Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

The big picture on river pollution

Monitoring river pollution requires a complex array of data from various sources. Whilst industrial discharges for a single given industry may be within acceptable environmental limits, there is as yet, no assessment data available on the simultaneous, overall contribution of every industrial concern to the pollution levels spanning the entire river's course. An automated control system is the goal of a current project aimed at amalgamating all relevant data of the entire river system for quick, real-time assessment of pollution levels.
The big picture on river pollution
A single river system may be the recipient of dozens of industrial discharges. Whilst no single discharge source may contribute more than allowable pollution levels, the total effect of all sources is currently not calculated-and the overall effect of the total pollution levels discharged into the water way system may be more than the river's capacity to cope with.

Such dynamic datasets as river flow dynamics, pollution features, effects on river beds, location of discharge source and pollutant transfer are not currently taken into consideration in calculations to determine total river pollution. Nor are the economic interests of water users along with the necessity of maintaining quality water standards and balancing industrial concerns along the river's length considered. To do so, this project aims to develop especially fast algorithms to provide real-time information that will calculate the above mentioned concerns along with the various parameters of the river itself.

It is intended that at the project's completion, the developed algorithms will comprise a software package compatible with standard personal computers, capable of calculating all the specifics of river pollution. Based on an innovative "adaptive grid methods" module, the final product will also offer simplicity of use along with clear, robust and efficient calculations that will provide permanent maintenance and protection of river water ways under all seasonal situations such as high flow or "dry" periods. The completed product will also be able to take into consideration economic and technical limitations of water use, size of polluted areas, characteristic features of rivers and the number of pollution sources.

Effective monitoring of rivers on a constant, ever vigilant basis that considers the entire picture, should result in less average pollution and provide better environmental protection especially where river systems flow through populated urban areas. In such areas identifying the pollution source and content can be extremely difficult and complicated by the sheer volume of possible pollution sources. The developmental software hopes to provide a solution that will provide objective control and optimise decision making processes.
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