Dynamically coupled 3D pollutant dispersion model for assessing produced water discharges in the Canadian offshore area

Lin Zhao, Zhi Chen, Kenneth Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Produced water is the contaminated water that is brought to the surface in the process of recovering oil and gas. On the basis of discharge volume, this type of contaminated water is the largest contributor to the offshore waste stream. Modeling studies of large amounts of wastewater discharge into offshore areas have helped in the understanding of pollutant dispersion behaviors in marine environments and in further evaluating the potential environmental effects resulting from produced water discharges. This study presents an integrated three-dimensional (3D) approach for the simulation of produced water discharges in offshore areas. Specifically, an explicit second-order finite difference method was used to model the far-field pollutant dispersion behavior, and this method was coupled with the jet-plume model JETLAG with an extension of the 3D cross-flow conditions to simulate the near-field mixing processes. A dynamic coupling technique with full consideration of the interaction between the discharged fluids and receiving waters was employed in the model. A case study was conducted on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, Canada. The field validation of the modeling results was conducted for both the near-field and far-field dispersion processes, and the modeling results were in good agreement with the field observations. This study provides an integrated system tool for the simulation of complex transport processes in offshore areas, and the results from such modeling systems can be further used for the risk assessment analysis of the surface water environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1434-1442
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 5 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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