Principles Environmental Remediation in Open Closed Systems Case Study of Drainage Basin

Author(s) P. Bangerter, L. Ferguson
International Journal of Engineering Sciences and Research Technology 2015, May 2015


The predominant links between systems science and environmental science are usually made by disciplines such as oceanography, climatology and ecology, but the relationship between systems science and environmental remediation, including contaminated soil and site remediation and solid and wastewater treatment, has not been fully examined. This paper therefore considers the principles of environmental remediation and waste treatment in the context of open and closed systems theory. The characteristics of these systems, to a large degree, dictate the types and parameters of possible interventions, particularly when operating at larger time and distance scales.

Three systems are discussed: closed systems, semi-open systems and fully open systems, providing an overview of system characteristics and behavior, along with examples of interventions commonly found in environmental remediation practice. The need for an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to environmental science, technology and engineering when effecting successful open system remediation is also highlighted.

A more detailed case study of these systems in the context of Lake Dianchi and its catchment system in Kunming is provided. Located in southern China, the Lake Dianchi drainage basin provides a valuable lesson in socially responsible, long-term environmental remediation, not only because it has been the focus of extensive local and international research and environmental remediation efforts since the 1990s, but because it provides credible evidence of the various types of systems described in this paper.