Water Quality Analysis of the Delaware River Estuary

by Donald J. O'Connor,
John P. St. John,
Dominic M. DiToro,

Serial Information: Journal of the Sanitary Engineering Division, 1968, Vol. 94, Issue 6, Pg. 1125-1252

Document Type: Journal Paper


A mathematical model is developed for the Delaware River Estuary between Trenton and Reedy Island. The model provides a satisfactory engineering tool to assess the efficacy of various proposals for improvement of water quality. The principal factors affecting Delaware River water quality are the oxidation of carbonaceous and nitrogenous waste loadings, the benthal demand of bottom deposits, and background water quality in the system. The analysis specifically highlights the importance of nitrification on water quality in river systems receiving waste discharges. It is anticipated that as waste treatment methods are instituted in the Delaware Basin, the reduction in the carbonaceous demand may foster intrification in areas where it does not presently exist during the summer. The analysis of winter data indicates good correlation of observed dissolved oxygen distributions assuming oxidation of carbonaceous BOD to be the only active demand on the system. The analysis demonstrates the pronounced relationship between waste loading location and water quality. It may be practical from an engineering viewpoint to construct collection and treatment facilities on a basin-wide scale with ultimate disposal at some downstream location.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Load factors | Rivers and streams | Estuaries | Mathematical models | Hydrologic models | Water demand | Oxidation | Delaware | United States

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