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Traveltime and dispersion in the Potomac River, Cumberland, Maryland, to Washington, D.C.

January 1, 1984

Data from two traveltime and dispersion studies, using rhodamine dye, are used to develop a generalized procedure for predicting traveltime and downstream concentrations resulting from spillage of water-soluble substances at any point along the Potomac River from Cumberland, Maryland, to Washington, D.C. The procedure will allow the approximate solution to almost any spillage problem concerning traveltime and concentration during periods of relatively steady flow between 50- and 95-percent flow duration. A new procedure for calculating unit peak concentration is derived. The new procedure, based on the similarity in shape of a time-concentration curve and a scalene triangle, allows unit peak concentration to be expressed in terms of the length of the dye cloud. This approach facilitates the linking of peak-concentration attenuation curves for long reaches of rivers which are divided into subreaches for study. An example problem is solved for a hypothetical spill of 20,000 pounds of contaminant at Magnolia, West Virginia. The predicted traveltime of the leading edge, peak concentration, and trailing edge to Point of Rocks, Maryland (110 miles downstream), are 295 , 375, and 540 hours, respectively, for a flow duration of 80 percent. The predicted maximum concentration is 340 micrograms/L. (USGS)

Publication Year 1984
Title Traveltime and dispersion in the Potomac River, Cumberland, Maryland, to Washington, D.C.
DOI 10.3133/ofr83861
Authors K.R. Taylor, R.W. James, B.M. Helinsky
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 83-861
Index ID ofr83861
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse