The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Modeling conservative contaminant impacts on reservoir water quality

TitleModeling conservative contaminant impacts on reservoir water quality
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsJeznach LC, Tobiason JE, Ahlfeld D. P.
JournalJournal American Water Works Association
Start PageE295
Date Published06/2014
KeywordsCE-QUAL-W2, contaminant spill, Reservoir, stratification

The Wachusett Reservoir in central Massachusetts was modeled using the two-dimensional CE-QUAL-W2 hydrodynamic and water quality model to simulate a conservative contaminant spill from a roadway and analyze contaminant behavior at the Cosgrove drinking water intake 12.5 km (7.8 mi) from the spill site. Modeled calendar years 2003-09 were developed using meteorology, bathymetry, inflow quantity and quality, and outflow quantity data. Scenarios investigated included the influence of season, spill density, additional water transferred from Quabbin Reservoir, and wind on contaminant transport. Contaminants arrived at the intake two to 15 days after the spill occurred, depending on the season. All spills arrived much earlier than the mean hydraulic residence time of approximately 206 days. Contaminant concentrations were greater and more variable during the summer. Turning the Quabbin transfer off decreased the variability in concentration at the intake, especially during the summer. Model results provide useful information to reservoir operators for how to respond to potential contaminant spills under various scenarios.