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In The Science of the total environment

The increasing release of nutrients to aquatic environments has led to great concern regarding eutrophication and the risk of unwanted algal blooms. Based on observational data of 20 water quality parameters measured on a monthly basis at 40 stations from 2011 to 2020, this study applied different Machine Learning (ML) algorithms to suggest the best option for algal bloom prediction in the Han River, a large river in South Korea. Eight different ML algorithms were categorized into several groups of statistical learning, regression family, and deep learning, and were then compared for their suitability to predict the chlorophyll-derived trophic index (TSI-Chla). ML algorithms helped identify the most important water quality parameters contributing to algal bloom prediction. The ML results confirmed that eutrophication and algal proliferation were governed by the complex interplay between nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), organic contaminants, and environmental factors. Of the models tested, the adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system (ANFIS) exhibited the best performance owing to its consistent and outperforming prediction both quantitatively (i.e., via regression) and qualitatively (i.e., via classification), which was evidenced by the lowest value of mean absolute error (MAE) of 0.09, and the highest F1-score, Recall and Precision of 0.97, 0.98 and 0.96, respectively. In a further step, a representative web application was constructed to assist common users to predict the trophic status of the Han River. This study demonstrated that ML techniques are not only promising for highly accurate water quality modeling of urban rivers, but also reduce time and labor intensity for experiments, which decreases the number of monitored water quality parameters, providing further insights into the driving factors of water quality deterioration. They ultimately help devise proactive strategies for sustainable water management.

Ly Quang Viet, Nguyen Xuan Cuong, LĂȘ Ngoc C, Truong Tien-Dung, Hoang Thu-Huong T, Park Tae Jun, Maqbool Tahir, Pyo JongCheol, Cho Kyung Hwa, Lee Kwang-Sik, Hur Jin


Complex watershed, Deep Learning, Fuzzy System, Statistical Learning, Trophic Status, Water pollution