A dye tracer experiment was performed to determine the dispersive properties of the Potomac estuary. A fluorescent dye, Rhodamine WT, released continuously for 13 days through a submerged outfall sewer, was traced effectively over the upper 25 miles of the estuary for 34 days. Observed dye distributions were analyzed using a classical 1‐dimensional advection‐diffusion model applied to each of 16 discrete volume segments. Repetitive analog computer solution of the resulting set of 16 linear differential equations showed that dispersion coefficients increasing from 0.2 to 0.6 mi2/day in a downstream direction gave a satisfactory temporal and spatial description of the observed dye distribution. The dye loss in the estuary was found to be described by a first‐order reaction rate constant that had an upper limit of 0.034 day−1. The effect of river inflow on the distribution of a nonconservative pollutant from a point source discharge was calculated using the model.
Water Resources Research – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 1966
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