Diffuse Source Pollution Studies in a Physical Model of the Severn Estuary, UK


In recent years, there has been growing concern about the impact of diffuse source pollution on water bodies, particularly due to associated health risks. Coastal waters can receive considerable inputs of pollutants from catchments since they serve as sinks for many diffuse pollutants. Furthermore, bathing waters have in the recent past often failed to comply with the various standards set by different bathing water directives. The Severn estuary has recently attracted a lot of attention in terms of bathing water compliance due to its potential to generate a considerable amount of renewable energy for the UK. It is against this background that a physical model of the estuary has been set up in the Hydraulics Laboratory at Cardiff University, for studies to be undertaken to mimic the conditions of the prototype. A sandbox filled with non-cohesive sediments within the laboratory has been set up to investigate the behaviour of pollutants in propagating from the idealised groundwater environment into the estuarine waters. It has been demonstrated that for a semi-diurnal tidal estuary like the Severn, tides have a lesser effect on the transport of solutes than flows from the catchments. Thus the impact of pollution from diffuse sources to marine environments from catchments could be higher in less tidally dominated coastal waters than a tidal one.

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Osei-Twumasi, A. and Falconer, R. (2014) Diffuse Source Pollution Studies in a Physical Model of the Severn Estuary, UK. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 6, 1390-1403. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2014.615128.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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