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Environmental Modelling & Software 17 (2002) 321–331

www.elsevier.com/locate/envsoft

Testing the CORMIX model using thermal plume data from four
Maryland power plants
S.P. Schreiner *, T.A. Krebs, D.E. Strebel, A. Brindley
Versar, Inc., 9200 Rumsey Road, Columbia, MD 21045, USA

Received 29 June 2000; received in revised form 22 March 2001; accepted 3 August 2001

Abstract

Historical thermal plume studies from four Maryland power plants (Calvert Cliffs, Chalk Point, Dickerson, and Wagner) were
used to test the realism of the CORnell MIXing Zone Expert System (cormix). Test data were from a wide range of challenging
discharge environments, including a large freshwater river (Potomac), a narrow tidal estuary (Patuxent), a wide tidal estuary
(Chesapeake Bay), and a wind-driven tidal estuary (Baltimore Harbor). Historical case studies were simulated, and results were
compared qualitatively and quantitatively with historical measurements. Qualitative results show that the model performed optimally
for simple discharges into large basins such as Chesapeake Bay. For complex discharges and complex ambient environments, the
model often mixed plumes too rapidly, resulting in smaller modeled plumes that were cooler than the measured plumes. The mixing
model also could not account for the re-entrainment of effluent from previous tidal cycles. Sensitivity results show that sensitivity
is often dependent on model run time and discontinuities in the cormix flow classification scheme. Users of the cormix model
need to be aware of these limitations in applying the model to complex situations. cormix results should be used with caution in
evaluating the effects of a discharge and only in conjunction with information from the field.  2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All
rights reserved.

Keywords: Mixing zones; Thermal plume; cormix; Power plants; River; Estuary; Sensitivity analysis; Hydrodynamic model

Software availability 1. Introduction


Name of software: cormix.
Developer and contact address: USEPA, Center for
Exposure Assessment Modeling, 960 College The Cornell Mixing Zone Expert System (cormix) is
Station Road, Athens, GA, 30605-2700. Fax: a software package with a series of modules for the
706-355-8302; email: ceam@epamail.epa.gov. analysis, prediction, and design of aqueous toxic or con-
Year first available: 1991. ventional pollutant discharges into diverse water bodies
Hardware required: Microcomputer (MS-DOS). (Doneker and Jirka, 1990; Akar and Jirka, 1991; Jirka
Software required: MS-DOS or equivalent. et al., 1996). It was developed under cooperative funding
Program language: FORTRAN and VP-Expert. agreements from the U.S. Environmental Protection
Program size: 1.63 MB (downloadable distribution Agency, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources
file). (MDNR) Power Plant Research Program (PPRP), and
Availability and cost: free at the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and
http://www.epa.gov/ceampubl/cormix.htm. Environmental Control. It is the recommended analysis
CORMIX-GI graphical interface available for tool in key guidance documents on the permitting of
$350 at http://steens.ese.ogi.edu/. industrial discharges to receiving waters (USEPA,
1991a,b). The system’s major emphasis is on predicting
the geometry and dilution characteristics of the initial
mixing zone to evaluate compliance with acute and
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +1-410-740-6089. chronic regulatory requirements. The purpose of this
E-mail address: schreinerste@versar.com (S.P. Schreiner). study was to test the cormix model using historical

1364-8152/02/$ - see front matter  2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S 1 3 6 4 - 8 1 5 2 ( 0 1 ) 0 0 0 6 5 - 2
322 S.P. Schreiner et al. / Environmental Modelling & Software 17 (2002) 321–331

measurement of thermal plumes at selected Maryland 2. Study methods


power plants.
cormix was designed as a first-order, screening/design To test the cormix model, four Maryland power
model. It does not carry out detailed hydrodynamic cal- plants were chosen according to the following criteria:
culations using the exact geometry of the discharge (1) facilities in a variety of locations to test various mod-
location, nor does it explicitly handle dynamic ambient ules of cormix; and (2) facilities with the most data
currents (i.e. tides), except as described below. It uses a available. Based on these criteria, the following con-
simplified representation of the physical conditions at the ditions, locations, and facilities were chosen:
discharge location to approximate the fundamental
behavior of the plume. 앫 A large freshwater river (PEPCO’s1 Dickerson Steam
cormix classifies discharge parameters into discrete Electric Station on the Potomac River).
categories which determine qualitative plume behavior. 앫 A large wide tidal estuary (BG&E’s2 Calvert Cliffs
To predict an effluent discharge’s dilution and plume tra- Nuclear Power Plant on the Chesapeake Bay).
jectory, cormix typically breaks the prediction problem 앫 A narrow tidal estuary (PEPCO’s1 Chalk Point
into several stages. A solution is calculated for the ste- Station on the Patuxent River).
ady-state, simplified flow patterns that characterize each 앫 A complex nonuniform tidal environment (BG&E’s2
stage. These solutions are combined to provide a com- H.A. Wagner Generating Station on Baltimore’s
plete simulation from the outflow point to the distance Outer Harbor of the Patapsco River, an embayment
limit set by the user. of the Chesapeake Bay).

