Title: Preference assessment for the management of sewage sludge application on agricultural soils

Authors: Aida Valls, Josep Pijuan, Marta Schuhmacher, Ana Passuello, Marti Nadal, Jordi Sierra

Addresses: Department of Computer Science and Mathematics, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Avda. Paisos Catalans, 26, Tarragona, 43007, Spain. ' Department of Computer Science and Mathematics, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Avda. Paisos Catalans, 26, Tarragona, 43007, Spain. ' Laboratory of Toxicology and Environmental Health, School of Chemical and Process Engineering, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Avda. Paisos Catalans, 26, Tarragona, 43007, Spain. ' School of Chemical and Process Engineering, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Avda. Paisos Catalans, 26, Tarragona, 43007, Spain. ' Laboratory of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, c/ de Sant Llorenc, 21, Reus, 43201, Spain. ' Laboratory of Soil Science, Faculty of Pharmacy, Universitat de Barcelona, Avda Joan XXIII, s/n, Barcelona, 08028, Spain

Abstract: In this paper, the problem of managing sewage sludge disposal on agricultural soils is addressed. Sewage sludge application on agricultural soils is recommended by governments in order to recycle nutrients and organic matter. However, this managing practice may lead to ecological and human risks. In this work, we propose the use of a multi-attribute preference approach to rate and rank a set of possible soils where some defined sewage sludge could be applied. The paper is focused on the assessment of the preference value functions. The variables involved in this problem are carefully explained and different preference assessment methods are proposed according to the different nature of the variables involved. In particular, the paper explains how fuzzy expert systems could be used for modelling the interactions between sludge and soil properties.

Keywords: environmental management; multiple criteria; multicriteria decision making; MCDM; value functions; preference elicitation; fuzzy expert systems; artificial intelligence; hierarchical criteria; aggregation operators; sewage sludge management; agricultural soils; multi-attribute preference assessment; fuzzy logic; modelling.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMCDM.2010.033684

International Journal of Multicriteria Decision Making, 2010 Vol.1 No.1, pp.4 - 24

Published online: 17 Jun 2010 *

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