Stormwater quality models: performance and sensitivity analysis


The complex nature of pollutant accumulation and washoff, along with high temporal and spatial variations, pose challenges for the development and establishment of accurate and reliable models of the pollution generation process in urban environments. Therefore, the search for reliable stormwater quality models remains an important area of research. Model calibration and sensitivity analysis of such models are essential in order to evaluate model performance; it is very unlikely that non-calibrated models will lead to reasonable results. This paper reports on the testing of three models which aim to represent pollutant generation from urban catchments. Assessment of the models was undertaken using a simplified Monte Carlo Markov Chain (MCMC) method. Results are presented in terms of performance, sensitivity to the parameters and correlation between these parameters. In general, it was suggested that the tested models poorly represent reality and result in a high level of uncertainty. The conclusions provide useful information for the improvement of existing models and insights for the development of new model formulations.

Keywords: Bayesian approach, calibration, parameter sensitivity, rainfall/runoff, stormwater quality model, urban pollutants

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