The aim of this study is to develop a relocatable modelling system able to describe the microbial contamination that affects the quality of coastal bathing waters. Pollution events are mainly triggered by urban sewer outflows during massive rainy events, with relevant negative consequences on the marine environment and tourism and related activities of coastal towns. A finite element hydrodynamic model was applied to five study areas in the Adriatic Sea, which differ for urban, oceanographic and morphological conditions. With the help of transport-diffusion and microbial decay modules, the distribution of Escherichia coli was investigated during significant events. The numerical investigation was supported by detailed in situ observational datasets. The model results were evaluated against water level, sea temperature, salinity and E. coli concentrations acquired in situ, demonstrating the capacity of the modelling suite in simulating the circulation in the coastal areas of the Adriatic Sea, as well as several main transport and diffusion dynamics, such as riverine and polluted waters dispersion. Moreover, the results of the simulations were used to perform a comparative analysis among the different study sites, demonstrating that dilution and mixing, mostly induced by the tidal action, had a stronger effect on bacteria reduction with respect to microbial decay. Stratification and estuarine dynamics also play an important role in governing microbial concentration. The modelling suite can be used as a beach management tool for improving protection of public health, as required by the EU Bathing Water Directive.

Modelling the Quality of Bathing Waters in the Adriatic Sea

Penna A.
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
Ricci F.
Formal Analysis
;
Casabianca S.
Formal Analysis
;
2021

Abstract

The aim of this study is to develop a relocatable modelling system able to describe the microbial contamination that affects the quality of coastal bathing waters. Pollution events are mainly triggered by urban sewer outflows during massive rainy events, with relevant negative consequences on the marine environment and tourism and related activities of coastal towns. A finite element hydrodynamic model was applied to five study areas in the Adriatic Sea, which differ for urban, oceanographic and morphological conditions. With the help of transport-diffusion and microbial decay modules, the distribution of Escherichia coli was investigated during significant events. The numerical investigation was supported by detailed in situ observational datasets. The model results were evaluated against water level, sea temperature, salinity and E. coli concentrations acquired in situ, demonstrating the capacity of the modelling suite in simulating the circulation in the coastal areas of the Adriatic Sea, as well as several main transport and diffusion dynamics, such as riverine and polluted waters dispersion. Moreover, the results of the simulations were used to perform a comparative analysis among the different study sites, demonstrating that dilution and mixing, mostly induced by the tidal action, had a stronger effect on bacteria reduction with respect to microbial decay. Stratification and estuarine dynamics also play an important role in governing microbial concentration. The modelling suite can be used as a beach management tool for improving protection of public health, as required by the EU Bathing Water Directive.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11576/2694890
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