New beach in a shallow estuarine lagoon: a model-based E. coli pollution risk assessment

Abstract

A 3D hydrodynamic model has been applied to the Curonian Lagoon to study the pollution impact of E. coli on a new beach that might be opened in the lagoon. Through a field survey the E. coli inputs were measured and then used in the numerical model, and through laboratory experiments the decay rate of E. coli was established. The model has been calibrated and validated for the year 2015, and several scenarios have been studied, such as sewage system breakdown, severe weather conditions or high river loads. The model has then been run for a period of 12 years to obtain a robust statistics for the pollution on the planned beach. Results show that the decay rate of E. coli is between 0.55 days and 2.3 days and the modeled decay times are compatible with these numbers. The only scenario that would create a risk for the bathing waters of the beach is a breakdown of the sewage system on the Curonian Spit. In this case the hours (and days) over legally allowable bathing threshold were computed in order to estimate the number of days the beach could be closed. These results have been confirmed by the 12 year simulations. With an influence map analysis the two most critical sewage systems could be identified.

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Acknowledgements

This study has been carried out under the BONUS funding, the joint Baltic Sea research and development programme (Art 185), funded jointly by the European Union and by Research Council of Lithuania for the project ‘Systems Approach Framework for Coastal Research and Management in the Baltic’ (BONUS BaltCoast). It was also partially funded by European Social Fund under the Global Grant measure (CISOCUR project VP1-3.1-ŠMM-07-K-02-086) and has also been carried out under the framework of the RITMARE Flagship Project, funded by MIUR under the NRP 2011–2013. The authors thank the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute the access to HIROMB data that were used in this study as boundary conditions, the Lithuanian Hydrometeorological service for data required as meteorological and hydrological forcing, the Marine Research department of Environmental Protection Agency of Lithuania for permanent monitoring data, and JTC “Neringos vanduo”, “Klaipėdos vanduo” and “Šilutės vanduo” for the provided discharge data from sewage stations. We thank Simona Liaugaudaitė for technical support and Diana Vaičiūtė and Jolita Petkuvienė for their help in fieldwork and valuable suggestions.

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Umgiesser, G., Čerkasova, N., Erturk, A. et al. New beach in a shallow estuarine lagoon: a model-based E. coli pollution risk assessment. J Coast Conserv 22, 573–586 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11852-018-0596-y

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Keywords

  • Curonian Lagoon
  • Finite elements
  • Numerical modeling
  • E. coli
  • Beach opening
  • Microbiological pollution