Engineering solutions to water quality problems in lakes

Sebastian Morillo

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

Lake restoration and management strategies focus on reducing the negative impacts of enriched or polluted inflows. These strategies become of paramount importance when lakes are used for recreational and/or drinking water purposes. Long term control of eutrophication and turbidity problems associated with large inflow loads is usually oriented to catchment management. Although it has been suggested that this is the correct long term approach, public concerns usually require a short term solution. In addition, due to political and economic costs related to changes in catchment management, in-lake restoration technologies have been emerging as a viable pretreatment option, complementary to water treatment plants, both reducing the operational costs of the water treatment plant and ameliorating the water residing in the lakes. This research investigates the effects of two in-lake technologies on the dynamics of inflowing rivers, where basin shape plays a significant role. The three lakes in this study suffer from eutrophication combined with a distinctive water quality problem: from turbidity in Silvan Reservoir (Australia), to heavy metal loads in Coeur d'Alene Lake (USA) and industrial wastes in Lake Como (Italy). Firstly, the influence of basin morphology, wind speed, and wind direction on the fate and transport of two rivers flowing into the L-shaped Coeur d'Alene Lake was examined, and it was shown that transport and mixing patterns in a lake can be greatly influenced by the shape of the lake, leading to important consequences for the plankton ecology in the lake. Secondly, in Silvan Reservoir we investigated the potential to modify the basin shape using vertical barriers, increasing the retention time and hence the barrier capacity to microbial pollution. A final in-lake technology was tested for Lake Como, using a downward pointing impeller to remove polluted water from the coastal margin. Lessons from these three examples indicate that there is significant potential for in-lake remediation at relatively low cost, over relatively short timescales.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2008

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