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Sample records for delineating vadose zone

  1. Rectangular Schlumberger resistivity arrays for delineating vadose zone clay-lined fractures in shallow tuff

    SciTech Connect

    Miele, M.; Laymon, D.; Gilkeson, R.; Michelotti, R.

    1996-05-01

    Rectangular Schlumberger arrays can be used for 2-dimensional lateral profiling of apparent resistivity at a unique current electrode separation, hence single depth of penetration. Numerous apparent resistivity measurements are collected moving the potential electrodes (fixed MN spacing) within a rectangle of defined dimensions. The method provides a fast, cost-effective means for the collection of dense resistivity data to provide high-resolution information on subsurface hydrogeologic conditions. Several rectangular Schlumberger resistivity arrays were employed at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) from 1989 through 1995 in an area adjacent to and downhill from an outfall pipe, septic tank, septic drainfield, and sump. Six rectangular arrays with 2 AB spacings were used to delineate lateral low resistivity anomalies that may be related to fractures that contain clay and/or vadose zone water. Duplicate arrays collected over a three year time period exhibited very good data repeatability. The properties of tritium make it an excellent groundwater tracer. Because tritium was present in discharged water from all of the anthropogenic sources in the vicinity it was used for this purpose. One major low resistivity anomaly correlates with relatively high tritium concentrations in the tuff. This was determined from borehole samples collected within and outside of the anomalous zone. The anomaly is interpreted to be due to fractures that contain clay from the soil profile. The clay was deposited in the fractures by aeolian processes and by surface water infiltration. The fractures likely served as a shallow vadose zone groundwater pathway.

  2. Vadose zone microbiology

    SciTech Connect

    Kieft, Thomas L.; Brockman, Fred J.

    2001-01-17

    The vadose zone is defined as the portion of the terrestrial subsurface that extends from the land surface downward to the water table. As such, it comprises the surface soil (the rooting zone), the underlying subsoil, and the capillary fringe that directly overlies the water table. The unsaturated zone between the rooting zone and the capillary fringe is termed the "intermediate zone" (Chapelle, 1993). The vadose zone has also been defined as the unsaturated zone, since the sediment pores and/or rock fractures are generally not completely water filled, but instead contain both water and air. The latter characteristic results in the term "zone of aeration" to describe the vadose zone. The terms "vadose zone," "unsaturated zone", and "zone of aeration" are nearly synonymous, except that the vadose zone may contain regions of perched water that are actually saturated. The term "subsoil" has also been used for studies of shallow areas of the subsurface immediately below the rooting zone. This review focuses almost exclusively on the unsaturated region beneath the soil layer since there is already an extensive body of literature on surface soil microbial communities and process, e.g., Paul and Clark (1989), Metting (1993), Richter and Markowitz, (1995), and Sylvia et al. (1998); whereas the deeper strata of the unsaturated zone have only recently come under scrutiny for their microbiological properties.

  3. Superposition of borehole-to-surface voltage residuals for Vadose Zone plume delineation.

    PubMed

    Osiensky, James L; Belknap, Willard J; Donaldson, Paul R

    2006-01-10

    An injected tracer field experiment was conducted at the University of Idaho Ground Water Field Laboratory to evaluate the application of borehole-to-surface voltage measurements for delineation of the tracer distribution in partially saturated, fractured basalt. A tap water tracer was injected into a fracture-dominated, salt-water plume formed during a previous salt-water injection experiment. The tap water tracer was injected into a central injection well under constant hydraulic head for 34 days. The injection well was surrounded by seven test boreholes. Each borehole contained several copper wire electrodes for borehole-to-surface potential measurements between a surface grid of 224 copper sulfate, porous pot electrodes. Eight pole-pole, borehole-to-surface voltage data sets were acquired during each measurement period by energization of a selected electrode in each of the eight boreholes. Predicted voltages for a uniform earth (homogeneous and isotropic) potential model (finite difference) were subtracted from each data set (for its respective current source location), and the voltage residuals superposed to create new data sets with greater measurement sensitivity and coverage, to aid in interpretation. These data sets were collected over four measurement periods during tap water injection and four measurement periods during the subsequent 64-day drainage phase. The data were interpreted with the use of three-dimensional models and by comparisons with other electrical and hydrological observations. Results indicate that superposition of multiple data sets of voltage residuals significantly improved the lateral resolution of subsurface bulk resistivity changes that occurred over time. PMID:16298016

  4. Vadose zone water fluxmeter

    DOEpatents

    Faybishenko, Boris A.

    2005-10-25

    A Vadose Zone Water Fluxmeter (WFM) or Direct Measurement WFM provides direct measurement of unsaturated water flow in the vadose zone. The fluxmeter is a cylindrical device that fits in a borehole or can be installed near the surface, or in pits, or in pile structures. The fluxmeter is primarily a combination of tensiometers and a porous element or plate in a water cell that is used for water injection or extraction under field conditions. The same water pressure measured outside and inside of the soil sheltered by the lower cylinder of the fluxmeter indicates that the water flux through the lower cylinder is similar to the water flux in the surrounding soil. The fluxmeter provides direct measurement of the water flow rate in the unsaturated soils and then determines the water flux, i.e. the water flow rate per unit area.

  5. In situ vadose zone bioremediation.

    PubMed

    Höhener, Patrick; Ponsin, Violaine

    2014-06-01

    Contamination of the vadose zone with various pollutants is a world-wide problem, and often technical or economic constraints impose remediation without excavation. In situ bioremediation in the vadose zone by bioventing has become a standard remediation technology for light spilled petroleum products. In this review, focus is given on new in situ bioremediation strategies in the vadose zone targeting a variety of other pollutants such as perchlorate, nitrate, uranium, chromium, halogenated solvents, explosives and pesticides. The techniques for biostimulation of either oxidative or reductive degradation pathways are presented, and biotransformations to immobile pollutants are discussed in cases of non-degradable pollutants. Furthermore, research on natural attenuation in the vadose zone is presented. PMID:24863890

  6. Vadose zone monitoring for hazardous waste sites

    SciTech Connect

    Everett, L.G.; Wilson, L.G.; Hoylman, E.W.

    1983-10-01

    This book describes the applicability of vadose zone monitoring techniques to hazardous waste site investigations. More than 70 different sampling and nonsampling vadose zone monitoring techniques are described in terms of their advantages and disadvantages. Physical, chemical, geologic, topographic, geohydrologic, and climatic constraints for vadose zone monitoring are quantitatively determined. Vadose zone monitoring techniques are categorized for premonitoring, active, and postclosure site assessments. Waste disposal methods are categorized for piles, landfills, impoundments, and land treatment. Conceptual vadose zone monitoring approaches are developed for specific waste disposal method categories.

  7. Vadose Zone Transport Field Study: Summary Report

    SciTech Connect

    Ward, Andy L.; Conrad, Mark E.; Daily, William D.; Fink, James B.; Freedman, Vicky L.; Gee, Glendon W.; Hoversten, Gary M.; Keller, Jason M.; Majer, Ernest L.; Murray, Christopher J.; White, Mark D.; Yabusaki, Steven B.; Zhang, Z. F.

    2006-07-31

    From FY 2000 through FY 2003, a series of vadose zone transport field experiments were conducted as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Groundwater/Vadose Zone Integration Project Science and Technology Project, now known as the Remediation and Closure Science Project, and managed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The series of experiments included two major field campaigns, one at a 299-E24-11 injection test site near PUREX and a second at a clastic dike site off Army Loop Road. The goals of these experiments were to improve our understanding of vadose zone transport processes; to develop data sets to validate and calibrate vadose zone flow and transport models; and to identify advanced monitoring techniques useful for evaluating flow-and-transport mechanisms and delineating contaminant plumes in the vadose zone at the Hanford Site. This report summarizes the key findings from the field studies and demonstrates how data collected from these studies are being used to improve conceptual models and develop numerical models of flow and transport in Hanford’s vadose zone. Results of these tests have led to a better understanding of the vadose zone. Fine-scale geologic heterogeneities, including grain fabric and lamination, were observed to have a strong effect on the large-scale behavior of contaminant plumes, primarily through increased lateral spreading resulting from anisotropy. Conceptual models have been updated to include lateral spreading and numerical models of unsaturated flow and transport have revised accordingly. A new robust model based on the concept of a connectivity tensor was developed to describe saturation-dependent anisotropy in strongly heterogeneous soils and has been incorporated into PNNL’s Subsurface Transport Over Multiple Phases (STOMP) simulator. Application to field-scale transport problems have led to a better understanding plume behavior at a number of sites where lateral spreading may have dominated waste

  8. Vadose zone monitoring for hazardous waste sites

    SciTech Connect

    Everett, L.G.

    1984-01-01

    This book is a review and evaluation of vadose (unsaturated) zone monitoring. It describes the applicability of selected monitoring methods to hazardous waste disposal sites. Topics covered include: geohydrologic framework of the vadose zone; premonitoring of storage at disposal sites; premonitoring of water movement at disposal sites; active and abandoned site monitoring methods; waste source pollutant characterization; geohydrologic settings for waste disposals and conceptual vadose zone monitoring descriptions.

  9. Secondary porosity in a transient vadose zone

    SciTech Connect

    Frederick, W.T.; Grasso, T.X. Jr. )

    1993-03-01

    The Western New York Nuclear Service Center is the site of low and high level radioactive waster buried in a series of trenches excavated in a 28 m thick, Lavery-age silty clay diamicton that exhibits a 6 meter thick transient vadoes zone where exposed at the surface. Hydrostratigraphy of this till includes a 0.25 m thick poorly developed macroporous soil, a 3.5 m thick weathered zone of densely spaced and randomly orientated horizontal and vertical fractures, a 2 m thick unweathered zone of intermittently spaced fractures exhibiting east-west orientations, and a massive 23 m thick unweathered till zone that exhibits isolated, east-west orientated fractures. Bulk hydraulic conductivity of this active flow zone decreases with depth from 10[sup [minus]5] to 10[sup [minus]8] cm/s. The specific discharge of vertically flowing groundwater in the massive till zone is 1.25 cm/yr. A water surplus in the recharge season saturates the fractured zone to grade with up to 7.37 cm/yr of net infiltration. Tritium and radionuclides from the waste trenches and surrounding soil matrix hydrodynamically disperse into the field-saturated fracture network that contains meteoric recharge water. A soil moisture deficit in discharge season produces a vadose zone of widened fractures that via capillarity enhances the diffusion of contaminants into the soil matrix. These enlarged connecting conduits laterally channel the excess infiltration from the recharge season and diffused contaminants to local lowlands and incised streams that truncate the unweathered till. The current vadose and phreatic zone flow study will be used in numeric simulations that will delineate the areal extend and temporal duration of these seepage faces and the time frame of possible surfaces water contamination.

