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Freshwater groundwater resources at north Kuwait were contaminated by infiltrated oil as well as sea water that was used to fight the oil-well fires during the liberation of Kuwait in 1991. This paper investigates the feasibility of five remediation options to restore the polluted aquifers. These options include: (i) pump and treat of contaminated groundwater; (ii) cleaning the aquifer formation; (iii) construction of additional desalination plant; (iv) constructing additional storage tanks, and (v) development of artificial aquifer recharge schemes. The basis for this assessment study is to supply minimum basic drinking water to Kuwait City at a total rate of 50,000 m³/day in an emergency for up to one year based on essential basic need of 32 liters per capita per day. To compare these options, a decision matrix to select suitable remediation options using Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) approach is developed. The cost was given a relative weight of 20 whereas other criteria are given weight of 10. Based on these MCDA scores, it was found that option 3, namely, establishing an additional water desalination plant, is the most feasible option followed by option 5, artificial recharge of aquifers.
1 23
Environmental Science and Pollution
ISSN 0944-1344
Environ Sci Pollut Res
DOI 10.1007/s11356-018-3723-2
Multi-criteria decision approach for
evaluation, ranking, and selection of
remediation options: case of polluted
groundwater, Kuwait
Radwan A.Al-Weshah & Yohannes
1 23
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Multi-criteria decision approach for evaluation, ranking, and selection
of remediation options: case of polluted groundwater, Kuwait
Radwan A. Al-Weshah
&Yohannes Yihdego
Received: 15 April 2018 /Accepted: 8 November 2018
#Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018
Freshwater groundwater resources at north Kuwait were contaminated by infiltrated oil as well as sea water that was used to fight
the oil-well fires during the liberation of Kuwait in 1991. This paper investigates the feasibility of five remediation options to
restore the polluted aquifers. These options include: (i) pump and treat of contaminated groundwater; (ii) cleaning the aquifer
formation; (iii) construction of additional desalination plant; (iv) constructing additional storage tanks, and (v) development of
artificial aquifer recharge schemes. The basis for this assessment study is to supply minimum basic drinking water to Kuwait City
at a total rate of 50,000 m
/day in an emergency for up to one year based on essential basic need of 32 liters per capita per day. To
compare these options, a decision matrix to select suitable remediation options using Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis
(MCDA) approach is developed. The cost was given a relative weight of 20 whereas other criteria are given weight of 10.
Based on these MCDA scores, it was found that option 3, namely, establishing an additional water desalination plant, is the most
feasible option followed by option 5, artificial recharge of aquifers.
Keywords Water r es ou rc es .Groundwater remediation .Pump and treat .Artificial recharge .Storage tanks .Desalination plant
A decision support tool for groundwater remediation and pollu-
tion control is often needed to provide insight on the trade-off
between water status and the cost to achieve such situation
(Benedetti et al. 2010; Fragoso et al. 2010; Hajkowicz and
Collins 2007;Lotovetal.2005; Muleta and Nicklow 2005;
Udías et al. 2011,2014; Yihdego et al. 2017a; Zitzler et al. 2003).
Iraqs invasion and occupation of Kuwait in 1990 left a
chronic legacy of damage and environmental contamination.
Over one billion barrels of crude oil are estimated to have been
deliberately released to the environment as a result of the Iraqi
invasion. The extent of contamination was such that vast lakes
of oil were created in the desert and airborne petrochemical
by-products from well fires initiated by the Iraqis resulting in
dark days over Kuwait for months after liberation (Al-Damkhi
et al. 2009). Seawater pumped from the Gulf to extinguish the
many well fires, dousing the ecologically sensitive landscape
with large quantities of saline water that also intruded into
fresh groundwater aquifers (Al-Weshah and Yihdego 2016).
Freshwater is the most scarce, critical, and valuable natural
resource in Kuwait. Surface water is generally absent and
groundwater is limited and mostly non-renewable. The two
main fresh groundwater fields in Kuwait are found in the north
of the country, in Raudhatain and Umm Al-Aish as shown in
Fig. 1. These aquifers are essential for the sustainable devel-
opment of the country and served historically as huge under-
ground reservoirs to secure freshwater demands during emer-
gency situations. These aquifers were the only freshwater re-
serves available in Kuwait as active production fields prior to
invasion. They form a strategic emergency supply if drinking
water supplies from desalination of seawater ceased or were
interrupted (Yihdego and Al-Weshah 2016a).
The two aquifers were contaminated by infiltrated oil and
also by entrainment and dissolution of petroleum contami-
nants that subsequently leached with rainwater as well as
Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues
*Yohannes Yihdego
Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Jordan,
Amman, Jordan
Department of Ecology, Environment & Evolution, College of
Science, Health & Engineering, La Trobe University,
Melbourne, Victoria 3086, Australia
Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC), Sydney, New
South Wales 2060, Australia
Environmental Science and Pollution Research
Author's personal copy
saltwater, required to fight the oil well fires after liberation
ultimately contaminated the freshwater fields.
Based on detailed monitoring and assessment to remediate
Kuwaits freshwater groundwater resources, the State of
Kuwait was compensated for the contamination and perma-
nent loss of the freshwater aquifers at Umm Al-Aish and
Raudhatain. The idea is to treat the contaminated fresh
groundwater with the hope that treatment, coupled with the
removal of oil contamination from the aquifer recharge catch-
ments, might lead eventually to restoration of the aquifers
(Yihdego and Al-Weshah 2016b,c).
The basis for assessment is to supply essential drinking
water to Kuwait City (based on essential human need of 32 l
per capita per day) at a total rate of 50,000 m
/day in an
emergency supply for up to 1 year (Akber et al. 2009).