A review of existing discharge studies suggested that


1.1. Adapting cormix to tidal situations these sites offered more historical data than others. Data
sources included original drawings of the discharge con-
figuration, personal correspondence from power plant
Two formal attempts have been made to adapt cormix operators, weather and tide predictions for local areas,
to tidal situations. The Delaware River Basin Com- and detailed historical field surveys of thermal plumes.
mission (DRBC) undertook an effort to automate Ver- For each site, a base case was constructed using his-
sion 2.10 of cormix for mixing zone evaluations in tidal toric parameters for the dates on which plumes were
waters, specifically the Delaware River Estuary, and to mapped. This is a different approach from the ‘worst-
provide post-processing capabilities (DRBC, 1995). The case’ and ‘average-case’ parameterization that is com-
fundamental approach was simply to run multiple monly used in mixing zone analysis. The goal of the
cormix simulations at even time intervals throughout a study was not to calibrate the model or analyze the mix-
tidal cycle, while the preprocessing program adjusted ing zone, but to run the model using the assumptions of
ambient water heights and velocity parameters automati- a user without access to field measurement data. Once
cally. This method produces the normal cormix predic- the base case was established, the cormix predictions
tion files; however, the user must interpret the data and were mapped and laid over the measured contours from
apply it case by case to understand the plume dynamics. historic studies. It is important to note however, that
In some cases, the DRBC tidal version can be a useful observational error needs to be considered in evaluating
screening tool, but for shallow surface discharges it model results, as there are limitations and uncertainty in
forces assumptions about changes in water depth in the the available plume measurement data at each site.
discharge channel that may not be realistic. In addition, Plume temperature measurements in the field can be
the DRBC version tends to cause computer malfunctions affected by sampling methods, sampling rates, intervals,
for some simulations. and wind conditions among many factors, which were
In a separate effort, PPRP funded the cormix team at not evaluated as part of this study.
Cornell to develop and incorporate a module to deal with Sensitivity runs were conducted to quantify the mod-
tidal situations, particularly with respect to heated dis- el’s response to variations in parameters. Parameters
charges of power plant cooling water (Nash and Jirka, were varied one at a time within physical or model
1995). This work, incorporated in cormix Version 3.20 bounds. Parameters were varied independently and sys-
used in the present study, developed a model of plume tematically because: (1) cormix is not a dynamic model
behavior during tidal current reversal. On the basis of and does not account for dynamic coupling between
laboratory experiments, a set of pseudo- steady-state physical processes; and (2) parameters may not vary
variables were defined to allow the standard cormix sol-
utions to be modified for some tidal effects. These modi- 1
Potomac Electric Power Company; these facilities are now owned
fications can improve the plume boundary predictions in by Mirant Corporation.
the interval near slack tide but do not account for thermal 2
Baltimore Gas and Electric Company; these facilities are now
build-up and re-entrainment over multiple tidal cycles. owned by Constellation Energy Source.
S.P. Schreiner et al. / Environmental Modelling & Software 17 (2002) 321–331 323

