Development of a Rapid Response Riverine Oil-Particle Aggregate Formation, Transport, and Fate Model

Lori Jones, Marcelo H. Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aftermath of the Kalamazoo River oil spill in 2010, which resulted in years of cleanup efforts, showed that research needs to be done regarding oil-particle aggregate (OPA) formation and transport in riverine environments. Although three-dimensional hydrodynamic models can track the transport of OPAs with a high degree of accuracy, in the event of an oil spill, rapid response is necessary to protect the affected ecosystem and expedite cleanup efforts. In the rapid response model developed in this study, the river hydraulics is one dimensional, and the formation and transport of OPAs are described stochastically via a random walk particle tracking algorithm. Application of the model to the Kalamazoo River in Michigan resulted in estimations of the amount of settled oil, and the location of the centroid of the settled oil, that would be expected for different flow velocities. The main river parameter that influences the formation and subsequent settling of OPAs is the flow velocity, with higher velocities causing more OPA formation and settling rates enhancement because of greater amounts of suspended sediments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04018125
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering (United States)
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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