Multiobjective optimization models for distributing biosolids to reuse fields

2008 2008

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DCWASA) operates the Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant located in Washington, DC. It serves more than two million Washington Metro Area customers, and treats more than 330 million gallons a day of raw sewage from area jurisdictions, including Montgomery and Prince George's Counties in Maryland, and Fairfax and Loudoun Counties in Virginia. Each day, DCWASA produces approximately 1,200 tons of biosolids or byproducts of wastewater that have been treated to reduce pathogens and can be used as fertilizer for agricultural purposes. These generated biosolids require removal from the treatment facility and distribution to reuse fields located in Maryland and Virginia. In spite of the benefits of reuse, biosolids are generally considered by many as potentially malodorous. Recently, DCWASA has received complaints from the surrounding communities and needed to minimize biosolids odors. However, trying to minimize biosolids odors could result in costly treatment processes. Therefore, one needs to determine how to minimize the odors while at the same time minimizing the treatment costs. This compromise of balancing the competing objectives of odors and costs results in a two-objective or more generally, multiobjective optimization problem.

In this dissertation, we develop multiobjective optimization models to simultaneously minimize biosolids odors as well as wastewater treatment process and biosolids distribution costs. A weighting method and constraint method were employed to find tradeoff, so called Pareto optimal, points between costs and odors. Schur's decomposition and special order set type two variables were used to approximate the product of two decision variables. A Dantzig-Wolfe decomposition technique was successfully applied to break apart and solve a large optimization model encountered in this dissertation. Using the Blue Plains advanced wastewater treatment plant as a case study, we find several Pareto optimal points between costs and odors where different treatments (e.g., lime addition) and biosolids distribution (e.g., to what reuse fields biosolids should be applied) strategies should be employed. In addition, to hedge the risk of equipment failures as well as for historical reasons, an on-site dewatering contractor has also been incorporated into the model. The optimal solutions indicate different uses of the contractor (e.g., percent flow assigned) when dewatering cost employed by DCWASA varies. This model can be used proactively by any typical advanced wastewater treatment plants to produce the least malodorous biosolids at minimal costs and to our knowledge, this is the first instance of such a model.

Indexing (details)

Civil engineering;
Environmental engineering;
Operations research
0543: Civil engineering
0775: Environmental engineering
0796: Operations research
Identifier / keyword
Applied sciences; Biosolids; Cost benefit; Dantzig-Wolfe decomposition; Integer programming; Multiobjective optimization; Reuse fields
Multiobjective optimization models for distributing biosolids to reuse fields
Sahakij, Prawat
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-B 69/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Gabriel, Steven A.
University of Maryland, College Park
Civil Engineering
University location
United States -- Maryland
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.