Dye tracers as a tool for outfall studies: dilution measurement approach
Dye tracer technique is well established and of wide application for assessment of outfalls and for delineation of near field and far field extensions. Common goals of a tracer study include the measurement of the dilution factor, estimation of the dispersion coefficients, measurement of the effluent discharge and calibration of a contaminant transport model. This paper presents a brief review of the methods involving the use of dye tracer for outfall assessment and illustrates the methods of slug release and continuous injection based on two real cases of campaigns carried out on Brazilian coastal waters. Slug injection on the surface of the water body was used for preliminary dispersion studies aiming at outfall positioning. During the operational phase of an outfall, the continuous injection of dye tracer was used to determine effluent dilution in different seasons. In coastal waters of Rio de Janeiro city, sea current pattern, tidal modulation and thermal stratification explained the main features of the dilution field.