Analytical solutions for transport of decaying solutes in rivers with transient storage

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Analytical solutions are presented for solute transport in rivers including the effects of transient storage and first order decay. The solute transport model considers an advection - dispersion equation for transport in the main channel linked to a first order mass exchange between the main channel and the transient storage zones. In case of a conservative tracer, it is shown that different analytical solutions presented in the literature are mathematically identical. For non-conservative solutes, first order decay reactions are considered with different reaction rate coefficients in the main river channel and in the dead zones. New analytical solutions are presented for different boundary conditions, i.e. instantaneous injection in an infinite river reach, and variable concentration time series input in a semi-infinite river reach. The correctness and accuracy of the analytical solutions is verified by comparison with the OTIS numerical model. The results of analytical and numerical approaches compare favourably and small differences can be attributed to the influence of boundary conditions. It is concluded that the presented analytical solutions for solute transport in rivers with transient storage and solute decay are accurate and correct, and can be usefully applied for analyses of tracer experiments and transport characteristics in rivers with mass exchange in dead zones.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)672-680
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Stream flow
  • Solute transport
  • Analytical model
  • Dead zone
  • Decay


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