Hydrodynamic modelling of the microbial water quality in a drinking water source as input for risk reduction management

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Abstract

To mitigate the faecal contamination of drinking water sources and, consequently, to prevent waterborne disease outbreaks, an estimation of the contribution from different sources to the total faecal contamination at the raw water intake of a drinking water treatment plant is needed. The aim of this article was to estimate how much different sources contributed to the faecal contamination at the water intake in a drinking water source, Lake Rådasjön in Sweden. For this purpose, the fate and transport of faecal indicator Escherichia coli within Lake Rådasjön were simulated by a three-dimensional hydrodynamic model. The calibrated hydrodynamic model described the measured data on vertical temperature distribution in the lake well (the Pearson correlation coefficient was 0.99). The data on the E. coli load from the identified contamination sources were gathered and the fate and transport of E. coli released from these sources within the lake were simulated using the developed hydrodynamic model, taking the decay of the E. coli into account. The obtained modelling results were compared to the observed E. coli concentrations at the water intake. The results illustrated that the sources that contributed the most to the faecal contamination at the water intake in Lake Rådasjön were the discharges from the on-site sewers and the main inflow to the lake - the river Mölndalsån. Based on the modelling results recommendations for water producers were formulated. The study demonstrated that this modelling approach is a useful tool for estimating the contribution from different sources to the faecal contamination at the water intake of a drinking water treatment plant and provided decision-support information for the reduction of risks posed to the drinking water source. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

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Sokolova, E., Pettersson, T. J. R., Bergstedt, O., & Hermansson, M. (2013). Hydrodynamic modelling of the microbial water quality in a drinking water source as input for risk reduction management. Journal of Hydrology, 497, 15–23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2013.05.044

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