Application of multicriteria decision analysis tools to two contaminated sediment case studies

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Abstract

Environmental decision making is becoming increasingly more information intensive and complex. Our previous work shows that multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) tools offer a scientifically sound decision analytical framework for environmental management, in general, and specifically for selecting optimal sediment management alternatives. Integration of MCDA into risk assessment and sediment management may require linkage of different models and software platforms whose results may lead to somewhat different conclusions. This paper illustrates the application of 3 different MCDA methods in 2 case studies involving contaminated sediment management. These case studies are based on real sediment management problems experienced by the US Army Corps of Engineers and other stakeholders in New York/New Jersey Harbor, USA, and the Cocheco River Superfund Site in New Hampshire, USA. Our analysis shows that application of 3 different MCDA tools points to similar management solutions no matter which tool is applied. MCDA tools and approaches were constructively used to elicit the strengths and weaknesses of each method when solving the problem.

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