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Water Quality Modelling
(optional)
2-6 WATER QUALITY MODELLING
(optional)

Peter Kelderman
UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education

Overview

Some Mathematics (background)

Mass balances
BOD-DO modelling in a river
River Danube calamities model

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Introduction: general
What is a model?
a simplified representation of a real system

study cause-effect relationships
find out lack of knowledge
gain insight into the system

Answer what if? questions:

see effects of "measures"
see effect of changes in conditions

Also used as part of monitoring (complicated processes,

calamities,..)
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Dimension of a model

Looks at the length co-ordinates x, y z:

If x, y, z are not included in the model 0-D model
Example: pollutant in a completely mixed lake, or:

One length co-ordinate: 1-D model

Example: BOD/DO model along river length (x)

2-D and 3-D models: two or three length co-ordinates

E.g. Delft 3-D model for pollutant concentration in the North
Sea at different locations + water depths very complicated !

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1D model

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3D model- salinity in an estuary

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Basic terms

Input data:
geometry input data (model)
boundary conditions: values of unknowns at the boundaries of the
spatial domain covered by the model
initial conditions: values of the unknowns at the start of the
simulation (t=0)
external variables or forcing functions: values of quantities
affecting the model results, which are not predicted by the model.
Their values are taken from outside (e.g. meteorology data)
model parameters: acceleration of gravity, bottom friction, decay
rate,

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Some remarks
A model can only be as good as the ideas/assumptions behind it:
Garbage in garbage out
All essential processes should be included; dont be over-
impressed by many sophisticated models often lot of window-
dressing. (Example: P models for shallow lakes that ignore P sediment-water
exchange maybe completely wrong results!)

In understanding/evaluating models in practice, look for the

theory behind the models;
And look at the real water system behavior!

The proof of a good model is the agreement between the model

and the real situation (calibration/validation).

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Balances and differential equations

In (Water quality) modelling, balances (mass, energy, momentum) are

commonly used:

Mass balance:

dMass
change/sec Massin Massout processes
dt
E.g.:In a lake, if 10 kg/s of a pollutant come in, 5 kg/s go out and 3 kg/s go the bottom change = +2
kg/s

So modelling works with solving differential equations(exactly or as an

approximation (numerical solutions))!

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Simple decay calcultation
In words: decrease/sec is proportional to amount present
(If radioactivity decreases with 20 g/s for 100 kg, then it will decrease with 10*20=200 g/s for 10*100 kg = 1000 kg)

k = decay rate (1/d)

dM
kM M = mass (g)
dt
t = time (d)
(Note that both sides are positive!)

Used for many processes in water quality modelling, e.g.:

Decay of BOD
Dieing of bacteria (e.g. E-coli)
Mortality of algae
etc.
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Simple decay calculation (2)
dM
Decay formulation: kM
dt

Separating variables: 1
dM kdt
M
M t
1
Take the definite integral on both dM k dt
M0
M 0
sides:

M M kt
Will lead to: ln kt e
M 0 M 0

Will finally lead to: M (t ) M 0 e kt

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Decay Rate
1
M (t ) M 0 e kt
Slow rate (low k value)
0.8 High rate (high k value)

0.6

0.4

0.2

0
0

Exercise: Check that it wil take 6.9 days for the Mass to reach
50% of its original value M0 , for k = 0.1 day-1

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Micropolllutants in Rivers
W = 500 kg/day

Q = 10 (m3/s)

(t = travel time in river)

(13 hours to reduce to 1% of C0)
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The essence of water quality modelling!
volume
V

discharge Qout
discharge Qin
concentration
concentration
Cout
Cin

reaction rate k

How are the concentrations changing, in

space and in time?
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BOD DO in a river

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Oxygen Concentration pattern
BOD

DO
Diss.
oxygen

River axis
Major WQ problem, already investigated in 19th century
Major mathematical description: Streeter-Phelps model
(1925)