Study objectives and assumptions
This paper investigates the feasibility of five remediation op-
tions to restore the polluted aquifers. The following facts and
assumptions are considered in evaluating the feasibility of the
proposed remediation options:
Kuwaits only strategic sources of fresh water at Raudhatain
and Umm Al-Aish have been damaged as a result of Iraqs
invasion and occupation of Kuwait in 19901991. As a result
of Iraqs destruction of the oil wells, the resulting fires, and the
necessary firefighting activities, the groundwater at Umm Al-
Aish is severely polluted with hydrocarbons and salts. It is
anticipated based on the available evidence that the pollution
of groundwater will increase over time (Yihdego and Al-
Wes ha h 2016b).
Prior to 1990, Kuwait had planned to recharge the
Raudhatain freshwater aquifer artificially to supplement natu-
ral recharge, preserve the availability of a sustainable produc-
tive field, and provide an emergency supply of drinking water
(Mukhopadhyay 1992; Senay 1989). As a result of invasion-
related surface oil spills and other impacts, natural recharge
has been modified and resumption of pre-invasion production
and artificial recharge have not been implemented because the
soils in the natural recharge area, as well as the aquifers them-
selves, are polluted with hydrocarbons and salt. Currently,
groundwater in Umm Al-Aish has the highest pollution levels
of salts and hydrocarbons. Increased salt levels have been
observed more extensively than hydrocarbon pollution in
Raudhatain, but both types of pollution clearly are present
(Yihdego and Al-Weshah 2016b,d). Kuwait does not have a
replacement of this natural strategic reserve that would have
continued to exist if oil pollution had not occurred; implementa-
tion of a strategic artificial recharge scheme with enhanced
Fig. 1 Location map of the two
main strategic aquifers
Raudhatain and Umm Al-Aish
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production has not been practical given the presence of the
contamination (Mukhopadhyay 1992; Fadlelmawla et al. 2008;
Yihdego and Al-Weshah 2018). Replacing the strategic reserve
in the shortest possible time will require an alternative source of
fresh water or the treatment of water from the two aquifers.
Groundwater treatment options
To achieve the strategic objective and supply drinking water at
/day in an emergency year, the government
of Kuwait and other partners identified the following possible
remediation options:
Option 1: BPump and treat^groundwater to restore the
groundwater aquifers
Pump and treat the groundwater from the Raudhatain
and Umm Al-Aish aquifers allowing capacity for an emer-
gency year supply, including the treatment necessary to
address the increasing salinity in these aquifers, allowing
for natural attenuation of residual pollution (Yihdego 2017;
Yihdego et al . 2017b) and restoration of the aquifers over
an extended period of time. The option calls for the estab-
lishment of two treatment plants to carry out treatment of
hydrocarbon-polluted groundwater pumped from the
Raudhatain and Umm Al-Aish aquifers, with treatment de-
signed to achieve the standards of drinking water quality
(Al-Weshah and Yihdego 2016).
Under the current option, costs of the following compo-
nents are considered:
(i) The establishment of two groundwater treatment plants
(one at Raudhatain and one at Umm Al-Aish) to treat
groundwater from Umm Al-Aish and Raudhatain fresh-
water aquifers over the next 30 years, including operation
and maintenance costs.
(ii) Treatment process includes
a. pre-treatment of the groundwater for parameters such
as calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, nickel, and
vanadium that may be toxic and foul air strippers and
activated carbon surfaces,
b. air stripping of volatile hydrocarbon contaminants, and
c. treatment via activated carbon to remove longer chain
(iii) The treatment plants were sized to be able to treat water
in the 15th year at a rate up to 41,000 m
/day from
Raudhatain for 1 year as an emergency supply and at
least 4300 m
/day from Umm Al-Aish for 1 year as an
emergency supply and up to 9000 m
/day for an unspec-
This option includes costs for salt treatment by reverse os-
mosis, assuming up to 50% of the total flow (i.e., 25,000 m
day) is treated. Costs also allow for disposal of all residuals in a
secure hazardous waste landfill. Additionally, over the limited
timeframe of 30 years of pumping and treating groundwater
from the Raudhatain and Umm Al-Aish aquifers, it is expected
that this option will not restore a secure strategic groundwater
for Kuwait.
Option 2: Alternate remediation of the aquifer formation
Clean-up of the contaminated aquifers using bioventing
and other remediation techniques to restore conditions that
existed prior to the Iraqi invasion, thus restoring these aquifers
as a strategic freshwater resource, is recognized as a longer-
term option requiring an additional short-term supply of water
while clean-up is being effected (SMEC 2006). Any alterna-
tive that allows contamination to remain in place will fail to
achieve protection and remediation of the groundwater re-
sources. Moreover, removal of these materials is only pro-
posed to extend to shallow depths and does not account for
oil or salts that are already entrained in the soil profile and that
have penetrated below the oil lakes and other impacted areas
of the soil, or for ongoing leaching of dissolved hydrocarbons
and salts through the soil profile towards groundwater.
Remediation of the aquifer to pre-invasion conditions
would therefore require not only treatment ofall contaminated
groundwater but also treatment of all impacted zones beneath
the thin surface soil removal zone, to depths of up to 30 m of
the soil profile in Raudhatain and up to 20 m in Umm Al-Aish
(Al-Weshah and Yihdego 2016).
