A Three-Dimensional Water Quality Model of Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS)

Sumit Sinha, Xiaofeng Liu, Marcelo H. Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As outfalls from various water reclamation plants, pumping stations, and combined sewer overflow outfalls discharge into the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS), an enhanced understanding of the final fate of crucial water quality state variables is of utmost importance. This paper reports the development and application of a 3D water quality model for a modified CAWS combined with the hydrodynamic kernel of Environmental Fluid Dynamics Code (EFDC). The modified CAWS is used to demonstrate the usefulness of the model while eliminating complications beyond the scope of this initial effort. The water quality model developed and presented in this research is a simplistic dissolved oxygen (DO)-biochemical oxygen demand model with the facility to account for the interaction between the water column and the bed. The aforementioned model is applied for the month of May 2009. The results from the hydrodynamic (EFDC) and water quality model is validated with the help of the observed data obtained from United States Geological Survey gaging stations and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago monitoring stations present inside the modeled domain. The 3D modeling captured the hydrodynamic and water-quality processes in CAWS in a satisfactory manner. Furthermore, modeling results showed and proved the interdependence of water quality characteristics in Bubbly Creek and CAWS with the effluent concentration from Racine Avenue Pumping Station situated at the head of Bubbly Creek, South Fork of South Branch of Chicago River.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-592
Number of pages26
JournalEnvironmental Modeling and Assessment
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Chicago Area Waterway System
  • DO-BOD
  • EFDC
  • Numerical modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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