  10. Vadose Zone Transport Field Study: Status Report

    SciTech Connect

    Gee, Glendon W.; Ward, Anderson L.

    2001-11-30

    Studies were initiated at the Hanford Site to evaluate the process controlling the transport of fluids in the vadose zone and to develop a reliable database upon which vadose-zone transport models can be calibrated. These models are needed to evaluate contaminant migration through the vadose zone to underlying groundwaters at Hanford. A study site that had previously been extensively characterized using geophysical monitoring techniques was selected in the 200 E Area. Techniques used previously included neutron probe for water content, spectral gamma logging for radionuclide tracers, and gamma scattering for wet bulk density. Building on the characterization efforts of the past 20 years, the site was instrumented to facilitate the comparison of nine vadose-zone characterization methods: advanced tensiometers, neutron probe, electrical resistance tomography (ERT), high-resolution resistivity (HRR), electromagnetic induction imaging (EMI), cross-borehole radar (XBR), and cross-borehole seismic (XBS). Soil coring was used to obtain soil samples for analyzing ionic and isotopic tracers.

  11. Advanced Vadose Zone Simulations Using TOUGH

    SciTech Connect

    Finsterle, S.; Doughty, C.; Kowalsky, M.B.; Moridis, G.J.; Pan,L.; Xu, T.; Zhang, Y.; Pruess, K.

    2007-02-01

    The vadose zone can be characterized as a complex subsurfacesystem in which intricate physical and biogeochemical processes occur inresponse to a variety of natural forcings and human activities. Thismakes it difficult to describe, understand, and predict the behavior ofthis specific subsurface system. The TOUGH nonisothermal multiphase flowsimulators are well-suited to perform advanced vadose zone studies. Theconceptual models underlying the TOUGH simulators are capable ofrepresenting features specific to the vadose zone, and of addressing avariety of coupled phenomena. Moreover, the simulators are integratedinto software tools that enable advanced data analysis, optimization, andsystem-level modeling. We discuss fundamental and computationalchallenges in simulating vadose zone processes, review recent advances inmodeling such systems, and demonstrate some capabilities of the TOUGHsuite of codes using illustrative examples.

  12. DEEP VADOSE ZONE TREATABILITY TEST PLAN

    SciTech Connect

    GB CHRONISTER; MJ TRUEX

    2009-07-02

    {sm_bullet} Treatability test plan published in 2008 {sm_bullet} Outlines technology treatability activities for evaluating application of in situ technologies and surface barriers to deep vadose zone contamination (technetium and uranium) {sm_bullet} Key elements - Desiccation testing - Testing of gas-delivered reactants for in situ treatment of uranium - Evaluating surface barrier application to deep vadose zone - Evaluating in situ grouting and soil flushing

  13. THE DYNAMICS OF VADOSE ZONE TRANSPORT: A FIELD AND MODELING STUDY USING THE VADOSE ZONE OBSERVATORY

    EPA Science Inventory

    A stated need of the DOE EM program is a better understanding of basic vadose zone fluid flow and contaminant transport processes for the purpose of making improved estimates of contaminant release rates and fluxes across the vadose zone to the water table at DOE sites such as th...

  14. Monitoring Vadose Zone Desiccation with Geophysical Methods

    SciTech Connect

    Truex, Michael J.; Johnson, Timothy C.; Strickland, Christopher E.; Peterson, John E.; Hubbard, Susan S.

    2013-05-01

    Soil desiccation was recently field tested as a potential vadose zone remediation technology. Desiccation removes water from the vadose zone and significantly decreases the aqueous-phase permeability of the desiccated zone, thereby decreasing movement of moisture and contaminants. The 2-D and 3-D distribution of moisture content reduction over time provides valuable information for desiccation operations and for determining when treatment goals have been reached. This type of information can be obtained through use of geophysical methods. Neutron moisture logging, cross-hole electrical resistivity tomography, and cross-hole ground penetrating radar approaches were evaluated with respect to their ability to provide effective spatial and temporal monitoring of desiccation during a treatability study conducted in the vadose zone of the DOE Hanford Site in WA.

  15. Transport of through a Thick Vadose Zone.

    PubMed

    Arnaud, Emmanuelle; Best, Anna; Parker, Beth L; Aravena, Ramon; Dunfield, Kari

    2015-09-01

    Livestock manure applications on fields can be a source of contamination in water resources, including groundwater. Although fecal indicators like have often been detected in tile drainage systems, few studies have monitored groundwater at depth after manure treatments, especially at sites with a deep, heterogeneous vadose zone. Our hypothesis was that microbial transport through a thick vadose zone would be limited or nonexistent due to attenuation processes, subsurface thickness, and heterogeneity. This study tested this hypothesis by monitoring concentrations beneath a 12-m-thick vadose zone of coarse, heterogeneous glacial sediments after surface application of liquid swine manure. was detected on all 23 sample dates over the 5-mo period (4 Apr. 2012-13 Aug. 2012), with particularly elevated concentrations 1 wk after application and lasting for 5 wk. Variable low-level concentrations before and after the elevated period suggest remobilization and delayed transport of microorganisms to the water table without additional loadings within the flow field. These findings suggest preferential flow pathways allowing deep infiltration of manure bacteria as well as a continued source of bacteria, with variable retention and travel times, over several months. Preferential flow pathways at this site include soil macropores, depression focused infiltration, and pathways related to subsurface heterogeneity and/or fracture flow through finer-grained diamict beds. Further research is needed to confirm the relative contribution of sources, constrain travel times, and define specific transport pathways. PMID:26436260

  16. Optimization of remediation strategies using vadose zone monitoring systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dahan, Ofer

    2016-04-01

    In-situ bio-remediation of the vadose zone depends mainly on the ability to change the subsurface hydrological, physical and chemical conditions in order to enable development of specific, indigenous, pollutants degrading bacteria. As such the remediation efficiency is much dependent on the ability to implement optimal hydraulic and chemical conditions in deep sections of the vadose zone. These conditions are usually determined in laboratory experiments where parameters such as the chemical composition of the soil water solution, redox potential and water content of the sediment are fully controlled. Usually, implementation of desired optimal degradation conditions in deep vadose zone at full scale field setups is achieved through infiltration of water enriched with chemical additives on the land surface. It is assumed that deep percolation into the vadose zone would create chemical conditions that promote biodegradation of specific compounds. However, application of water with specific chemical conditions near land surface dose not necessarily results in promoting of desired chemical and hydraulic conditions in deep sections of the vadose zone. A vadose-zone monitoring system (VMS) that was recently developed allows continuous monitoring of the hydrological and chemical properties of deep sections of the unsaturated zone. The VMS includes flexible time-domain reflectometry (FTDR) probes which allow continuous monitoring of the temporal variation of the vadose zone water content, and vadose-zone sampling ports (VSPs) which are designed to allow frequent sampling of the sediment pore-water and gas at multiple depths. Implementation of the vadose zone monitoring system in sites that undergoes active remediation provides real time information on the actual chemical and hydrological conditions in the vadose zone as the remediation process progresses. Up-to-date the system has been successfully implemented in several studies on water flow and contaminant transport in

  17. Deficiencies in Vadose Zone Understanding at the INEEL

    SciTech Connect

    Wood, Thomas Ronald; Bates, Dona Louise; Bishop, Carolyn Wagoner; Heard, Robert Eugene; Hubbell, Joel Michael; Hull, Laurence Charles; Lehman, Richard Michael; Magnuson, Swen O; Mattson, Earl Douglas; Mccarthy, James Michael; Porro, Indrek; Ritter, Paul David; Roddy, Michael Scott; Singler, Robert Edward; Smith, Richard Paul

    2000-08-01

    Subsurface contamination in the vadose zone, that portion of the subsurface pathway between land surface and an underlying aquifer, poses environmental problems at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) in eastern Idaho and across the U.S. Department of Energy complex. Assessing potential adverse impacts from these contaminated sites requires an understanding of the mechanisms controlling contaminant transport. Currently, vadose zone experts at the INEEL cannot with confidence predict the movement of water and contaminants in the complex, heterogeneous, fractured subsurface at the INEEL, especially within the vadose zone. In the draft version (Revision 1) of the Vadose Zone Deficiencies document, deficiencies in scientific understanding of flow and transport processes in the vadose zone at the INEEL were identified and grouped into 13 categories and recommendations were provided to address each of the deficiencies. The draft document provided the basis for an INEEL Vadose Zone Workshop that was conducted October 20 and 21, 1999, in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The workshop was conducted to group and rank the previously identified deficiencies and for the subsequent development of science plans to address the deficiencies that limit reliable predictions of water and contaminant movement in the subsurface. The workshop participants, comprising INEEL and scientists and project managers and non-INEEL scientists knowledgeable about the vadose zone, developed science- and technology-based recommendations derived through a series of technical sessions at the workshop. In this document, the final version of the Vadose Zone Deficiencies document, the draft document has been incorporated, largely intact, as well as the results from the workshop. The workshop participants grouped the deficiencies in vadose zone understanding at the INEEL into seven categories. These seven categories will be the focus areas of five science plans that are being developed to

  18. Vadose zone drilling at the NTS

    SciTech Connect

    Efurd, D.W.

    1994-08-01

    The Yucca Mountain Project has an opportunity to evaluate possible mobilization and transport of radioactive materials away from the storage horizon in the proposed repository. One scenario by which such transport could occur involves water leaving the storage area and carrying radioactive particulates of colloidal size. The colloids could move along the gas-liquid interface in partially filled fractures within the vadose zone. It should be possible to check the reality of this proposed scenario by examining ``anthropogenic analogs`` of the repository. These are sites of nuclear tests conducted in unsaturated tuff at the Nevada Test Site (NTS). We propose to drill under one or more such sites to determine if radionuclides have moved from their original confinement in the puddle- glass at the bottom of the cavity. This document examines the characteristics of an ideal test site for such a study, suggests several possible locations that have some of the desired characteristics, and recommends one of these sites for the proposed drilling.

  19. Optimization of Remediation Conditions using Vadose Zone Monitoring Technology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dahan, O.; Mandelbaum, R.; Ronen, Z.

