Piney Point Effluent Evolution
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Discharges of effluent from the old Piney Point fertilizer stack into Tampa Bay at Port Manatee started on March 30, 2021, with an initial discharge rate of 11,000 gallons per minute. The discharge rate was temporarily stopped on April 1st and then doubled on April 2nd, then varying around that amount until ending on April 8th. These discharges resulted in a pollutant 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 movie shows the plume in early days (3/30 - 4/8), while the forecast of plume can be seen from here.
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 USF 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.