continuously in the cormix flow classification scheme. figures). cormix also predicted full vertical mixing at
The plume temperature gradient was then used as a met- 4490 m in the high baseflow case. In the low baseflow
ric in ranking sensitivities. case, the plume did not become fully vertically mixed
In the cormix flow classification scheme, model and by 10,000 m. Measured data indicated little vertical
physical sensitivities are frequently coupled. Some para- stratification except along 1 transect for the low baseflow
meters affect the model run time, which affects the sensi- case. These results show that cormix simulated mixing
tivity of parameters that are important in far-field mix- of the thermal plume much more rapidly than is actually
ing. Model and physical sensitivity types were ranked the case. This may be due to higher velocity in the center
against one another but listed separately whenever they of the river than is simulated, which would cause the
were distinguishable. An example of a pure model sensi- actual plume to stay near the shoreline.
tivity is parameter variation which in this model forces Sensitivity rankings are based on the change in
a new flow classification and a corresponding disconti- dilution ratio relative to the baseline (low flow) case.
nuity in the qualitative behavior of a plume. Disconti- Simulations that did not run to completion (⬍10,000 m)
nuities in plume behavior occur in nature as thresholds were not included in the ranking because the model
between flow regimes, but these thresholds are not fixed. stopped before completion without explanation. In gen-
Some parameter bounds were artificial, resulting from eral, the model is relatively sensitive to the discharge
the limits of validity of certain cormix assumptions or flow rate (ranked 1 out of 10, although this is a well-
the boundary of a flow classification within the para- known value) and Manning’s N, (ranked 2 and 4,
meter space. Some parameters were adjusted to comply because this parameter is not well-known for this
with cormix limitations, balancing realism in the magni- situation). Due to the lengthy simulation time and shal-
tude and proportion of certain parameters. No attempts low water, the model is sensitive to the heat-loss coef-
were made to calibrate the model or improve the results ficient and wind speed. The model is also sensitive to a
by changing any of the parameter values. Complete smaller channel width, a greater depth, a smaller ambient
details of the study results are documented in Schreiner flow rate, and the type of discharge configuration. The
et al. (1999). model is relatively insensitive to a larger channel width,
the channel appearance, a larger ambient flow rate, a
smaller ambient temperature, a greater discharge width,
3. Results and discussion a greater effluent temperature, and the initial delta tem-
perature (delta-T).
3.1. Dickerson Steam Electric Station
3.2. Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant
Dickerson Steam Electric Station is located on the
Potomac River, in northwestern Montgomery County, Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant (CCNPP) is
Maryland, about 250 km above its confluence with the located on the Chesapeake Bay, near Lusby, in Calvert
Chesapeake Bay and 2.4 km below the confluence with County, Maryland, about 15 km north of the confluence
the Monacacy River. The discharge canal is 532 m long of the Patuxent River with the bay. At full plant load,
and approximately 23.6 m wide at the point of discharge. cooling water is heated about 5.6°C (USAEC, 1973).
Thermal plume studies were conducted at Dickerson The heated effluent is discharged through four 3.8-m
in 1977 to determine the distribution of temperature near concrete conduits that rest on the bay bottom (2 for each
the facility and to estimate the configuration and extent of the 2 units) about 250 m from the shoreline. The tops
of the thermal plume resulting from the cooling water of the discharge conduits are about 1.8 m below the
discharge. Details of these studies are provided in Acad- water surface, and the velocity through each conduit is
emy of Natural Sciences (ANSP) (1979). cormix para- about 2.7 m/s.
meter values are listed in Table 1. Thermal plume studies were conducted at CCNPP in
Results for a high (Fig. 1a) and a low (Fig. 1b) base- 1978 to determine the temperature distribution near the
flow case show that the cormix simulation allowed the facility and to estimate the configuration and extent of
plume to become completely mixed horizontally across the thermal plume resulting from the cooling water dis-
the river channel. The measured data show an unmixed charge; details of these studies are provided in BG&E
plume extending several kilometers downstream. The and ANSP (1979). cormix parameter values, listed in
plume became fully horizontally mixed at 818 m down- Table 2, include those used for the baseline ebb and
stream in the high baseflow case and at 493 m down- flood tidal cases, as well as minimum and maximum
stream in the low baseflow case. In contrast, the meas- values for conducting a sensitivity analysis.
ured data indicate at least a 0.5°C difference from bank cormix assumes that the ambient current is parallel
to bank in the low baseflow case at a distance of to the shoreline, but the velocities measured during the
10,000 m downstream and almost a 3°C difference in thermal studies showed that this was not the case.
the high baseflow case (beyond what is shown on the Because the angle of discharge and current relative to
324 S.P. Schreiner et al. / Environmental Modelling & Software 17 (2002) 321–331

Table 1
Model parameters for Dickerson Steam Electric Station cormix simulations. Minimum and maximum values were used for sensitivity analysis on
the low baseflow case

Parameter Baseline and sensitivity values

Bounded/unbounded Bounded
Channel width (m) 320±70
Channel appearance 2±1
Average water body depth and/or depth at discharge (low baseflow) (m) 1.6±0.4
Average water body depth and/or depth at discharge (high baseflow) (m) 2.0
Ambient flow rate (low baseflow) (m3/s) 48±10
Ambient flow rate (high baseflow) (m3/s) 114
Manning’s N 0.033±0.01
Wind speed (m/s) 4.63; 0; 10
Ambient temperature (°C) 28.5; 26; 30
Location of discharge Left
Co-flowing; flush at 20° with respect to shoreline; flush
Configuration
at 20° with z=1.2 m
Depth at discharge (m) 1.2±0.4
Width of discharge (m) 23.6±5.0
Depth of discharge (m) 1.2±0.4
Flow rate (m3/s) 18±5
Effluent temperature (°C) 37.7; 35; 39
Difference in temperature (°C) 9.2
Heat loss coefficient (W/m2) 60±30

