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Integrated modelling of faecal contamination in a densely populated river–sea continuum (Scheldt River and Estuary)
de Brauwere, A.; Gourgue, O.; de Brye, B.; Servais, P.; Ouattara, N.K.; Deleersnijder, E. (2014). Integrated modelling of faecal contamination in a densely populated river–sea continuum (Scheldt River and Estuary). Sci. Total Environ. 468-469: 31-45. hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.08.019
In: Science of the Total Environment. Elsevier: Amsterdam. ISSN 0048-9697, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 253998 [ OMA ]

Keywords
    Escherichia coli Castellani & Chalmers, 1919 [WoRMS]; Marine; Brackish water
Author keywords
    Microbiological water quality; Escherichia coli; Modelling; Tidal rivers; Scheldt Estuary; SLIM

Authors  Top 
  • Servais, P., more
  • Ouattara, N.K., more
  • Deleersnijder, E., more

Abstract
    In order to simulate the long-term (months–years) median Escherichia coli distributions and variations in the tidal Scheldt River and Estuary, a dedicated module was developed for the Second-generation Louvain-la-Neuve Ice-ocean Model (SLIM, www.climate.be/slim). The resulting model (SLIM-EC2) presents two specific and new features compared to the older SLIM-EC model version. The first is that the E. coli concentrations in the river are split in three fractions: the free E. coli in the water column, the ones attached to suspended solids and those present in the bottom sediments, each with their own transport, decay and settling–resuspension dynamics. The bacteria attached to particles can settle and survive on the bottom, where they can be brought back in the water column during resuspension events. The second new feature of the model is that it is coupled to the catchment model SENEQUE-EC, which thus provides upstream boundary conditions to SLIM-EC2. The result is an integrated and multi-scale model of the whole Scheldt drainage network from its source down to the Belgian/Dutch coastal zone. This new model reproduces the long-term median E. coli concentration along the Scheldt River and Estuary. An extensive sensitivity study is performed demonstrating the relative robustness of the model with respect to the chosen parameterisations. In addition to reproducing the observed E. coli concentrations in 2007–2008 at various stations, two extreme wastewater management scenarios were considered. Overall, there is no doubt that the Scheldt Estuary acts as a cleaning filter of faecal contamination originating from large Belgian cities. As a result, at the mouth of the Scheldt Estuary E. coli concentration is negligible in all investigated conditions.

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