Innovative uses of a power plant’s thermal discharge: destratifying the Charles River Basin

Lead Pi: Eric Adams · 2/2010 - 7/2012

Project Personnel:

Project number: 2010-R/RC-121-PD
Strategic Focus Area: Healthy Coastal Ecosystems

The lower Charles River Basin suffers from the intrusion of salt water from the harbor, resulting in density stratification, with bottom anoxia and generally poor environmental quality. The objective is to see if the outflow of warm water from a shoreline electric power plant can be used to destratify the Basin, and hence restore water quality. The power plant can be easily modified to tackle the problembut regulators remain cautious until they can be convinced the scheme will work, and that it will not cause unforeseen water quality problems. We will test a bottom diffuser, consisting of jets with different diameters and angles, to see if it can force mixing of a salinity-stratified water body. Subsequent phases would explore the representation of near field (jet) mixing in a far field circulation model and the simulation of oxygen-dependent water quality.