Simple Method for Predicting Dispersion in Streams

by Raul S. McQuivey, (M.ASCE), Res. Hydro.; U.S. Geological Survey, Bay St., St. Louis, MS,
Thomas N. Keefer, (A.M.ASCE), Res. Hydro.; U.S. Geological Survey, Bay St., St. Louis, MS,

Serial Information: Journal of the Environmental Engineering Division, 1974, Vol. 100, Issue 4, Pg. 997-1011

Document Type: Journal Paper


A knowledge of the rate at which pollutants disperse in streams is essential to stream management. It was the purpose of this investigation to develop a simple method for predicting longitudinal dispersion coefficients from mean flow parameters. An analogy was used between the linear one-dimensional flow equation and the linear one-dimensional dispersion equation to define a relation between the solute dispersion coefficient and the flow dispersion coefficient. The flow dispersion coefficient is calculated from mean flow parameters, thus allowing predictions of solute dispersion once the relation between the two is known. Dispersion coefficients calculated by the simple method are compared with observed values for 18 streams that cover a wide range of flow conditions. A standard error of estimate of 30% is indicated.

Subject Headings: One-dimensional flow | Linear flow | Rivers and streams | Water pollution | Parameters (statistics) | Pollutants | Linear functions | Errors (statistics)

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