    2010-12-01

    Success of in-situ bio-remediation of the vadose zone depends mainly on the ability to change and control hydrological, physical and chemical conditions of subsurface. These manipulations enables the development of specific, indigenous, pollutants degrading bacteria or set the environmental conditions for seeded bacteria. As such, the remediation efficiency is dependent on the ability to implement optimal hydraulic and chemical conditions in deep sections of the vadose zone. Enhanced bioremediation of the vadose zone is achieved under field conditions through infiltration of water enriched with chemical additives. Yet, water percolation and solute transport in unsaturated conditions is a complex process and application of water with specific chemical conditions near land surface dose not necessarily result in promoting of desired chemical and hydraulic conditions in deeper sections of the vadose zone. A newly developed vadose-zone monitoring system (VMS) allows continuous monitoring of the hydrological and chemical properties of the percolating water along deep sections of the vadose zone. Implementation of the VMS at sites that undergoes active remediation provides real time information on the chemical and hydrological conditions in the vadose zone as the remediation process progresses. Manipulating subsurface conditions for optimal biodegradation of hydrocarbons is demonstrated through enhanced bio-remediation of the vadose zone at a site that has been contaminated with gasoline products in Tel Aviv. The vadose zone at the site is composed of 6 m clay layer overlying a sandy formation extending to the water table at depth of 20 m bls. The upper 5 m of contaminated soil were removed for ex-situ treatment, and the remaining 15 m vadose zone is treated in-situ through enhanced bioremedaition. Underground drip irrigation system was installed below the surface on the bottom of the excavation. Oxygen and nutrients releasing powder (EHCO, Adventus) was spread below the

  20. A/M Area Vadose Zone Monitoring Plan

    SciTech Connect

    Kupar, J.; Jarosch, T.R.; Jackson, D.G. Jr.; Looney, B.B.; Jerome, K.M.; Riha, B.D.; Rossabi, J.; Van Pelt, R.S.

    1998-03-01

    Characterization and monitoring data from implementation and the first two and one half years of vadose zone remediation operations indicate that this activity has substantially improved the performance of the A/M Area Groundwater Corrective Action Program. During this period, vadose zone remediation removed approximately 225, 000 lbs (100,000 Kg) of chlorinated solvents (CVOCs) from the subsurface. Further, vadose zone remediation system operation increased the overall CVOC removal rate of the A/M Area Groundwater Corrective Action by 300% to 500% during this period versus the groundwater pump and treat system along. Various support activities have been performed to support operation and documentation of performance of the vadose zone remediation system. These activities address performance of existing systems (contaminant distributions, zone of influence, and process monitoring data), evaluation of suspect sources, evaluation of alternative/enhancement technologies, and initial development of remediation goals. In particular, the most recent A/M vadose zone remediation support activities (described in WSRC-RP-97-109) were completed and the results provide key documentation about system performance.

  1. 1999 vadose zone monitoring plan and guidance for subsequent years

    SciTech Connect

    Horton, D.G.; Reidel, S.P.; Last, G.V.

    1998-08-01

    The US Department of Energy`s Hanford Site has the most diverse and largest amounts of radioactive waste in the US. The majority of the liquid waste was disposed to the soil column where much of it remains today. This document provides the rationale and general framework for vadose zone monitoring at cribs, ditches, trenches and other disposal facilities to detect new sources of contamination and track the movement of existing contamination in the vadose zone for the protection of groundwater. The document provides guidance for subsequent site-specific vadose zone monitoring plans and includes a brief description of past vadose monitoring activities (Chapter 3); the results of the Data Quality Objective process used for this plan (Chapter 4); a prioritization of liquid waste disposal sites for vadose monitoring (Chapter 5 and Appendix B); a general Monitoring and Analysis Plan (Chapter 6); a general Quality Assurance Project Plan (Appendix A), and a description of vadose monitoring activities planned for FY 1999 (Appendix C).

  2. TECHNICAL BASIS FOR EVALUATING SURFACE BARRIERS TO PROTECT GROUNDWATER FROM DEEP VADOSE ZONE CONTAMINATION

    SciTech Connect

    FAYER JM; FREEDMAN VL; WARD AL; CHRONISTER GB

    2010-02-24

    The U.S. DOE and its predecessors released nearly 2 trillion liters (450 billion gallons) of contaminated liquid into the vadose zone at the Hanford Site. Some of the contaminants currently reside in the deeper parts of the vadose zone where they are much less accessible to characterization, monitoring, and typical remediation activities. The DOE Richland Operations Office (DOE-RL) prepared a treatability test plan in 2008 to examine remediation options for addressing contaminants in the deep vadose zone; one of the technologies identified was surface barriers (also known as engineered barriers, covers, and caps). In the typical configuration, the contaminants are located relatively close to the surface, generally within 15 m, and thus they are close to the base of the surface barrier. The proximity of the surface barrier under these conditions yielded few concerns about the effectiveness of the barrier at depth, particularly for cases in which the contaminants were in a lined facility. At Hanford, however, some unlined sites have contaminants located well below depths of 15 m. The issue raised about these sites is the degree of effectiveness of a surface barrier in isolating contaminants in the deep vadose zone. Previous studies by Hanford Site and PNNL researchers suggest that surface barriers have the potential to provide a significant degree of isolation of deep vadose zone contaminants. The studies show that the actual degree of isolation is site-specific and depends on many factors, including recharge rates, barrier size, depth of contaminants, geohydrologic properties ofthe sediments, and the geochemical interactions between the contaminants and the sediments. After the DOE-RL treatability test plan was published, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory was contracted to review the information available to support surface barrier evaluation for the deep vadose zone, identify gaps in the information and outcomes necessary to fill the data gaps, and outline

  3. Vadose Zone Monitoring System as a Tool for Groundwater Protection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dahan, O.

    2007-05-01

    Subsurface monitoring for groundwater protection from pollution hazards has traditionally been based on culling information from the groundwater. This information is usually retrieved from boreholes penetrating the saturated section of the groundwater. Accordingly, the entire path and fate of pollutants transported from land surface through the vadose zone to the groundwater is evaluated from the chemical and physical state of the water which has been sampled from a well. That monitoring procedure is well founded in both scientific studies and through legislative acts which enforce groundwater monitoring for potential sources of pollution. However, this creates a paradox since, by definition, identification of pollution in groundwater means that the groundwater is already polluted. Moreover, since vertical transport in the vadose zone and lateral flow in the groundwater are very slow processes, pollution identification in a well may take years or decades. As a result, the total mass of pollutant that has penetrated the subsurface may be extremely high by the time it has been identified. Finally, pollution identification in a well usually reveals only the edges of a much larger pollutant plume. Accordingly, identification of pollution in the vadose zone right under the pollution source, long before it shows up in the groundwater, should be the key to groundwater protection. The need for real-time information on the quality of percolating water led to the development of a new vadose- zone monitoring system. The new monitoring system is designed to provide continuous measurements of the soil water content and water potential, while allowing pore-water sampling all along the vadose-zone cross section. The installation technique allows monitoring of the vadose-zone cross section under relatively undisturbed soil conditions. The new monitoring system is comprised of special flexible TDR (FTDR) probes, assembled with special vadose-zone sampling ports (VSPs) that function

  4. Vadose zone transport field study: Detailed test plan for simulated leak tests

    SciTech Connect

    AL Ward; GW Gee

    2000-06-23

    The US Department of Energy (DOE) Groundwater/Vadose Zone Integration Project Science and Technology initiative was created in FY 1999 to reduce the uncertainty associated with vadose zone transport processes beneath waste sites at DOE's Hanford Site near Richland, Washington. This information is needed not only to evaluate the risks from transport, but also to support the adoption of measures for minimizing impacts to the groundwater and surrounding environment. The principal uncertainties in vadose zone transport are the current distribution of source contaminants and the natural heterogeneity of the soil in which the contaminants reside. Oversimplified conceptual models resulting from these uncertainties and limited use of hydrologic characterization and monitoring technologies have hampered the understanding contaminant migration through Hanford's vadose zone. Essential prerequisites for reducing vadose transport uncertainly include the development of accurate conceptual models and the development or adoption of monitoring techniques capable of delineating the current distributions of source contaminants and characterizing natural site heterogeneity. The Vadose Zone Transport Field Study (VZTFS) was conceived as part of the initiative to address the major uncertainties confronting vadose zone fate and transport predictions at the Hanford Site and to overcome the limitations of previous characterization attempts. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is managing the VZTFS for DOE. The VZTFS will conduct field investigations that will improve the understanding of field-scale transport and lead to the development or identification of efficient and cost-effective characterization methods. Ideally, these methods will capture the extent of contaminant plumes using existing infrastructure (i.e., more than 1,300 steel-cased boreholes). The objectives of the VZTFS are to conduct controlled transport experiments at well-instrumented field sites at Hanford to

  5. Deep Vadose Zone Applied Field Research Initiative (DVZ AFRI) - Overview

    SciTech Connect

    2011-02-01

    The Deep Vadoze Zone Applied Field Research Initiative (DVZ AFRI) was established to protect water resources and to address the challenge of preventing contamination in the deep vadose zone from reaching groundwater. This factsheet provides an overview of the initiative and the approach to integrate basic science and needs-driven applied research activities with cleanup operations.

  6. Vadose Zone Transport Field Study: FY 2002 Status Report

    SciTech Connect

    Ward, Anderson L.; Gee, Glendon W.; Zhang, Z. F.; Keller, Jason M.

    2003-01-02

    This work reported here is part of the U. S. Department of Energy’s Science and Technology Initiative to develop improved conceptual models of flow and transport in the vadose zone, particularly for the Hanford Site, Washington. The National Academy of Sciences has identified significant knowledge gaps in conceptual model development as one reason for discovery of subsurface contamination in unexpected places. Inadequate conceptualizations limits, not only the understanding of long-term fate and transport, but also the selection and design of remediation technologies. Current conceptual models are limited partly because they do not account for the random heterogeneity that occurs under the extremes of very nonlinear flow behavior typical of the Hanford vadose zone. A major improvement in conceptual modeling of the Hanford vadose zone includes a better understanding and description of soil anisotropy, a property that appears to control much of the subsurface flow and transport in layered sediments at the Hanford Site.

  7. Challenges for Deep Vadose Zone Remediation at the Hanford Site

    SciTech Connect

    Morse, J.G.; Charboneau, B.L.; Lober, R.W.; Triplett, M.B.

