- Program Areas
- Energy and Water
- Environmental Restoration
- Munitions Response
- Resource Conservation and Climate Change
- Weapons Systems and Platforms
Computational and Experimental Investigation of Contaminant Plume Response to DNAPL Source Zone Architecture and Depletion in Porous and Fractured Media
Dense nonaqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) source zones can contribute to long-term groundwater contamination for decades and even centuries. Over the past decade, considerable effort has been expended towards understanding the fundamental processes affecting the fate of DNAPL in heterogeneous unconsolidated geologic materials. This includes the role played by heterogeneity on DNAPL source zone architectures, DNAPL dissolution mechanisms, and aqueous-phase plume migration. In spite of these efforts, few, if any, sites have been remediated with respect to either the dissolved contaminants contained in the aqueous phase or the removal of the DNAPL source. While progress has been made with respect to process understanding in the context of DNAPL fate and migration in heterogeneous unconsolidated deposits, there remains a paucity of knowledge on the behavior of DNAPL in fractured geologic media.
The objectives of this project are to (1) develop computational tools for predicting aqueous-phase plume response to DNAPL source zone architecture and depletion for both porous and fractured geologic media; (2) conduct a suite of numerical experiments to investigate the relationship between DNAPL source zone characteristics and dissolved-phase plume migration in porous and fractured media; (3) develop a stochastic information fusion (SIF) technology to define the DNAPL source and its characteristics by exploiting available hydraulic head and concentration data as well as signatures of stable isotope data of chlorinated solvents; (4) conduct laboratory experiments to validate the computational approaches; and (5) apply the technique at a well-characterized fractured rock site.
A data analysis environment will be developed through modification of an existing numerical model, CompFlow, to account for discrete fractures, stable isotope fractionation, and capability for SIF. This environment will allow integration of various existing and newly collected information to provide the best unbiased estimates of DNAPL and aqueous-phase distributions, source locations, and input history. The information to be integrated will include well hydrographs, concentration data, and isotopic signatures of the contaminants as well as geologic information and measurements of hydraulic properties, which have not been utilized effectively at various Department of Defense sites. Fusion of these types of information will be accomplished by adopting a novel stable isotope fingerprinting technique and its seamless integration with state-of-the-art forward and stochastic inverse modeling efforts. Through this integrative approach, contaminant plume response to DNAPL source zone architecture and depletion can be understood at a level beyond the capability of current technologies.
The data analysis environment developed will improve understanding of contaminant plume response to DNAPL source zone architecture and depletion in porous and fractured media. Thus, effective remediation strategies can be designed that reduce the uncertainty and cost of remediation. (Anticipated Project Completion – 2011)
Points of Contact
Dr. Edward Sudicky
University of Waterloo
Phone: 519-888-4567 x36271
SERDP and ESTCP
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