Some available to remediate the contaminated soil profile
(i) Natural attenuation via aeration to biodegrade hydrocar-
bons and leaching of salts via natural rainfall infiltration
through the soil;
(ii) Bioventing to aerate the soil horizon and stimulate bac-
terial breakdown of the hydrocarbons in the soil profile;
(iii) Enhanced leaching over an extended period to wash
salts (and possibly some dissolved hydrocarbons) from
the soil profile,
whereas techniques that are available to remediate the con-
taminated groundwater include
(i) Natural attenuation of hydrocarbons in groundwater due
to biodegradation and dispersion processes, and dis-
charge from the freshwater basin of salts due to ambient
groundwater flows to the north and east;
(ii) Air sparging to aerate the groundwater to strip any resid-
ual volatile hydrocarbons, but principally to enhance
bacterial breakdown of the longer chain hydrocarbons;
Environ Sci Pollut Res
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(iii) Reactive barrier walls downgradient of the plumes to
treat mobile contamination as the plumes migrate east-
ward, and create a reactive zone to halt further expan-
sion of the area of groundwater pollution;
(iv) Hydraulic containment (e.g., slurry or bentonite) walls
from ground surface to the depth of the low permeable
strata below the water table (Yihdego 2016), surround-
ing areas like the oil lakes and other oil/salt-impacted
areas to inhibit movement of polluted groundwater out-
side the affected areas;
(v) Recirculating wells to allow in-well treatment of hydro-
carbons, and aeration of groundwater for recirculation to
enhance hydrocarbon biodegradation within the aquifer;
(vi) Pumping of groundwater and treatment of produced
groundwater for hydrocarbons and salts (this is already
considered under option 1 above).
A combination of these techniques would need to be
employed to remediate the soil and groundwater, and a combi-
nation would be needed to address salt and hydrocarbon pollut-
ants. Natural attenuation processes will lead to some dilution,
biodegradation, and leaching of hydrocarbons and salts from
the soil and groundwater. This process is likely to take many
decades, as evidenced by the remaining ponded oil in oil lakes
and salinity in groundwater more than 20 years after liberation.
In summary, clean-up of the contaminated aquifers using
bioventing and other remediation techniques to restore condi-
tions that existed prior to the Iraqi invasion, thus reestablishing
these aquifers as a strategic freshwater resource, is recognized
as a longer-term option requiring an additional short-term sup-
ply of water while clean-up is being effected (Al-Weshah and
Yihdego 2016).
Option 3: Establishment of additional desalination plant
Establishment of additional desalination capacity using
seawater or brackish groundwater as water sources to simply
meet the freshwater supply objective while failing to achieve
any restoration of the strategic reserve capacity. This option
would provide an alternate water supply byestablishing a new
desalination plant for seawater, and by blending the desalinat-
ed water with water drawn from the brackish aquifers in south-
ern and western Kuwait. It would not restore a strategic fresh-
water reserve to the State of Kuwait (Fadlelmawla et al. 2008).
For this option, it is assumed that the desalination plant will
be commissioned to run at full capacity (50,000 m
/day) for
Reverse osmosis (RO) treatment technology is proposed.
Location of the RO plant shall be located to ensure connec-
tions to Kuwait Citys water main network and power supply.
The standby mode assumes minimal production to protect the
membranes of the RO plant. This option establishes an alter-
native above ground infrastructure, rather than a more secure
subsurface supply. The desalination plant established for this
emergency supply would have the same vulnerability as
Kuwaits other desalination plants.
Option 4: Establishment of storage tanks as a water
Provision ofalternative water storage facilities for a reserve
using a water supply of (i) surplus desalinated water in winter
or (ii) water from a newly constructed and dedicated desalina-
tion plant.
The option seeks to establish water storage tanks around
Kuwait City, capable of supplying 50,000 m
/day for the 15th
year of a 30-year period (Akber et al. 2009).
This option considers 180 tanks each with a water capacity
of 100 ML distributed across the Kuwait City metropolitan
area, and plumbed into the City water distribution system.
Table 1 Summary of strategic options comparison
Option Estimated
cost (capital
Technology used
1. Pump and
US$ 365M 5 years Cost of treatment
plant includes
capital + O&M
for pre-treatment
for metals; hy-
drocarbon re-
moval; salt re-
moval artificial
recharge and
plant required up
to 30-year cost
basis assumed.
2. Clean
High to very
500M >
20 years Remediation would
take time, and in
the meantime an
alternative water
supply from new
desalination plant
is included.
ion plant
US$ 234M
2 years No artificial
recharge needed.
4. Storage
Very high
US$ 1230M
3 years Includes supply of
water from new
5. Artificial
US$ 300M
6 years initially but
consider as pilot
project to
develop a
long-term strate-
gic groundwater
Source of supply
will be excess
potable water
from desalination
plants or from
new plant. Plant
to provide
potable water for
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Allowance is made for mixing and disinfection to maintain
water quality over non-emergency years, and for maintenance
of the structural integrity of the reservoirs. The option assumes
an initial supply of water from a new desalination plant to
initially fill the tanks with potable water.
Option 5: Establishment of artificial aquifer recharge
Artificial groundwater recharge is a common practice in
arid and semi-arid zones (Abboushi et al. 2015). This option
seeks to establish an artificial aquifer recharge system as an
alternate freshwater aquifer that would be capable of supply-
ing emergency water to Kuwait City at a rate of 50,000 m
for one year (Fadlelmawla et al. 2008).
Prior to invasion, Kuwait had planned to recharge the
Raudhatain aquifer with up to 45,500 m
/day for 10 years so
that the aquifer would be sustained as a productive field and
configured as an emergency supply capable of withdrawal of
up to 34,000 m
/day (Senay 1989). Continued artificial re-
charge of about 50,000 m3/day would allow a long-term sus-
tainable withdrawal from the aquifer of up to 23,000 m
but possiblyhigherrates could be sustainable since recharge is
into a freshwater aquifer giving greater efficiency of recovery
of recharged freshwater compared to saline aquifers
(Mukhopadhyay 1992). This option, however, restricts con-
sideration to the establishment of a supply in a new location
capable of sustaining the extraction of a volume of 50,000 m
day for one emergency year, in accordance with the claims,
even though a long-term sustainable yield of at least
23,000 m
/day has been lost.
Few alternate sites exist in Kuwait that are suitable for
artificial recharge and Bcreation^of a freshwater field. This
is because all the aquifers in Kuwait are brackish to saline,
apart from those at Raudhatain and Umm Al-Aish, and
injection of freshwater into a saline aquifer gives a lower re-
covery during re-extraction (Senay 1989).
