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System and Method for Comparative Source Attribution of Pollution in a Water body Disclosure Number: IPCOM000249130D
Publication Date: 2017-Feb-08
Document File: 4 page(s) / 151K

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database


Disclosed is a method to determine whether, for a downstream location called target, an upstream location is causing water pollution higher (or lower) compared to other upstream locations on a water body.

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System and Method for Comparative Source Attribution of Pollution in a Water body

Water pollution is a problem for many countries. The pollution of bodies of water (e.g., lakes, rivers, oceans, etc.) cause many problems for the ecosystem and the people relying on the water. For example, pollutants can kill fish and other organisms in the water which may then cause a depletion of natural resources. As another example, people may rely on the water source for fresh drinking water and may become seriously ill if the water is contaminated with pollutants.

Pollutants may include heavy metals (e.g., arsenic, lead, mercury, etc.), chemicals, organic matter, and the like. Pollutants may be discharged either directly or indirectly into bodies of water. For example, manufacturing facilities constructed along a body of water may discharge pollutants into the body of water. As another example, groundwater can drain into bodies of water and carry pollutants that are then discharged into the body of water.

Now different stakeholder downstream of a water body like a river want to know which upstream source of discharge is causing the most pollution, either absolutely or relatively with respect to one another. A simple illustration is given below where we want to know from the perspective of point ‘p’, which location from A or B causes most pollution?

Prior Art

There are many prior approaches to model river and its pollution [2-6]. But they rely on building a data-based learnt model of the river and its dispersion. Instead, we build a mathematical model


of river and its pollution dispersion [1] that can work with no or little data, and uses relative pollution numbers to determine the dominant source.

Details of the solution

The solution depends on a model of the body of water using the information corresponding to the point of interest and the source information. The model may be built using the information corresponding to the body of water and the point of interest, source information, diffusion coefficient and decay rates of pollutants, and the like. The model may also identify the diffusion rate of the pollutant. Some pollutants may diffuse at a quicker rate than other pollutants. The diffusion rate of a pollutant may be known from other sources (e.g., tables, models, etc.) or may be calculated using information of the body of water. One advantage to the systems and methods described herein is that historical information related to the body of water and sources is not required. The current state of the body of water and sources is sufficient for determining which source is contributing the majority of a pollutant. However, the systems and methods as described herein can use historical information in making this determination.

We use a partial differential equation (PDE) to describe the model. The PDE used may model the behavior of water as it flows. One type of PDE that can be used is a diffusion-convection or advection equation, which may include sou...