    2008-07-01

    The 'deep vadose zone' is defined as the region below the practical depth of surface remedy influence (e.g., excavation or barrier). At the Hanford Site, this region of the Central Plateau poses unique challenges for characterization and remediation. Currently, deep vadose zone characterization efforts and remedy selection are spread over multiple waste site Operable Units and tank farm Waste Management Areas. A particular challenge for this effort is the situation in which past leaks from single-shell tanks have become commingled with discharges from nearby liquid disposal sites. In addition, tests of potentially viable remediation technologies will be initiated in the next few years. The Hanford Site is working with all affected parties, including the Washington State Department of Ecology, the Environmental Protection Agency, DOE-RL, DOE-ORP, and multiple contractor organizations to develop remediation approaches. This effort addresses the complex and challenging technical and is evaluating the best strategy or combination of strategies for focusing technical investigations, including treatability studies to facilitate deep vadose zone remediation at the Hanford Site. In summary: Hanford's two DOE offices, Richland Operations and the Office of River Protection, are engaging the Site's regulators, EPA and the Washington State Department of Ecology, in a collaborative process to resolve one of Hanford's most challenging technical issues - investigation and remedy selection for the deep vadose zone. While this process has not reached its conclusion, several important findings are apparent. All parties agree that the current approach of addressing this problem is not likely to be successful and an alternative is needed. An essential initial step is to develop and then implement a deep vadose zone treatability test plan that logically organizes the testing of candidate technologies for application to the variety of Hanford's deep vadose zone problems. This plan is

  8. SEQUESTRATION AND TREATMENT OF VADOSE ZONE SOLVENTS USING EDIBLE OILS

    SciTech Connect

    Riha, B; Brian02 Looney, B; Richard Hall , R

    2008-03-28

    Edible oils have emerged as an effective treatment amendment for a variety of contaminants. When applied to chlorinated volatile organic compounds (cVOCs) in the saturated zone, edible oils have been shown to enhance anaerobic bioremediation and sequester the contaminants. However, edible oils have not been applied to the vadose zone for contaminant treatment. Soybean oil was injected into the vadose zone in M-Area at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Savannah River Site (SRS) as a research study to evaluate the effectiveness of edible oils for solvent sequestration and the ability to change a vadose system from aerobic to anaerobic to initiate reductive dechlorination. The proposed use of this technique would be an enhanced attenuation/transition step after active remediation. The goals of the research were to evaluate oil emplacement methods and monitoring techniques to measure oil placement, partitioning and degradation. Gas sampling was the cornerstone for this evaluation. Analyses for cVOCs and biotransformation products were performed. Overall, the cVOC concentration/flux reduction was 75-85% in this vadose zone setting. Destruction of the cVOCs by biotic or abiotic process has not yet been verified at this site. No reductive dechlorination products have been measured. The deployment has resulted in a substantial generation of light hydrocarbon gases and geochemical conditions that would support cometabolism.

  9. COLLOID-FACILITATED TRANSPORT OF RADIONUCLIDES THROUGH THE VADOSE ZONE

    EPA Science Inventory

    Radioactive and hazardous waste stored in the underground tanks at the Hanford site has leaked or is suspected to have leaked into the vadose zone. Radionuclides, which are normally considered to be strongly sorbed (e.g., Pu and Cs), have been detected at much deeper depth than ...

  10. Effects of remediation amendments on vadose zone microorganisms

    SciTech Connect

    Miller, Hannah M.; Tilton, Fred A.

    2012-08-10

    Surfactant-based foam delivery technology has been studied to remediate Hanford 200 area deep vadose zone sediment. However, the surfactants and remediation amendments have an unknown effect on indigenous subsurface microorganisms. Microbial populations are important factors to consider in remediation efforts due to their potential to alter soil geochemistry. This project focuses on measuring microbial metabolic responses to remediation amendments in batch and column studies using Deep Vadose Zone Sediments. Initial studies of the microbes from Hanford 200 area deep vadose zone sediment showed surfactants sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB) and remediation amendment calcium polysulfide (CPS) had no affect on microbial growth using BiologTM Ecoplates. To move towards a more realistic field analog, soil columns were packed with Hanford 200 Area sediment. Once microbial growth in the column was verified by observing growth of the effluent solution on tryptic soy agar plates, remedial surfactants were injected into the columns, and the resulting metabolic diversity was measured. Results suggest surfactant sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) stimulates microbial growth. The soil columns were also visualized using X-ray microtomography to inspect soil packing and possibly probe for evidence of biofilms. Overall, BiologTM Ecoplates provide a rapid assay to predict effects of remediation amendments on Hanford 200 area deep vadose zone microorganisms.

  11. Vadose Zone Microbial Biobarriers Remove Nitrate from Percolating Groundwater

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Microbial biobarriers are an established technique for cleansing contaminants from aquifers. This study evaluated their use under well drained conditions within the vadose or unsaturated zone. Three sets of sand filled columns, the positive control, field-capacity, and sub-field-capacity groups, ...

  12. Characterization of Persistent Volatile Contaminant Sources in the Vadose Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Carroll, Kenneth C.; Truex, Michael J.; Brusseau, Mark L.; Parker, Kyle R.; Mackley, Rob D.; Rohay, Virginia J.

    2013-05-01

    Remediation activities over time will alter the subsurface distribution of contaminants and likely create significant changes in the source-zone architecture. A field method was demonstrated for use of data collected from multiple individual soil vapor extraction (SVE) system well tests to locate and characterize the distribution of persistent VOC sources in the vadose zone. Operational data collected at the Department of Energy’s Hanford site were used to examine source zone alteration over time due to SVE operation and to illustrate the source-zone characterization approach. Individual well test results confirmed a heterogeneous distribution of permeability and contaminant mass discharge throughout the vadose zone. The trends in mass discharge and concentration were analyzed to determine the location and extent of the primary source zone within a lower-permeability unit at the site. This information is useful to evaluate the performance of SVE operations, and support decisions concerning system alteration or closure based on risk assessments of the impact of vadose-zone sources on groundwater contamination or vapor intrusion.

  13. FOAM: NOVEL DELIVERY TECHNOLOGY FOR REMEDIATION OF VADOSE ZONE ENVIRONMENTS

    SciTech Connect

    Jansik, Danielle P.; Wellman, Dawn M.; Mattigod, Shas V.; Zhong, Lirong; Wu, Yuxin; Foote, Martin; Zhang, Z. F.; Hubbard, Susan

    2011-07-05

    Deep vadose zone environments can be a primary source and pathway for contaminant migration to groundwater. These environments present unique characterization and remediation challenges that necessitate scrutiny and research. The thickness, depth, and intricacies of the deep vadose zone, combined with a lack of understanding of the key subsurface processes (e.g., biogeochemical and hydrologic) affecting contaminant migration, make it difficult to create validated conceptual and predictive models of subsurface flow dynamics and contaminant behavior across multiple scales. These factors also make it difficult to design and deploy sustainable remedial approaches and monitor long-term contaminant behavior after remedial actions. Functionally, the methods for addressing contamination must remove and/or reduce transport of contaminants. This problem is particularly challenging in the arid western United States where the vadose zone is hundreds of feet thick, rendering transitional excavation methods exceedingly costly and ineffective. Delivery of remedial amendments is one of the most challenging and critical aspects for all remedy-based approaches. The conventional approach for delivery is through injection of aqueous remedial solutions. However, heterogeneous deep vadose zone environments present hydrologic and geochemical challenges which limit the effectiveness. Because the flow of solution infiltration is dominantly controlled by gravity and suction, injected liquid preferentially percolates through highly permeable pathways, by-passing low-permeability zones which frequently contain the majority of contamination. Moreover, the wetting front can readily mobilize and enhance contaminant transport to the underlying aquifer prior to stabilization. Development of innovative, in-situ technologies may be the only way to meet remedial action objectives and long-term stewardship goals. Surfactants can be used to lower the liquid surface tension and create stabile foams

  14. Vadose Zone Hydrology and Eco-hydrology in China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Wenke

    2016-04-01

    Vadose zone hydrology has long been a concern regarding groundwater recharge, evaporation, pollution, and the ecological effects induced by groundwater and water & salt contents in the unsaturated zone. The greater difference between day and night temperatures in arid and semi-arid areas influences water movement and heat transport in the vadose zone, and further influences the water and heat fluxes between the water table and the atmosphere as well as ecological environment. Unfortunately, these studies are lack in a systematic viewpoint in China. One of the main reasons is that the movement of water, vapor and heat from the surface to the water table is very complex in the arid and semi-arid areas. Another reason is lack of long term field observations for water content, vapor, heat, and soil matrix potential in the vadose zone. Three field observation sites, designed by the author, were set up to measure the changes in climate, water content , temperature and soil matrix potential of the unsaturated zone and groundwater level under the different conditions of climate and soil types over the period of 1-5 years. They are located at the Zhunngger Basin of Xinjing Uygur Autonomous Region in northwestern China, the Guanzhong Basin of Shaanxi Province in central China, and the Ordos Basin of the Inner Monggol Autonomous Region in north China, respectively. These three field observation sites have different climate and soil types in the vadose zone and the water table depth are also varied. Based on the observation data of climate, groundwater level, water content, temperature and soil matrix potential in the vadose zone from the three sites in associated with the field survey and numerical simulation method, the water movement and heat transport in the vadose zone, and the evaporation of phreatic water for different groundwater depths and soil types have been well explored. The differences in water movement of unsaturated zone between the bare surface soil and

  15. Delineation of fault zones using imaging radar

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Toksoz, M. N.; Gulen, L.; Prange, M.; Matarese, J.; Pettengill, G. H.; Ford, P. G.

    1986-01-01

    The assessment of earthquake hazards and mineral and oil potential of a given region requires a detailed knowledge of geological structure, including the configuration of faults. Delineation of faults is traditionally based on three types of data: (1) seismicity data, which shows the location and magnitude of earthquake activity; (2) field mapping, which in remote areas is typically incomplete and of insufficient accuracy; and (3) remote sensing, including LANDSAT images and high altitude photography. Recently, high resolution radar images of tectonically active regions have been obtained by SEASAT and Shuttle Imaging Radar (SIR-A and SIR-B) systems. These radar images are sensitive to terrain slope variations and emphasize the topographic signatures of fault zones. Techniques were developed for using the radar data in conjunction with the traditional types of data to delineate major faults in well-known test sites, and to extend interpretation techniques to remote areas.

  16. Enhanced phytoremediation in the vadose zone: Modeling and column studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sung, K.; Chang, Y.; Corapcioglu, M.; Cho, C.

