Title: The INCA-Pathogens model: An Application to the Loimijoki River basin in Finland
Citation: SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT vol. 572 p. 1611–1621
Publication Year: 2016
JRC N°: JRC100981
ISSN: 0048-9697
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004896971630972X
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.05.043
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Good hygienic quality of surface waters is essential for drinking water production, irrigation of crops and recreation. Predictions of how and when microbes are transported by rivers are needed to protect downstream water users. In this study we tested the new process-based INCA-Pathogens model in the agricultural Loimijoki River basin (3138 km2) in Finland, and we quantified ecosystem services of water purification and water provisioning for drinking and recreation purposes under different scenarios. INCA is a catchment scale process based model to calculate pollutant transfer from terrestrial environment and point sources to the catchment outlet. A clear gradient was observed in the numbers of faecal coliforms along the River Loimijoki. The highest bacterial counts were detected in the middle part of the main stream immediately after small industries and municipal sewage treatment plants. In terms of model performance, the INCA-Pathogen model was able to produce faecal coliform counts and seasonality both in the low pollution level sampling points and in the high pollution level sampling points. The model was sensitive to the parameters defining light decay in river water and in soil compartment, as well as to the amount of faecal coliforms in the manure spread on the fields. The modeling results showed that the number of faecal coliforms repeatedly exceeded 1000 bacteria 100 ml-1. Moreover, results lead to the following conclusions: 1) Climate change does not cause a major threat to hygienic water quality as higher precipitation increases runoff and causes diluting effect in the river, 2) Intensification of agriculture is not a threat as long as animal density remains relatively low and environmental legislation is followed, 3) More intensive agriculture without environmental legislation causes a threat especially in tributaries with high field percentage and animal density, and 4). Hygienic water quality in the River Loimijoki can best be improved by improving sewage treatment. We conclude that this catchment scale model is a useful tool for addressing catchment management and water treatment planning issues.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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