SET-WET: A Wetland Simulation Model to Optimize NPS Pollution Control
Lee, Erik Ryan
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A dynamic, compartmental, continuously stirred tank reactor, simulation model (SET-WET) was developed for design and evaluation of constructed wetlands in order to optimize non-point source (NPS) pollution control measures. The model simulates the hydrologic, nitrogen, carbon, dissolved oxygen, bacteria, vegetative, phosphorous and sediment cycles of a wetland system. Written in Fortran 77, SET-WET models both free water surface (FWS) and sub-surface flow (SSF) wetlands and is designed in a modular manner which gives the user the flexibility to decide which cycles and processes to model. SET-WET differs from many existing wetland models in that it uses a system's approach, and limits the assumptions made concerning the interactions of the various nutrient cycles in a wetland system. It accounts for carbon and nitrogen interactions, as well as effect of oxygen levels upon microbial growth. It also directly links microbial growth and death to the consumption and transformations of nutrients in the wetland system. Many previous models have accounted for these interactions with zero and first order rate equations that assume rates are dependent only on initial concentrations. The SET-WET model is intended to be utilized with an existing NPS hydrologic simulation model, such as ANSWERS or BASINS, but may also be used in situations where measured input data to the wetland are available. The model was calibrated and validated using limited data collected at Benton, Kentucky. A non-parametric statistical analysis of the model's output indicated eight out of nine examined outflow predictions were not statistically different from the measured observations. Linear regression analysis showed that six out of nine examined parameters were statistically similar, and that within the expected operating range, all of the examined outflow parameters (9) were within the 95% confidence intervals of the regression lines. A sensitivity analysis showed the most significant input parameters to the model were those which directly affect bacterial growth and oxygen uptake and movement. The model was applied to a subwatershed in the Nomini Creek watershed located in Virginia. Two year simulations were completed for five separate wetland designs, with reductions in percentage of BOD5 (4%-45%), TSS (85%-100%), total nitrogen (42%-56%), and total phosphorous (38%-57%) comparable to levels reported by previous research.
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