Forecasting service manages dredging impact

Credit: HR Wallingford

HR Wallingford has launched a service that can provide improved forecasting of sediment plumes caused by dredging. This enables dredging companies to better plan their schedules ahead as the service predicts sediment dispersion several days in advance.

“Our service is unique because of the complexity of the inputs that it can handle, for example the service combines complex hydrodynamic modelling and meteorological forecasts with various details input about the dredging activities,” said Jeremy Spearman, technical director at HR Wallingford.

By being able to better forecast dredged plumes, the contractor can be more confident that work will not need to be unexpectedly stopped or relocated because of unanticipated risks to the environment. The new service is also capable of providing additional reassurance to regulators that the best management tools available are being applied to project works.

The response-based forecasting model has already been used successfully at Doha Port, which is widening its channels to accommodate larger cruise ships.

The new forecast service uses a calibrated TELEMAC-3D hydrodynamic flow model to forecast the associated currents considering predicted tidal and meteorological effects. These are then encapsulated into the SEDPLUME model and combined with dredging information to model the dispersion of the sediment plume.

HR Wallingford issues a forecast report to the contractor showing the spatial and temporal variation of the multiple plumes generated by different plant dredging and disposing over the forecast period. The forecast is updated every three days.