Environmental effectiveness of swine sewage management: a multicriteria AHP-based model for a reliable quick assessment

Environ Manage. 2013 Oct;52(4):1023-39. doi: 10.1007/s00267-013-0149-y. Epub 2013 Aug 24.


Environmental issues related to swine production are still a major concern for the general public and represent a key challenge for the swine industry. The environmental impact of higher livestock concentration is particularly significant where it coincides with weaker policy standards and poor manure management. Effective tools for environmental monitoring of the swine sewage management process become essential for verifying the environmental compatibility of farming facilities and for defining suitable policies aimed at increasing swine production sustainability. This research aims at the development and application of a model for a quick assessment of the environmental effectiveness of the pig farming sewage management process. In order to define the model, multicriteria techniques, and in particular, Saaty's analytic hierarchy process, were used to develop an iterative process in which the various key factors influencing the process under investigation were analyzed. The model, named EASE (Environmental Assessment of Sewages management Effectiveness), was optimized and applied to the Lake Trasimeno basin (Umbria, Italy), an area of high natural, environmental and aesthetic value. In this context, inadequate disposal of pig sewage represents a potential source of very considerable pollution. The results have demonstrated how the multicriteria model can represent a very effective and adaptable tool also in those decision-making processes aimed at the sustainable management of livestock production.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Environment*
  • Italy
  • Sewage*
  • Swine
  • Waste Management / standards*


  • Sewage