Investigating the contaminant transport of heavy metals in estuarine waters

  • Wen-Cheng LiuEmail author
  • Hong-Ming Liu
  • Poi-Jiu Ken


A three-dimensional contaminant transport model of heavy metal (copper) was coupled with the hydrodynamics and suspended sediment transport module to simulate the transport and distribution of heavy metal (copper) of the Danshui River estuarine system in northern Taiwan. The coupled model was validated with observational data including the water level, tidal current, salinity, suspended sediment concentration, and copper concentration. The model simulation results quantitatively reproduce the measurements. Furthermore, the validated model was employed to explore the influences of the freshwater discharge and suspended sediment on the distribution of copper concentrations in the tidal estuarine system. The results demonstrate that a high freshwater discharge results in a decreasing copper concentration, while a low freshwater discharge raises the copper concentration along the estuarine system. If the suspended sediment transport module was excluded in the model simulations, the predicted copper concentration underestimated the measured data. The distribution of copper concentrations without the suspended sediment transport module was lower than that with the suspended sediment transport module. The simulated results indicate that the freshwater discharge and suspended sediment play crucial roles in affecting the distribution of copper concentrations in the tidal estuarine system.


Copper Hydrodynamics Salinity Suspended sediment Tidal estuarine system Three-dimensional model 



The authors want to express their sincere appreciation to the Taiwan Water Resources Agency and the Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration for kindly providing the measured data. The authors also thank Dr. Wei-Bo Chen of the National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction for sharing the suspended sediment and heavy metal transport model. Two anonymous reviewers are thanked for their constructive comments to substantially improve the paper.

Funding information

This study was partially supported by funding from the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan, under grant number 107-2625-M-239-002.

Supplementary material

10661_2019_8012_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.5 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 1496 kb)


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Disaster Prevention EngineeringNational United UniversityMiaoliTaiwan

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