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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-292
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-292
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 30 Sep 2019

Submitted as: research article | 30 Sep 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Evaluating health hazard of bathing waters affected by combined sewer overflows

Luca Locatelli1, Beniamino Russo1,2, and Montse Martinez1 Luca Locatelli et al.
  • 1AQUATEC – Suez Advanced Solutions, Ps. Zona Franca 46–48, 08038, Barcelona, Spain
  • 2Group of Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering (GIHA), Technical College of La Almunia (EUPLA), University of Zaragoza, Mayor St. 5, 50100, Spain

Abstract. Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO) affect bathing water quality of receiving water bodies by bacterial contamination. The aim of this is study is to assess the health hazard of bathing waters affected by CSOs. This is useful for bathing water managers, for risk assessment purposes and for further impact and economical assessments. Contaminant hazard was evaluated based on two novel indicators proposed in this study: the mean duration of insufficient bathing water quality (1) over a period of time (i.e. several years) and (2) after single CSO/rain events. Particularly, a novel correlation between the duration of sea water contamination and the event rainfall volume was developed. Contaminant hazard was assessed through a state-of-the-art coupled urban drainage and sea water quality model that was developed, calibrated and validated based on local observations. Furthermore, hazard assessment was based on a novel statistical analysis of continuous simulations over a 9 year period using the coupled model. Finally, a validation of the estimated hazard is also shown. The health hazard was evaluated for the case study of Badalona (Spain) even though the methodology presented can be considered generally applicable to other urban areas and related receiving bathing water bodies.

Luca Locatelli et al.
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Luca Locatelli et al.
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Short summary
Bathing water quality at public beaches is often compromised by the presence of urban sewer systems that usually discharge, mostly during rainfalls, untreated sewer water into lakes, rivers or seas. In this study we analyzed and quantified the impact of sewer discharges into the sea of a large Spanish city. This study provides a useful idea for local water managers and for people bathing in these areas about how much an urban sewer system can affect the sea water quality.
Bathing water quality at public beaches is often compromised by the presence of urban sewer...
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