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Fugacity modelling of the fate of micropollutants in aqueous systems — Uncertainty and sensitivity issues

Wang, Yufei, Fan, Linhua, Khan, Stuart J., Roddick, Felicity A.
The Science of the total environment 2020 v.699 pp. 134249
model validation, models, pollutants, pollution control, prediction, surface water, uncertainty, uncertainty analysis, wastewater treatment
The application of multimedia fugacity models is useful to facilitate understanding of the behaviour of emerging contaminants during wastewater treatment, as well as after their release to the environment. In this paper, twenty-two fugacity modelling applications (reported over 1995–2019) describing the distribution of organic micropollutants in wastewater treatment plants and surface water bodies were analysed in terms of model application and modelling strategy. Disparities and similarities in strategies including selection of micropollutants, data sources for internal and external model inputs, sensitivity and uncertainty analysis, as well as model validation were discussed. This review confirmed that fugacity modelling is very applicable for providing qualitative predictions of the fate and removal of organic micropollutants in the various aqueous systems. However, it was also noted that there are issues related to the uncertainties and sensitivities of fugacity models such as the sources of model inputs and selection of default settings. The issues associated with the uncertainties in the investigated fugacity models are pointed out. Recommendations are given regarding the selection of the sources of model inputs, sensitivity analysis strategies and model validation methods. This review presents the challenges and opportunities for improving multimedia fugacity models, and so paves the way for future research in this field.