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A Fuzzy-Set Approach for Addressing Uncertainties in Risk Assessment of Hydrocarbon-Contaminated Site

Authors
  • Li, Jianbing1
  • Liu, Lei2
  • Huang, Guohe3
  • Zeng, Guangming3
  • 1 University of Northern British Columbia, Environmental Engineering Program, Prince George, British Columbia, V2N 4Z9, Canada , Prince George (Canada)
  • 2 Dalhousie University, Department of Civil Engineering, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J 1Z1, Canada , Halifax (Canada)
  • 3 Hunan University, China-Canada Center of Energy and Environment Research, Changsha, 410082, China , Changsha (China)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Water Air & Soil Pollution
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Mar 15, 2006
Volume
171
Issue
1-4
Pages
5–18
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s11270-005-9005-x
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

This study presented an integrated approach for evaluating environmental risks associated with hydrocarbon-contaminated sites through incorporation of a multiphase multi-component modeling system within a general risk assessment framework. The uncertainties associated with risk evaluation criteria were emphasized and effectively addressed through the development of a fuzzy-set approach. This development was based on (a) simulation of the fate of the contaminant in the subsurface to calculate contaminant concentrations in groundwater; (b) examination of the excess lifetime cancer risk (ELCR) distributions; (c) quantification of uncertainties in ELCR evaluation criteria using fuzzy membership functions; (d) categorization of the related risk levels into low, low-to-medium, medium, medium-to-high, and high, and (e) assessment of risk levels based on ELCR distribution and fuzzy evaluation criteria. The developed fuzzy risk assessment approach (FRA) was applied to a hydrocarbon-contaminated site in western Canada. Three remediation scenarios with different efficiencies (0, 60, and 90%) and planning periods (10, 20, 40, and 60 years later) were considered, and the spatial and temporal variations of risk values were examined. The temporal variation of membership values for different risk levels at locations of interest was also identified. The FRA is useful for the decision maker to gain insight into the environmental risks by considering uncertainties and to make more realistic remediation decisions.

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