BETR North America: A regionally segmented multimedia contaminant fate model for North America

M. MacLeod, D. G. Woodfine, D. Mackay, T. McKone, D. Bennett, R. Maddalena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


We present the Berkeley-Trent North American contamìnant fate model (BETR North America), a regionally segmented multimedia contaminant fate model based on the fugacity concept. The model is built on a framework that links contaminant fate models of individual regions, and is generally applicable to large, spatially heterogeneous areas. The North American environment is modeled as 24 ecological regions, within each region contaminant fate is described using a 7 compartment multimedia fugacity model including a vertically segmented atmosphere, freshwater, freshwater sediment, soil, coastal water and vegetation compartments. Inter-regional transport of contaminants in the atmosphere, freshwater and coastal water is described using a database of hydrological and meteorological data compiled with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) techniques. Steady-state and dynamic solutions to the 168 mass balance equations that make up the linked model for North America are discussed, and an illustrative case study of toxaphene transport from the southern United States to the Great Lakes Basin is presented. Regionally segmented models such as BETR North America can provide a critical link between evaluative models of long-range transport potential and contaminant concentrations observed in remote regions. The continent-scale mass balance calculated by the model provides a sound basis for evaluating long-range transport potential of organic pollutants, and formulation of continent-scale management and regulatory strategies for chemicals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-163
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Berkeley-Trent North America model
  • BETR (Berkeley -Trent) North America model
  • Fugacity
  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • GIS
  • Long-range transport
  • Model
  • North America
  • Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
  • POPs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution


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