Management Responses to Technical Uncertainty

by John F. Malek, US Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle, WA, USA,
Keith E. Phillips, US Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle, WA, USA,
D. Michael Johns, US Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle, WA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '87


Recent attention to management and regulation of contaminated waste materials has served to heighten awareness of the role of technical uncertainty in regulatory decisionmaking. Two distinct, yet related forms of 'uncertainty' in decisionmaking are defined: first, scientific and technical uncertainty regarding the function of complex systems, and, second, inconsistency in regulatory decisionmaking which impairs predictability and planning. This paper reviews four interrelated approaches to addressing these uncertainties, with emphasis on decisions concerning multi-environment disposal options for dredged contaminated sediments. Each of these approaches to addressing uncertainty are illustrated by examples from the field of dredging and disposal of contaminated sediments. The use of empirically-derived sediment criteria, environmental risk assessment, and the planning and design of multi-user disposal sites for dredged material in Puget Sound are briefly described.

Subject Headings: Uncertainty principles | Water pollution | Waste management | Sediment | Dredged materials | Dredging | Decision making | Washington | United States

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