Post-liberation, artificial recharge studies were carried out
by Mukhopadhyay (1992) in the Sulaibiyah and Shigaya
fields well field areas in the shallow Kuwait Group and in
the Dammam aquifers. The study focused on injection and
recovery efficiencies through wells and concluded that injec-
tion of water to the two aquifers was technically feasible, but
with a recovery efficiency of approximately 20% for the
Dammam. Costs for establishment of a 45,500 m
/day pro-
duction resource (with injection/recharge of 230,000 m
were estimated at 150 million USD for the recommended
design including the cost of water (Mukhopadhyay 1992).
This is a long-term option requiring an extended period of
aquifer recharge over 10 years prior to extraction. Over those
years, Kuwait would still lack a strategic emergency reserve.
For this option, an alternate fast-track strategic reserve may be
needed. If this is provided by construction of an additional
desalination plant, the costs outlined in option 3 need to be
substituted for the costs of water included above (SMEC 2006).
Feasibility and cost analysis of new options
The feasibility and cost of various options are based on set of
assumption that each option need to provide an emergency
supply for 1 year at full capacity (365 days @ 50,000 m
day = 18 Mm
per year). The elements that are considered in
the feasibility are:
a. Financial and economic viability: cost of making the
b. Construction period
Table 3 MCDA matrix of
optionsscores Criteria Weight Option 1 Option 2 Option 3 Option 4 Option 5
Cost (M US$) 20 13 5 20 4 16
Construction 10 4 1 10 7 3
Sustainability 10 8 5 10 7 8
Risk/security 10 3 6 3 6 9
Environmental 10 7 9 7 3 9
Sum 603526502745
Table 2 Summary of evaluation
criteria and weight Criteria Weight Option 1 Option 2 Option 3 Option 4 Option 5
Cost (M US$) 20 365 1000 234 1230 300
Construction period (yeas) 10 5 20 2 3 6
Sustainability 10 Very good Acceptable Excellent Good Very good
Risk/security 10 High Moderate High Moderate Low
Environmental impact 10 Moderate Low Moderate High Low
Environ Sci Pollut Res
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c. Sustainability: ability to continue getting water up to the
total renewable capacities of the aquifers.
d. Risk and social viability including public acceptance
e. Environmental impacts on the physical and natural
Comparison of options
Based on the feasibility of the discussed options, Table 1
shows the comparison of these options based on their present
Development of multiple criteria decision matrix
A decision matrix to select the most suitable remediation op-
tions using multiple criteria decision analysis (MCDA) ap-
proach is developed (Abudeif et al. 2017; Benedetti et al.
2010; Mendoza and Martins 2006). The five options are eval-
uated against the comparison criteria.
Tab le 2shows the summary of the evaluation criteria for
each option with proposed weight for each criterion. These
weights are taken based on the researcher judgment. A matrix
of scores for each option using MCDA is developed based on
the weights given in Table 2.
A matrix of scores for each option using MCDA is devel-
oped based on the weights given in Table 2. The high score
present the most feasible option. The results of MCDA are
presented in Table 3.
Discussion of results
Based on these MCDA scores, it was found that option 3,
establishing an additional water desalination plant, is the most
feasible option followed by option 5, artificial recharge of
aquifers. Other options are less feasible especially options 2
(treatment of aquifers formation) and 4 (constructing addition-
al storage tanks).
The above analysis and results were presented and
discussed with the respective stakeholders in Kuwait. They
are technically and economically the most feasible and sound
options. The study recognized that the MCDA approach is
very sensitive to subjectivity by given a certain relative weight
for each criterion or options.However, the presented approach
is flexible as it gives the decision makers a tool to revisit this
analysis and change the relative weight for each criterion if
new conditions would developed in future. It has been found
that establishing an additional water desalination plant is the
most feasible option. The design of this plant is beyond the
scope of this paper.
The research findings will help the State of Kuwait to better
decide on the best remediation options for their groundwater
aquifers given the fact that they recently received compensa-
tion funds of about 40 million USD for this purpose from Iraq
through the UN system.
Prior to Iraqi invasion to Kuwait in 1990, the Raudhatain and
Umm Al-Aish aquifers were the only fresh water aquifers in
Kuwait. There were supplying 50,000 m
/day in an emergen-
cy situation.
Five remediation options are investigated in this study
against five evaluation criteria. A decision matrix to select
suitable remediation options using multiple criteria decision
analysis (MCDA) approach is developed. The cost was given
a relative weight of 20 whereas other criteria are given weight
of 10. The study found that establishing an additional water
desalination plant is the most feasible option followed by op-
tion 5, artificial recharge of aquifers. Other options are less
The research findings will help the State of Kuwait to better
decide on the best remediation options for their groundwater
aquifers given that they received compensation funds from
Iraq through the UN system.
Acknowledgments The authors would like to thank the Kuwait National
Focal Point for Environmental Projects, Ministry of Electricity and Water
in Kuwait - Groundwater Sector and SMEC intenational for providing
access to some of their data. The manuscript has benefitted from the
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analysis and review. IEEE Trans Evol Comput 7(2):529533
Environ Sci Pollut Res
Author's personal copy
... Heavy metals can damage the kidneys, the liver, and cardiovascular and nervous systems (Mittal et al. 2015). Recently, many remediation approaches have been applied to treat wastewater, such as, chemical precipitation, ion exchange, solvent extraction and electrodialysis, and ultrafiltration (Zhu et al. 2016;Duan et al. 2018;Al-Weshah and Yihdego 2018;Mikhaylin et al. 2017;Adamovich et al. 2017;Zhu et al. 2017). However, the implicit disadvantages of costly and poor efficiency and the produce of other toxic sludge, etc. hindered the wide application of these adsorption techniques (Zeng et al. 2017). ...