Fig. 1. Surface map of the thermal plume from Dickerson Steam Electric Station in the Potomac River at: (a) high baseflow on 22 July 1977
and (b) low baseflow on 2 September 1977. Vertical lines show initial delta temperature (delta-T) isotherms, based on measurements made by
ANSP (1979). Horizontal dotted lines indicate the delta-T values predicted by cormix on the plume centerline. Shaded area indicates the extent
of the thermal plume predicted by cormix.
S.P. Schreiner et al. / Environmental Modelling & Software 17 (2002) 321–331 325

Table 2
Model parameters for Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant cormix simulations. Minimum and maximum values were used for sensitivity analysis
on the ebb tide case

Parameter Baseline and sensitivity values

Bounded/unbounded Unbounded
Average water body depth and/or depth at discharge (m) 13.7±1
Tidal period (h) 12.6
Time after slack (h) 3.15±2
Tidal velocity at time of simulation (m/s) 0.305 ±20%
Maximum tidal velocity (m/s) 0.305 ±20%
Manning’s N 0.02±0.01
Wind speed (ebb tide) (m/s) 4.3±2
Wind speed (flood tide) (m/s) 8.5±2
Ambient density (ebb tide) (kg/m3) 1009.30±3 (13.9°C; 13‰)
Ambient density (flood tide) (kg/m3) 1009.04±3 (13.9°C; 13‰)
Location of discharge Right (ebb); left (flood)
Configuration Protruding
Distance from bank (m) 200 (max. allowed)
Horizontal angle (ebb tide) (°) 20 (min. allowed); 40 (max. allowed)
Horizontal angle (flood tide) (°) 61.7
Depth at discharge (m) 7.96±10
Width of discharge (m) 15.36±2
Depth of discharge 3.84 m±20%
Bottom slope (°) 0.5±0.1
Flow rate 155.5 m3/s±10%
Density of discharge (ebb tide) (kg/m3) 1008.65±3 (16.9°C; 12.9‰)
Density of discharge (flood tide) (kg/m3) 1008.51±3 (17.6°C; 12.9‰)
Difference in temperature (ebb tide) (°C) 3.2±1
Difference in temperature (flood tide) (°C) 3.7±1
Heat loss coefficient (ebb tide) (W/m2) 30±20
Heat loss coefficient (flood tide) (W/m2) 55

the shoreline are known, the angle of discharge relative Results of the sensitivity analyses were ranked based
to the current can be calculated easily. The ebb tide cur- on the average rate of temperature change relative to the
rent was oriented at an angle of 85.1°, and the flood tide baseline case. Some rankings represent sensitivities of
current was at an angle of 151.7°; both were measured the model caused by the cormix flow classification
counter-clockwise from the shoreline. The magnitude scheme. Most rankings represent real physical sensi-
and direction of the ambient velocity are very important tivities caused by interactions between the physical pro-
factors in predicting the plume orientation and shape; cesses. In general, the model was relatively insensitive
therefore, the horizontal angle of discharge used in the to parameters that do not directly affect the momentum
model was adjusted to be perpendicular to the trajectory or buoyancy of the plume relative to the ambient
of the current, not the shoreline. When interpreting the environment. Because this was a tidal case, the model
output for this case, the x-direction points in the direction was limited to a portion of the tidal cycle. It was greatly
of the ambient current. This orientation was projected affected by the time that it could run, determined by the
onto a map to present the results with the correct map starting time within the tidal cycle. For this reason, the
orientation. model was most sensitive to the time started after slack
Fig. 2 shows the ebb and flood tide case results pro- (rank 1 and 2 out of 16 for the 2 values selected). The
jected onto a map and compared with thermal plume model was also sensitive to the ambient density, tidal
study results from BG&E and ANSP (1979). Results velocity, and discharge density, and less sensitive to the
show reasonable qualitative agreement with the plume discharge angle, depth and width of discharge, and dis-
direction and centerline temperature values, for both charge flow rate. The model is insensitive to the average
cases. For each case, a remnant of the thermal plume ambient depth, Manning’s N, wind speed, depth at dis-
appeared in the measured data from the preceding tidal charge, bottom slope, and the heat loss coefficient.
cycle. These appear as 1- and 2-degree plumes extending
downstream of the discharge and close to the shore on 3.3. Chalk Point Station
the flood tide (Fig. 2a) and a 1-degree isobar perpendicu-
lar to the discharge and shoreline on the ebb tide (Fig. Chalk Point Station is located on the Patuxent River
2b). estuary, near Aquasco, Prince George’s County, Mary-
326 S.P. Schreiner et al. / Environmental Modelling & Software 17 (2002) 321–331

