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Abstract

An integrated fuzzy simulation-assessment method (FSAM) was developed for assessing environmental risks from petroleum hydrocarbon contamination in ground water. In the FSAM, techniques of fuzzy simulation and fuzzy risk assessment were coupled into a general framework to reflect a variety of system uncertainties. A petroleum-contaminated site located in western Canada was selected as a study case for demonstrating applicability of the proposed method. The risk assessment results demonstrated that system uncertainties would significantly impact expressions of risk-level outputs. A relatively deterministic expression of the risks would have clearer representations of the study problem but may miss valuable uncertain information; conversely, an assessment under vaguer system conditions would help reveal potential consequences of adverse effects but would suffer from a higher degree of fuzziness in presenting the modeling outputs. Based on the risk assessment results, a decision analysis procedure was used to calculate a general risk index (GRI) to help identify proper responsive actions. The proposed method was useful for evaluating risks within a system containing multiple factors with complicated uncertainties and interactions and providing support for identifying proper site management strategies.