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Heavy metal ion contamination, in particular that associated with Pb²⁺, Cd²⁺, and Cu²⁺, poses a considerable threat to aquatic environments and human health. To obtain a highly efficient adsorbent, in this work, a facile hydrothermal method was applied to prepare acrylic acid grafted onto cellulose nanocrystal (AA-g-CNC) hydro/aerogel as an adsorbent for Pb²⁺, Cd²⁺, and Cu²⁺ removal. The obtained AA-g-CNC hydrogels withstood up to 0.821 MPa of compression and showed good reciprocating performance when the deformation reached 40%. The as-formed AA-g-CNC aerogels had highly porous honeycomb structure, with many functional groups and a high zeta potential, all of which are essential features for an effective adsorbent. The maximum Pb²⁺, Cd²⁺, and Cu²⁺ removal capacities of AA-g-CNC aerogels reached 1026, 898.8, and 872.4 mg/g respectively. Their adsorption followed the Freundlich isotherm model and fitted well with pseudo-second-order kinetic models. The adsorption mechanism mainly attributed to electrostatic chelation between metal ions with sulfonate and carboxylate groups.
... However, despite of the effectiveness of these WT-related evaluations, the decision makers still find it extremely challenging to make a rational decision when faced with various WT technologies with many indicators. As one key step to successful implementation of rural WT projects, WT technology evaluation shall consider aspects of construction investment, technical maturity, ease of operation, etc. (Al-Weshah and Yihdego, 2018;Mannina et al. 2019;Ozdemir and Ozkan 2020) Accordingly, the selection of rural WT technology among several different alternatives can be defined as a multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) problem. ...
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Rapid population growth and agricultural development are generating a considerable amount of effluents, which poses threats to the quality of rural water resources as well as sanitary conditions. However, with a range of rural wastewater treatment (WT) technologies available, one major problem facing the practitioners is which to choose as the most favorable option suited to specific areas. In this study, a novel decision-making framework is proposed to evaluate and select the optimal alternative in rural areas of Xi’an within multiple consecutive time periods. Firstly, an evaluation index system is constructed and picture fuzzy numbers (PFNs) are used to represent both evaluation levels and experts’ refusal due to limitation of knowledge. Secondly, fuzzy analytical hierarchy process (FAHP) is applied to derive weights of criteria, which enables experts to assign fuzzy numbers to express their preferences for comparison judgments. Thirdly, evidence theory is utilized to obtain the aggregated values from multiple time periods. Finally, based on the belief intervals obtained, sequencing batch reactor (A4) is determined as the optimal rural WT technology in Xi’an from 2006 to 2020, whereas the membrane bio-reactor (A2) is the last option. The effectiveness of the proposed framework is further validated by comparative analysis. This research can hopefully serve as useful guidance for the assessment of rural WT technologies in various regions.
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There are many enclaves in the Mediterranean basin with soils contaminated with heavy metal(loid)s, most of these in natural areas of great beauty that have suffered the consequences of industrial and mining activity for years. These soils pose a risk to human and animal health due to the transfer of metal(loid)s condemning these areas to isolation. The rehabilitation by means of phytoremediation is one of the most used techniques, but phytoremediation must be part of a comprehensive strategy of steps that guide owners and administrations in the recovery of ecosystem services. An easily replicable decision-making methodology is defined, considering the initial conditions, the preferences of the decision makers or typologies from among six possibilities and the different models of use, typified in 13 categories. As a result, a landscape is obtained that integrates phytostabilization and areas with recreational and/or educational uses. Two case studies from the southeast of Spain are presented as validation, a deposit of mining sludge residues and the channel of a river contaminated by industrial discharges. Both enclaves are included in the tourist and cultural offer of their area, thus achieving an environmental and socioeconomic benefit and have been visited by more than 1000 people in a two-year period.
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Groundwater is regarded as an important supply of drinking water, as well as for agricultural and industrial purposes. Groundwater pollution worsens as a result of several contaminants such as industrial, urban, and agricultural activities, and the difficulty is to select appropriate groundwater remediation methods. This research develops a technique for assessing the sustainability of groundwater remediation methods by integrating the Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) method with a Fuzzy Inference Engine. A standard approach for assessing the sustainability of groundwater remediation systems has been developed, consisting of four major criteria: economic, technical, environmental, and social. Following the calculations and determining the priority of all the criteria and techniques based on the weights, the results show the sequence of technologies in which Pump and Treat is the best with 7.83, followed by air stripping with 7.04, and monitored natural attenuation and permeable reactive barrier were the last with 3.70 and 3.19, respectively. The criteria that give P&T the most weight is both the technical and social criterion, with a weight of 8.18, while the criterion with the lowest weight was the economic criterion, with a weight of 4.22. The technical, environmental, and social aspects of P&T were all high, making it the optimum technology where the decision-maker or stakeholder can deal with the decline in the economic component, which is also proof of P&T's preferability and the most sustainable one, and It was also feasible to examine all options to determine which factors are reducing their sustainability and which should be addressed in order to enhance sustainability.