Fig. 2. Surface map of the thermal plume at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant during: (a) ebb and (b) flood tide on 12 May 1978. Shaded lines
show the 1°C isotherms with a 0.2° uncertainty band, based on measurements made by BG&E and ANSP (1979). Labeled diamonds indicate the
1°, 2°, and 3° delta-T values predicted by cormix on the plume centerline. Hatched area indicates the extent of the thermal plume predicted by
cormix. Solitary isotherms in the figures may be remnants of the thermal plume from the preceding tidal cycle (not predictable by cormix).

land, about 44 km north of the confluence of the Patux- (Fig. 3b), the plume immediately became diluted. The
ent estuary with the Chesapeake Bay. The discharge build-up of heated water over several tidal cycles
canal is 2378 m long and about 18 m wide at the dis- resulted in much higher measured values. cormix could
charge point. Thermal plume studies were conducted at not capture this build-up because its simulation was lim-
Chalk Point in 1976, 1978, and 1979 to determine the ited to the initial tidal cycle. In both cases, the simula-
temperature distribution near the facility and estimate the tions indicated an initial rapid dilution followed by an
configuration and extent of the thermal plume resulting increase in temperature farther from the point of dis-
from the cooling water discharge. Details of these stud- charge. This is probably because cormix simulated re-
ies are provided in ANSP (1983). The flood and ebb tide entrainment of heated water. Measured data does not
results from 29 July 1976, were selected to compare with appear to indicate that this actually occurs, but there is
cormix results for the same conditions. cormix para- not sufficient detail to determine this conclusively from
meters are listed in Table 3. the available data.
Results for the ebb tide case (Fig. 3a) showed reason- As in the Calvert Cliffs case, the Chalk Point simul-
able qualitative agreement with plume direction and ation was most sensitive to the starting time, even after
centerline temperature values in the near field until the adjusting for the distance the plume traveled (rank 1 and
plume becomes shore-attached. The predictions become 2 out of 24 for the 2 values selected). The model was
less reliable after that point because the actual shoreline also sensitive to the depth at discharge, ambient density,
is farther back than cormix can simulate. In addition, discharge density, high flow rate, tidal velocity, and
the simulation terminated before reaching the extent of depth of the discharge. The model was less sensitive to
the measured plume. Even though the lateral position of the width of discharge, maximum tidal velocity, mini-
the simulated plume was moved westward, the tempera- mum flow rate, and delta-T. The model was insensitive
ture value at the end of the simulation was reasonably to the angle of discharge, channel width, channel appear-
close to the measured value in the longitudinal axis along ance, wind speed, distance from bank, and the heat
the plume’s main direction. In the flood tide simulation loss coefficient.
S.P. Schreiner et al. / Environmental Modelling & Software 17 (2002) 321–331 327

Table 3
Model parameters for Chalk Point Station cormix simulations. Minimum and maximum values were used for sensitivity analysis on the ebb tide case

Parameter Baseline and sensitivity values

Bounded/unbounded Bounded
Channel width (m) 500±100
Channel appearance 2±1
Average water body depth and/or depth at discharge (m) 2.7±0.5
Tidal period (h) 12.45
Time after slack (h) 3.11±2
Tidal velocity at time of simulation (m/s) 0.30±0.06
Maximum tidal velocity (m/s) 0.30±0.06
Manning’s N 0.03±0.01
Wind speed (m/s) 5.0±5.0
Ambient density (flood) (kg/m3) 999.355+3, ⫺0.36
Ambient density (ebb) (kg/m3) 999.617
Location of discharge Left (flood); right (ebb)
Configuration Protruding
Distance from bank (m) 100; 50
Horizontal angle (flood tide) (°) 75±20
Horizontal angle (ebb tide) (°) 105
Depth at discharge (m) 2.32±0.38
Width of discharge (m) 27.92±5.58
Depth of discharge (m) 2.32±0.38
Bottom slope (°) 11.5; 5; 15
Flow rate (m3/s) 46.7±9.3
Density of discharge (flood tide) (kg/m3) 998.635; 995.635; 998.995
Density of discharge (ebb tide) (kg/m3) 999.182
Difference in temperature (flood tide) (°) 4.2±1
Difference in temperature (ebb tide) (°C) 3.4
Heat loss coefficient (W/m2) 55±20

