Catchment scale modelling of micro and emerging pollutants

Diamantini, Elena (2018) Catchment scale modelling of micro and emerging pollutants. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

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The fate and transport of solutes introduced into a watershed and sampled at the catchment outlet depends on many environmental, chemical and hydro-climatological forces.Moreover, if the solutes are micro and emerging pollutants (i.e. pharmaceuticals), which are non-regulated contaminants not routinely monitored but often-detected in fresh waters, the description of the transport sources and routes becomes an interesting and challenging topic to investigate and describe, especially in conjunction with the well-known travel time transport approach at the catchment-scale. In fact, with the travel time approach to pharmaceuticals represents a framework that allows dealing in a unitary and simple way the main two mitigation mechanisms controlling them, which are dilution and biological decay. Moreover, possible consequences on the health of humans and of aquatic organisms have become issue of increasing concern by the scientific community worldwide. The topics have been extensively studied in the last decades, with some recent benchmark contributions. Nevertheless, there is still room for further development for emerging contaminant models and there is still the necessity of complementing the applications with measured data. This doctoral thesis aimed at contributing with new insights into the multi-faceted aspects of solute transport at catchment-scale, proposing novel solutions, with applications to real-world case studies and including a detailed description of the major aspects that influence the water quality dynamics in rivers. The thesis is divided into three interconnected and chronological subsequent parts. In the first part, a detailed description of three large European river basins are presented (i.e. Adige, Ebro and Sava), believing that an accurate analysis of existing information is therefore useful and necessary to identify stressors that may act in synergy and to design new field campaigns. In addition, a detailed data analysis of the main water quality variables is presented: advanced statistical analyses (i.e. Spearman rank correlation, Principal Component Analysis, andMann-Kendall trend tests) were applied to long-term time series of water quality data both in the Adige River Basin and in the Ebro and Sava catchments, aiming at providing an integrated and comparative analysis of recent trends, in order to investigate the relationships between water quality parameters and the main factors controlling them (i.e. climate change, streamflow, land use, population) in the Mediterranean region. These catchments are included into the EU project “Globaqua ”, dealing with the analysis of the combined effect of several stressors on the freshwater ecosystems inMediterranean rivers. In fact, little attention has been paid to linkages between long-term trends in climate, streamflow and water quality in European basins; nevertheless, such analysis can represent, complementary to a deep knowledge of the investigated systems, a reliable tool for decision makers in river basin planning by providing a reliable estimate of the impacts on the aquatic ecosystem of the studied basins. In the second part, sampling campaigns performed in our study basin, the Adige catchment, are presented in detail. Special attention is also given to emerging pollutants, whose study on the occurrence patterns and spatiotemporal variability in the Adige River Basin has been conducted in conjunction with population patterns and touristic fluxes. In the third and last part, novel theoretical solutions of the well-known advection-dispersion-reaction (ADR) equation are presented. The theory was developed for both general water quality variables and pharmaceuticals, evidencing differences and analysing the main factors that influence water quality dynamics. An application is also proposed to the Adige catchment.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering
PhD Cycle:30
Subjects:Area 08 - Ingegneria civile e Architettura > ICAR/02 COSTRUZIONI IDRAULICHE E MARITTIME E IDROLOGIA
Repository Staff approval on:02 May 2018 10:41

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