Numerical experiments and field results on the size of steady state plumes

Journal of Contaminant Hydrology
U Maier, Peter Grathwohl

Abstract

Contaminated groundwater poses a serious risk for drinking water supplies. Under certain conditions, however, groundwater contamination remains restricted to a tolerable extent because of natural attenuation processes. We present an innovative approach to evaluate the size of these so-called steady-state plumes by 2-D and 1-D modelling in homogeneous aquifers. If longitudinal mixing is negligible, scenarios can be modelled in a simplified way using a 1-D domain vertical to the direction of flow. We analysed the sensitivity of the plume length with respect to biodegradation kinetics, flow velocity, transverse vertical dispersivity alphat, the source and aquifer geometry and reaction stoichiometry. Our findings indicate that for many readily biodegradable compounds transverse-dispersive mixing rather than reaction kinetics is the limiting factor for natural attenuation. Therefore, if alphat, aquifer and source geometry and concentrations of electron acceptors and donors are known, the length of the steady state contaminant plume can be predicted. The approach is validated under field conditions for an ammonium plume at a former landfill site in SW Germany.

References

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Citations

Jan 1, 2014·Journal of Contaminant Hydrology·A Zarlenga, A Fiori
Feb 11, 2014·Journal of Contaminant Hydrology·Xin SongEric A Seagren
Jul 17, 2012·Journal of Contaminant Hydrology·Olaf A CirpkaWolfgang Nowak
Nov 10, 2009·Journal of Contaminant Hydrology·Massimo RollePeter Grathwohl
Dec 20, 2008·Journal of Contaminant Hydrology·Robert D BauerChristian Griebler
Nov 4, 2006·Journal of Contaminant Hydrology·O Atteia, C Guillot
Apr 9, 2016·The ISME Journal·Hubert MüllerRainer U Meckenstock
Dec 18, 2007·Journal of Contaminant Hydrology·Robert D BauerChristian Griebler
Nov 2, 2018·Ground Water·Alraune ZechGedeon Dagan

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