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Bayesian Maximum Entropy space/time estimation of surface water chloride in Maryland using river distances

Jat, Prahlad, Serre, Marc L.
Environmental pollution 2016 v.219 pp. 1148-1155
chlorides, cities, control methods, cost effectiveness, geostatistics, monitoring, rivers, surface water, urban areas, water quality, watersheds, Maryland
Widespread contamination of surface water chloride is an emerging environmental concern. Consequently accurate and cost-effective methods are needed to estimate chloride along all river miles of potentially contaminated watersheds. Here we introduce a Bayesian Maximum Entropy (BME) space/time geostatistical estimation framework that uses river distances, and we compare it with Euclidean BME to estimate surface water chloride from 2005 to 2014 in the Gunpowder-Patapsco, Severn, and Patuxent subbasins in Maryland. River BME improves the cross-validation R2 by 23.67% over Euclidean BME, and river BME maps are significantly different than Euclidean BME maps, indicating that it is important to use river BME maps to assess water quality impairment. The river BME maps of chloride concentration show wide contamination throughout Baltimore and Columbia-Ellicott cities, the disappearance of a clean buffer separating these two large urban areas, and the emergence of multiple localized pockets of contamination in surrounding areas. The number of impaired river miles increased by 0.55% per year in 2005–2009 and by 1.23% per year in 2011–2014, corresponding to a marked acceleration of the rate of impairment. Our results support the need for control measures and increased monitoring of unassessed river miles.