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Environmental Modeling Community of Practice

Visual Plumes

The Visual Plumes model system is a Windows-based software application for simulating surface water jets and plumes. It also assists in the preparation of mixing zone analyses, Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), and other water quality applications.

A demonstration of how Visual Plumes was applied to Lake Pontchartrain flood water discharge after Hurricane Katrina is available below.

Current Version: 1.0
Release Date: August 2001
Development Status: General Release
Development Information: Release Notes - changes and known deficiencies
Operating System: Win 95/98/NT/2000/XP ( Not supported beyond Windows XP )
Development Language: Visual Basic
Intended Audience: Scientist/Engineer
Key Words: surface, water, jet, plume, model, quality, contaminant, TMDL
Related Web Sites: None Available
Text Files (ASCII Format)
File Name File Description
ABSTRACT.TXT Summary of functions, theory, and applicability.
README.TXT Important installation and usage information.
Download Files
File Type /
File Name /
Format /
File Description
Install /
Self-extracting Zip /
5.6 MB
Setup file for version 1.0 of the Visual Plumes system. Use this for new installs. See README.TXT for installation instructions.
Update /
Self-extracting Zip /
0.6 MB
Components needed to update to the most recent version (August 14, 2001). Use only with a previously installed version of Visual Plumes. See README.TXT for installation instructions.
Document /
VP-Manual.pdf /
Adobe Acrobat /
5.2 MB
Dilution Models for Effluent Discharges, 4th Edition (Visual Plumes) (PDF, 148 pp., 5.2 MB, about PDF).

  Hurricane Katrina Modeling Demonstration

Hurricane Katrina Modeling Demonstration

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent repair of dikes protecting New Orleans, water was pumped from flooded sections of the city into Lake Pontchartrain and other water bodies as part of the drying of the city. Under an ongoing CRADA collaboration between EPA and Battelle, a decision was made to contribute to post-Katrina recovery efforts by applying collective experience to the Lake Pontchartrain discharge. Simulations of expected tidal movements and associated salinity, using the Finite Volume Coastal Ocean Model, a public domain model adopted for another modeling application, are the product of this work. In this demonstration, a 48-hour simulation traces the impact of polluted water and suspended sediment discharged during pumping from Lake Pontchartrain into the Mississippi Sound. The distribution of sea salt is the first step to assessing how well a modeling study reproduces actual water transport and dispersion. Indirectly, the movement of the discharged brackish water can be used to help evaluate the impact of these contaminant flows on the wetlands and ecosystems along the coast of Gulf of Mexico.

Hurricane Katrina Modeling Animation (Self-extracting Zip, 38 MB Compressed, 71 MB Extracted)