COASTAL PLUME DISPERSION – ABALONE VIRAL GANGLIONEURITIS

Client:
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers
location:
Western Victoria
overview

Water Technology carried out detailed numerical modelling of the potential release of an abalone aquaculture contaminant into the Southern Ocean off the coast of western Victoria.

As part of the process, Water Technology undertook verification of the numerical model using fluorecene dye tests, released from the facility outflow drains. EPA risk assessments and notification of the local catchment manager and EPA prior to the tests were completed. Overhead shots from a light plane were taken and the images rectified and time stamped.

Numerical modelling of the dispersion involved hydrodynamic and wave modelling of the Southern Ocean, extending from South Australia, south of Tasmania to the Victorian /New South Wales border to the east. The model of the Southern Ocean utilised inputs from global models and was calibrated to predicted and measured tidal stations and recorded wave data. The dispersion of the waterborne abalone virus was verified against the results of the fluoroscene dye test and showed good correlation between the actual and modelled wave setup of water (and contaminant) inshore of the fringing coastal reef.

The model was used to determine the timing and concentration of the dispersion of the abalone virus along the western Victorian coast and through Bass Strait into Port Phillip Bay and Western Port. Scenario optioneering of different contaminant release points and concentrations were used to determine the likelihood of contamination originating at the subject site.

The results of the modelling were used in supporting arguments in the Supreme Court of Victoria and Water Technology was called upon by the court to provide an Expert Witness Statement and provide the presiding judge with additional comment during the hearing.

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