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The Role of a Conservative Chemical Model as a Decision Support Tool For a Complex TMDL Process: Case Study for Delaware Estuary

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Delaware Estuary was listed as impaired by PCBs and required to develop TMDLs. Developing TMDLs for a complex pollutant like PCBs in Delaware estuarine system with numerous point and non-point sources is an enormous task requiring substantial levels of effort, funding and time. The successful development of TMDLs relies upon both the scientific understanding of the system and efficient managerial decisions allocating limited resources to essential tasks. The Delaware River Basin Commission developed numerical models in support of the TMDL. These models provided valuable insight into dynamic behaviors of the Delaware Estuary. Scenario simulation results show that the boundary at the head of the tide has a relatively dominant influence throughout the Delaware River Estuary, therefore additional monitoring efforts were expended at that boundary. The travel time simulation results indicate that the Estuary requires between 89 to 123 days of residence time depending on the flow conditions. This paper presents examples of the use of a simple conservative chemical model to: 1) support management decisions in a complex TMDLs developmental process, and 2) provide a better understanding of the hydrodynamic behavior of the Delaware Estuarine system.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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