# A probabilistic tool for multi-hazard risk analysis using a bow-tie approach: application to environmental risk assessments for geo-resource development projects

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## Abstract

In this paper, we present a methodology and a computational tool for performing environmental risk assessments for geo-resource development projects. The main scope is to implement a quantitative model for performing highly specialised multi-hazard risk assessments in which risk pathway scenarios are structured using a bow-tie approach, which implies the integrated analysis of fault trees and event trees. Such a model needs to be defined in the interface between a natural/built/social environment and a geo-resource development activity perturbing it. The methodology presented in this paper is suitable for performing dynamic environmental risk assessments using state-of-the-art knowledge and is characterised by: (1) the bow-tie structure coupled with a wide range of probabilistic models flexible enough to consider different typologies of phenomena; (2) the Bayesian implementation for data assimilation; (3) the handling and propagation of modelling uncertainties; and (4) the possibility of integrating data derived form integrated assessment modelling. Beyond the stochastic models usually considered for reliability analyses, we discuss the integration of physical reliability models particularly relevant for considering the effects of external hazards and/or the interactions between industrial activities and the response of the environment in which such activities are performed. The performance of the proposed methodology is illustrated using a case study focused on the assessment of groundwater pollution scenarios associated with the management of flowback fluids after hydraulically fracturing a geologic formation. The results of the multi-hazard risk assessment are summarised using a risk matrix in which the quantitative assessments (likelihood and consequences) of the different risk pathway scenarios considered in the analysis can be compared. Finally, we introduce an open-access, web-based, service called MERGER, which constitutes a functional tool able to quantitatively evaluate risk scenarios using a bow-tie approach.

## Keywords

Multi-hazard risk assessment Anthropogenic hazards Bow-tie approach Monte Carlo simulations## Abbreviations

- BE
Basic event (of a fault tree)

- BT
Bow-tie analysis

- EPOS-IP
European Plate Observing System-Implementation Phase (European project)

- ERA
Environmental risk assessment

- ET
Event tree

*E*(*x*)Mean value of

*x*- FT
Fault tree

- HazMat
Hazardous materials

- HPP
Homogeneous Poisson process

- IAM
Integrated assessment modelling

- IS-EPOS platform
Platform for Research into Anthropogenic Seismicity and other Anthropogenic Hazards, developed within IS-EPOS project

- \(\varLambda\)
Equivalent sample size

- MERGER
Simulator for multi-hazard risk assessment in ExploRation/exploitation of GEoResources

- MHR
Multi-hazard risk

- PRM
Physical reliability model

- SD(
*x*) Standard deviation of

*x*- SHEER
Shale gas exploration and exploitation induced risks (European project)

- TCS
Thematic core service (in EPOS-IP project)

- TCS-AH
Anthropogenic hazards thematic core service

- TE
Top event (in a fault tree)

## Notes

### Acknowledgements

The work presented in this paper has been performed in the framework of the EU H2020 SHEER (Shale gas exploration and exploitation induced Risks) Project, Grant No. 640896. The implementation of the MERGER system in the IS-EPOS platform is performed in the framework of the EU H2020 EPOS-IP (European Plate Observing System) project, Grant No. 676564. AMRA (AG, RR, PG) received support from the Italian Ministry of Economic Development (MISE - DGRME) by co-financing the research activities in the framework of the cooperation agreement n. 23671 (06/08/2014). Activities from Polish partners (JK) in EPOS-IP are co-financed by Polish research funds associated with the EPOS-IP project, Grant No. 3503/H2020/15/2016/2. We thank Paolo Capuano for his support during the preparation of the work presented in this paper. We thank also two anonymous reviewers for critically reading the manuscript and suggesting substantial improvements.

### Compliance with ethical standards

### Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

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