Modelling the dispersion of wastewater discharges from offshore outfalls: A review

Lin Zhao, Zhi Chen, Kenneth Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Techniques for modelling marine pollution have been studied for decades. Specialized modelling methods have been used to simulate pollutant dispersion resulting from offshore outfall. These include empirical and analytical methods, particle tracking method, finite difference and finite element solutions for solving the advection-diffusion equations, and jet integral methods. In the application of these methods, various models have been developed to address ocean discharge problems. This paper reviews modelling techniques associated with simulation of wastewater dispersion discharged from offshore outfalls based on type of method and the physical process of the ocean discharge, such as near-field and far-field modelling. The advantages and limitations of the major mathematical methods are analyzed, as well as their functionality and the availability of modelling software. The development of numerous modelling approaches and software, both commercial and academic, reflects the growing importance and interest in ocean environmental assessment. This review also discusses future trends for development in this field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-120
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science


  • Fate
  • Modelling
  • Offshore discharge
  • Review
  • Transport
  • Wastewater


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