School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology
Desalination plants have become invaluable solutions especially where freshwater resources are scarce. However, the byproduct of their operation is an outflow which is more saline and heated than the ambient water body. This heated plume adversely affects the ecosystem if it is not treated properly. In this study, 3D finite volume coastal and ocean model is employed to address this issue close to Qeshm Island. In addition to calibrating the model, two alternatives are simulated and discussed to mitigate the adverse effects of the heated plume. It is shown that the plume tends to move in the upper layer of the water column due to its lower density than the ambient water. By moving the outfall to deeper parts of the sea—10-meter-deep—the negative effects of the plume significantly decreases and fulfilled the Iran national guidelines. Moreover, due to the mechanism of the Qeshm desalination plant, the spread of salinity is of the least importance compared to the increase in temperature.