Chinese Geographical Science ›› 2013, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (3): 301-311.doi: 10.1007/s11769-013-0586-9

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Water Quality Evaluation in Tidal River Reaches of Liaohe River Estuary, China Using a Revised QUAL2K Model

YE Hanfeng1,2, GUO Shuhai1, LI Fengmei1, LI Gang1   

  1. 1. Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China;
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2012-04-25 Revised:2012-08-20 Online:2013-05-29 Published:2013-05-30
  • Contact: GUO Shuhai. E-mail:
  • Supported by:

    Under the auspices of Water Pollution Control and Management Key Project of Science and Technology of China (No. 2013ZX07202-007), Liaoning Hundred-Thousand-Ten Thousand Talents Program


Rivers in the Liaohe River Estuary area have been seriously polluted by discharges of wastewater containing petroleum pollutants and nutrients. In this paper, The Enhanced Stream Water Quality Model (QUAL2K) and its revised model as well as One-dimensional Tide Mean Model (1D model) were applied to predict and assess the water quality of the tidal river reach of the Liaohe River Estuary. Dissolved oxygen (DO), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5), ammonia nitrogen (NH3-N) and total phosphorus (TP) were chosen as water quality indices in the two model simulations. The modelled results show that the major reasons for degraded rivers remain petroleum and non-point source pollution. Tidal water also has a critical effect on the variation of water quality. The sensitivity analysis identifies that flow rate, point load and diffuse load are the most sensitive parameters for the four water quality indices in the revised QUAL2K simulation. Uncertainty analysis based on a Monte Carlo simulation gives the probability distribution of the four water quality indices at two locations (6.50 km and 44.84 km from the river mouth). The statistical outcomes indicate that the observed data fall within the 90% confidence intervals at all sites measured, and show that the revised QUAL2K gives better results in simulating the water quality of a tidal river.

Key words: tidal river reach, water quality evaluation, revised QUAL2K model, uncertainty analysis, Liaohe River Estuary