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Hydrology Research Vol 40 No 2-3 pp 306–322 © IWA Publishing 2009 doi:10.2166/nh.2009.075

Modelling impacts of pollution in river systems: a new dispersion model and a case study of mine discharges in the Abrud, Aries and Mures River System in Transylvania, Romania

S. C. Chapra and P. G. Whitehead

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts University, Medford 02155, MA, USA
Oxford University Centre for Water Research, School of Geography and the Environment, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3YQ, UK E-mail: paul.whitehead@ouce.ox.ac.uk


A new model of dispersion has been developed to simulate the impact of pollutant discharges on river systems. The model accounts for the main dispersion processes operating in rivers as well as the dilution from incoming tributaries and first-order kinetic decay processes. The model is dynamic and simulates the hourly behaviour of river flow and pollutants along river systems. The model has been applied to the Aries and Mures River System in Romania and has been used to assess the impacts of potential dam releases from the Roia Montan Mine in Transylvania, Romania. The question of mine water release is investigated under a range of scenarios. The impacts on pollution levels downstream at key sites and at the border with Hungary are investigated.

Keywords: cyanide; dispersion; mines; modelling; Mures River; Romania

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