    2002-05-01

    Phytoremediation is a plant-based technique with potential for enhancing the remediation of vadoese zone soils contaminated by pollutants. The use of deep-rooted plants is an alternative to conventional methodologies. However, when the phytoremediation is applied to the vadose zone, it might have some restrictions since it uses solely naturally driven energy and mechanisms in addition to the complesxity of the vadose zone. As a more innovative technique than conventional phytoremediation methods, air injected phytoremediation technique is introduced to enhance the remediation efficiency or to apply at the former soil vapor extraction or bio venting sites. Effects of air injection, vegetation treatment, and air injection with vegetation treatments on the removal of hydrocarbon were investigated by column studies to simulate the field situation. Both the removal efficiency and the microbial activity were highest in air-injected and vegetated column soils. It was suggested that increased microorganisms activity stimulated by plant root exudates enhanced biodegradation of hydrocarbon compounds. Air injection provided sufficient opportunity for promoting the microbial activity at depths where the conditions are anaerobic. Air injection can enhance the physicochemical properties of the medium and contaminant and increase the bioavailability i.e., the plant and microbial accessibility to the contaminant. A mathematical model that can be applied to phytoremediation, especially to air injected phytoremediation, for simulating the fate and the transport of a diesel contaminant in the vadose zone is developed. The approach includes a two-phase model of water flow in vegetated and unplanted vadose zone soil. A time-specific root distribution model and a microbial growth model in the rhizosphere of vegetated soil were combined with an unsaturated soil water flow equation as well as with a contaminant transport equation. The proposed model showed a satisfactory representation of

  17. Development of the INEEL Site Wide Vadose Zone Roadmap

    SciTech Connect

    Yonk, Alan Keith

    2001-09-01

    The INEEL Vadose Zone Roadmap was developed to identify inadquacies in current knowledge, to assist in contaminant management capabilities relative to the INEEL vadose zone, and to ensure that ongoing and planned Science and Technology developments will meet the risk management challenges facing the INEEL in coming years. The primary objective of the Roadmap is to determine the S&T needs that will facilitate monitoring, characterization, prediction, and assessment activities necessary to support INEEL risk management decisions and to ensure that long-term stewardship of contaminated sites at the INEEL is achieved. The mission of the Roadmap is to insure that the long-term S&T strategy is aligned with site programs, that it takes advantage of progress made to date, and that it can assist in meeting the milestones and budgets of operations.

  18. Colloid-Facilitated Transport of Radionuclides through the Vadose Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Flury, Markus; Harsh, James B.; Zachara, John M.; McCarthy, John F.; Lichtner, Peter C.

    2006-05-31

    This project seeks to improve the basic understanding of the role of colloids in facilitating the transport of contaminants in the vadose zone. We focus on three major thrusts: (1) thermodynamic stability and mobility of colloids formed by reactions of sediments with highly alkaline tank waste solutions, (2) colloid-contaminant interactions, and (3) in-situ colloid mobilization and colloid facilitated contaminant transport occurring in both contaminated and uncontaminated Hanford sediments.

  19. Project Work Plan Chromium Vadose Zone Characterization and Geochemistry

    SciTech Connect

    Ainsworth, Calvin C.

    2006-05-23

    The major objectives of the proposed study are to 1) determine the leaching characteristics of Cr(VI) from contaminated sediments collected from 100 area spill sites, 2) elucidate possible Cr(VI) mineral and/or chemical associations that may be responsible for Cr(VI) retention in the Hanford site 100 areas through the use of i) macroscopic solubility studies and ii) microscale characterization of contaminated sediments, and 3) from these data construct a conceptual model of Cr(VI) geochemistry in the Hanford 100 area vadose zone. These objectives are based on locating and obtaining contaminated sediment with depth and at varying Cr(VI) concentrations as we hypothesize that mineral/chemical-Cr(VI) associations should be related to the total Cr concentration and other master geochemical variables (e.g., pH, counter-cation type and concentration, and water content). In addressing these objectives, additional benefits accrued will be (1) a fuller understanding of Cr(VI) entrained in the vadose zone that will that can be utilized in modeling potential Cr(VI) source terms, and 2) accelerating the Columbia River 100 area corridor cleanup by developing remedial action based on a fundamental understanding of Cr(VI) vadose zone geochemistry.

  20. Contaminated vadose zone characterization using partitioning gas tracers

    SciTech Connect

    Whitley, G.A. Jr.; McKinney, D.C.; Pope, G.A.; Rouse, B.A.; Deeds, N.E.

    1999-06-01

    This paper describes laboratory research conducted to investigate the performance of partitioning tracers for the detection of nonaqueous-phase liquids (NAPLs) in vadose zones. Once evaluated, the tracers may be used for volume estimation of NAPLs and remediation performance assessment of vadose zones. These laboratory studies used glass chromatography columns packed with: (1) Ottawa sand; and then (2) in a separate experiment, soil extracted from the Chemical Waste Landfill at Sandia National Laboratories. The columns were prepared in a manner that resulted in a three-phase system of air, water, and NAPL in the columns. Conservative and partitioning gas tracers were injected into the columns, and their elution concentrations were analyzed. The method of moments was used to estimate partition coefficients between the air and NAPL phases for each of the tracers. The partition coefficients and retardation factors, also estimated during the study, are used to select appropriate tracers for NAPL detection. This research identified several suitable perfluorocarbon tracers and demonstrated the feasibility of using partitioning tracers as a tool for NAPL detection in the vadose zone.

  1. Vadose zone effects on snowmelt generated streamflow

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Processes of evaporation, transpiration and absorption of water within the rood one constitute a secondary control on the amount and timing of snowmelt-generated streamflow. Even in relatively small watersheds the timing and amount of snowmelt inputs to the root zone may be highly variable due to u...

  2. Vadose zone attenuation of organic compounds at a crude oil spill site - Interactions between biogeochemical reactions and multicomponent gas transport

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Molins, S.; Mayer, K.U.; Amos, R.T.; Bekins, B.A.

    2010-01-01

    Contaminant attenuation processes in the vadose zone of a crude oil spill site near Bemidji, MN have been simulated with a reactive transport model that includes multicomponent gas transport, solute transport, and the most relevant biogeochemical reactions. Dissolution and volatilization of oil components, their aerobic and anaerobic degradation coupled with sequential electron acceptor consumption, ingress of atmospheric O2, and the release of CH4 and CO2 from the smear zone generated by the floating oil were considered. The focus of the simulations was to assess the dynamics between biodegradation and gas transport processes in the vadose zone, to evaluate the rates and contributions of different electron accepting processes towards vadose zone natural attenuation, and to provide an estimate of the historical mass loss. Concentration distributions of reactive (O2, CH4, and CO2) and non-reactive (Ar and N2) gases served as key constraints for the model calibration. Simulation results confirm that as of 2007, the main degradation pathway can be attributed to methanogenic degradation of organic compounds in the smear zone and the vadose zone resulting in a contaminant plume dominated by high CH4 concentrations. In accordance with field observations, zones of volatilization and CH4 generation are correlated to slightly elevated total gas pressures and low partial pressures of N2 and Ar, while zones of aerobic CH4 oxidation are characterized by slightly reduced gas pressures and elevated concentrations of N2 and Ar. Diffusion is the most significant transport mechanism for gases in the vadose zone; however, the simulations also indicate that, despite very small pressure gradients, advection contributes up to 15% towards the net flux of CH4, and to a more limited extent to O2 ingress. Model calibration strongly suggests that transfer of biogenically generated gases from the smear zone provides a major control on vadose zone gas distributions and vadose zone carbon

  3. Technical and Policy Challenges in Deep Vadose Zone Remediation of Metals and Radionuclides

    SciTech Connect

    Wellman, Dawn M.; Truex, Michael J.; Freshley, Mark D.; Dresel, P. E.; Cantrell, Kirk J.

    2012-03-21

    Deep vadose zone contamination is a significant issue facing the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Environmental Management (EM). Contamination in the deep vadose zone is isolated from exposure such that direct contact is not a factor in risk to human health and the environment; rather, movement of contamination from the deep vadose zone to the groundwater creates the potential for exposure and risk to receptors. Transport of deep vadose zone contamination and discharge to the groundwater creates the potential for exposure and risk to receptors, so limiting flux to groundwater is key for protection of groundwater resources. Remediation approaches for the deep vadose zone need to be considered within the regulatory context, targeted at mitigating the source of contamination and reduce contaminant flux to groundwater. This paper reviews the processes for deep vadose zone metal and radionuclide remediation as well as challenges and opportunities for implementation.

  4. Effect of vadose zone on the steady-state leakage rates from landfill barrier systems

    SciTech Connect

    Celik, B. Rowe, R.K. Unlue, K.

    2009-01-15

    Leakage rates are evaluated for a landfill barrier system having a compacted clay liner (CCL) underlain by a vadose zone of variable thickness. A numerical unsaturated flow model SEEP/W is used to simulate the moisture flow regime and steady-state leakage rates for the cases of unsaturated zones with different soil types and thicknesses. The results of the simulations demonstrate that harmonic mean hydraulic conductivity of coarse textured vadose zones is 3-4 orders of magnitude less than saturated hydraulic conductivity; whereas, the difference is only one order of magnitude for fine textured vadose zones. For both coarse and fine textured vadose zones, the effective hydraulic conductivity of the barrier system and the leakage rate to an underlying aquifer increases with increasing thickness of the vadose zone and ultimately reaches an asymptotic value for a coarse textured vadose zone thickness of about 10 m and a fine textured vadose zone thickness of about 5 m. Therefore, the fine and coarse textured vadose zones thicker than about 5 m and 10 m, respectively, act as an effective part of the barrier systems examined. Although the thickness of vadose zone affects the effective hydraulic conductivity of the overall barrier system, the results demonstrated that the hydraulic conductivity of the CCL is the dominant factor controlling the steady-state leakage rates through barrier systems having single low permeability clay layers.

  5. A Catalog of Vadose Zone Hydraulic Properties for the Hanford Site

    SciTech Connect

    Freeman, Eugene J.; Khaleel, Raziuddin; Heller, Paula R.

    2001-09-24

    The purpose of this catalog is to integrate all available soil physics data and information from vadose zone characterization and performance assessments into one useable, scientifically defensible document.

  6. Effects of vadose zone on groundwater table fluctuations in unconfined aquifers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kong, Jun; Xin, Pei; Hua, Guo-Fen; Luo, Zhao-Yang; Shen, Cheng-Ji; Chen, Dan; Li, Ling

    2015-09-01

    Above a shallow unconfined aquifer, a considerable amount of water is stored in the vadose zone. Through water exchange with the underlying unconfined aquifer, the vadose zone affects the groundwater table dynamics and overall behavior of the aquifer. In this paper, we examine tide-induced groundwater table fluctuations in unconfined aquifers influenced by vadose zone of finite thickness. Under the condition of small aquifer thickness (D) compared with the groundwater wavelength (L) (i.e., μ2 =(D / L) 2 ≪ 1) and small boundary oscillation amplitude (a) (i.e., ε = a / D ≪ 1) (where μ2 and ε are two parameters), an approximate analytical solution was derived to quantify systematically the vadose zone effects, with a particular consideration of capping by the ground surface, i.e., the upper boundary of the vadose zone. Depending on the extent to which the capillary rise is truncated by the ground surface, the vadose zone enhances the groundwater table fluctuations in an unconfined aquifer. However, the mean groundwater table height and exchange between surface water and groundwater are reduced due to the presence of the vadose zone. These effects are intensified with increased capillary rise, but weakened as the vadose zone thickens. This study provides a criterion for assessing the importance of vadose zone in modulating the response of unconfined aquifers to low-frequency forcing oscillations such as tides.

