Environmental concerns with the discharge of seawater desalination concentrate into coastal marine environments lead to significant project costs and risks for permits, outfall pipelines, diffusion devices and perhaps even mitigation. This paper presents ecosystem assessment methods and lessons from studies involving permits for municipal wastewater effluent impacts in coastal marine environments. These studies involve assessments that were conducted for two distinct environments – a coastal ocean outfall in Massachusetts Bay and a shallow, near shore effluents in Jamaica Bay, NY. Each of these water bodies was assessed to determine the effects of effluent discharge. In each case, the assessment was based on a thorough understanding of the ecosystem from functional, structural and temporal perspective. Hydrodynamic modeling to describe the mixing regime is a critical first step and can provide early indication of the overall suitability of a discharge site. With an assessment program based on the hydrodynamic mixing regime, the focus can shift to the primary stress (parameters) that needs to be measured and the ecosystem functions that are expected to respond to the stress. The monitoring plan is built on the initial assessment of those factors and designed to detect changes that result in significant environmental consequences.
This presentation is available to AMTA Members only.
- John McArdle
- Battelle Duxbury Operations
- AMTA Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA
- San Diego Biennial
- Seawater desalination, wastewater effluent