Study launched to model how effluent plume dispersal will change with more wastewater recycling

Posted February 1, 2019

SCCWRP and its partners have launched a three-year study examining how the dilution and mixing patterns of the Orange County Sanitation District’s wastewater effluent plume will change in response to changing water recycling practices.

The study, launched in November, will use a computer model to determine what happens to the plume’s dispersal characteristics as effluent volume is reduced and as nutrients and other contaminants become more concentrated.

The Orange County Sanitation District, like other wastewater dischargers across drought-prone California, is planning to divert more of its wastewater effluent for water recycling practices, which will make its effluent discharges more concentrated.

The goal of the modeling effort is to help the Sanitation District optimize plume dispersal patterns even as effluent volumes are reduced. Effluent is discharged into Orange County’s coastal ocean at a depth of 180 feet about 5 miles from shore.

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