Hydrodynamic modelling of the influence of stormwater and combined sewer overflows on receiving water quality: Benzo(a)pyrene and copper risks to recreational water
Journal article, 2018

The risk from chemical substances in surface waters is often increased during wet weather, due to surface runoff, combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and erosion of contaminated land. There are strong incentives to improve the quality of surface waters affected by human activities, not only from ecotoxicity and ecosystem health perspectives, but also for drinking water and recreational purposes. The aim of this study is to investigate the influence of urban stormwater discharges and CSOs on receiving water in the context of chemical health risks and recreational water quality. Transport of copper (Cu) and benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) in the Göta River (Sweden) was simulated using a hydrodynamic model. Within the 16 km modelled section, 35 CSO and 16 urban stormwater point discharges, as well as the effluent from a major wastewater treatment plant, were included. Pollutant concentrations in the river were simulated for two rain events and investigated at 13 suggested bathing sites. The simulations indicate that water quality guideline values for Cu are exceeded at several sites, and that stormwater discharges generally give rise to higher Cu and BaP concentrations than CSOs. Due to the location of point discharges and the river current inhibiting lateral mixing, the north shore of the river is better suited for bathing. Peak concentrations have a short duration; increased concentrations of the pollutants may however be present for several days after a rain event. Monitoring of river water quality indicates that simulated Cu and BaP concentrations are in the same order of magnitude as measured concentrations. It is concluded that hydrodynamic modelling is a useful tool for identifying suitable bathing sites in urban surface waters and areas of concern where mitigation measures should be implemented to improve water quality.

Recreational water quality

Chemical health risks

Urban runoff

Hydrodynamic modelling



Karin Björklund

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Water Environment Technology

Mia Bondelind

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Water Environment Technology

Anna Karlsson

Tyréns, Gothenburg

Dick Karlsson

Sustainable Waste and Water

Ekaterina Sokolova

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Water Environment Technology

Journal of Environmental Management

0301-4797 (ISSN) 1095-8630 (eISSN)

Vol. 207 32-42

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Subject Categories

Civil Engineering

Water Engineering

Ocean and River Engineering

Environmental Sciences



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Latest update

3/7/2018 1