Viewing: CE 585 : Principles of Surface Water Quality Modeling

Last approved: Sat, 01 Sep 2018 08:00:25 GMT

Last edit: Fri, 31 Aug 2018 13:02:02 GMT

Changes proposed by: drobenou
Change Type
CE (Civil Engineering)
Dual-Level Course
Cross-listed Course
Principles of Surface Water Quality Modeling
Prnc of Surf Wtr Qual Mdlng
College of Engineering
Civil Engineering (14CE)
Civil Engineering, General.
Term Offering
Spring Only
Offered Every Year
Spring 2019
Previously taught as Special Topics?
Course Prefix/NumberSemester/Term OfferedEnrollment
CE 596Spring 20157
CE 596Spring 201619
CE 596Spring 20178
CE 596Spring 20184
Course Delivery
Face-to-Face (On Campus)
Distance Education (DELTA)

Grading Method
Contact Hours
(Per Week)
Component TypeContact Hours
Course Attribute(s)

If your course includes any of the following competencies, check all that apply.
University Competencies

Course Is Repeatable for Credit
Daniel Obenour
Assistant Professor
Graduate Faculty

Open when course_delivery = campus OR course_delivery = blended OR course_delivery = flip
Enrollment ComponentPer SemesterPer SectionMultiple Sections?Comments
Open when course_delivery = distance OR course_delivery = online OR course_delivery = remote
Delivery FormatPer SemesterPer SectionMultiple Sections?Comments
LEC55NoOnline option will be offered only every other year.

Prerequisite courses include environmental processes (e.g., CE 373) and quantitative calculus-based hydrology (e.g., CE 383), or permission of instructor.
Is the course required or an elective for a Curriculum?
SIS Program CodeProgram TitleRequired or Elective?
14CEMRMaster of Civil Engineering, Non-Thesis, Option BElective
14CEMSMaster of Science Civil Engineering, Thesis RequiredElective
14CEPHDDoctor of Philosophy Civil Engineering, Dissertation RequiredElective
14ENEMRMaster of Environmental Engineering, Non-ThesisElective
14ENEMSMaster of Science Environmental Engineering, Thesis RequiredElective
This course addresses how human inputs affect natural and engineered aquatic systems, through mathematical modeling of system dynamics. Course topics integrate physical, chemical, and biologic processes related to pollutants and lower food-web dynamics. Lectures and assignments cover both theory and application. Applications are relevant to informing management, protection, and restoration of inland and coastal waters.

Water quality management and engineering is an important topic due to pressures from legacy pollutants, watershed development and population growth, cultural eutrophication, altered hydrology and climate change, and emerging contaminants and algal toxins.   Water quality modeling is critical to projects ranging from wastewater discharge permitting to regional water quality management.  In addition, principles of water quality modeling are relevant to the design of engineered aquatic systems, such as stormwater wetlands.  This course will provide students with the expertise to develop sound water quality models both from first principles and with the aid of established modeling software (e.g., QUAL2K).  Students will learn the principles and underlying assumptions of model development, so that models are not treated as black boxes.  The course will be relevant to students interested in the management, protection, and restoration of inland and coastal waters.


Is this a GEP Course?
GEP Categories

Humanities Open when gep_category = HUM
Each course in the Humanities category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Mathematical Sciences Open when gep_category = MATH
Each course in the Mathematial Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:




Natural Sciences Open when gep_category = NATSCI
Each course in the Natural Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:




Social Sciences Open when gep_category = SOCSCI
Each course in the Social Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Interdisciplinary Perspectives Open when gep_category = INTERDISC
Each course in the Interdisciplinary Perspectives category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:








Visual & Performing Arts Open when gep_category = VPA
Each course in the Visual and Performing Arts category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Health and Exercise Studies Open when gep_category = HES
Each course in the Health and Exercise Studies category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:








Global Knowledge Open when gep_category = GLOBAL
Each course in the Global Knowledge category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to achieve objective #1 plus at least one of objectives 2, 3, and 4:


Please complete at least 1 of the following student objectives.






US Diversity Open when gep_category = USDIV
Each course in the US Diversity category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to achieve at least 2 of the following objectives:
Please complete at least 2 of the following student objectives.








Requisites and Scheduling
a. If seats are restricted, describe the restrictions being applied.

b. Is this restriction listed in the course catalog description for the course?

List all course pre-requisites, co-requisites, and restrictive statements (ex: Jr standing; Chemistry majors only). If none, state none.

List any discipline specific background or skills that a student is expected to have prior to taking this course. If none, state none. (ex: ability to analyze historical text; prepare a lesson plan)

Additional Information
Complete the following 3 questions or attach a syllabus that includes this information. If a 400-level or dual level course, a syllabus is required.
Title and author of any required text or publications.

Major topics to be covered and required readings including laboratory and studio topics.

List any required field trips, out of class activities, and/or guest speakers.

College(s)Contact NameStatement Summary
College of Agriculture and Life SciencesMohamed YoussefBased on our discussions (Obenour, Youssef, Sayde), the proposed course will compliment BAE 573 (Introduction to Hydrologic and Water Quality Modeling) with minimal overlap. While both courses deal with surface water quality, BAE 573 focuses more on watershed processes and hydrology, while CE 585 will focus more on processes in receiving waters (e.g., rivers, reservoirs, and estuaries.). BAE 573 includes watershed and crop dynamics and multiple watershed-scale models, all of which are outside the scope of CE 585. CE585 includes receiving-water dynamics and modeling approaches that are outside the scope of BAE 573.
The instructor has taught this course each spring for the past 4 years (including 2018). No special or additional resources are required. This course will be part of the instructor's regular teaching load.

