Linear programming in hazardous waste management
Linear programming techniques are applied to investigate the relative costs of regional and state-wide hazardous waste management schemes. The focus is the identification of a cost effective configuration of transportation routes, transfer stations, processing facilities and secure long-term storage impoundments. Wastes generated in North Carolina are studied as a useful example of linear programming applications in general and options available within a given state in particular. The value of the techniques are highlighted, as are their limitations. The usefulness in developing relative costs of alternatives is stressed, particularly in the ability of the techniques to conduct sensitivity analyses in a topic area where data may not be generally available. Suggestions are made for overcoming data shortcomings. In the case study, the options are seen to revolve around the state of North Carolina's expressed desire to locate one large centralized storage landfill. From a pure cost standpoint, other management facilities like transfer stations and incinerators appear to be precluded even with optimal routing to and from the facilities. From other viewpoints, including risk aversion to spills while the waste is in transit, the inclusion of these facilities in the state's program can be supported.
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