Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



The Northwest River is a small, coastal plains river lying to the south of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area. It flows in a southeasterly direction from the Dismal Swamp, its headwaters, to North Carolina where it empties into Currituck Sound. Lunar tides in the river are quite small, but flow reversals due to winds are not uncommon.

Previous studies of the river have evaluated its potential as a drinking water source and the environmental changes that would occur as a result of water withdrawal. The latter concern was primarily that downstream locations would experience higher salinity levels once fresh water was withdrawn. More recently the initial Hampton Roads 208 study was conducted and a water quality management plan was developed which addressed both point and nonpoint sources of pollution. However, it was not possible in that study to investigate the effects of pollutant sources on the quality of the Northwest River water. Neither field measurements nor modelling studies of the river were a part of that program.


Water quality -- Virginia -- Northwest River



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