3.4. H.A. Wagner Generating Station water flows from the head of Baltimore Harbor towards
the mouth and is less dense than the saline lower layer
Wagner Station is located on the western shore of Bal- that intrudes from the bay. Tidal currents are generally
timore Harbor, about 7.4 km from the harbor mouth, on weak compared with the wind-driven currents common
a section of the Patapsco River estuary known as the in the upper 3.0–4.5 m of the bay. On 12 and 13 Sep-
Outer Harbor. The plant circulates water through a com- tember 1979, varying winds, from the northeast to the
mon intake and discharges it separately through two dis- southeast, had turned over the local pattern of tidal
charge canals. Both canals discharge into only 0.3–1 m exchange, so that the upper layer was flowing towards
of water and are treated as surface discharges. the head, and the lower layer towards the bay.
Thermal plume studies were conducted at Wagner in The Wagner case was chosen to represent a class of
the winter, spring, and summer of 1979, to compare plants on the Baltimore Harbor whose plumes are affec-
Wagner’s discharge with Maryland water quality stan- ted by weak, wind-driven currents; layered current
dards for various ambient conditions. Details of these exchange and density stratification during the summer;
studies are provided in LMS (1979a,b, 1980). The sur- complex shorelines; and shallow discharge environ-
vey of 12 and 13 September 1979, was selected as a ments. Of the list above, cormix can account for only
historical base case because it offered measured tidal shallowness, but not without forcing assumptions about
data that could be used to explain actual plume behavior. the discharge and basin shape that are often unrealistic.
The Outer Harbor is characterized by complex and The remaining factors are known to have affected the
unsteady flow patterns that do not lend themselves to the Wagner plume on 12 September 1979: local swells were
application of standard mixing zone criteria. The estuary observed during periods of high wind, salinity measure-
experiences weak tidal currents, low mean tidal ranges, ments increased with depth, and measured tidal currents
low longitudinal density gradients, and changes in sal- varied greatly from tide table predictions. Tidal measure-
inity with depth that are unique within Chesapeake Bay ments for 12 and 13 September show that the upper layer
(LMS, 1980). Tidal exchange between Baltimore Harbor (surface to 4.5 m deep) flow experienced moderate flood
and the Chesapeake Bay occurs in a complex layered for 8.5 h and very weak ebb for 4 h during a 12.5-h tidal
pattern that can be completely turned over by wind. cycle. The historical plumes were never measured deep
Under normal circumstances, the upper 3.0–4.5 m of enough to detect stronger ebb currents.
328 S.P. Schreiner et al. / Environmental Modelling & Software 17 (2002) 321–331

Fig. 3. Surface map of the thermal plume at Chalk Point Station during: (a) ebb and (b) flood tide on 29 July 1976. Shaded lines show the 1°C
isotherms with an uncertainty band, based on measurements made by ANSP (1983). Labeled diamonds indicate delta-T values predicted by cormix
on the plume centerline. Hatched areas indicates the extent of the thermal plume predicted by cormix. Dotted line indicates the location of the
modeled shoreline relative to the actual shoreline. Measured temperature values circled; model values in rectangles.

The Wagner discharge configuration also presented modeled plume is too far from the shore. cormix mixed
modeling challenges. During ebb tide, the two dis- the plume too rapidly in the near field, passing less heat
charges form distinct plumes that interact with one to far field processes, where diffusion and loss of heat to
another in the near field; during flood tide, the two the atmosphere cooled the plume further. Both modeled
plumes also interact in the far field. cormix considers discharges agreed with historical plume direction in the
only single discharges, so the two were modeled separ- near field. The plume from Units 1 through 3 diverged
ately, and the results were overlain for comparison. from historical measurements in the far field.
cormix cannot account for the wind direction and For both ebb and flood cases, the modeled plumes
assumes that tidal currents are parallel to the shore. Wind were smaller than their historical counterparts. When
measurements taken at Wagner on the 12 and 13 Sep- extreme cases with no wind were simulated to eliminate
tember 1979, show that the wind varied around an east- evaporative cooling, the resulting predicted plumes
erly direction, and the evidence of local swelling sug- showed no increase in size or temperature. Wind-driven
gests that the wind may have been driving local flow pooling near shore and re-entrainment of heated water
obliquely towards the shore. cormix parameter values during tidal reversal probably resulted in hotter and
are shown in Table 4. larger actual plumes. The shallowness of the actual basin
The cormix results were overlain with thermal plume increases the efficiency of both processes for storing heat
study results from LMS (1980). For the ebb tide case near the shore. The actual Unit 4 plume in particular was
(Fig. 4a), both discharges corresponded well to historical warmer than the modeled plume, especially during ebb
measurements in the near field, although the Unit 4 dis- tide. The Unit 4 canal is adjacent to several breakwaters
charge was too cold. For the flood case (Fig. 4b), there and the Orchard and Stony Point beachheads, which may
is qualitative agreement with plume direction only in the shelter the discharge from wave energy and inhibit mix-
near field. In the far field, where historical measurements ing. The discharge from Units 1 through 3 is affected by
suggest that the plume should be shore-attached, the a large beachhead located downstream of the discharge
S.P. Schreiner et al. / Environmental Modelling & Software 17 (2002) 321–331 329