  7. Soil moisture: applications and needs in vadose zone hydrology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vereecken, H.; Huisman, S.; Bogena, H.; Vanderborght, J.; Vrugt, J.; Hopmans, J. W.

    2007-12-01

    In this presentation, we address the state of the art in using soil moisture measurements to derive soil hydraulic properties, to quantify water and energy fluxes in the vadose zone, to retrieve spatial and temporal dynamics of soil moisture profiles, and to develop monitoring networks. We will discuss these issues at two different scales important in vadose zone hydrology: the field and the catchment scale. Analyzing the value of soil moisture measurements is motivated by our increasing ability to measure soil moisture due to the availability of novel non- invasive measurement techniques at the field and catchment scale, of remote sensing platforms and improved retrieval algorithms as well as of novel soil moisture network sensor technologies in providing high quality soil moisture data with high spatial and temporal resolution. We advocate that optimal use of soil moisture measurements will require further development of down- and upscaling algorithms to bridge the disparity in scales between hydrological measurements and mathematical models, to improve data assimilation techniques for retrieving the vertical and horizontal distribution of soil moisture including its temporal dynamics but also hydrological parameters driving the flow of water and to explore the potential in combining hydrogeophysical techniques with remote sensing measurement of soil moisture. With respect to the issue of upscaling we feel that stochastic upscaling theories developed in vadose zone research have not really been optimally used at scales larger than the field scale. This will be illustrated by applying stochastic theories in interpreting observed soil moisture fields. Applications of these theories might help in bridging the gap between model and measurement scale at larger scales.

  8. Controlled field study for validation of vadose zone transport models

    SciTech Connect

    Wierenga, P.J.; Warrick, A.W.; Yeh, T.C.; Hills, R.G.

    1994-08-01

    Prediction of radionuclide migration through soil and groundwater requires models which have been tested under a variety of conditions. Unfortunately, many of the existing models have not been tested in the field, partly because such testing requires accurate and representative data. This report provides the design of a large scale field experiment representative, in terms of,surface area and depth of vadose zone, of an actual disposal area. Experiments are proposed which will yield documented data, of sufficient scale, to allow testing of a variety of models including effective media stochastic models and deterministic models. Details of the methodology and procedures to be used in the experiment are presented.

  9. TWRS vadose zone contamination issue expert panel report

    SciTech Connect

    Shafer, D.S.

    1997-05-01

    When members were first canvassed for participation in the Vadose Zone Expert Panel the stated purpose for convening the Panel was to review a controversial draft report, the SX Tank Farm Report. This report was produced by a DOE Grand Junction Project Office (GJPO) contractor, RUST Geotech, now MACTEC-ERS, for the DOE Richland Office (DOERL). Three meetings were planned for June, July and August, 1995 to review the draft report and to complete a Panel report by mid-September. The Expert Panel has found its efforts confounded by various non-technical issues. The Expert Panel has chosen to address some of the non-technical issues in this Preface rather than to dilute the technical discussion that follows in the body of this independent expert panel status report (Panel Report). Rather than performing a straightforward manuscript review, the Panel was asked to resolve conflicting interpretations of gamma-ray logging measurements performed in vadose zone boreholes (drywells) surrounding the high-level radioactive wastes of the SX tank farm. There are numerous and complex technical issues that must be evaluated before the vertical and radial extent of contaminant migration at the SX tank farm can be accurately assessed. When the Panel first met in early June, 1996, it quickly became apparent that the scientific and technical issues were obscured by policy and institutional affairs which have polarized discussion among various segments of the Hanford organization. This situation reflects the kinds of institutional problems described separately in reports by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS/NRC), The Hanford Tanks Environmental Impacts and Policy Choices and BmTiers to Science: Technical Management of the Department of Energy Environmental Remediation Program. The Vadose Zone Characterization Program, appears to be caught between conflicting pressures and organizational mandates, some imposed from outside DOE-RL and some self

  10. Vadose Zone Characterization Techniques Developed by EMSP Research

    SciTech Connect

    Guillen, Donna P.

    2003-02-24

    This paper discusses research contributions made by Environmental Management Science Program (EMSP) research in the area of geophysical characterization of the subsurface. The goal of these EMSP research projects is to develop combined high-resolution measurement and interpretation packages that provide accurate, timely information needed to characterize the vadose zone. Various types of geophysical imaging techniques can be used to characterize the shallow subsurface. Since individual geophysical characterization tools all have specific limitations, many different techniques are being explored to provide more widespread applicability over a range of hydrogeologic settings. A combination of laboratory, field, theoretical, and computational studies are necessary to develop our understanding of how contaminants move through the vadose zone. This entails field tests with field-hardened systems, packaging and calibration of instrumentation, data processing and analysis algorithms, forward and inverse modeling, and so forth. DOE sites are seeking to team with EMSP researchers to leverage the basic science research investment and apply these advances to address subsurface contamination issues that plague many U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sites.

  11. Colloid-Facilitated Transport of Radionuclides through the Vadose Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Flury, Markus; Harsh, James B.; Zachara, John M.; Jin, Yan

    2002-06-01

    This project seeks to improve the basic understanding of colloid and colloid-facilitated transport of Cs in the vadose zone. The specific objectives are: (1) Determine the structure, composition, and surface charge characteristics of colloidal particles formed under conditions similar to those occurring during leakage of waste typical of Hanford tank supernatants into soils and sediments surrounding the tanks. (2) Characterize the mutual interactions between colloids, contaminant, and soil matrix in batch experiments under various ionic strength and pH conditions. We will investigate the nature of the solid-liquid interactions and the kinetics of the reactions. (3) Evaluate mobility of colloids through soil under different degrees of water saturation and solution chemistry (ionic strength and pH). (4) Determine the potential of colloids to act as carriers to transport the contaminant through the vadose zone and verify the results through comparison with field samples collected under leaking tanks. Results of this project will help to understand the fundamental mechanisms of Cs transport under the leaking Hanford tanks, and thus contribute to the long-term clean-up strategies at the Hanford site.

  12. The Mojave vadose zone: a subsurface biosphere analogue for Mars.

    PubMed

    Abbey, William; Salas, Everett; Bhartia, Rohit; Beegle, Luther W

    2013-07-01

    If life ever evolved on the surface of Mars, it is unlikely that it would still survive there today, but as Mars evolved from a wet planet to an arid one, the subsurface environment may have presented a refuge from increasingly hostile surface conditions. Since the last glacial maximum, the Mojave Desert has experienced a similar shift from a wet to a dry environment, giving us the opportunity to study here on Earth how subsurface ecosystems in an arid environment adapt to increasingly barren surface conditions. In this paper, we advocate studying the vadose zone ecosystem of the Mojave Desert as an analogue for possible subsurface biospheres on Mars. We also describe several examples of Mars-like terrain found in the Mojave region and discuss ecological insights that might be gained by a thorough examination of the vadose zone in these specific terrains. Examples described include distributary fans (deltas, alluvial fans, etc.), paleosols overlain by basaltic lava flows, and evaporite deposits. PMID:23848498

  13. Tank waste remediation system vadose zone program plan

    SciTech Connect

    Fredenburg, E.A.

    1998-07-27

    The objective of the vadose zone characterization under this program is to develop a better conceptual geohydrologic model of identified tank farms which will be characterized so that threats to human health and the environment from past leaks and spills, intentional liquid discharges, potential future leaks during retrieval, and from residual contaminants that may remain in tank farms at closure can be explicitly addressed in decision processes. This model will include geologic, hydrologic, and hydrochemical parameters as defined by the requirements of each of the TWRS programs identified here. The intent of this TWRS Vadose Zone Program Plan is to provide justification and an implementation plan for the following activities: Develop a sufficient understanding of subsurface conditions and transport processes to support decisions on management, cleanup, and containment of past leaks, spills, and intentional liquid discharges; Develop a sufficient understanding of transport processes to support decisions on controlling potential retrieval leaks; Develop a sufficient understanding of transport processes to support decisions on tank farm closure, including allowable residual waste that may remain at closure; and Provide new information on geotechnical properties in the 200 Area to supplement data used for design and performance assessment for immobilized low-activity waste disposal facilities.

  14. STRATEGIES FOR IMMOBILIZATION OF DEEP VADOSE ZONE CONTAMINANTS AT THE HANFORD CENTRAL PLATEAU

    SciTech Connect

    CHRONISTER GB

    2011-01-14

    Deep vadose zone contamination poses some of the most difficult remediation challenges for the protection of groundwater at the Hanford Site in Richland, Washington. This paper describes processes and technologies being developed to use in the ongoing effort to remediate the contamination in the deep vadose zone at the Hanford Site.

  15. THE INFLUENCE OF CALCIUM CARBONATE GRAIN COATINGS ON CONTAMINANT REACTIVITY IN VADOSE ZONE SEDIMENTS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Fundamental research is proposed to investigate the role of calcium carbonate grain coatings on the vadose zone chemical reactivity of key Hanford contaminants (i.e., 60Co2+, 90Sr2+, CrO42-, and 99TcO4-). Calcium carbonate is widely distributed through the Hanford vadose zone as...

  16. HEAT AND MASS TRANSFER IN THE VADOSE ZONE WITH PLANT ROOTS. (R825414)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Abstract

    The vadose zone is the intermediate medium between the atmosphere and groundwater. The modeling of the processes taking place in the vadose zone needs different approaches to those needed for groundwater transport problems because of the marked changes in envi...

  17. NATURE OF THE DRY SHADOW BELOW CAVITIES IN VADOSE ZONE

    SciTech Connect

    T.A. Ghezzehei; T.J. Kneafsey; G.W. Su

    2005-09-07

    Several theoretical studies have indicated that the presence of subsurface cavities in the vadose zone results in complete or partial diversion of flow around cavities. As a result, the region immediately below the cavities is partially shielded from the downward flux. This shadowing effect of cavities can be exploited in the design of dry subsurface storage facilities as an additional barrier to contain waste within or around the cavities. However, empirical evidence that supports these theories is lacking. This study is motivated by the inherent difficulty to make direct observation of the shadow zone as it occurs under very dry conditions. To aid future field and laboratory scale investigations of the shadow zone, we performed rigorous theoretical scrutiny of the conditions that result in the shadowing effect. We formulated relative permeability and saturation based criteria to identify the boundaries of the shadow zone. Analytical and numerical tools were used to develop dimensionless scaling laws that define the size of the shadow zone. Moreover, we analyzed the effect of natural perturbations (heterogeneity and fracturing) on the integrity of the shadow zone. The results will be used in selecting study sites; identifying observation locations and methods; and designing active tests to test the concept of shadow zone.

