Project Type MQP Submission date 2012-03-11 Authors Assel Baurzhanovna Akhmetova, EV Cristina C Fouraux, CE Edwin Muniz, emuniz@WPI.EDU, CE URN E-project-031112-224754 Center PANAMA / Panama City, Panama Sponsor Panama Canal Authority Title Salt Intrusion in Gatun Lake Advisor Plummer, Jeanine D., CE Availability unrestricted
The expansion of the Panama Canal is adding another lock lane to the canal, allowing passage of larger ships. Increases in the number of transits and the size of the locks may displace more salt from the oceans into the freshwater lake, Gatun Lake, which is a drinking water source for Panama City. This project evaluated future salinity levels in Gatun Lake. Water quality and hydrometeorological data were input into a predictive hydrodynamic software package to project salinity levels in the lake after the new lock system is completed. Modeling results showed that salinity levels are expected to remain in the freshwater range. In the event that the lake becomes brackish, the team designed a water treatment plant using electrodialysis reversal for salt removal and UV light disinfection.
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