Table 4
Model parameters for H.A. Wagner Generating Station cormix simulations. Minimum and maximum values were used for sensitivity analysis on
the flood case

Parameter Baseline and sensitivity values

Bounded/ unbounded Unbounded


Average near-field water-body depth (m) 2.29±0.3
Ambient water depth in the far-field (m) 3.2±0.6
Tidal period (h) 12.5
Time before slack (h) 3.12±1
Tidal velocity at time of simulation (m/s) 0.168 (flood) ±0.03; 0.111 (ebb)
Maximum tidal velocity (m/s) 0.168 (flood) ±0.03; 0.111 (ebb)
Manning’s N 0.03±0.01
Wind speed (m/s) 4.47 (flood); 2.24 (ebb)
Ambient density (kg/m3) 1002.41 (flood); 1002.63 (ebb)
Location of discharge Left (flood); right (ebb)
Protruding 55.5 m at a 46° angle (±20°) with the shoreline (units 1–3);
Configuration
protruding 75 m at a 98° angle (±20°) wih the shoreline (unit 4)
Depth of discharge (m) 0.7±0.3 for units 1–3; 0.94±0.3 for unit 4
Width of discharge (m) 14 for units 1–3; 18.5 for unit 4
Density of discharge (kg/m3) 998.1±2.0 for units 1–3; 999.7±2.0 for unit 4
Flow rate (m3/s) 24.1 for units 1–3; 22.7 for unit 4
Temperature rise (°C) 13.6±2.0 for units 1–3; 9.1±2.0 for unit 4
Heat loss coefficient (W/m2) 50±20
Bottom slope (°) 0.224±0.125

Fig. 4. Surface map of the thermal plume for H.A. Wagner Generating Station during: (a) ebb tide on 13 September 1979 and (b) flood tide on
12–13 September 1979. Shaded lines show delta-T isotherms based on measurements made by LMS (1979a,b). Shaded areas show the same
temperature rises predicted by cormix along the plume centerline. The wind rose in the upper right-hand corner depicts the source direction (e.g.
easterly) of local winds measured by LMS (1979a,b). The length of the wind vectors is weighted by the frequency of observation. Dotted line
indicates the location of the modeled shoreline relative to the actual shoreline.
330 S.P. Schreiner et al. / Environmental Modelling & Software 17 (2002) 321–331

