Development of a management tool for sediment remediation in the Buffalo River
Gargeya, Dilip R.
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The Buffalo River and its sediments have been polluted by past industrial development and waste discharges, thus leaving behind a whole array of moderately to highly contaminated bed sediments. Current interest in remediation of the river focuses on improving beneficial use impairments, including habitat restoration, which will likely require environmental dredging. A key question associated with this process is to determine the source of sediment material that would likely fill in dredged areas; i.e., would the sediment originate from relatively clean upstream sources, or migrate from other existing contaminated areas of the bed? Traditional sediment transport models based on control volume representations of the governing equations cannot address this question, and this has led to the need to develop an alternative approach. In the present study a particle transport model is developed to allow calculations of specific sediment transport pathways. It is linked with a three-dimensional hydrodynamic model (ECOM), which provides velocity and diffusion values used in the transport calculations. Particle movement is based on a random walk algorithm that incorporates both deterministic and stochastic components in calculating particle trajectories. The model incorporates bed processes of deposition and scour. A strategy for running long-term simulations is also developed, to minimize the amount of time the ECOM model, which is relatively computationally intensive, must be used in real time. Results are provided to show general behavior of the particle tracking model and plans for continuing study are described. The motivation of the study stems from the need for a particle tracking system for riverine systems like the Buffalo River.