Assessment of Ecological Risks at Former Landfill Site Using TRIAD Procedure and Multicriteria Analysis


Jaana Sorvari, Finnish Environment Institute, P.O. Box 140, 00251 Helsinki, Finland; tel +358 400 148618; fax +358 9 54902490;,


Old industrial landfills are important sources of environmental contamination in Europe, including Finland. In this study, we demonstrated the combination of TRIAD procedure, multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA), and statistical Monte Carlo analysis for assessing the risks to terrestrial biota in a former landfill site contaminated by petroleum hydrocarbons (PHCs) and metals. First, we generated hazard quotients by dividing the concentrations of metals and PHCs in soil by the corresponding risk-based ecological benchmarks. Then we conducted ecotoxicity tests using five plant species, earthworms, and potworms, and determined the abundance and diversity of soil invertebrates from additional samples. We aggregated the results in accordance to the methods used in the TRIAD procedure, conducted rating of the assessment methods based on their performance in terms of specific criteria, and weighted the criteria using two alternative weighting techniques to produce performance scores for each method. We faced problems in using the TRIAD procedure, for example, the results from the animal counts had to be excluded from the calculation of integrated risk estimates (IREs) because our reference soil sample showed the lowest biodiversity and abundance of soil animals. In addition, hormesis hampered the use of the results from the ecotoxicity tests. The final probabilistic IREs imply significant risks at all sampling locations. Although linking MCDA with TRIAD provided a useful means to study and consider the performance of the alternative methods in predicting ecological risks, some uncertainties involved still remained outside the quantitative analysis.