during flood. The cove created by the beachhead may shore. During ebb tide, both discharges correspond well
capture discharge from Units 1 through 3 and encourage to historical measurements, although one discharge was
pooling of heat. Because cormix does not simulate this too cold. For both ebb and flood cases, as in the Dicker-
feature, it presented a plume that is not shore-attached. son case, cormix predicted unrealistically rapid dilution
Results of the Wagner sensitivity analyses were in the near field. Both modeled plumes are smaller than
ranked based on the average rate of temperature change their historical counterparts. Wind-driven pooling near
compared with the baseline case. For some parameters, shore and re-entrainment of heated water during tidal
the sensitivity varied between discharge from Units 1 reversal probably resulted in hotter and larger actual
through 3 and the discharge from Unit 4. In general, the plumes. Like the Calvert Cliffs data, the Wagner
model for the multiple discharge was sensitive to start measurements also showed pockets of pooled heated
time, tidal velocity, maximum tidal velocity, discharge water from previous tidal cycles.
density, and discharge angle. It was insensitive to Man- In tidal situations, cormix only considers the plume
ning’s N, the coefficient of surface heat loss, bottom behavior within the immediate tidal cycle and has no
slope, and near field depth. information about the thermal history from preceding
tidal cycles in the real environment. cormix cannot cap-
ture any build-up because its simulation is limited to the
4. Summary and conclusions initial tidal cycle. In the case of Calvert Cliffs, the
receiving water is so large that there is little build-up of
Results for Dickerson show that the cormix simul- thermal effluent, and the model results are more realistic.
ation allowed the plume to become completely mixed The Patuxent estuary in the vicinity of Chalk Point, how-
horizontally across the river much more rapidly than was ever, is relatively narrow and shallow, preventing the
actually the case. The measured data indicate at least thermal plume from being displaced or dissipated
0.5°C difference from bank to bank in a low baseflow between tidal cycles. The Outer Harbor region of the
case at 10,000 m downstream and almost 3°C difference Patapsco River estuary, where Wagner is located, is also
in a high baseflow case. The differences in the results shallow, with numerous sheltered coves that allow poo-
may be because velocity in the center of the river was ling. Because cormix cannot account for this build-up,
higher than is simulated; the higher mid-river velocity simulation results are not as realistic.
causes the actual plume to stay near the shoreline. cormix is also an idealized model in terms of the
Results for Calvert Cliffs show reasonable qualitative physical configuration of the receiving water. In a large,
agreement with the plume direction and centerline tem- wide water body such as the Chesapeake Bay in the
perature values for both the ebb and flood tide cases. vicinity of Calvert Cliffs, this simplification does not
For each case, the measured data suggest the persistence hinder an adequate simulation of the thermal plume
remnants of the thermal plume from the preceding tidal behavior; however, the model may not adequately rep-
cycle; however, the overall model results agree very well resent narrow or complex configurations. This appears
with the historical measurements. to be the case at Dickerson, where the model may not
Results for the ebb tide case at Chalk Point also show represent complexities in the river channel near the point
reasonable qualitative agreement with plume direction of discharge, resulting in an unrealistically rapid simul-
and centerline temperature values in the near field until ation of mixing. At Wagner, heat trapped by a cove
the modeled plume becomes shore-attached. The predic- upstream (northwest) of the discharge results in shore-
tions become less reliable after that point because the attached behavior for the measured plume. cormix
actual shoreline is farther back than cormix can simu- solves for a straight shoreline and fails to predict
late. In addition, the simulation terminated before reach- upstream pooling; consequently, cormix underestimated
ing the extent of the measured plume. Even though the the severity of thermal impacts at Wagner.
lateral position was moved westward, the temperature In conclusion, users of cormix need to be aware of
value at the end of the simulation was reasonably close these limitations when applying the model in complex
to the measured value in the longitudinal axis along the situations, especially where measured data are not avail-
plume’s main direction. In the flood tide case, the simu- able to check model results. cormix results should be
lated plume became diluted much more quickly than was used with caution in evaluating power plant or other dis-
measured. The build-up of heated water over several charge effects and ideally in conjunction with other
tidal cycles probably resulted in much higher meas- information about thermal plume behavior.
ured values.
Results for the multiple discharge at Wagner during
flood tide show qualitative agreement with plume direc- Acknowledgements
tion only in the near field. In the far field, where histori-
cal measurements suggest that the plume should be This project was funded by the Maryland Department
shore-attached, the modeled plume is too far from the of Natural Resources Power Plant Research Program
S.P. Schreiner et al. / Environmental Modelling & Software 17 (2002) 321–331 331

(PPRP), Annapolis, MD; Dr William K. Hodges, Project mixing zone analysis of conventional and toxic submerged single
Manager. The authors wish to thank David Fluke of the port discharges (cormix1). Prepared for USEPA Office of Research
and Development, February. Cooperative Agreement No.
Maryland Department of the Environment, Jules Loos of CX813093, EPA/600/3-90/012.
Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO), James Jirka, G.H., Doneker, R.L., Hinton, S.W., 1996. User’s manual for
Stine of Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BG&E), cormix: a hydrodynamic mixing zone model and decision support
and three anonymous reviewers for evaluating earlier system for pollutant discharges into surface waters. Prepared for
versions of this work and providing useful comments. USEPA Office of Science and Technology, September. Cooperat-
ive Agreement No. CX824847-01-0. Available from:
All comments were carefully considered in preparing http://steens.ese.ogi.edu/.
this final report, but responsibility for the content of the Lawler, Matusky and Skelly Engineers (LMS), 1979a. Report on win-
report remains with the authors. ter thermal survey for Herbert A. Wagner Generating Station. Pre-
pared for BG&E.
Lawler, Matusky and Skelly Engineers (LMS), 1979b. Report on sum-
mer thermal survey for Herbert A. Wagner Generating Station. Pre-
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