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Available data suggest that there are millions of contaminated sites around the world. In virtually all cases, decisions about remedial actions are made as a result of an often-protracted process in which many criteria are considered implicitly, rather than explicitly in a way that allows consensus building among all interested parties. In this context, the objective of the present work is to demonstrate through a concrete example that it is possible to employ techniques broadly referred to under the umbrella term of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA), to make the decision process absolutely explicit from beginning to end. MCDA is a tool that integrates stakeholder preferences and performance of remediation technologies to generate a ranking of alternatives in a process that is both systematic and transparent. The implementation of MCDA is illustrated here with the PCDD/F contaminated Marieberg sawmill site in Kramfors, Sweden, which has been thoroughly studied in the last decade, generating a wealth of information in the literature. Using original data from the site and an opinion survey carried out with some of the parties interested in its reclamation, we show step-by-step how the MCDA method makes it possible to explicitly evaluate remediation technologies with respect to environmental, economic, and social criteria in a process that is simple and that maximizes public acceptance. Beyond this initial evaluation, we highlight how stakeholders could refine the analysis, obtain additional information on some of the criteria and alternatives, and arrive at a consensus on the optimal reclamation method for the site. By maintaining an open-ended analysis from the start, there is also an opportunity for local stakeholders to provide valuable feedback to national policymakers, such as the EPA.
December 2014
School of Engineering
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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
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