Numerical modeling of environmental behavior and fate of tributyltin in a semi-closed bay

Kazuaki Hiramatsu, Yuji Oshima, Suguru Inoue, Shiomi Shikasho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The environmental behavior and fate of tributyltin (TBT) in the northern Ariake Sea, resulting from the use of TBT-containing antifouling paints on hulls of ships, pleasure crafts and docking facilities, was assessed by numerical simulations. First, a mathematical model was devised on the basis of a non-steady state equilibrium, one box multi-compartment model consisting of the surface micro-layer, the water column, the mud-layer, and the bottom sediment compartments. The movement of TBT among the four compartments was modeled by resuspension of bottom mud, deposition of suspended sediment, film penetration and water advection in each compartment. Furthermore, a one-dimensional diffusion equation was introduced into the bottom sediment compartment to calculate profile distribution of TBT. The reactivity of TBT considered within the compartments included biological degradation, adsorption to particulate matter and diffusion. Next, the optimal amount of past TBT loads, reflecting the recent observations of TBT concentration in the waters and sediments of the northern Ariake Sea, was searched by a simple genetic algorithm. The relative sensitivity of various model parameters were also determined to identify the more important parameters for estimating the environmental behavior and fate of TBT. Finally, the future status of TBT contamination of the northern Ariake Sea was predicted assuming the discontinued use of TBT-containing antifouling paints. Despite its simple model structure relative to hydraulics, it was concluded that this multi-compartment model adequately estimated the environmental behavior and fate of TBT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-92
Number of pages14
JournalPaddy and Water Environment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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