Development and identification of a multi-species water quality model for reclaimed water distribution systems

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

With the rapid development of a centralized wastewater reuse scheme in China, water quality concerns arise considering the long-distance transport of reclaimed water in distribution systems from wastewater treatment plants to points of use. To this end, a multi-species water quality model for reclaimed water distribution systems (RWDSs) was developed and validated against the data from part of a full-scale RWDS in Beijing. The model could simulate organics, ammonia nitrogen, residual chlorine, inert particles, and six microbial species, i.e. fecal coliforms, Enterococcus spp., Salmonella spp., Mycobacterium spp., and other heterotrophic and autotrophic bacteria, in both the bulk liquid and the biofilm. Altogether, 56 reaction processes were involved, and 37 model parameters and seven initial values were identified. Despite the limited monitoring data and the associated gross uncertainty, the model could simulate the reclaimed water quality in the RWDS with acceptable accuracy. Regional sensitivity analysis suggested that the model had a balanced structure with a large proportion of sensitive parameters, and the sensitivity of model parameters could be reasonably interpreted by current knowledge or observation. Furthermore, the most sensitive model parameters could generally be well identified with uncertainties significantly reduced, which also favored the trustworthiness of the model. Finally, future plans to improve and apply the model were also discussed.

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