Department Environmental Social Sciences

Fairness in the planning of new wastewater infrastructures

Currently, most households in Switzerland are connected via a sewer system to a central wastewater treatment plant. Especially in rural areas, sewers can become very lengthy. In these areas, it could be reasonable to change the current system to a decentralised wastewater infrastructure system. As an example, package plants installed in every household could be cheaper and more flexible in the long term.
Such a transition in infrastructure systems can bring about a change in the distribution of costs and benefits between users. The aim of our study is to find out, which procedures and principles are perceived as fair by the population.
Different fairness principles have already been studied and discussed in the literature. We now want to connect these principles to the topic of wastewater management.

Research questions

  • Which fairness principles are perceived as the most appropriate, when it comes to the implementation of new wastewater infrastructure systems?
  • Which recommendation could be given regarding a fair procedure in implementing decentralised wastewater systems in rural communities?
  • Are there differences in the perception of fairness between different groups (e.g. rural and urban, different cantons, male and female)?

The project is carried out in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Rudolf Vetschera, Faculty of Business, Economics and Statistics, University Vienna.


Sara Schmid Tel. +41 58 765 6837 Send Mail
Dr. Judit Lienert Group Leader, Cluster: DA (Decision Analysis) Tel. +41 58 765 5574 Send Mail


Sara Schmid Tel. +41 58 765 6837 Send Mail

Project information

Project start: February 2018
Project duration: 1 year


Schmid, S.; Vetschera, R.; Lienert, J. (2021) Testing fairness principles for public environmental infrastructure decisions, Group Decision and Negotiation, 30, 611-640, doi:10.1007/s10726-021-09725-2, Institutional Repository