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Operating Rules for Improving the Firm Yield of an Off-Stream Blending Reservoir System Used for Reducing Nitrate in Drinking Water and Drought Storage

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Title: Operating Rules for Improving the Firm Yield of an Off-Stream Blending Reservoir System Used for Reducing Nitrate in Drinking Water and Drought Storage
Author(s): Hecht, Jory S.
Advisor(s): Cai, Ximing
Department / Program: Civil & Environmental Eng
Discipline: Civil Engineering
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.S.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): blending denitrification firm yield Illinois nitrate off-stream reservoir reservoir operation simulation water quality water supply
Abstract: Community water supply systems dependent upon surface water sources susceptible to both low flows contaminant concentrations exceeding drinking water quality standards can use off-stream blending reservoirs (OSBR) to increase their water supply reliability and avoid investments in expensive treatment technology. The water quality operating rules (WQOR) that water supply systems use to regulate inflow into their OSBR affect their firm yield (i.e., the amount of water guaranteed for supply). The impacts of three types of WQOR on firm yield are explored from a retrospective planning perspective using a simulation model with a daily time step. The water supply system in Pontiac, Illinois, which utilizes its OSBR to meet an internal nitrate-N concentration guideline of 8.0 mg/L through blending, is modeled as a case study. Using streamflow and nitrate-N data from May 1979 to April 1999, a firm yield of 2.21 mgd (million gallons per day) is attained under its current WQOR in which the OSBR is only filled when the concentration in the Vermilion River is less than or equal to 4 mg/L (River Concentration Rule). If the rule is modified to allow the inflow of water of any concentration into the reservoir when the reservoir concentration is at or below 4 mg/L, the yield rises to 2.32 mgd (Reservoir Concentration Rule). When a constraint limiting the reservoir inflow to a concentration of 8 mg/L or lower is added to the Reservoir Concentration Rule, the yield rises to 2.67 mgd (Hybrid Concentration Rule). This increase indicates that limiting the inflow of high-nitrate water into the OSBR can increase the firm yield. Yet, in many cases, a moderate relaxation of water quality constraints can elevate the firm yield as long as the system is willing to invest in the additional algae control effort which may result from such a decision. Under all three WQORs defined above, the critical period that limits the firm yield consists of a drought in 1988 followed by a two- or three-year period of above-normal nitrate-N concentrations in the river. The potential effects of reservoir nitrate sinks and nutrient management practices on the firm yield are also quantified. When nitrate losses at a hypothetical first-order rate of just 0.02 ft/d at 20° C are considered, the firm yields under the three WQORs increase to 2.39, 3.56 and 3.24 mgd, respectively. Meanwhile, a uniform 20 percent decrease in the nitrate-N concentration in the Vermilion River leads to 43, 39 and 33 percent increases in the firm yield, respectively. The firm yields attained with the three WQORs all exceed the system’s 2005-2009 average daily demand of 1.95 mgd. Yet, a sensitivity analysis demonstrates that the firm yield can fall below this demand when accounting for the uncertainty of low flows, net evaporation and the reduction of raw water nitrate-N concentrations to less than 8.0 mg/L when blending takes place. A further assessment of the system’s vulnerability to a water shortage, which should include an estimate of the nitrate loss rate in the reservoir, is warranted.
Issue Date: 2011-05-25
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/24393
Rights Information: Copyright 2011 Jory S. Hecht
Date Available in IDEALS: 2013-05-26
Date Deposited: 2011-05
 

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