Numerical Prediction of Background Buildup of Salinity Due to Desalination Brine Discharges into the Northern Arabian Gulf
Author(s)Chow, Aaron C.; Verbruggen, Wilbert; Morelissen, Robin; Al-Osairi, Yousef; Ponnumani, Poornima; Lababidi, Haitham M. S.; Al-Anzi, Bader; Adams, E. Eric; ... Show more Show less
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Brine discharges from desalination plants into low-flushing water bodies are challenging from the point of view of dilution, because of the possibility of background buildup effects that decrease the overall achievable dilution. To illustrate the background buildup effect, this paper uses the Arabian (Persian) Gulf, a shallow, reverse tidal estuary with only one outlet available for exchange flow. While desalination does not significantly affect the long-term average Gulf-wide salinity, due to the mitigating effect of the Indian Ocean Surface Water inflow, its resulting elevated salinities, as well as elevated concentrations of possible contaminants (such as heavy metals and organophosphates), can affect marine environments on a local and regional scale. To analyze the potential effect of background salinity buildup on dilutions achievable from discharge locations in the northern Gulf, a 3-dimensional hydrodynamic model (Delft3D) was used to simulate brine discharges from a single hypothetical source location along the Kuwaiti shoreline, about 900 km from the Strait of Hormuz. Using nested grids with a horizontal resolution, comparable to a local tidal excursion (250 m), far field dilutions of about 28 were computed for this discharge location. With this far field dilution, to achieve a total dilution of 20, the near field dilution (achievable using a submerged diffuser) would need to be increased to approximately 70. Conversely, the background build-up means that a near field dilution of 20 yields a total dilution of only about 12.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Parsons Laboratory for Environmental Science and Engineering (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Chow, Aaron C. et al. "Numerical Prediction of Background Buildup of Salinity Due to Desalination Brine Discharges into the Northern Arabian Gulf." Water 11, 11 (October 2019): 2284 © 2019 The Authors
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