This paper describes work in the first part of an ongoing research programme on the generation and dispersion of fume from hot metal processes, a challenging industrial ventilation problem. This phase of the study involves research into a salt solution plume generated from an area source and descending into quiescent water. This is a 'cold flow' analogue of a thermal plume ascending in quiescent air. Experiments are described whereby the velocity and concentration profiles in the plume are determined using video footage and particle-tracking software, and a conductivity probe with digital traversing mechanism, respectively. Results from a transient numerical simulation of the flow using the CFD package PHOENICS are generated and compared with experimental results.