To effectively plan site-specific studies to understand the connection between wastewater effluent and shellfish beds, data are needed concerning flow dynamics and background fluorescence in the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway near the effluent outfalls on Sullivan’s Island and the Isle of Palms. Tidal flows were computed by the U.S. Geological Survey for three stations and longitudinal water-quality profiles were collected at high and low tide. Flows for the three U.S. Geological Survey stations, the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway by the Isle of Palms Marina, the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway by the Ben M. Sawyer Memorial Bridge at Sullivan’s Island, and Breach Inlet, were computed for the 53-day period from December 4, 2011, to January 26, 2012. The largest flows occurred at Breach Inlet and ranged from -58,600 cubic feet per second (ft3/s) toward the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway to 63,300 ft3/s toward the Atlantic Ocean. Of the two stations on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, the Sullivan’s Island station had the larger flows and ranged from -6,360 ft3/s to the southwest (toward Charleston Harbor) to 8,930 ft3/s to the northeast. Computed tidal flow at the Isle of Palms station ranged from -3,460 ft3/s toward the southwest to 6,410 ft3/s toward the northeast. The synoptic water-quality study showed that the stations were well mixed vertically and horizontally. All fluorescence measurements (recorded as rhodamine concentration) were below the accuracy of the sensor and the background fluorescence would not likely interfere with a dye-tracer study.
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USGS Numbered Series
Tidal flow dynamics and background fluorescence of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway in the vicinity of Sullivan’s Island and the Isle of Palms, South Carolina, 2011-12