This class will teach students to develop, apply, and critically evaluate surface water quality models. Modeling problems will typically address how natural and engineered aquatic systems respond to pollutant loads and other environmental factors. The course will first teach students to model generic substances within different settings (rivers, lakes, etc.), subject to reaction, settling, diffusion, dispersion, volatilization, and advection.  The course will then cover the more complex and interrelated dynamics associated with specific water quality constituents of common management interest (e.g., dissolved oxygen, nutrients, temperature, algae). While it is impossible to cover all potentially relevant water quality constituents within a single course, the course will provide students with the structure and fundamental principles to expand models to other potentially relevant substances.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Mathematically represent the fate and transport of conservative and non-conservative substances in streams, lakes, and other surface water bodies.

2. Based on first principles, develop analytical and numerical solutions to water quality modeling problems.

3. Identify and explain the bio-physical processes controlling dissolved oxygen, nutrients, phytoplankton, pathogenic bacteria, and other water quality constituents, and apply these processes within the modeling environment.

4. Identify and explain the bio-physical processes controlling important sediment-water fluxes within a water body, and apply these processes within the modeling environment.

5. Identify and explain the physical processes controlling temperature and heat within surface water systems and apply these processes within the modeling environment.

6. Explain and apply calibration, validation, sensitivity, and uncertainty analyses within the modeling environment.

7. Apply models to evaluate scenarios relevant to pollution control, engineering interventions, and hydro-climatological variability.

Evaluation MethodWeighting/Points for EachDetails
Test202 in-class tests
Homework305-6 take-home assignments
Final Exam25in-class final
Project15including project memo and final report
presentation510-15 minute project or literature presentation
Participation5participation in in-class discussion and problems
TopicTime Devoted to Each TopicActivity
Introduction0.5 weeksintroduction and historical overview of water quality modeling and management
Mass balance and kinetics2 weeksintroduction/review and application of formulations for representing conservative and nonconservative substances in idealized systems
Diffusion1 weekmeasurement and mathematical representation of diffusion in aquatic systems
Model construction1.5 weeksintroduction/review and application of numerical and matrix-based approaches for modeling aquatic systems
Oxygen dynamics2 weekssimple and advanced approaches for representing dissolved oxygen dynamics in aquatic systems, with linkages to nutrient cycling and phytoplankton dynamics
Sediment-water dynamics1 weeksimple and advanced approaches for representing sediment fluxes leading to sediment oxygen demands and nutrient cycling
Routing and QUAL2K0.5 weekintroduction to routing processes required for simulating streams and impoundments, and the QUAL2K water quality model
Eutrophication2 weeksintroduction to eutrophication; simple and advanced approaches for representing phytoplankton and benthic algae dynamics
Model testing0.5 weeksintroduction to model uncertainty analysis, calibration, and validation; application of sensitivity analyses
Heat1 weekintroduction to lake and estuary stratification, application of heat budget models, estimation of vertical mixing between stratified layers
Pathogens, etc.1 weekintroduction and application of approaches for representing pathogenic indicator bacteria in aquatic systems; misc. topics; course review.
In-class tests and presentations2 weeks
Murthy, the course was explicitly discussed by the EWC group on 3/12/2018 and unanimously supported. Contact Joe DeCarolis ( if you have any questions. Best, DO

cohen (7/11/2018):
1. I was surprised to see that this course was not listed as an elective for any program. Will it be?
DRO RESPONSE 7/24/18: Added, thanks.
2. The enrollment has dropped over the last few years. Once the course is established, it would be good to monitor the enrollment to see if it would be better to offer the course every other year rather than every year.
DRO RESPONSE 7/24/18: We will revisit this option if enrollment does not increase.
3. The course relies heavily on mathematical modeling yet there is not a math pre-requisite. Should there be?
DRO RESPONSE 7/25/18: CE 383 is a calculus-based hydrology course, and this has been clarified in the syllabus.
4. In the syllabus it would be good to make a statement or two about what happens if a student has an unanticipated problem such as an illness or death in the family. (For example, will the student be penalized for a late submission? If not, it would be good to mention that such situations will be handled on a case by case basis or...)
DRO RESPONSE 7/24/18: added (see bottom of page 2 in syllabus).
5. This looks like a great course!
DRO RESPONSE 7/24/18: thanks!

mlnosbis 7/17/2018: No additional comments to the above.

ABGS Reviewer Comments 8/7/2018:
-The course offering is well justified. One minor observation: the course enrollment for Spring 2018 is only 4. I have no concern for this new course development.
mnguddat (Sun, 18 Feb 2018 20:24:19 GMT): Rollback: Dan: per our e-mail exchange, I am rolling this back to you to get feedback from EWC group and resubmit. -Murthy
mnguddat (Tue, 10 Apr 2018 23:07:06 GMT): Rollback: Please change the course action form per my e-mail just a few minutes back.
Key: 17449
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