Dispersion of ocean outfall plumes. Physical and biological dynamics

Burton H. Jones*, Libe Washburn, Yicun Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The discharge of municipal wastewater into the coastal ocean through large ocean outfalls is an important component in managing sewage wastes generated by heavily populated urban areas of Southern California. A fundamental problem in understanding the fate of the released effluent components is the dispersion of the effluent plume that is released into the ocean. Recent developments in oceanographic technology have made it possible to map a combination of physical, bio-optical and chemical variables with high resolution. This technology makes it possible to map outfall plumes in space and to monitor them through time in order to understand the processes that affect the dispersion of these outfall plumes. These mapping techniques have been applied to the region surrounding the Los Angeles County Whites Point ocean outfall off Palos Verdes, California. An example from March 1989 shows the unambiguous resolution of the outfall plume from a combination of physical, chemical and bio-optical variables. Various processes can affect the plume dispersion including advection, vertical turbulent diffusion, and biological processes. These processes are being evaluated with the acquired data sets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCoastal Zone
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Symposium on Coastal and Ocean Management
EditorsOrville T. Magoon, Hugh Converse, Virginia Tippie, Thomas L. Tobin, Delores Clark
PublisherPubl by ASCE
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)0872628094
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 7th Symposium on Coastal and Ocean Management Part 4 (of 4) - Long Beach, CA, USA
Duration: Jul 8 1991Jul 12 1991


OtherProceedings of the 7th Symposium on Coastal and Ocean Management Part 4 (of 4)
CityLong Beach, CA, USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ocean Engineering


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