A Decision Support System for the Design and Evaluation of Sustainable Wastewater Solutions

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

IEEE Transactions on Computers






Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

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The drive toward sustainable wastewater management is challenging the conventional paradigm of linear end-of-pipe solutions. A shift toward more sustainable solutions requires that information about new ideas, systems, and technologies be more readily accessible for addressing wastewater problems. It is commonly argued that decision-making needs to involve engineers and other community representatives to define values and brainstorm solutions. This paper describes a decision support system (DSS) prototype that is designed to help community planners identify solutions which balance environmental, economic, and social goals. The system is designed to be scalable, adaptable, and flexible to allow fair assessment of new ideas and technologies. It supports the exploration of consequences of various alternatives and visualizes the tradeoffs between them. Our DSS takes in modular descriptions of components and a description of a community context, automates the design of alternative wastewater systems, and facilitates evaluating how well each design satisfies the given context. It provides an adaptable platform from which new solutions can be designed without having to predefine how a single component fits within a specific system. Our DSS facilitates the exploration of alternative solutions by visualizing the effect of various tradeoffs and their consequences in relation to the community's sustainability goals.

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