Heatmapping capabilities developed to capture dispersal patterns of wastewater effluent plume

Posted May 9, 2020

SCCWRP has developed computer mapping capabilities that capture the dispersal patterns of the Orange County Sanitation District’s wastewater effluent plume, the second phase of a three-year study exploring how the plume’s dilution and mixing patterns are expected to change as more treated effluent is recycled in drought-prone California.

The plume dispersion mapping capabilities, completed in April, were developed using particle tracking in a numerical ocean model that simulates biogeochemical cycling in the Southern California Bight.

Increased wastewater recycling in the coming years is expected to reduce effluent volumes, leading to a more concentrated plume that may have different buoyancy and mixing characteristics.

When completed, the model will be able to simulate plume dispersion patterns – as well as impacts on biogeochemical cycling in coastal waters – under a variety of potential water-recycling scenarios.

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