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Major Processes
Sources of DO:
Re-aereation of oxygen from the atmosphere
Oxygen production/consumption by plants, algae

Sinks of DO:
Oxidation of BOD
Sediment oxygen demand
Oxygen consumption by respiration of algae and plants

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Oxidation of BOD (1)
Assume CBOD and NBOD (NH4+ NO3-) have same

dBOD
dBOD

kBOD
According to first order reaction:

L = BOD (g/m3)
dL
dt
k1 L t = time (day)
dt
k1= BOD degradation rate constant (day-1)

Solution: L L0 e k1t
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Oxidation of BOD (2)
Degradation rate constant k1 for BOD :
k1 generally between 0.1 0.4 (day-1)
Dependent on e.g. type of organic material, river
characteristics, wastewater purification, time after discharge
Increase of about 4% per oC

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Re-aeration of Oxygen
Driving force: Difference between O2 concentration and
saturation O2 concentration, in the water:
k2= re-aeration constant (day-1)
dc
k2 csat c c = Oxygen concentration(g/m3)
dt
csat= Saturation oxygen
concentration(g/m3)
air

water

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Re-aeration of Oxygen (2)

Solution: c = c {(csat c0 ) exp(-k2t)} (If you like: try yourself)

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Re-aeration in rivers
Value k2 dependent on:
Velocity river : k2 proportional to about V0.5
Water depth : k2 proportional to about 1/H1.5
Temperature: about 2% increase per 0C

Empirical graph from different UK-

USA reseaches
Example:
Velocity = 0.6 ft/sec = 0.18 m/sec
Depth = 4.5 ft = 1.4 m

k2 = 1.0 day-1

(see Thomann and Mller (1987))

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1 foot= 0.3 m

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Sediment Oxygen demand
SOD (g/m2/day)
Bottom type and location
Range Average

Especially important for organic-rich sediments

Increase about 7% per oC
SOD can be neglected for deep rivers
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Streeter-Phelps DO model for a river
BOD

U (m/s)
V
dx x

Ignore SOD
Ignore effect algae and water plants
Ignore differences between CBOD and NBOD degradation

Mass Balance for oxygen over segment dx:

dc
V rear oxidation Inflow Outflow
dt 26
Model equation
dc k1 x dc
k 2 (c s c) k1 L0 exp( ) U
dt U dx
Re- BOD decay inflow-
aeration outflow
(L0 is the BOD concentration in the river after mixing)

BOD decay term expresses:

Decrease in BOD that has already taken place between the
discharge point and the segment V (L = L0 exp(-k1 x/U)); and
the BOD decay in segment V itself: dL/dt = -k1 L

Last term: plug-flow equation

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Solution
Assume steady state conditions: dc/dt =0 solution:

k1 L0
c cs exp(k1t ) exp(k2t ) (cs c0 ) exp(k2t )
k 2 k1

t=travel time river,

equivalent with distance

Dc = Critical DO deficit

(see Thomann and Mller (1987))

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Critical distance
Critical distance" x*c or travel time t*c = x*c/U, i.e. the distance/travel
time where the minimum O2 concentration in the river is reached.
By differentiation; dc/dx = 0:

1 k2 (cs c0 )(k 2 k1 )
tc
*
ln 1
k 2 k1 k1 k1 L0
(k2 k1 ; for equal values assume a small difference, say 0.01, in the
calculations).

1 k2
For cs = co : t *
c ln
k 2 k1 k 1

Example: for k1 = 0.3 day-1 and k2=0.8 day-1, tc* = 1/0.5 (ln 8/3) = 2.0 days

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nimal Oxygen concentration

k1
C s C min . L0 e k1tc
k2

(see Thomann and Mller (1987)

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Calculation Example
k1
Characteristics river/BOD load: C s C min . L0 e k1tc
k2
k1 = 0.3 day-1
k2 = 0.9 day-1
L0 = 30 mg/L (BOD conc. in river after mixing)
cs = 8.0 mg/L (DO saturation concentration)
tc = 2.5 days

Till what value should L0 be reduced to reach DO standard = 5.0 mg/L?

