Modeling the Transport of Sediments and Hydrophobic Contaminants in the Lower Saginaw River

Document Type



Engineering (HMC)

Publication Date



A study of processes that are significant in the transport and fate of sediments and hydrophobic contaminants in the lower Saginaw River over long periods of time, up to 25 years, has been made. The numerical model used in the analysis consists of a two-dimensional, vertically-integrated, time-dependent hydrodynamic and sediment transport model coupled (a) with a three-dimensional, time-dependent model of the dynamics of the sediment bed and its properties and (b) with a model of the transport and fate of hydrophobic contaminants. Calculations of sediment transport for different magnitude flow events demonstrate the variations in erosion and deposition at different sites and the dependence of this erosion and deposition on the flow rate. These calculations also illustrate the inherent variability, or uncertainty, in any long-term predictions since the results depend to a great extent on the times of occurrence of the largest flow events, times which can not be predicted but are only known statistically. The transport and fate of PCBs were also investigated with the emphasis on the effects of (a) large flow events, (b) incoming upstream PCB loads, and (c) burial of contaminated sediments by clean sediments with subsequent erosion of sediments by a large flow event. The analysis clearly shows that the major erosion of contaminated sediments occurs at the edge of the river channel with little erosion of contaminated sediments in the near-shore area.

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© 1996 International Association for Great Lakes Research. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.