EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Why should we care about Carrying Capacity? A novel screening tool for the health risk in recreational waters near estuary

Morena Galešić1, Mariaines Di Dato2, and Roko Andričević1,3
Morena Galešić et al.
  • 1University of Split, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Geodesy, Department of Applied Hydraulics, Split, Croatia (
  • 2Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Department of Computational Hydrosystems, Leipzig, Germany
  • 3Center of Excellence for Science and Technology-Integration of Mediterranean Region, University of Split, Split, Croatia

The present work proposes a novel screening tool to improve the quality of recreational coastal water. Indeed, the recreational potential of beach resort depends on its health status, which in marine cities may be threatened by increasing stress produced by anthropogenic activity. In particular, we focus on the beach near an estuary, which may be affected by a considerable load of contaminants, especially when the urban sewage system is combined and designed to spill untreated wastewater directly in the coastal water. In a few words, when the Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) are activated, the bacterial concentration in the estuary increases, thereby resulting in a potential hazard for the swimmers’ health. In the present work, the bacterial transport is modelled through a physically-based stochastic framework, whereas the human health risk is evaluated by means of the Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA). As the human health risk is quantified, it is used to evaluate the Carrying Capacity indicator of the recreational coastal water. This indicator is defined as the number of swimmers that can be sustained by coastal water with an acceptable risk threshold. The results indicate that the Carrying Capacity increases by dilution processes and by reduction of the source concentration. This indicator may be viewed as a screening tool for policy-makers and other stakeholders. For instance, it can help to balance the resources needed to improve the sewage-system and the benefits coming from tourism and sustainable environmental policies, given that the beach quality, in turn, depends on the improvements in the sewage system.

How to cite: Galešić, M., Di Dato, M., and Andričević, R.: Why should we care about Carrying Capacity? A novel screening tool for the health risk in recreational waters near estuary, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-6024,, 2020


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