  18. Summary of Vadose -- Zone Conceptual Models for Flow and Contaminant Transport and 1999 - 2003 Progress on Resolving Deficiencies in Understanding the Vadose Zone at the INEEL

    SciTech Connect

    Robert C. Starr; Dana L. Dettmers; Brennon R. Orr; Thomas R. Wood

    2003-12-01

    The thick vadose zone that underlies the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory has been recognized both as an avenue through which contaminants disposed at or near the ground surface can migrate to groundwater in the underlying Eastern Snake River Plain aquifer, and as a barrier to the movement of contaminants into the aquifer. Flow and contaminant transport in the vadose zone at the INEEL is complicated by the highly heterogeneous nature of the geologic framework and by the variations in the behavior of different contaminants in the subsurface. The state of knowledge concerning flow and contaminant transport in the vadose zone at and near the INEEL IN 1999 was summarized in Deficiencies in Vadose Zone Understanding at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (Wood et al., 2000). These authors identified deficiencies in knowledge of flow and contaminant transport processes in the vadose zone, and provided recommendations for additional work that should be conducted to address these deficiencies. In the period since (Wood et al., 2000) was prepared, research has been published that, to some degree, address these deficiencies. This document provides a bibliography of reports, journal articles, and conference proceedings published 1999 through mid-2003 that are relevant to the vadose zone at or near the INEEL and provides a brief description of each work. Publications that address specific deficiencies or recommendations are identified, and pertinent information from selected publications is presented.

  19. COLLOID-FACILITATED TRANSPORT OF RADIONUCLIDES THROUGH THE VADOSE ZONE

    SciTech Connect

    Flury, Markus

    2003-09-14

    Contaminants have leaked into the vadose zone at the USDOE Hanford reservation. It is important to understand the fate and transport of these contaminants to design remediation strategies and long-term waste management plans at the Hanford reservation. Colloids may play an important role in fate and transport of strongly sorbing contaminants, such as Cs or Pu. This project seeks to improve the basic understanding of colloid and colloid-facilitated transport of contaminants in the vadose zone. The specific objectives addressed are: (1) Determine the structure, composition, and surface charge characteristics of colloidal particles formed under conditions similar to those occurring during leakage of waste typical of Hanford tank supernatants into soils and sediments surrounding the tanks. (2) Characterize the mutual interactions between colloids, contaminant, and soil matrix in batch experiments under various ionic strength and pH conditions. We will investigate the nature of the solid-liquid interactions and the kinetics of the reactions. (3) Evaluate mobility of colloids through soil under different degrees of water saturation and solution chemistry (ionic strength and pH). (4) Determine the potential of colloids to act as carriers to transport the contaminant through the vadose zone and verify the results through comparison with field samples collected under leaking tanks. (5) Improve conceptual characterization of colloid-contaminant-soil interactions and colloid-facilitated transport for implementation into reactive chemical transport models. This project was in part supported by an NSF-IGERT grant to Washington State University. The IGERT grant provided funding for graduate student research and education, and two graduate students were involved in the EMSP project. The IGERT program also supported undergraduate internships. The project is part of a larger EMSP program to study fate and transport of contaminants under leaking Hanford waste tanks. The project has

  20. Understanding Fluid and Contaminant Movement in the Unsaturated Zone Using the INEEL Vadose Zone Monitoring System

    SciTech Connect

    Hubbell, J. M.; Mattson, E. D.; Sisson, J. B.; Magnuson, S. O.

    2002-02-26

    DOE has hundreds of contaminated facilities and waste sites requiring cleanup and/or long-term monitoring. These contaminated sites reside in unsaturated soils (i.e. the vadose zone) above the water table. Some of these sites will require active remediation activities or removal while other sites will be placed under institutional controls. In either case, evaluating the effectiveness of the remediation strategy or institutional controls will require monitoring. Classical monitoring strategies implemented at RCRA/CERCLA sites require ground water sampling for 30 years following closure. The overall effectiveness of ground water sampling is diminished due to the fact that by the time you detect chemical transport from a waste site, a major contamination plume likely exists in the vadose zone and the aquifer. This paper suggests a more effective monitoring strategy through monitoring near the contaminant sites within the vadose zone. Vadose zone monitoring allows for quicker detection of potential contaminant transport. The INEEL Vadose Zone Monitoring System (VZMS) is becoming an accepted, cost effective monitoring technology for assessing contaminant transport at DOE facilities. This paper describes the technologies employed in the VZMS and describes how it was used at several DOE facilities. The INEEL VZMS has provided the information in developing and validating both conceptual and risk assessment models of contaminant transport at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Savannah River Site (SRS) and the Hanford site. These DOE sites exhibit a broad range of meteorologic, hydrologic and geologic conditions representative of various common geologic environments. The VZMS is comprised of advanced tensiometers, water content sensors, temperature sensors and soil and gas samplers. These instruments are placed at multiple depths in boreholes and allows for the detection of water movement in the

  1. Challenges for Deep Vadose Zone Remediation at the Hanford Site

    SciTech Connect

    Morse, John G.; Charboneau, Briant L.; Lober, Robert W.; Triplett, Mark B.

    2008-02-26

    The “deep vadose zone” is defined as the region below the practical depth of surface remedy influence (e.g., excavation or barrier). At the Hanford Site, this region of the Central Plateau poses unique challenges for characterization and remediation. The contaminants in this region also pose a potentially significant continuing or future threat to groundwater. Currently, deep vadose zone characterization efforts and remedy selection are spread over multiple waste site Operable Units and tank farm Waste Management Areas. A particular challenge for this effort is the situation in which past leaks from single-shell tanks have become commingled with discharges from nearby liquid disposal sites. The Hanford Site is working with all affected parties, including the Washington State Department of Ecology, the Environmental Protection Agency, DOE-RL, DOE-ORP, and multiple contractor organizations to develop a unified approach to conducting work and reaching remediation decisions. This effort addresses the complex and challenging technical and regulatory issues within this environment. A true inter-Agency effort is evaluating the best strategy or combination of strategies for focusing technical investigations, including treatability studies, and for attaining remedy decisions on the Hanford Site.

  2. EVALUATION OF VADOSE ZONE TREATMENT TECHNOLOGIES TO IMMOBILIZE TECHNETIUM-99

    SciTech Connect

    PETERSEN, S.W.

    2006-03-15

    The Hanford Site End State Vision document (DOE/RL-2003-59) states: ''There should be an aggressive plan to develop technology for remediation of the contamination that could get to the groundwater (particularly the technetium [{sup 99}Tc])''. In addition, there is strong support from the public and regulatory agencies for the above statement, with emphasis on investigation of treatment alternatives. In July 2004, PNNL completed a preliminary evaluation of remediation technologies with respect to their effectiveness and implementability for immobilization of {sup 99}Tc beneath the BC Cribs in the 200 West Area (Truex, 2004). As a result of this evaluation, PNNL recommended treatability testing of in situ soil desiccation, because it has the least uncertainty of those technologies evaluated in July 2004 (Treatability Test Outline, September 30, 2004). In 2005, DOE-RL and Fluor Hanford convened an independent technical panel to review alternative remediation technologies, including desiccation, at a three-day workshop in Richland, Washington. The panel was composed of experts in vadose-zone transport, infiltration control, hydrology, geochemistry, environmental engineering, and geology. Their backgrounds include employment in academia, government laboratories, industry, and consulting. Their review, presented in this document, is based upon written reports from Hanford, oral presentations from Hanford staff, and each panel members' years of experience in their particular field of expertise. The purpose of this report is to document the panel's evaluation of various treatment alternatives with potential for minimizing contaminant migration in the deep vadose zone at the Department of Energy Hanford Site. The panel was tasked with assessing the most viable and practical approach and making recommendations for testing. The evaluation of vadose-zone treatment alternatives was conducted to be broadly applicable at a variety of locations at Hanford. However, because of

  3. Water Flow and Solute Transport Processes in Deep Sandy Vadose Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rimon, Y.; Dahan, O.

    2010-12-01

    Water percolation and solute transport through an unsaturated sandy formation were investigated using a vadose-zone monitoring system (VMS) that enables in-situ, real-time, monitoring of the percolating water. The VMS includes flexible time-domain reflectometry (FTDR) probes which allow continuous monitoring of the temporal variations of the vadose zone water contents, and vadose-zone sampling ports (VSPs) which are designed to allow frequent sampling of the sediment pore-water as well as measurements of the pore-water pressure. Several years of continuous operation of the VMS provided insight into the dynamics of rainfall-induced infiltration events in a 22-m thick sandy formation. Measurements of the temporal variations in vadose-zone water contents as well as continuous monitoring of the vadose-zone pore water, allowed detailed tracking of the wetting fronts' propagation velocities and determination of flow patterns governing solute transport. It has been shown that the chemical composition of mobile flowing water along the vadose zone is not in equilibrium with the total soluble solute potential of the sediment. This phenomenon is usually attributed to preferential flow. However, wetting-front propagation patterns, as monitored continuously over four rainy seasons through the entire vadose zone, as well as a tracer experiment, showed relatively uniform wetting-front propagation with no direct evidence for significant preferential flow. These results were confirmed HYDRUS simulation. The contradictory observations on matrix and preferential flow as governing mechanisms led to conceptualization of the percolation process as pore-scale dual domain flow. Measurements of vadose zone water pressure through a separate set of VSPs, revealed the critical relationship between temporal variations in vadose zone water contents and water pressure, as well as the dynamic connectivity of the vadose zone gas phase to the atmosphere. As expected, variation in the sediments

  4. An alternative tensiometer design for deep vadose zone monitoring

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moradi, A. B.; Kandelous, M. M.; Hopmans, J. W.

