Cefic-lri Programme | European Chemical Industry Council

ECO3B-DELFT: Generic Estuary Modelling System to Evaluate Transport, Fate and Impact of Contaminants (GEMCO)

Principal Investigator

Ir. Leo Postma
WL Delft Hydraulics
PO BOX 177
NL – 2600 MH Delft
Tel: +31 15 285 85 93
Fax: +31 15 285 85 93


Dr Bert van Hattum – IVM – Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Dr Louis Alexandre Romana – Ifremer


European estuarine and coastal waters may contain a range of organic and inorganic contaminants. Reliable methods are needed to assess how these behave in the three marine environmental compartments: offshore, estuarine and coastal zones. Transport and fate of contaminants in estuaries depend on natural physical, chemical and biological processes (such as tidal motion, temperature, salinity, pH, sedimentation, emission, rates of degradation in water, sediment and biota) and on human activities. These determine the final impact on the marine environment. This project aims to develop an easy-to-use ”virtual estuary” computer model to calculate predicted environmental concentrations, food web uptake, and fluxes from estuaries to open waters. It will forecast the effect of remedial measures and new technologies. The Scheldt estuary will be used as a case study, although the model applies to a wide range of European estuaries and coastal areas. End-users will include regional authorities and commercial and industrial operators such as dredging companies.

Timeline: October 2000 > September 2003

LRI funding: €541,000

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