Environmental Modeling & Assessment

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 369–384 | Cite as

A Three-Dimensional Hydro-Environmental Model of Dublin Bay

  • Zeinab Bedri
  • Michael Bruen
  • Aodh Dowley
  • Bartholomew Masterson


In this study, the impact of Escherichia coli emissions from a sewage treatment plant on the bathing water quality of Dublin Bay (Ireland) is assessed using a three-dimensional hydro-environmental model. Before being discharged, the effluent from the plant is mixed with cooling water from a thermal–electrical power generation plant, creating a warm buoyant sewage plume that can be 7–9°C higher and is less saline than the ambient water in the bay. The ability of the three-dimensional model in representing such a stratified condition is assessed based on a comparison of its results with two-dimensional modelling results. Hydrodynamic simulations of water levels and flow velocities in Dublin Bay were obtained using the TELEMAC-3D model in one case and the depth-averaged TELEMAC-2D model in the other. The results of each model were separately used as inputs to the water quality model SUBIEF-3D to simulate the transport and fate of E. coli in the bay and to generate maps of E. coli concentrations over the bay. In addition, the necessity for three-dimensional modelling in simulating the effects of wind direction on the dispersion of E. coli was demonstrated by comparing the results of three-dimensional and two-dimensional model simulations with a number of different wind directions. The comparison showed that the three-dimensional model performed better than the depth-averaged model in simulating the hydrodynamics and resulted in better simulation of the water quality processes in the bay. In particular, the three-dimensional model had reasonably simulated the timing of the delivery of E. coli to the bay. Moreover, the effect of wind on the movement of the buoyant plume of pollution and on the E. coli distribution was found to be more pronounced with the three-dimensional hydrodynamics. The results demonstrate the need for three-dimensional simulations in situations of density differences or significant wind influences.


Three-dimensional modelling Cooling water discharges Environmental impact assessment Water quality Bathing water directive Depth-averaged Wind effect 



This research has been jointly funded by the INTERREG IIIA (Ireland and Wales) project and the Marine Institute, Ireland.

The TELEMAC package has been developed by Electricité de France and supplied by Hydraulic Research Wallingford, UK under an academic license agreement.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zeinab Bedri
    • 1
  • Michael Bruen
    • 1
  • Aodh Dowley
    • 1
  • Bartholomew Masterson
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Water Resources ResearchUniversity College Dublin, Newstead Building, BelfieldDublinIreland
  2. 2.Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical ResearchUniversity College Dublin, BelfieldDublinIreland

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