Multi-Objective Decision Model for Urban Water Use: Planning for a Regional Water Reuse Ordinance

EPA Grant Number: X3832204
Title: Multi-Objective Decision Model for Urban Water Use: Planning for a Regional Water Reuse Ordinance
Investigators: Anderson, Paul R. , Piwoni, Marvin , Wickenkamp, Jeffery A.
Current Investigators: Anderson, Paul R. , Elam, Jesse A. , Miller, Gary
Institution: Illinois Institute of Technology , Illinois Waste Management and Research Center , Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission
Current Institution: Illinois Institute of Technology , Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning , Illinois Sustainable Technology Center
EPA Project Officer: Bauer, Diana
Project Period: May 1, 2005 through December 31, 2008
Project Amount: $255,000
RFA: Collaborative Science & Technology Network for Sustainability (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , Sustainability


In this project we will develop a multi-objective decision model for urban water use, which can lay the foundation for a water reuse ordinance in the Chicago metropolitan area.


In the initial phase of the project, we will evaluate existing technological, economic, societal, and environmental incentives and barriers to wastewater reuse. Planning for sustainable water use must incorporate multiple and often conflicting objectives. Several objectives, for example, would seek to minimize costs for water treatment, wastewater treatment, water distribution, new dual distribution lines, and new treatment costs (such as chlorination). There could be multiple in-stream flow requirements for aeration, wastewater dilution and conveyance, habitat protection, transportation, and recreation. Energy aspects must be included, both for the existing hydroelectric plant and for energy requirements associated with treating water and wastewater and distributing water. There is also potential for energy recovery from the wastewater using heat pumps. An obvious objective of the model is to minimize water withdrawal from Lake Michigan. Finally, the decision model must be structured to minimize potential risks associated with wastewater reuse, and to maximize public acceptance of reuse applications. The decision model will be used to understand the relative weights associated with these issues, and plan effective, long-term sustainable water use.

Expected Results:

Short-term success of the project can be defined in terms of the model development. Long-term success can be measured in terms of the volume of wastewater reuse, decreased withdrawal from Lake Michigan, energy savings, and their associated economic benefits.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 28 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Media: drinking water, watershed; Risk Assessment: risk assessment, health effects, ecological effects; Ecosystem Protection: integrated assessment: Risk Management: sustainable development: Public Policy: public policy, decision making: Scientific Disciplines: engineering; Geographic Areas: Central, Great Lakes, Midwest,, RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, Sustainable Industry/Business, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Sustainable Environment, Resources Management, Technology for Sustainable Environment, decision-making, Urban and Regional Planning, Economics & Decision Making, sustainable development, urban planning, wastewater, sustainable water use, water evaluation and urban planning tool, environmental decision making, decision making, barriers, ecological design, Urban water management, conservation, enforcement, water reuse ordinance, environmental law, sustainable urban environment, water conservation, Chicago, compliance costs, pollution prevention

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2005 Progress Report
  • 2006 Progress Report
  • 2007 Progress Report
  • Final Report