Effects of bubbling operations on a thermally stratified reservoir: implications for water quality amelioration

Fernandez, R. L.; Bonansea, M.; Cosavella, A.; Monarde, F.; Ferreyra, M.; Bresciano, J.
December 2012
Water Science & Technology;2012, Vol. 66 Issue 12, p2722
Artificial thermal mixing of the water column is a common method of addressing water quality problems with the most popular method of destratification being the bubble curtain. The air or oxygen distribution along submerged multiport diffusers is based on similar basic principles as those of outfall disposal systems. Moreover, the disposal of sequestered greenhouse gases into the ocean, as recently proposed by several researchers to mitigate the global warming problem, requires analogous design criteria. In this paper, the influence of a bubble-plume is evaluated using full-scale temperature and water quality data collected in San Roque Reservoir, Argentina. A composite system consisting of seven separated diffusers connected to four 500 kPa compressors was installed at this reservoir by the end of 2003. The original purpose of this air bubble system was to reduce the stratification, so that the water body may completely mix under natural phenomena and remain well oxygenated throughout the year. By using a combination of the field measurements and modelling, this work demonstrates that thermal mixing by means of compressed air may improve water quality; however, if improperly sized or operated, such mixing can also cause deterioration. Any disruption in aeration during the destratification process, for example, may result in a reduction of oxygen levels due to the higher hypolimnetic temperatures. Further, the use of artificial destratification appears to have insignificant influence on reducing evaporation rates in relatively shallow impoundments such as San Roque reservoir.


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