Ocean Circulation Lab
USF College of Marine Science

Bishop Harbor Stormwater Plume Evolution

Note: This was permitted discharge of onsite stormwater that met water quality standards. This is not water from the ponds on the gypssum stack or the onsite ciculation system used to manage seepage from the water in the gypsum stack system.

Discharge of stormwater from one of the permitted outfalls of the Piney Point facility started on August 7, 2021, and suspended on August 20, 2021. The stormwater was routed through Bishop Harbor, a shallow water body, before entering the Tampa Bay. These discharges resulted in a stormwater plume that continues to evolve. The plume evolution is being simulated using the Tampa Bay Coastal Ocean Model (TBCOM) nowcast/forecast system, with an embedded tracer module. Normalized tracer distributions are automatically updated each day providing 1-day hindcast and a 3.5-day forecast, and the results are provided by a color-coded log10 scale. As examples: -1, -2, -3 indicate 10 fold, 100 fold, 1000 fold reductions in tracer concentrations, respectively, suggesting that the areas of most concern are those indicated by the orange and yellow colors.

This tracer model is similar to the previous one for the simulation of the emergency discharge of wastewater from the Piney Point fertilizer stack in early April 2021. The model output (the gif movie) is updated every day.

TBCOM is an ocean circulation model for Tampa Bay that downscales from the deep ocean, across the continental shelf and into Tampa Bay by nesting within the West Florida Coastal Ocean Model (WFCOM), an automated coastal ocean circulation nowcast/forecast system in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. You may check the University of South Florida Ocean Circulation Lab webpages for other research products, such as real time ocean current and wind data from a number of offshore stations and Florida red tide forecasts.


These research products are approximate model simulations under development. No warranty is made, expressed or implied, regarding accuracy, or regarding the suitability for any particular application. All rights reserved: University of South Florida, College of Marine Science - Ocean Circulation Lab. Copyright, 2021.

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