Application of the analytic hierarchy process to the analysis of wastewater nutrient recycling options: a case based on a group study of residents in the city of Zurich
The recycling of anthropogenic nutrients derived from the wastewater management systems is often characterized by a complex and uncertain scenario, due not only to the nature of the process but also to the involvement of different stakeholder groups. Over the past 10 years in Switzerland, policies regarding the use of sewage sludge as fertilizer have gradually shifted to a ban on use in agriculture. As a result, alternative methods for the recycling of anthropogenic nutrients may play a relevant role in the near future. This paper uses the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) to examine more closely the nutrient-recycling dilemma by analysing the preferences of a group of German-speaking residents in the city of Zurich for various management scenarios. Nutrient recycling by the use of urine separation toilets and the BioCon treatment process are presented as possible management alternatives in addition to current practice. The study shows that AHP can incorporate the respondents' preferences and multiple objectives when evaluating alternatives with different attributes.