Prediction of urban stormwater quality using artificial neural networks

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Journal Article
Environmental Modelling & Software, 2009, 24 (2), pp. 296 - 302
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There are a vast number of complex, interrelated processes influencing urban stormwater quality. However, the lack of measured fundamental variables prevents the construction of process-based models. Furthermore, hybrid models such as the buildup-washoff models are generally crude simplifications of reality. This has created the need for statistical models, capable of making use of the readily accessible data. In this paper, artificial neural networks (ANN) were used to predict stormwater quality at urbanized catchments located throughout the United States. Five constituents were analysed: chemical oxygen demand (COD), lead (Pb), suspended solids (SS), total Kjeldhal nitrogen (TKN) and total phosphorus (TP). Multiple linear regression equations were initially constructed upon logarithmically transformed data. Input variables were primarily selected using a stepwise regression approach, combined with process knowledge. Variables found significant in the regression models were then used to construct ANN models. Other important network parameters such as learning rate, momentum and the number of hidden nodes were optimized using a trial and error approach. The final ANN models were then compared with the multiple linear regression models. In summary, ANN models were generally less accurate than the regression models and more time consuming to construct. This infers that ANN models are not more applicable than regression models when predicting urban stormwater quality.
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