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Multi-period evaluation and selection of rural wastewater treatment technologies: a case study

Abstract

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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Funding

The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: this work is supported in part by Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant 71873015, in part by the Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University of China under Grant NCET-13-0037, and in part by Humanities and Social Sciences Foundation of Ministry of Education of China under Grant 14YJA630019.

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Correspondence to Yanbing Ju.

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Zhang, F., Ju, Y., Dong, P. et al. Multi-period evaluation and selection of rural wastewater treatment technologies: a case study. Environ Sci Pollut Res 27, 45897–45910 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-10307-z

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Keywords

  • Rural wastewater treatment technologies
  • Multi-period evaluation
  • Optimal selection
  • Evidence theory
  • Fuzzy analytical hierarchy process
  • Picture fuzzy numbers