Modelling of fugitive emissions from urban drainage systems

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Engineering Computer Science and Maths


Odours from urban drainage systems can be a serious nuisance and health hazard. Measures to minimize related problems can be classified with regard to the stages in odour generation: (i) in-sewer processes during unsteady flow of stormwater and sewage in combined and wastewater networks, (ii) air flow in pipes, (iii) ventilation from sewers to the surface, and (iv) mixing of gases in the atmosphere.

This PhD will focus on formulating and developing a novel mathematical model (based on numerical techniques) for simulation of the second and third above described stages. This model will use the results of an existing sewer flow and quality model as input/boundary conditions/computational field, and will feed its results to an existing air quality model to analyse impacts and measures to reduce unwanted effects.

The modelling approach that will be developed in this project will be tested on a range of situations, such as: a release of large amounts of air from sewers during rainfall, specific issues in coastal zones (tidal effects), hot climates and/or tourist areas, odours due to sewer flooding, and other. Model calibration using field data will be implemented. The ultimate aim is to enable analysis of possible measures to reduce odour problems.


10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509656/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1690124 Studentship EP/N509656/1 04/01/2016 11/12/2020 Steve Adkins
Description Currently into my second year of PhD research and study. Regrettably I had to take a scheduled (Exeter approved) interruption from study due to a house fire and revised house sale deadlines post insurance repairs, as my wife and I were relocating back to the UK from South Australia. Fortunately, all is now well behind us and I am back with the University of Exeter, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Centre for Water Systems in my second year. Therefore, I hope this information provided is useful and not too premature as the model is likely to grow and develop during my research. Modelling urban wastewater drainage systems ventilation and potential fugitive emissions from underground structures is a significant challenge. Currently, my research modelling is in early stages of development, but has the potential to become a powerful tool for water / wastewater utilities, environmental agencies and councils. My priority is to continue current model developments and, where appropriate, calibrate any modelling with verified real case study data. Using these criteria, reliable holistic gas in headspace / emissions modelling may be achieved. Within my PhD research, a holistic overview of urban drainage systems design and fugitive emissions are discussed. Opportunities are further examined regarding mitigation and types of odour control systems. This key predictive information may provide the potential to extend urban drainage asset life and therefore deliver an estimated cost benefit analysis if correct odour and corrosion abatement solutions are applied to affected networks.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Other
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services