Dredging & Marine Construction

HR Wallingford Develops New Sediment Plume Forecasting Service

HR Wallingford has developed and demonstrated the effectiveness of a new sediment plume forecasting service to help dredging companies meet environmental requirements. The service predicts sediment dispersion several days in advance, enabling contractors to better plan dredging schedules.

“Our service is unique because of the complexity of the inputs that it can handle, for example the service combines complex hydrodynamic modelling and meteorological forecasts with various details input about the dredging activities,” Dr. Jeremy Spearman, technical director, said.

By being able to better forecast dredged plumes, the contractor can be more confident that work will not need to be unexpectedly stopped or re-located because of unanticipated risks to the environment. The new service is also capable of providing additional reassurance to regulators that the best management tools available are being applied to project works.

The new forecast service uses a calibrated TELEMAC 3D hydrodynamic flow model to forecast the associated currents taking into account predicted tidal and meteorological effects. These are then encapsulated into the SEDPLUME model combined with dredging information to model the dispersion of the sediment plume.

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HR Wallingford issues a forecast report to the contractor showing the spatial and temporal variation of the multiple plumes generated by different plant dredging and disposing over the forecast period. The forecast is updated every three days.