A Hybrid Neural Network- Mathematical Programming Approach to Design an Air Quality Monitoring Network for an Industrial Complex
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Air pollution sampling site selection is one of the most important and yet most vexing of the problems faced by those responsible for regional and urban air quality management and for the attainment and maintenance of national ambient air quality standards. Since one cannot hope to monitor air quality at all locations at all times, selection of sites to give a reliable and realistic picture of air quality becomes a major issue and at the same time a difficult task. The location (configuration) and the number of stations may be based on many factors, some of which may depend on limited resources, federal and state regulations and local conditions. The combination of these factors has made air quality surveys more complex; requiring comprehensive planning to ensure that the prescribed objectives can be attained in the shortest possible time and at the least cost. Furthermore, the choice and siting of the measuring network represents a factor of significant economic relevance for policymakers. In view of the fact that equipment, maintenance and operating personnel costs are increasing dramatically, the possibility of optimizing the monitoring design, is most attractive to the directors of air quality management programs. In this work a methodology that is able to design an optimal air quality monitoring network (AQMN) is described. The objective of the optimization is to provide maximum information about the presence and level of atmospheric contaminants in a given area and with a limited budget. A criterion for assessing the allocation of monitoring stations is developed by applying a utility function that can describe the spatial coverage of the network and its ability to detect violations of standards for multiple pollutants. A mathematical model based on the Multiple Cell Approach (MCA) was used to create monthly spatial distributions for the concentrations of the pollutants emitted from different emission sources. This data was used to train artificial neural networks (ANN) that were proven to be able to predict very well the pattern and violation scores at different potential locations. These neural networks were embedded within a mathematical programming model whose objective is to determine the best monitoring locations for a given budget. This resulted in a nonlinear program (NLP). The proposed model is applied to a network of existing refinery stacks and the locations of monitoring stations and their area coverage percentage are obtained.