Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Dr. Brian Baetz


A prototype knowledge-based decision support system was developed to compare the components and parameters of the inputs and wastes of different industries and determine the potentials for reuse, recycling or disposal and the treatments required for recycling or disposal. The specific number and the order of required treatments was termed a treatment train and was determined through exhaustive searching. The knowledge base included the input limits for each parameter and the formulae that define the parameters of the outputs for 25 treatments. The parameters depend upon the state of the waste and a total of 29 parameters were included. The system also determined the quantity of the secondary wastes produced by each treatment.

To test the system, inputs, products and wastes from four industries on the Point Lisas Industrial Estate, Trinidad were incorporated into the database. For the 73 wastes, the program produced over 4,600 treatment trains, with seven wastes which could not be treated to match an input or a standard. By selecting the treatment train which produced the lower volumes of secondary wastes, matching treatment trains for co-treatment and selecting the shorter trains, final options for treatment were determined. Economic data were not incorporated into the system, although a mechanism for such an incorporation has been included in the developed prototype.

This research provided the following contributions:

a) Development of a prototype knowledge based decision support system for determining all possible treatment options for successfully treating a waste for reuse, recycling or disposal;

b) Development of a model for selection of treatment options for each waste;

c) Incorporation of different types of wastes from different producers into the prototype;

d) Determination of the input limits and formulae to define outputs from treatments;

e) Development of an approach that considers the concerns of developing countries.

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