Disasters have devastating impacts on societies, affecting millions of people and businesses each year. The delivery of essential goods to beneficiaries in the aftermath of a disaster is one of the main objectives of relief logistics. In this context, selecting suitable locations for three different types of essential facilities is central: warehouses, distribution centers, and points of distribution. The present dissertation aims to improve relief logistics by advancing the location selection process and its core components. Five studies published as companion articles address substantial aspects of relief logistics. Despite the case studies' geographical focus on Germany, valuable insights for relief logistics are derived that could also be applied to other countries. Study A addresses the importance of public-private collaboration in disasters and highlights the significance of considering differences in resources, capabilities, and strategies when using logistical models. Moreover, power differences, information sharing, and partner selection also play an important role. Study B elaborates on the challenges to identify candidate locations for warehouses, which are jointly used by public and private actors, and suggests a methodology to approach the collaborative warehouse selection process. Study C investigates the distribution center selection process and highlights that including decision-makers' preferences in the objective function of location selection models helps to raise awareness of the implications of location decisions and increases transparency for decision-makers and the general population. Study D analyzes the urban water supply in disasters using a combination of emergency wells and mobile water treatment systems. Selected locations of mobile systems change significantly if vulnerable parts of the population are prioritized. Study E highlights the importance of accurate information in disasters and introduces a framework that allows determining the value of accurate information and the planning error due to inaccurate information. In addition to the detailed results of the case studies, four general recommendations for authorities are derived: First, it is essential to collect information before the start of the disaster. Second, training exercises or role-playing simulations with companies will help to ensure that planned collaboration processes can be implemented in practice. Third, targeted adjustments to the German disaster management system can strengthen the country's resilience. Fourth, initiating public debates on strategies to prioritize parts of the population might increase the acceptance of the related decision and the stockpiling of goods for the people who know in advance that they will likely not receive support. The present dissertation provides valuable insights into disaster relief. Therefore, it offers the potential to significantly improve the distribution of goods in the aftermath of future disasters and increase disaster resilience.
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Approximately 33% of food produced around the world is wasted. In the distribution sector, erroneous orders or demand predictions result in products that cannot be sold before the expiration date. Despite its enormous potential, a low percentage of this food wastage is valorised causing negative social, economic and environmental impacts. Vegetable food waste has potential as raw material for animal feed. However, the profitability of its valorisation depends on several key factors and there is a risk of underestimating any of them making this valorisation technically, economically or environmentally unfeasible. Moreover, the geographical dispersion requires selecting the appropriate location for the processing plant and optimising the logistics routes to collect and transport them from the origin points to the processing plant. GISWASTE tool, which combines Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) method with ArcGIS, has been used to simulate the viability of this valorisation alternative from a holistic point of view. In addition, a sensitivity analysis in the economic modelling has been carried out to determine the economic viability factors with more influence in the global profitability. The valorisation of vegetable food waste from distribution and retailing sector for animal feed has been considered feasible in the case study region: Basque Country (Spain). However, there are some economic uncertainties for the return of the investment. The variable with more influence over the profitability is by far the incomes from waste management (81.4%).
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A shortage of water leads to severe consequences for populations. Recent examples like the ongoing water shortage in Kapstadt or in Gloucestershire in 2007 highlight both the challenges authorities face to restore the water supply and the importance of installing efficient preparedness measures and plans. This study develops a proactive planning approach of emergency measures for possible impairments of water supply systems and validates this with a case study on water contamination in the city of Berlin. We formulate a capacitated maximal covering problem as a mixed-integer optimization model where we combine existing emergency infrastructure with the deployment of mobile water treatment systems. The model selects locations for mobile water treatment systems to maximize the public water supply within defined constraints. With the extension to a multi-objective decision making model, possible trade-offs between the water supply coverage and costs, and between the coverage of differently prioritized demand points are investigated. Therefore, decision makers benefit from a significantly increased transparency regarding potential outcomes of their decisions, leading to improved decisions before and during a crisis.
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Nuclear power plants are designed to prevent the hazardous effects of the earthquakes and any external events to keep the safety of the plant. Ninety-one shallow seismic refraction profiles were performed to determine shear wave velocity of the engineering layers at the site of El Dabaa area that is situated to the northern coastline of Egypt for seismic hazard microzonation evaluation according to hazard index values. A microzonation is a procedure of delineating an area into individual zones having different ranks of numerous seismic hazards. This will aid in classifying areas of high seismic risk which is vigorous for industrial design of nuclear structures. The site response analysis requires the characterization of subsurface materials considering local subsurface profiles of the site. Site classification of the area under investigation was undertaken using P- and S-waves and available borehole data. The studied nuclear power plant site has been characterized as per NEHRP site classification using an average velocity of transverse wave (Vs30) of depth 30 m which acquired from seismic survey. This site was categorized into two site classes: the major one is “site class B,” and the minor one is “site class A.” The attenuation coefficient, the damping ratio and the liquefaction potential are geotechnical parameters which were derived from P- and S-waves, and have their major effects on the seismic hazard contribution. 1D ground response analysis was carried out in the places of seismic profiles inside the site for estimating the amount of ground quaking using peak ground acceleration (PGA), site amplification, predominant frequency and spectral accelerations on the surface of ground by the DEEPSOIL software package. Seven factors (criteria) deliberated to assess the earthquake hazard index map are: (1) the peak ground acceleration at the bedrock, (2) the amplification of the site, (3) the liquefaction potential, (4) the main frequency of the earthquake signal, (5) the average Vs of the first 30 m from the ground surface, (6) the depth to the groundwater and (7) the depth to the bedrock. These features were exemplified in normalized maps after uniting them to 0–1 scores according to some criteria by the minimum and maximum values as linear scaling points. Multi-criteria evaluation is an application of multi-criteria decision analysis theory that used for developing a seismic hazard index map for a nuclear power plant site at El Dabaa area in ArcGIS 10.1 software. Two models of decision making were used in this work for seismic hazard microzonation. The analytic hierarchy process model was applied to conduct the relative weights of the criteria by pairwise comparison using Expert Choice Software. An earthquake hazard index map was combined using Weighted Linear Combination model of the raster weighted overlay tool of ArcGIS 10.1. The results indicated that most of the study site of the nuclear power plant is a region of low to moderate hazard; its values are ranging between 0.2 and 0.4.
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This paper investigated approaches to treat the polluted groundwater in selected aquifers in Kuwait, which is the most extensive and second to none in terrestrial world case history. The selected aquifers are susceptible to pollution by oil spills during the first Gulf War. Experimental sampling of polluted soils were analysed. Results showed that granulated activated carbon is very effective in removing petroleum hydrocarbons from contaminated water. A pump-and-treat remediation scheme has been suggested for the affected parts of the freshwater fields. The cost estimates indicated that a treatment process involving carbon adsorption to remove petroleum hydrocarbons, followed by reverse osmosis to remove salt was highly likely to be the most cost-effective treatment system. The current treatment design and parametric costing approach can be applied elsewhere for the role of bioremediation in the treatment of petroleum contaminated environment, hazardous effects of petroleum hydrocarbon and genetic engineering in bioremediation.
