EPA Science Inventory

VISUAL PLUMES MIXING ZONE MODELING SOFTWARE

Citation:

Frick, W. E. VISUAL PLUMES MIXING ZONE MODELING SOFTWARE. ENVIRONMENTAL MODELLING AND SOFTWARE 19(7-8):645-654, (2004).

Description:

The US Environmental Protection Agency has a history of developing plume models and providing technical assistance. The Visual Plumes model (VP) is a recent addition to the public-domain models available on the EPA Center for Exposure Assessment Modeling (CEAM) web page. The Windows-based VP adapts, modifies, and enhances the earlier DOS-based PLUMES with a new interface, models, and capabilities. VP is a public platform for mixing zone models designed to encourage the continued improvement of plume theory and models by facilitating verification and inter-model comparison. Some examples are presented to illustrate VP's new capabilities. One demonstrates its ability, for reasonably one-dimensional estuaries, to estimate background concentrations due to tidal re-circulation of previously contaminated receiving water. This capability depends on the optional linkage to time-series input files that enables VP to simulate mixing zone and far-field parameters for long periods. Also described are the new bacterial decay models used to estimate depth changes in first-order decay rates based on environmental stressors, including solar insolation, salinity, and temperature. The nascent density phenomenon is briefly described as it is potentially important to Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil exploration discharges

Purpose/Objective:



A main objective of this task is to combine empirical and physical mechanisms in a model, known as Visual Beach, that

● is user-friendly

● includes point and non-point sources of contamination

● includes the latest bacterial decay mechanisms

● incorporates real-time and web-based ambient and atmospheric and aquatic conditions

● and has a predictive capability of up to three days to help avert potential beach closures.

The suite of predictive capabilities for this software application can enhance the utility of new methodology for analysis of indicator pathogens by identifying times that represent the highest probability of bacterial contamination. Successful use of this model will provide a means to direct timely collection of monitoring samples, strengthening the value of the short turnaround time for sampling. Additionally, in some cases of known point sources of bacteria, such as waste water treatment plant discharges, the model can be applied to help guide operational controls to help prevent resulting beach closures.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 08/01/2004
Completion Date: 08/01/2004
Record Last Revised: 06/06/2005
Record Created: 09/29/2004
Record Released: 09/29/2004
Record ID: 87531

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LAB

ECOSYSTEMS RESEARCH DIVISION

REGULATORY SUPPORT BRANCH