Mixing and Dispersion Processes in the Vicinity of an Ocean Outfall System in Southern California

by Yicun Wu, Univ of Southern California, Los Angeles, United States,
Libe Washburn, Univ of Southern California, Los Angeles, United States,
Burton H. Jones, Univ of Southern California, Los Angeles, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


Ocean wastewater plumes are important for the disposal of municipal wastes in Southern California. These plumes, which are discharged from sanitation systems, can be distinguished in the ocean water column by combinations of bio-optical and physical properties. Interactions between the plume and the surrounding ocean are complicated because of spatial and temporal variability of the ocean currents and water mass structure. We have conducted a series of field studies to examine the effluent field from a large outfall system operated by the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County. We find that the intermittence of ocean currents produces complex three- dimensional effluent fields. The identification of effluent fields is complicated by the presence of phytoplankton and suspended sediments. Sediment resuspension events are observed during these shipboard surveys when the ocean currents reach a magnitude of the order of 0.1 m/s. However, surface waves may also contribute to the sediment resuspension processes.

Subject Headings: Ocean engineering | Water pollution | Light rail transit | Effluents | Industrial wastes | Plumes | Hydration | Suspended sediment | California | United States | Los Angeles

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