WE&RF awards contract to Brown and Caldwell to create modeling guidance for developing nutrient goals


Brown and Caldwell recently secured a contract from Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF) to create Modeling Guidance for Developing Site-Specific Nutrient Goals – Demonstration, Screening Level Application (LINK4T17).

LINK4T17 builds on WE&RF's earlier research, called LINK1T11, which developed a modeling guidance for site-specific nutrient goals and an associated Nutrient Modeling Toolbox.

The toolbox offers a mechanism that can quantitatively associate nutrient loads to water quality and ecological response indicators on the basis of sites by making use of several factors such as types of waterbodies, chemical response indicators, and total maximum daily load applications.

This toolbox was demonstrated in Boulder, Colorado on a shallow stream to measure a nutrient response model.

This study indicated that the toolbox will benefit from default management strategies. However, restrictions on data and resources can thwart complete calibration of models in planning and permitting situations.

The LINK4T17 study will indicate the use of screening-level models for deriving site-specific nutrient goals.

Though these models use limited data, they can be applied to forecast the relative sensitivity of response variables, such as algae, to pre-defined treatment levels.

Screening-level applications are important in those cases where stream data is not available to generate a measured model of nutrient response. They will also be useful in the regulatory process for identifying management strategies. 

The study team will build a process and a tool for applying screening-level models in small river settings. The team will test the process and the tool in three river settings. The research products will further the use of regulatory approaches for reducing nutrient pollution.

The team will depend on an advisory group, which will comprise representatives from both eastern and western states, utilities and state permitting agencies.

This advisory group will ensure that the process and tool are applicable to real permitting and planning situations and this entire process is expected to be completed by next year.