Hydrodynamic modelling of fate and transport of natural organic matter and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in Lake Ekoln

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för geovetenskaper

Abstract: Societies are facing great challenges with obtaining a good quality and quantity of drinking water in the context of climate change. Increases in natural organic matter (NOM) and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been observed in lakes and drinking water the past years, which is of great concern for water treatment plants in Sweden. It is therefore vital to increase the knowledge regarding the distribution of these substances in the environment. The main objective of this project was therefore to further develop a hydrodynamic model for lake Ekoln by including transportation and degradation of NOM. This was to be done by calibrating the model in terms of total organic carbon (TOC) and Water colour (Colour). A second objective was to investigate the requirements to successfully model PFAS in Ekoln for future studies. The study was done using the model MIKE 3 FM, developed by the Danish Hydraulic Institute (DHI) The two variables TOC and Colour, were calibrated separately for the period of February 2017 to September 2018. For TOC the within-lake processes were decay and sedimentation. These were described using a reference decay constant for 20 °C (k0), that was scaled using the Arrhenius temperature coefficient (θ), and sedimentation was represented by a settling velocity (vsm). For Colour the included process was photooxidation. This process was described using a maximum photooxidation rate (kphoto) that was scaled using the Monod relation including parameters for minimum photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) necessary for photooxidation to occur (Imin) and a PAR half saturation constant (I1/2). The calibration of TOC resulted in the following best fit parameters for k0  of 0.001 d-1, θ of 1.07 and vsm of 0.001 md-1. The calibration of Colour resulted in the following best fit parameters for kphoto of 0.0125 d-1, Imin of 0 µmol photons m-2s-1 and I1/2 of 4 µmol photons m-2s-1. Overall it can be concluded that the chosen processes managed to capture the seasonal variations of TOC and Colour, and the calibrated parameter values are in line with similar studies. The assumption of not including autochthonous input proved to be the biggest source of error in the calibration of TOC but proved to have a minor influence on the calibration of Colour. To achieve a more realistic representation of photooxidation in the vertical profile, for the simulation of Colour, more processes should be considered to be added in the model in future studies. The results presented in this study contributes with increased knowledge of carbon budgets in lakes and can be used to predict water quality hazards connected to climate change and extreme events. The limited access to PFAS data for Ekoln, constrained the study of PFAS and only two sources could therefore be studied: The sewage treatment plant Kungsängsverket and precipitation. The results showed that the simulated concentrations of PFAS in Ekoln only accounted for 40 % of the observed concentrations. It could further be concluded that the contribution from precipitation is negligible. For future studies it is judged to be vital to include Fyrisån as a PFAS source, and to look into processes that influence PFAS distribution, such as sedimentation and adsorption to organic matter.

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