Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Fernado Miralle Wilhelm

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Reinaldo Garcia

Third Advisor's Name

Georgio Tachiev

Date of Defense



A water quality model was developed to analyze the impact of hydrological events on mercury contamination of the Upper East Fork Poplar Creek, Tennessee. The model simulates surface and subsurface hydrology and transport (MIKE SHE and MIKE 11) and it is coupled with the reactive transport of sediments and mercury (ECOLAB). The model was used to simulate the distribution of mercury contamination in the water and sediments as a function of daily hydrological events.

Results from the model show a high correlation between suspended solids and mercury in the water due to the affinity of mercury with suspended organics. The governing parameters for the distribution of total suspended solids and mercury contamination were the critical velocity of the stream for particle resuspension, the rates of resuspension and production of particles, settling velocity, soil-water partition coefficient, and desorption rate of mercury in the water. Flow and load duration curves at the watershed exit were used to calibrate the model and to determine the impact of hydrological events on the total maximum daily load at Station 17. The results confirmed the strong link between hydrology and mercury transport.





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