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Chaotic Behavior and Pollution Dispersion Characteristics in Engineered Tidal Embayments: A Numerical Investigation1


  • Amvrossios C. Bagtzoglou,

    1. Associate Professor and Director of the Environmental Engineering Program, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 261 Glenbrook Road, Unit 2037, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269-2037
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  • Andrei Novikov

    1. Program Manager, Pfizer Inc., New York, New York 10017.
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  • 1

    Paper No. J04070 of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA).



Abstract:  This paper presents a numerical investigation of approaches to enhance the mixing and dispersion processes in tidal areas by effecting changes in the natural estuary system. It compares the impact of various estuary modifications stemming from human intervention to pollutant dispersion and chaotic flow within the estuary including the implications of alteration of the original channel shape, change of the channel bathymetry, and modification of the tidal signal. Our findings indicate that chaotic flow analysis is similar in many regards, but not all, to conventional dispersion analysis. Specifically, we conclude that (1) simplification of the flow regime reduces chaotic flow patterns and tracer particle dispersion, (2) creation of extensively protruding barriers and/or installation of barriers on opposite sides of the main stem of the estuary enhances particle dispersion and chaotic mixing, (3) installation of underwater berms has relatively minor beneficial, but highly localized, effects on chaotic regime and particle dispersion, and (4) increasing the tidal signal amplitude was shown to increase chaotic and dispersion properties of the estuarine system. A parametric study investigating the effect of several geometrical configurations and tidal signals on characteristics of chaotic flows concludes the paper.