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Title:Modeling the transport and fate of oil-particle aggregates after an oil spill in inland waterways
Author(s):Zhu, Zhenduo
Director of Research:Garcia, Marcelo
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Garcia, Marcelo
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Parker, Gary; Rhoads, Bruce; Soong, David; Valocchi, Albert
Department / Program:Civil & Environmental Eng
Discipline:Civil Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Oil spill
Oil-particle aggregates
Numerical modeling
Inland waterways
Abstract:This dissertation was motivated by a study of the July 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill. The spill occurred due to a pipeline rupture, releasing approximately 1.1 million US gallons of diluted bitumen into Talmadge Creek, which is a tributary of the Kalamazoo River, located in the state of Michigan, United States. It was even more unfortunate that a 50-year flood event occurred in the Kalamazoo River at the same time, which significantly transported and spread the released heavy crude oil. It is considered the largest inland oil spill and one of the costliest (1.2 billion US dollars as of 2014 for cleanup) spills in U.S. history. After tremendous cleanup efforts of floating oil and oil contaminated soil on river banks and floodplain areas within one year following the spill, substantial residual deposits from the oil spill were found remaining in the waterway system, mostly due to the formation of oil-particle aggregates (OPAs). OPAs are a mixture of oil droplets and solid particles (e.g. suspended sediment) under turbulent flow conditions. Their density can be heavier than water and they sink onto river bed, especially in the areas where flow velocity is low. The recovery of OPAs lasted for more than three years after the spill. There are many unknowns about OPAs, such as how oil droplets and particles interact, where they deposit, when they can be entrained into water and transported, what are their impacts on aquatic life. Thus the understanding of the fate and transport of OPAs is very important for recovery efforts and future management. It is believed that this study is not only useful for the Kalamazoo River oil spill, but also a good reference for other potential oil spills in freshwater environments. Subjected to increasing demand of crude oil transport, the ageing pipelines all over the country are running the risks of rupture at a higher possibility, especially for those located around inland waterways where there's a closer interaction between water environment and people. Therefore, oil spills in inland waterways should attract more attention and researches. Moreover, the lessons, tools, and knowledge we learned from oil spills in freshwater environment could be helpful for studying the oil residue in marine environments. Also, the tools developed in this study have the potential to be applied to contaminated sediment in general, including those polluted by other contaminates such as hazardous industrial chemicals. Numerical models were developed for this study, with the help of laboratory experiments and field surveys for model calibration and validation. A particle tracking algorithm for OPAs was developed and coupled with a 3D hydrodynamic for Morrow Lake, where the effects of wind and dam operation cannot be neglected. The three-dimensional Eulerian/Lagrangian model was used to locate where OPAs would deposit in Morrow Lake and when OPAs could be resuspended under different scenarios. Selected sediment traps in the Kalamazoo River were studied with 2D shallow water models to understand where and when OPAs deposit. A new parallelized 2D hydrodynamic, sediment transport, and bed morphology model was also developed. The new model was parallelized with the domain decomposition method using MPI. A k-epsilon turbulence model was also implemented into the model. Any OPAs flowing downstream of Morrow Lake have the potential to reach Lake Michigan.
Issue Date:2015-12-01
Type:Thesis
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/89135
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Zhenduo Zhu
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-03-02
Date Deposited:2015-12


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