Impact of Breakwater Removal on Hydrodynamics and Water Quality in Flushing Bay, New York

by Frederick E. Schuepfer, New York City Dep of Environmental, Protection, Elmhurst, United States,
Guy A. Apicella, New York City Dep of Environmental, Protection, Elmhurst, United States,
Les Kloman, New York City Dep of Environmental, Protection, Elmhurst, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Estuarine and Coastal Modeling

Abstract: Hydrodynamic and water quality models were used to simulate the potential effect of removing a breakwater to increase flushing and improve water quality in Flushing Bay, New York City. Because the bay tidally exchanges flow with the larger, more diluting East River, it was thought that the resulting decrease in boundary roughness and increase in cross-sectional area might produce more efficient flushing and consequently better water quality. Model simulations demonstrated that breakwater removal widens the flow path, causing lower velocities, longer flushing times, and negligible net improvements in water quality. A dye study revealed that Flushing Bay is characterized by such a high tidal exchange efficiency that most pollutant loadings tidally removed from the bay to the East River do not return. In the hydrodynamic model the water surface at the East River boundary was sloped to reproduce the large gyre at the mouth of Flushing Bay, yielding favorable comparison to tidal stage and velocity measurements. Although breakwater removal did not prove to be a feasible option, additional projections demonstrated substantial water quality improvement by offline CSO storage.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Flushing | Bays | Breakwaters | Hydrologic models | Tides | Water pollution | Hydrodynamics | Water storage | North America | United States | New York | New York City

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