The development of a strategic approach to managing diffuse pollution

  • Brian D'Arcy

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis explores how the concept of diffuse pollution, as developed by Novotny and Olem (1994), could usefully be applied in the UK and especially Scotland, to add insights and identify practical approaches to resolve chronic pollution problems. Investigations are reported that characterise the nature of the diffuse pollution problems facing the UK, in rural and urban contexts. Pollutants considered included suspended solids, nutrients, faecal indicator organisms, toxic metals and organic pollutants. Key characterisation aspects included the investigation of how concentration (not just load) varies with flow in diffuse pollution impacted watercourses. It was repeatedly found that higher concentrations occurred in high flows than in low flow conditions, in diffuse source impacted watercourses. Establishing evidence for that diffuse pollution characteristic led to innovative approaches to resolving aspects of the diffuse pollution problems. Key sectors investigated included arable and livestock systems in agriculture, urban development, industrial estates and transport. Physical measures to address the sources of diffuse pollutants were focused on best management practices (BMPs), following the concept developed in the USA. The consequent development of the SUDS concept for the built environment in the UK allowed for the incorporation of quantity and amenity considerations in stormwater management. Other developments beyond the initial (USEPA 1993) BMPs concept included looking at enhancing self-purification capacity for small watercourses. Finally, the strategy development is completed by examining means of bringing the control measures into routine practice.
    Date of AwardFeb 2013
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorChristopher Jefferies (Supervisor)

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