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Effect of hypersaline cooling canals on aquifer salinization

October 2, 2009

The combined effect of salinity and temperature on density-driven convection was evaluated in this study for a large (28 km2) cooling canal system (CCS) at a thermoelectric power plant in south Florida, USA. A two-dimensional cross-section model was used to evaluate the effects of hydraulic heterogeneities, cooling canal salinity, heat transport, and cooling canal geometry on aquifer salinization and movement of the freshwater/saltwater interface. Four different hydraulic conductivity configurations, with values ranging over several orders of magnitude, were evaluated with the model. For all of the conditions evaluated, aquifer salinization was initiated by the formation of dense, hypersaline fingers that descended downward to the bottom of the 30-m thick aquifer. Saline fingers reached the aquifer bottom in times ranging from a few days to approximately 5 years for the lowest hydraulic conductivity case. Aquifer salinization continued after saline fingers reached the aquifer bottom and coalesced by lateral movement away from the site. Model results showed that aquifer salinization was most sensitive to aquifer heterogeneity, but was also sensitive to CCS salinity, temperature, and configuration.

Publication Year 2010
Title Effect of hypersaline cooling canals on aquifer salinization
DOI 10.1007/s10040-009-0502-7
Authors Joseph D. Hughes, Christian D. Langevin, Linzy Brakefield-Goswami
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Hydrogeology Journal
Index ID 70192443
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization FLWSC-Ft. Lauderdale