(Answer: L0 < 19 mg/L)
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BOD-DO models in practice

Often much more complicated:

A wide variety of point and non-point sources...
Different tributaries and river branches, all with different k1
and k2 values ..
Take into account SOD, effect algae, differences between
CBOD and NnBOD.......

BOD-DO models such as SOBEK, or Mike11 Ecolab

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Numerical modelling
Streeter-Phelps model could mathematically be solved exactly

For more complicated equations, it will be impossible to find

exact solutions of the differential equations numerical
solutions

step t

With this kind of numerical modelling, the trend in C can then

be followed (time)step by step. See e.g. Euler method

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Example: Black River USA
Main river with two tributaries

River system was divided into 59

segments, all with their specific values
for input parameters" K-CBOD, K-
NBOD, K2, K-SOD

Euler method was used to model DO

over the whole river

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Calibration and Verification
Calibration of a model: to fit the
Calibration
model with the real situation/data,
by trying out (realistic !) values Not
of input parameters k1, k2, kSOD , ok
Verification
etc.
Ok
Verification/validation: to check
that the model then also works for Use ok
of model
another, independent data set

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libration and Verification (2)

Black River BOD-DO model:

Calibration with the help of data set
August 14, 1973 (:very good!)

Verification with data set November 1,

1973 (:unusually good result!)

Finally the model can then be applied;

in this case for finding out effect of dam
construction

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Modelling accidental spills

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Accidental spills
Short event of intensive pollution, due to an accident; examples:
Sandoz, Rhine, 1986: some 20 tonnes of pesticides were
spilt into the river Rhine, due to extinguishing water for fire at
Sandoz factory massive fish kills

accidental spills are important, because they attract a lot of

publicity and concern in the society
often the starting point of action plans to improve pollution
situation

Modelling: the peaks of discharge will gradually get wider (non-

ideal river plug-flow due to back-currents, shallow/deep, etc.)
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Sandoz, measured concentration downstream

ref: Dietrich (2008), lecture notes Sandoz Accident, University of Konstanz, Germany
http://www.umwelttoxikologie.uni-konstanz.de/Lehre/Lecture__Environ__Tox__I_/02_29042008OkotoxIBS4Sem.pdf
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Accidental spill model (basic version)
1-dimensional

Analytical (exact) solution, for a mass M of pollutants released

at t=0 at x=0 (Taylor formula):

M x Ut 2
C( x, t ) exp

A 4Dt 4 Dt
Q, U = river discharge/flow; D = mixing; diffusion parameter
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Case Study: Danube River
The Danube River is 2857 km long and the basin covers 817,000
square km in 18 countries in the heart of central Europe. The basin is
characterised by large socio-economical differences. It stretches out
from rich Western-European states to some relatively poor former
Soviet Union Republics.

The river has a number of very large tributaries. The Danube water is
used extensively by the 85 million inhabitants of the basin. The basin
includes many important natural areas, including the Danube delta - the
second largest wetland area in Europe.

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Accidental Spill

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Cyanide Spill in Danube river

Source: mining waste in Rumania

100,000 m3 wastewater release due to breaking dike
in mine
Much damage to Danubecosystem
Danube Basin Alarm Model (DBAM) was used to
predict (maximum) levels of cyanide in the river,
travel time, restoration..
No cyanide decay assumed over time scale used
worst case scenario (is often done in modelling).

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Results from hindcasting application : quite ok, but
14 some extremes missed and time differences

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Balsa computed Balsa observed
Kiskore computed Kiskore observed
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Tiszasziget computed Tiszasziget observed
Concentration (mg/l)

0
31-jan 2-feb 4-feb 6-feb 8-feb 10-feb 12-feb 14-feb
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