A decision-analysis approach for contaminated dredged material management in South Korea



To meet London Protocol requirements, South Korea is preparing to reduce the need for disposal of dredged material at sea. The new requirements controlling ocean disposal of dredged material pose significant challenges to the South Korean government, because the previous practice of offshore disposal of contaminated dredged material is no longer permitted. Hence, other alternatives for treating and disposing of contaminated dredged material are being evaluated and selected for implementation. A new management and decision approach is therefore needed for regulators and implementers to show what information and what decision-making processes were used to make the decision, to increase administrative transparency for such projects in the public domain. To address this need, an iterative approach was developed for dredged material management that includes the essential elements of process, people, and tools needed for successful environmental decision making. The approach has 6 steps: problem definition, developing objectives and criteria, identifying alternatives, performing the evaluation, comparing alternatives, and selecting the preferred alternative. The primary objective of the approach is to provide a systematic means of exploring contaminated dredged material management alternatives in South Korea using criteria that integrate risk with economic and stakeholder value information. The approach incorporates the desired decision-making attributes of transparency, comparative analysis, and inclusion of public input. Although it was developed for South Korea, the approach can be applied in any situation in which dredged material management alternatives are being considered to manage contaminated sediment risks. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2010; 6:72–82. © 2009 SETAC