Assessment of Water Pollutant Sources and Hydrodynamics of Pollution Spreading in Rivers

  • Y. VelískováEmail author
  • M. Sokáč
  • C. Siman
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 69)


Water is a necessary component of the human environment, as well as all vegetal and animal ecosystems. Unfortunately, water quality not just in Slovakia but also in other countries of the world, worsened in the course of the twentieth century, and this trend has not been stopped even at present. Current legislation evaluating the quality of water bodies in Slovakia is based on the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/ES). The Directive requires eco-morphological monitoring of water bodies, which is based on an evaluation of the rate of anthropogenic impact. This does not refer only to river beds but also the state of the environs of each stream. While in the past point sources of pollution were considered as the most significant source of pollution in surface streams, after the installation of treatment plants for urban and industrial wastewater, non-point sources of pollution emerged as the critical sources of pollution in river basins. This contribution deals with the distribution and quantity assessment of pollutant sources in Slovakia during the period 2006–2015. The primary point sources evaluated are the ones representing higher values than the 90 percentile of the empirical distribution of total mass and also the mass of applied manures and fertilisers as non-point pollutant sources.

The development of computer technologies enables us to solve ecological problems in water management practice very efficiently. Mathematical and numerical modelling allows us to evaluate various situations of spreading of contaminants in rivers without immediate destructive impact on the environment. However, the reliability of models is closely connected with the availability and validity of input data. Hydrodynamic models simulating pollutant transport in open channels require large amounts of input data and computational time, but on the other hand, these kinds of models simulate dispersion in surface water in more detail. As input data, they require digitisation of the hydro-morphology of a stream, velocity profiles along the simulated part of the stream, calculation of the dispersion coefficients and also the locations of pollutant sources and their quantity. The highest extent of uncertainty is linked with the determination of dispersion coefficient values. These coefficients can be accurately obtained by way of field measurements, directly reflecting conditions in the existing part of an open channel. It is not always possible to obtain these coefficients in the field, however, because of financial or time constraints. The other aim of this contribution is to describe the methodology of this coefficient calculation and to present the value range obtained. The results and obtained knowledge about values of longitudinal dispersion coefficients and dispersion processes can be applied in numerical simulations of pollutant spreading in a natural stream.


Dispersion Mixing Numerical modelling Pollution Stream Water quality 



This chapter was created with support from VEGA project no. 1/0805/16. This contribution/publication is the result of the project implementation ITMS 26220120062 Centre of Excellence for the Integrated River Basin Management in the Changing Environmental Conditions, supported by the Research and Development Operational Programme funded by the ERDF.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Hydrology, Slovak Academy of SciencesBratislavaSlovakia
  2. 2.Faculty of Civil EngineeringSlovak University of Technology in BratislavaBratislavaSlovakia

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