Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair

Leslie Hopkinson

Committee Co-Chair

Lian-Shin Lin

Committee Member

Nicolas Zegre


Source water protection has been an increasing area of concern due to the risks associated with chemical storage and oil and gas operations. To better identify and mitigate risk, models and tools are needed to evaluate the dispersion of pollutants in possible spill scenarios. This information may be used to determine the placement of in-stream water quality monitoring instruments and to develop early-warning systems and emergency plans.;In this work, two approaches of applying chemical dispersion models are described: one to determine the necessary concentration to generate a signal from in-stream measurements; and second to demonstrate, in a numerical three-dimensional model, how the chemical properties and river mixing during a spill affect the distribution of a chemical as it is transported downstream.;In the instrument assessment study, spills associated with oil and gas operations were identified within the Susquehanna River Basin Commission's Remote Water Quality Monitoring Network. The contaminants and expected peak concentration at monitoring stations were used in laboratory experiments to determine if a signal from low concentrations of spill contaminants can be identified by current water quality monitoring techniques and locations. The results were compared to historical data and natural changes in water quality parameters, and it was found that the contaminants tested do affect commonly measured water quality parameters. The volume of certain contaminants is sufficient to affect the water quality of certain drainage areas.;The three-dimensional model developed in this work was based on the Elk River Spill that occurred in Charleston, WV on January 9, 2014. Cross-section measurements of the Elk River were used to create the model geometry. Different chemical and hydrologic scenarios were simulated. It was found that physical parameters such as dispersion and loading rate affect plume size and peak concentration. After building the model, the numerical simulation method was versatile in simulating different chemical properties, loading rates, and hydrologic dispersion rates.;This work is an effort to demonstrate that hydrologic and water quality models may be applied to improve the placement of water quality monitoring devices. This information may increase the capacity of early-warning systems to mitigate surface water spills.