A least cost analysis for the Houston Ship Channel




Hays, A.J., Jr.

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University of Texas at Austin


Results of this research indicate that substantial savings can be obtained through the application of systems analysis and optimization methods to water quality management problems on the upper reaches of the Houston Ship Channel. A finite-difference, steady-state mathematical model was employed to predict summer dissolved oxygen profiles resulting from waste water discharges and other influences for a one-dimensional, homogeneous estuarine system. Two optimization models, implicit enumeration and a nonlinear programming algorithm, were utilized to find least-cost patterns of waste discharges which would produce specified dissolved oxygen improvement profiles throughout the estuary. Due to individual cost inequities between waste dischargers resulting from the least-cost solutions, it was necessary to develop an equitable tax and bounty system to allocate resulting savings. The resulting least-cost solutions, which were sensitive to the water quality levels at the estuary boundaries, produced savings ranging from moderate to substantial, depending on existing conditions. Heavy benthal deposits can evidently prevent aerobic conditions from occurring in the Upper Channel, even when biological waste treatment is required for all wastes dischargers.


253 p., Dissertation


water quality, aeration, estuaries, waste treatment, cost analysis, dissolved oxygen (DO), mathematical models