Mathematical Models for Pollution Control in the Usk Estuary

  • Michael W. Rogers

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The now Usk River Division of the Welsh National Water Development Authority
was required to make several major policy decisions on water quality within
the Usk Estuary. These were highly relevant to a series of large capital
projects and , after a public enquiry » the Secretary of State for Wales
required a scientific investigation to be initiated that would rationalise
the method of arriving at the decisions.

The process of biological degradation of pollutants would have to be
understood. A number of models were reviewed » and also the attitude to
the use of models by representatives of the public and management.
Three types of models were developed for differing requirements of the
overall management function : a Steady State Model for approximate trends
that could be available quickly and can be adapted for use in economic/cost
models, a time dependant multi-dimensional model for considering short term
effects and dissipation of perturbations (pollution 'incidents') » and
a semi-stochastic/deterministic model to utilise field data and generate
realistic confidence limits on management projections. The models were so
formulated as to be flexible and as interchangeable as possible.

A number of projected capital plans were simulated by management for load
variants and flow reductions. Problems were encountered because of the
rapidity of the worlds second largest tidal rise, the antiquity of Newports
drains system and the sometime overriding influence of the Severn Estuary.
Telemetric monitoring proved inefficient because of field conditions. The
awareness of management was developed in the appreciation of modelling and
computing, to self sufficiency if required. Many routines were provided for the
routine interpretation of data by the Pollution Control Department. The need
for common modelling policy was recognised by WNWDA and these models were to be made available nationally through the Water Data Unit of the Department of
the Environment for access at divisional level as an aid to management.
Date of Award1977
Original languageEnglish


  • Mathematical modelling
  • pollution control
  • Usk estuary
  • steady state
  • time dependant
  • stochastic
  • applied management

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