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Regulating Waste Discharge with Fuzzy Interval Effluent Limitations for Toxic Pollutants

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Many traditional water quality standards are based on extreme percentiles; often, there is the risk of making wrong decisions with these standards because of high estimation uncertainty. Standards expressed as fuzzy intervals in the form of [trigger, enforcement limitation] make it possible to control the risks for the discharger and the consumer simultaneously. With fuzzy interval compliance, corrective action is initiated when the trigger is exceeded; noncompliance is declared when the enforcement limitation is exceeded. Fuzzy intervals would digest the risks that are inherent when a single enforcement limitation is used to determine compliance; the risks can be further lowered when the fuzzy intervals are based on less extreme percentiles. This paper proposes several alternatives to using a single extreme percentile standard for regulating water quality or waste discharge. A case study using municipal effluent water quality data was included that suggests methods to determine compliance with fuzzy interval standards.
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Keywords: Type I error; Type II error; compliance; decision-making risk; fuzzy interval; percentile standards; uncertainty; waste discharge; water quality

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-04-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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