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A rise in the shallow unconfined groundwater at a site in Australia is causing water logging of the underground facility in the affected area. Realizing this problem, a study was conducted to identify the source of water that is causing the rise and to develop an implementation and operation plan of the mitigation (dewatering system). Modelling was undertaken using MODFLOW-SURFACT code, within the framework of Visual MODFLOW, to assess the spatial and temporal groundwater level at the site. The study undertaken incorporates compilation and assessment of available data, including a list of factual information reviewed, development of a conceptual groundwater model for the site and modelling of the pre and post development conditions. The outcomes of the assessment indicate water level rises due to the construction of the embankment are likely less than 0.12 m and changes in land, such as affected area burial, may change aquifer characteristics more significantly than the embankment. It is concluded that the elevated groundwater levels in the affected area are most likely a result of above average rainfall since 2007 and long term cumulative land use changes. The embankment construction is just one of many land use changes that have occurred both within and surrounding the affected area and likely only a minor contributor to the elevated water levels. Greater contribution may be attributed to redirection of the natural flow paths the railway culvert weir reducing the overland flow gradient and ongoing changes (burial) within the affected area and including the embankment. The model findings gives answers on what factors may be/are causing/contributing to, the higher than usual groundwater levels in the study area. A combination of drainage and/or pumping (dewatering system) is suggested as a solution to overcome the problem of rising groundwater levels at the site. Further, the model output can aid in assessing mitigation options, including horizontal drainage networks and pumping to control for the rising water table conditions in the area, depending on the level of treatment and pathogenic criteria. URL:
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Mounding often occurs beneath engineering structures designed to infiltrate reuse water. AQTESOLV software and a spreadsheet solution for Hantush, together with soil moisture water balance (SWAGMAN farm model), were used for quantitatively predicting the height and extent of groundwater mounding underground to assess the groundwater-flow simulations of infiltration from a hypothetical irrigation site. Horizontal and vertical permeability, aquifer thickness, specific yield, and basin geometry are among the aquifer and recharge properties inputs. For 2.2 ha sites, the maximum heights of the simulated groundwater mound ranges up to 0.29 m. The maximum areal extent of groundwater mounding measured from the edge of the infiltration basins of 0.24 m ranges from 0 to 75 m. Additionally, the simulated height and extent of the groundwater mounding associated with a hypothetical irrigation infiltration basin for 2.2 ha development may be applicable to sites of different sizes, using the recharge rate estimated from the SWAGMAN farm model. For example, for a 2.2 ha site with a 0.0002 m/day recharge rate, the irrigation infiltration basin design capacity (and associated groundwater mound) would be the same as for a 1.1 ha site with a 0.0004 m/day recharge rate if the physical characteristics of the aquifer are unchanged. The study claimed that the present modelling approach overcomes the complications of solving the Hantush equation for transient flow. The approach utilised in this study can be applied for other purposes such as measuring the feasibility of infiltrating water, attenuation zone, risk mitigation essential for decision-makers and planning regulators in terms of environmental effects and water use efficiency.
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The transport groundwater modelling has been undertaken to assess potential remediation scenarios and provide an optimal remediation options for consideration. The purpose of the study was to allow 50 years of predictive remediation simulation time. The results depict the likely total petroleum hydrocarbon migration pattern in the area under the worst-case scenario. The remediation scenario simulations indicate that do nothing approach will likely not achieve the target water quality within 50 years. Similarly, complete source removal approach will also likely not achieve the target water quality within 50 years. Partial source removal could be expected to remove a significant portion of the contaminant mass, but would increase the rate of contaminant recharge in the short to medium term. The pump–treat–reinject simulation indicates that the option appears feasible and could achieve a reduction in the area of the 0.01 mg/L TPH contour area for both Raudhatain and Umm Al-Aish by 35 and 30%, respectively, within 50 years. The rate of improvement and the completion date would depend on a range of factors such as bore field arrangements, pumping rates, reinjection water quality and additional volumes being introduced and require further optimisation and field pilot trials. URL:
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Lake Naivasha was designated as a RAMSAR site in 1995. The lake environment is fragile and critically threatened by human-induced factors. The study presented a steady and transient numerical modeling. The long-term and system flux over time interaction between the lake and the surficial aquifer is represented in the Lake Package LAK3 with in the advanced 3-D simulation sofware (GMS). The model covers an area of 1817 km2. Model calibration was constrained by the observed groundwater and lake levels using PEST. The effect of excessive abstraction was rigorously analyzed via scenario analysis. The simulation was evaluated “with abstraction” and “without abstraction” scenarios. The abstraction scenario was simulated using range of combination assuming that all the abstraction was from the lake or the groundwater and in the ratio of groundwater and lake water. The effect of the stress was evaluated based on the observed aquifer heads and lake stage at the end of the simulation time. The development of low groundwater-level anomalies in the well field is explained. The result indicates that the one of the well fields is not in direct hydraulic connection to the main recharging water body. Apparently, similar development of cone of depression was not generated in the other two well fields, and this could have several reasons including due to the fact that these well fields are located relatively close by to the main recharging zones and concluded to have additional source of recharge, and this was supported by previous studies, whereby the isotopic composition of the boreholes has their source of recharge from precipitation and river and was also confirmed from the isotopic composition of unsaturated zone, which is a mixture of river and rain. The study reveals that seasonal variability of groundwater–surface water exchange fluxes and its spatially and temporally variable impact substantially on the water resource availability. Such analysis can be used as a basis to quantify the linkages between the surface water and groundwater regime and impacts in the basin. The model output is expected to serve as a basis via linking/coupling with others to incorporate the ecology and biodiversity of the lake to safeguard this high-value world heritage water feature.
