ENVR 850 – Surface Water Quality: Modeling and Policy

Greg Characklis
Rosenau 139
Email: charack@email.unc.edu
Phone: (919) 843-5545

Class Hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2-3:15pm

Office Hours: After class or by appointment (I am usually available)

Text: Surface Water-Quality Modeling, S. C. Chapra, McGraw-Hill, 1997.

Material will also be drawn from Civil and Environmental Systems Engineering, ReVelle, C. S., Whitlach, E. E. and J. R, Wright.

Calculus and some nominal computer skills (e.g., Excel). Knowledge of a mathematical programming language (e.g., Mathematica, Matlab) would be useful, but is not required. Mass balance and kinetics concepts will be reviewed, so while ENVR 451 is not necessary, those that have taken or are taking this course will find it complementary.

Course Background:
Evaluating and regulating surface water quality has been a primary focus of environmental engineering since its inception. The initial motivation for developing models of surface water systems stemmed from concerns over the oxygen-depleting effects (e.g., BOD) of releasing treated and untreated wastewater into natural systems. Later, these models were expanded to include consideration of other “point sources” (usually industrial) discharging various forms of organic and inorganic contamination into waterways. As point source emissions declined due to regulatory action, “nonpoint” sources became a growing concern as observations indicated that significant contaminant loads were entering lakes, streams, and estuaries via runoff from rainfall events. Current regulatory efforts seek to characterize and prioritize the nation’s impaired water bodies through the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program, and have resulted in renewed efforts to develop increasingly sophisticated and comprehensive surface water quality models.

Course Objectives:
This course is designed to provide students with a fundamental understanding of water quality modeling theory and application. Concepts related to mass balances, reaction kinetics, and transport will applied within a surface water systems context. Students will be expected to understand and apply various analytical and numerical methods in the development of surface water models. Models will be developed with an eye toward policy applications related to regulatory decisions, including the establishment of effluent standards, economically efficient wasteload allocation (e.g., tradable permit schemes), and facility siting.

Course Format:
The development of these models and their application to policy-related problems is a lengthy process, even when presented in somewhat simplified scenarios. These exercises involve numerous decisions regarding the problem formulation, the approach to be used, and the assumptions to be made, all of which require both time and focused thought. As such, the basis for grading in this course will be a series of (5-6) mini-projects, each designed to challenge the student’s ability to integrate fundamental scientific and engineering principles into an applied setting. Grades will be determined based on the basis of student performance on these projects (85%), as well as involvement in class discussions and activities (15%).

A tentative schedule is presented below:

ENVR 850  Surface Water Quality: Modeling & Policy
Lecture   Topic
1 Intro/Mass balances
2 Rxn Kinetics
3 Reactor theory Project #1
4 Modeling Natural Systems (lakes, rivers)
5 Parameter Estimation (OLS w/ &w/o dummies)
6 Parameter Estimation (method of moments)
7 Sedimentation/Benthic reactions
8 Adsorption/Contaminant partitioning
9 Contaminant transport modeling in rivers/streams Project #2
10 Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)
11 Reaeration
12 Derivation of Streeter-Phelps Eqn
13 BOD-DO Deficit Models (coupled systems) Project #3
14 Analytical Modeling BOD: point/nonpoint sources
15 Numerical Modeling of Surface Water Quality
Fall Break
16 Numerical Modeling of Surface Water Quality
17 Numerical Modeling of Surface Water Quality Project #4
19 Optimization/Linear Programming (LP)
20 Optimization/Linear Programming (LP)
21 Optimization/Linear Programming (LP)
22 Regulatory Strategies/Optimal Wasteload Allocation
23 Regulatory Strategies/Optimal Wasteload Allocation Project #5
24 Diffusion/Dispersion
25 Advective-dispersive transport
26 Advective-dispersive transport
27 Advective-dispersive transport
28 Estuary Modeling
29 Estuary Modeling Project #6