Modelling the influence of total suspended solids on E. coli removal in river water

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Following sewer overflows, fecal indicator bacteria enter surface waters and may experience different lysis or growth processes. A 1D mathematical model was developed to predict total suspended solids (TSS) and Escherichia coli concentrations based on field measurements in a large-scale flume system simulating a combined sewer overflow. The removal mechanisms of natural inactivation, UV inactivation, and sedimentation were modelled. For the sedimentation process, one, two or three particle size classes were incorporated separately into the model. Moreover, the UV sensitivity coefficient α and natural inactivation coefficient kd were both formulated as functions of TSS concentration. It was observed that the E. coli removal was predicted more accurately by incorporating two particle size classes. However, addition of a third particle size class only improved the model slightly. When α and kd were allowed to vary with the TSS concentration, the model was able to predict E. coli fate and transport at different TSS concentrations accurately and flexibly. A sensitivity analysis revealed that the mechanisms of UV and natural inactivation were more influential at low TSS concentrations, whereas the sedimentation process became more important at elevated TSS concentrations.

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