Two-phase Monte Carlo simulation for partitioning the effects of epistemic and aleatory uncertainty in TMDL modeling


A two-phase Monte Carlo simulation (TPMCS) uncertainty analysis framework is used to analyze epistemic and aleatory uncertainty associated with simulated exceedances of an in-stream fecal coliform (FC) water quality criterion when using the Hydrological Simulation Program-FORTRAN (HSPF). The TPMCS framework is compared with a single-phase or standard Monte Carlo simulation (SPMCS) analysis. Both techniques are used to assess two total maximum daily load (TMDL) pollutant allocation scenarios. The application of TPMCS illustrates that cattle directly depositing FC in the stream is a greater source of epistemic uncertainty than FC loading from cropland overland runoff, the two sources specifically targeted for reduction in the allocation scenario. This distinction is not possible using SPMCS. Although applying the TPMCS framework involves subjective decisions about how selected model parameters are considered within the framework, this uncertainty analysis approach is transparent and the results provide information that can be used by decision makers when considering pollution control measure implementation alternatives, including quantifying the level of confidence in achieving applicable water quality standards. © American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Non-point-source pollution management, Total maximum daily load (TMDL), Two-phase Monte Carlo simulation, Uncertainty analysis, Water quality modeling