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Oil spill in the Gulf was the biggest disaster in history. The scale of damage was enormous, ranging from destruction caused by oil fires and oil spills, to economic decline for the Kuwaiti oil industry. The transport modelling of the freshwater aquifers in north Kuwait was undertaken to assess potential remediation scenarios using the MODFLOW-SURFACT numerical code. Three interlinked models were calibrated: flow, density (salinity), and transport. The model domain is a subregional area encompassing the Al-Raudhatain and Umm Al-Aish Basins. The time-variant salinity transport model was calibrated simultaneously with the transient groundwater flow system and this includes variably saturated flow and transport. This was done prior to proceeding to simulate contaminant hydrocarbon transport, as the hydraulic gradients and flow directions (and storage volume) are significant controls on contaminant migration. The results depicted after 23 years and with respect to the total area of the freshwater body at Al-Raudhatain (55.2 km2) and Umm Al-Aish (37 km2); the areal extent of the total petroleum hydrocarbon plume is estimated to be 7.3 and 8.7 km2 for the 0.1 mg/L contour, respectively. This equates to total petroleum hydrocarbon impacting 13 and 24% of the Al-Raudhatain and Umm Al-Aish freshwater bodies, respectively. The simulation indicated that even though total petroleum hydrocarbon loading was negligible in the center of the Al-Raudhatain depression up until the recent past, what has entered the groundwater system earlier from the contamination sources (pits, fringes, and lakes) is still moving toward the freshwater lenses or is potentially undetected due to lack of optimal existing monitoring bore screen and depth installations (plume diving). This implies that the environment is be the victim of war (the Gulf Crisis). The ecological and economic full impact probably will not be realized in the near future.
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This paper presents the application of a three-dimensional numerical model to the the Al-Raudhatain and Umm A-Aish fresh water aquifers located in north Kuwait. The two aquifers have been polluted by saline sea water imported to extinguish the oil well fires during the Gulf war. A time-variant salinity transport model was calibrated simultaneously with the transient groundwater flow system to assess the impact of saline sea water. Variably saturated flow and transport were modelled. The results of the salinity transport model suggest that although the fresh water–saline water interface, as defined by the 1,500 mg/L contour, has moved towards the centre of the lens, in some areas up-gradient of the freshwater recharge, the extent of the freshwater lens has actually increased slightly in the down-gradient areas. After 23 years (simulation period 1990-2013), the areal extent of the total dissolved solids plume is estimated 27 % and 29 % of the Al-Raudhatain and Umm A-Aish fresh water bodies, respectively. Under the scenarios assumed, there are large masses of salts stored in the soil profile that will leach over time to the water table. The total dissolved solids concentrations are predicted by the model to decrease to 4,500 mg/L from 7,800 mg/L, after 73 years (simulation period 1990-2063) from the moment the saline sea water was added. The predicted total dissolved solids concentration simulation provides a worst-case scenario of the likely extent of contaminant movement in groundwater in the two fresh water fields. Solute transport modelling has become increasingly important tool for interpreting groundwater quality data and processes relevant to natural and contaminant aquifer systems to a wide range of real-world groundwater quality problems. Further data, from drilling sampling and other testing and experimentations should help clarify these assumptions and assist in updating the solute transport modelling effort which helps to provide insights into the past and present behavior, and allows to predict water quality management scenarios.
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An oil flow from the oil wells damaged during the 1991 Gulf War and the sea water used for extinguishing the resulting oil fire have contaminated the freshwater aquifers of Raudhatain and Umm Al-Aish water fields in north Kuwait. The numerical flow modelling of the aquifers was undertaken to create a calibrated and validated model that could be used in the future to explore a viable remediation strategy for the aquifers. The Environmental Visualization Software (EVS-pro) 3-D data presentation program was used to construct a conceptual model as a preliminary step. A 3-D numerical model was developed using the MODFLOW-SURFACT code that overcame the limitations of the classical MODFLOW. This model was able to combine both freshwater lenses in one model domain simulating the vadose zone together with the saturated zone. The model domain covered an area of 580 km2 encompassing the Al-Raudhatain and Umm Al-Aish basins. A steady-state model was developed first to study regional flow patterns in the aquifer. A transient model was developed subsequently to assess seasonal recharge on groundwater and investigate their effects on flow patterns. Analysis of the calibrated steady-state model output indicated that the model simulated the groundwater elevation and flow direction across the model domain to an acceptable level. The calibrated transient flow model is of significant importance to assess the vertical and lateral plume migration in the area and helps to come up with a plausible remediation strategy.
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Site characterization was performed on an area of 580 km2 around the strategically vital freshwater aquifers of the Al-Rawdhatain and Umm Al-Aish to assess the status of groundwater pollution as the result of Iraq invasion to Kuwait in 1991. Advanced data analysis and visualization software (EVS-Pro) was used for groundwater contamination assessment analytes: total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) and total dissolved solids (TDS). This will reduce the number of samples needed (saves time and money) and provide a superior assessment of the analytes distribution. Based on the “minimum–maximum plume technology” analysis, the nominal plume area with a threshold of 0.031 mg/kg TPH is estimated at about 0.47 km2. This is the difference between the maximum and minimum predicted plume sizes. EVS-Pro also computed 3.3775 × 109 and 4.0788 × 106 for the plume volumes and masses (dollars per volume and mass), respectively. Also, new sampling locations were determined for further detailed site assessments based on the confidence and uncertainty analysis, which is more defensible and cost-optimized approach. This will reduce the number of samples needed (saves time and money) and provide a superior assessment of the analytes distribution. These tools prove to be effective in assessing remediation costs of clean-up versus benefits obtained and in developing a cost-effective monitoring programme for insights into processes controlling subsurface contaminant transport that impact water quality.