Application of the Analytic Hierarchy Process for Selecting and Modeling Stormwater Best Management Practices



Engineers are increasingly expected to consider several influential criteria when selecting a single best management practice (BMP) for stormwater management. These criteria include site physical characteristics; local, state, and federal pollution control ordinances; stakeholder input, and BMP implementation and long-term maintenance costs. This paper discusses the development of a software-aided approach based on the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) as a decision-making tool for selecting stormwater management BMPs. Supported with input from a geographic information system, the AHP can provide an objective, mathematically-based alternative to the existing, often subjective BMP selection approaches. In this study, the developed AHP decision support software was applied in a demonstration site in the Town of Blacksburg, Virginia. First, the AHP decision support algorithm was applied to evaluate and rank BMP options for the demonstration site. Second, the EPA Storm Water Management Model (SWMM) was used to effectively model the BMPs recommended by the AHP software. Results indicate potential advantages over traditional BMP selection methods.