Development of a mathematical and computer model to assess water quality impacts of hazardous compounds from minor gasoline spills in the inter-tidal zone of the Miami River, Florida

Pornsri Suthanaruk, Florida International University

Abstract

The objective of this study was to develop a model to predict transport and fate of gasoline components of environmental concern in the Miami River by mathematically simulating the movement of dissolved benzene, toluene, xylene (BTX), and methyl-tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) occurring from minor gasoline spills in the inter-tidal zone of the river. Computer codes were based on mathematical algorithms that acknowledge the role of advective and dispersive physical phenomena along the river and prevailing phase transformations of BTX and MTBE. Phase transformations included volatilization and settling. ^ The model used a finite-difference scheme of steady-state conditions, with a set of numerical equations that was solved by two numerical methods: Gauss-Seidel and Jacobi iterations. A numerical validation process was conducted by comparing the results from both methods with analytical and numerical reference solutions. Since similar trends were achieved after the numerical validation process, it was concluded that the computer codes algorithmically were correct. The Gauss-Seidel iteration yielded at a faster convergence rate than the Jacobi iteration. Hence, the mathematical code was selected to further develop the computer program and software. The model was then analyzed for its sensitivity. It was found that the model was very sensitive to wind speed but not to sediment settling velocity. ^ A computer software was developed with the model code embedded. The software was provided with two major user-friendly visualized forms, one to interface with the database files and the other to execute and present the graphical and tabulated results. For all predicted concentrations of BTX and MTBE, the maximum concentrations were over an order of magnitude lower than current drinking water standards. It should be pointed out, however, that smaller concentrations than the latter reported standards and values, although not harmful to humans, may be very harmful to organisms of the trophic levels of the Miami River ecosystem and associated waters. This computer model can be used for the rapid assessment and management of the effects of minor gasoline spills on inter-tidal riverine water quality. ^

Subject Area

Environmental Sciences|Engineering, Environmental

Recommended Citation

Suthanaruk, Pornsri, "Development of a mathematical and computer model to assess water quality impacts of hazardous compounds from minor gasoline spills in the inter-tidal zone of the Miami River, Florida" (2003). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3085823.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI3085823

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