Uncertainty Modeling Health Risk Assessment and Groundwater Resources Management
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Real-world problems especially the ones that involve natural systems are complex and they are composed of many non-deterministic components. Uncertainties associated with these non-deterministic components may originate from randomness or from imprecision due to lack of information. Until recently, uncertainty, regardless of its nature or source has been treated by probability concepts. However, uncertainties associated with real-world systems are not limited to randomness. Imprecise, vague or incomplete information may better be represented by other mathematical tools, such as fuzzy set theory, possibility theory, belief functions, etc. New approaches which allow utilization of probability theory in combination with these new mathematical tools found applications in various engineering fields. Uncertainty modeling in human health risk assessment and groundwater resources management areas are investigated in this thesis. In the first part of this thesis two new approaches which utilize both probability theory and fuzzy set theory concepts to treat parameter uncertainties in carcinogenic risk assessment are proposed. As a result of these approaches fuzzy health risks are generated. For the fuzzy risk to be useful for practical purposes its acceptability with respect to compliance guideline has to be evaluated. A new fuzzy measure, the risk tolerance measure, is proposed for this purpose. The risk tolerance measure is a weighed average of the possibility and the necessity measures which are currently used for decision making purposes. In the second part of this thesis two decision making frameworks are proposed to determine the best groundwater resources management strategy in the Savannah region, Georgia. Groundwater resources management problems, especially ones in the coastal areas are complex and require treatment of various uncertain inputs. The first decision making framework proposed in this study is composed of a coupled simulation-optimization model followed by a fuzzy multi-objective decision making approach while the second framework includes a groundwater flow model in which the parameters of the flow equation are characterized by fuzzy numbers and a decision making approach which utilizes the risk tolerance measure proposed in the first part of this thesis.