Evaluation of the water quality of the Senne River basin based on an integrated modelling approach -(Onderzoeker Anna VAN GRIENSVEN)

Project Details


In July 2000, the European Court of Justice said that Belgium had failed to implement European rules for the treatment of household and industrial water waste runoff in the Brussels region. The objective of the authorities is to reach fish water quality in the receiving river - the Senne - in the future. Question can be raised with regard to the feasibility of the latter objectives, if one considers that e.g. the wastewater flow of the Brussels region equals the dry weather flow of the Senne entering Brussels during dry periods. In addition, the urban and industrial waste and the diffuse pollution originating from the rural areas upstream of the city will add to the problems.
The research aims at the elaboration of an integrated methodology for the evaluation of pollution abatement plans for river basins, according to the environmental quality objectives/environmental quality standards philosophy (EQO/EQS). The aim hereby is to optimise the emissions from waste water treatment plants, industry and agriculture in view of in-stream ecological quality objectives and taking into account technical (BAT,...) and socio-economic factors.
To perform an evaluation of the problem from an EQO/EQS point of view, a holistic approach of the problem is essential. The whole catchment should and all types of pollution sources should be considered. With regard to the time scale, it is important to consider a large variation of possible combinations of hydrometeorologic and emission factors that can lead to critical quality conditions.
At the laboratory of hydrology, several studies have been performed in the past that relate to this problem (part of the river Senne; Dender). Based on this experience, a new simulator -ESWAT- was developed, which allows for a real integration of all the waste sources and which includes an in-stream river water quality module.
The purpose of the research is to extend further the simulator and the methodology for an integrated analysis of the in-stream water quality at catchment scale, based on the application for the river Senne. Hereby, the study will focus on the variables that cause acute toxicity, i.c. dissolved oxygen and ammonium/ammonia. The research includes the set up of a model for the Senne river basin (including submodels for the urban drainage systems), calibration and validation of the model, adaptation of the simulator based on the model results and the analysis of pollution abatement scenarios.
Effective start/end date1/01/0130/06/05

Flemish discipline codes

  • (Bio)chemical engineering
  • Electrical and electronic engineering
  • Civil and building engineering
  • Environmental sciences


  • water quality
  • modeling
  • modeling
  • Senne
  • Senne river
  • river water quality