We used a numerical model to analyze the impact of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) in the hydrodynamics and water quality of the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS). We coupled the Environmental Fluid Dynamics Code (EFDC) with the Water Quality Analysis Simulation Program (WASP) to perform three-dimensional simulations of the hydrodynamics and water quality in CAWS. The analysis was performed for two different storms: (i) May 6, 2009 representing a 6-hour duration 4-month return period, and (ii) September 12, 2008 representing a 48-hour duration 100-year return period. Results from the simulations show distinct differences between the two storms. During the May 2009 storm there was only one major CSO pumping event with negligible impact on the water quality of CAWS. During the September 2008 storm there were several CSOs that impacted the hydrodynamics and water quality of CAWS. In particular, CSOs during the September 2008 event induced a reversal flow in CAWS, with a plume of constituents that traveled in the opposite direction as water does under normal conditions. However, the simulation results show that CSOs events in CAWS take place during periods of high rainfall, thus the discharge of CSOs is significantly diluted along the CAWS. As a result, the concentrations of organic matter and inorganic nutrients observed at the downstream boundary in CAWS were significantly lower than those recorded at the CSOs outfalls and are within the limits established in the regulation for regular effluents. These results suggest that even during storms events with significant CSOs into the CAWS there is a significant dilution that reduce the impact in the water quality at the system boundaries.
- Chicago Area Waterways System
- Combined sewer overflows
- Water quality modeling
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Waste Management and Disposal