    2015-12-01

    The conventional tensiometer is among the most accurate devices for soil water matric potential measurements, as well as for estimations of soil water flux from soil water potential gradients. Uncertainties associated with conventional tensiometers such as caused by ambient temperature effects and the draining of the tensiometer tube, as well as their limitation for deep soil monitoring has prevented their widespread use for vadose zone monitoring, despite their superior accuracy, in general. We introduce an alternative tensiometer design that offers the accuracy of the conventional tensiometer, while minimizing afore-mentioned uncertainties and limitations. The proposed alternative tensiometer largely eliminates temperature-induced diurnal fluctuations and uncertainties associated with the draining of the tensiometer tube, and removes the limitation in installation depth. In addition, the manufacturing costs of this alternative tensiometer design is close to that of the conventional tensiometer, while it is especially suited for monitoring of soil water potential gradients as required for soil water flux measurements.

  5. Vadose Zone Modeling Workshop proceedings, March 29--30, 1993

    SciTech Connect

    Khaleel, R.

    1993-08-01

    At the Hanford Site, the record of decision for remediation of CERCLA sites is largely based on results of the baseline risk and performance assessment of the remedial action alternatives. These assessments require the ability to predict the fate and transport of contaminants along appropriate exposure pathways which, in case of the Hanford Site, includes the migration of contaminants through the vadose zone to the water table. Listed below are some of the requirements, as prescribed by the regulators, relative to CERCLA risk and performance assessment at Hanford. A workshop was organized by the Environmental Risk and Performance Assessment Group, Westinghouse Hanford Company on March 29--30, 1993 at the Richland Best Western Tower Inn. During the workshop, an assessment was made of the need for and scope of various tasks being conducted or planned as part of the Hanford Site waste isolation performance assessment/risk assessment activities. Three external, nationally-recognized experts served as part of a review panel for the workshop: (a) Professor Lynn Gelhar of MIT; (b) Professor Peter Wierenga of University of Arizona; and (c) Dr. Rien van Genuchten of US Salinity Laboratory, Riverside, California. The technical experts provided their perspectives on the current state-of-the-art in vadose zone flow and transport modeling. In addition, the technical experts provided an outside independent assessment of the work being performed or planned in support of various activities identified in TPA Milestone M-29-02. This document includes the following: Recommendations from the three peer reviewers; areas of expertise of the three peer reviewers; workshop agenda; copies of viewgraphs (where available) from presenters at the workshop; workshop minutes; and list of workshop attendees.

  6. Characterization of Direct Push Vadose Zone Sediments from the T and TY Waste Management Areas

    SciTech Connect

    Brown, Christopher F.; Valenta, Michelle M.; Serne, R. Jeffrey; Bjornstad, Bruce N.; Lanigan, David C.; Iovin, Cristian; Clayton, Ray E.; Geiszler, Keith N.; Clayton, Eric T.; Kutnyakov, Igor V.; Baum, Steven R.; Lindberg, Michael J.; Orr, Robert D.

    2007-06-08

    This report contains all the geochemical and selected physical characterization data collected on vadose zone sediment recovered from 5 direct push characterization holes emplaced to investigate vadose zone contamination associated with leaks from tanks 241-TY-105 (UPR-200-W-152) and 241-TY-106 (UPR-200-W-153). Tank 241-TY-105 is estimated to have leaked 35,000 gal of tributyl phosphate (TBP) waste from the uranium recovery process to the vadose zone in 1960. Tank 241-TY-106 is estimated to have leaked 20,000 gal of TBP-uranium recovery waste to the vadose zone in 1959. Although several drywells in the vicinity of tank 241-TY-106 contain measurable quantities of cesium-137 and/or cobalt-60, their relatively low concentrations indicate that the contaminant inventory in the vadose zone around tank 241-TY-106 is quite small. Additionally, this report contains all the geochemical and selected physical characterization data collected on vadose zone sediment recovered from 7 direct push characterization holes emplaced to investigate vadose zone contamination associated with an overfill event and leak from tank 241-T-101.

  7. Integrated Strategy to Address Hanford’s Deep Vadose Zone Remediation Challenges

    SciTech Connect

    Triplett, Mark B.; Freshley, Mark D.; Truex, Michael J.; Wellman, Dawn M.; Gerdes, Kurt D.; Charboneau, Briant L.; Morse, John G.; Lober, Robert W.; Chronister, Glen B.

    2010-10-03

    A vast majority of Hanford’s remaining in-ground contaminants reside in the vadose zone of the Central Plateau, where reprocessing operations occurred. The vadose zone is comprised of about 75 meters of water-unsaturated sediments above groundwater. These contaminants have, and continue to release into groundwater that discharges to the Columbia River. If left untreated, these contaminants could remain a threat for centuries. Much of this contamination resides deep in the vadose zone, below the effective depth of tradition surface remedy influence. In 2008, the Department of Energy initiated deep vadose zone treatability testing to seek remedies for technetium-99 and uranium contamination. These tests include the application of desiccation for technetium-99 and reactive gas technologies for uranium. To complement these efforts, the Department of Energy has initiated a “defense-in-depth” approach to address the unique challenges for characterization and remediation of the deep vadose zone. This defense-in-depth approach will implement multiple approaches to understand and control contaminant flux from the deep vadose zone to the groundwater. Among these approaches is an increased investment in science and technology solutions to resolve deep vadose zone challenges including characterization, prediction, remediation, and monitoring.

  8. SENSITIVE PARAMETER EVALUATION FOR A VADOSE ZONE FATE AND TRANSPORT MODEL

    EPA Science Inventory

    This report presents information pertaining to quantitative evaluation of the potential impact of selected parameters on output of vadose zone transport and fate models used to describe the behavior of hazardous chemicals in soil. The Vadose 2one Interactive Processes (VIP) model...

  9. Technical Basis for Gas-Phase Vadose Zone Remediation Technologies at Hanford: A Review - 12186

    SciTech Connect

    Truex, M.J.; Oostrom, M.; Szecsody, J.E.; Strickland, C.E.; Chronister, G.B.; Benecke, M.W.

    2012-07-01

    In situ vadose zone remediation approaches are being evaluated as potential options to mitigate the transport of inorganic and radionuclide contaminants from the vadose zone to the groundwater. Some of the candidate approaches are based on changing the contaminant or subsurface conditions in a way that slows downward migration of the contaminants through the vadose zone using amendments delivered in the gas-phase. Two promising approaches that have undergone testing at Hanford include soil desiccation to address technetium-99 contamination and ammonia-induced sequestration of uranium. For soil desiccation, a dry gas is injected to desiccate a targeted portion of the subsurface and thereby decrease contaminant movement by removing moisture and decreasing the hydraulic conductivity of the desiccated zone. Ammonia-induced sequestration of uranium relies on changing the pore water chemistry, primarily through pH changes, to induce dissolution and precipitation processes that decrease the amount of mobile uranium in the vadose zone. (authors)

  10. Organic Carbon Inventories and Vertical Fluxes Through the Vadose Zone into Groundwater at the Rifle, Colorado River Floodplain Site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tokunaga, T. K.; Wan, J.; Dong, W.; Williams, K. H.; Robbins, M.; Kim, Y.; Faybishenko, B.; Conrad, M. E.; Christensen, J. N.; Gilbert, B.; Dayvault, R. D.; Long, P. E.; Hubbard, S. S.

    2013-12-01

    Understanding carbon inventories and fluxes within the vadose zone and groundwater of semi-arid regions is challenging because of their typically deep profiles, moderately low soil organic carbon (SOC) inventories, low dissolved organic carbon (DOC) fluxes, and slow changes in soil inorganic carbon (SIC) inventories. The remediated uranium/vanadium mill tailings site situated on a floodplain at Rifle, Colorado possesses a number of characteristics that facilitate investigation of subsurface carbon fluxes. These include locally derived fill soil having SOC and SIC concentrations representative of the region, established vegetation cover (perennial grasses and shrubs) on the fill, boundaries between the fill and underlying alluvium distinguishable through concentrations of SIC and other chemical components, predictable groundwater flow and interaction with the adjacent Colorado River, and a clearly delineated impermeable lower boundary (Wasatch Formation shale) at depths ranging from 6 to 7.5 m. Environmental characteristics of this site permit year-round sampling of both pore water and pore gas throughout most of the moderately deep (~ 3.5 m) vadose zone. Within this well-defined hydrological system, we recently installed a suite of tensiometers, pore water (vadose zone and groundwater) samplers, gas samplers, and neutron probe access tubes at three sites along a transect aligned with the groundwater flow direction in order to determine inventories and fluxes of water, carbon, and other components. The tensiometer and piezometer measurements are revealing impacts of infiltration and groundwater recharge events, evapotranspiration, and capillary fringe-groundwater interactions. The results of pore water analyses are showing relatively high concentrations of DOC (up to 4 mM) in the vadose zone, and particulate organic carbon (POC) mobile in the capillary fringe. Differences in DOC characteristics are being determined using a variety of analytical techniques. Hydraulic

  11. Bioremediation Potential of Perchlorate Contaminated Deep Vadose Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gal, H.; Ronen, Z.; Weisbrod, N.; Dahan, O.; Nativ, R.

    2007-12-01

    Widespread perchlorate contamination was found in the vadose zone near a plant that manufactures ammonium perchlorate above the coastal aquifer of Israel in Ramat Hasharon. As part of the plant's operations, untreated industrial wastewater was disposed of for over 30 years in unlined wastewater ponds and nearby washes, causing contamination of the unsaturated zone (up to 2200 mg kg-1 sediment at a depth of 20 m) and the groundwater below it (up to 300 mg L-1). In this study, we examined the potential for microbial metabolism of perchlorate reduction in the contaminated deep vadose zone profile by native microbial communities. Microbial reduction of perchlorate was found in three of the four sediment samples taken from different depths. The sediments taken from 1 m (shallowest) and 35 m (deepest- close to the water table) showed the fastest degradation rates, while the sediment taken from 15 m showed the slowest rate. No perchlorate reduction was observed in the sediment taken from 20 m, where perchlorate concentrations were highest. These results were correlated to the viable microorganism counts in the profile. In experiments in which the effect of nitrate was examined, the lag time for perchlorate degradation was found to be inversely correlated to the initial nitrate concentration, while the perchlorate-reduction rates were faster in treatments with higher initial nitrate concentrations. We found no perchlorate degradation as long as nitrate was present in the system: perchlorate reduction was initiated only after all of the nitrate had been reduced. Nitrate-reduction rates were correlated to the initial nitrate concentrations and no lag period was observed. Nitrite was temporarily accumulated during nitrate reduction and was totally reduced, like nitrate, after 4 days. Count of viable microbial communities as well as PCR analysis of the chlorite dismutase gene in the native microbial population exposed to high concentrations of perchlorate (10,000-20,000 mg L-1

  12. HIGH FREQUENCY ELECTROMAGNETIC IMPEDANCE IMAGING FOR VADOSE ZONE AND GROUNDWATER CHARACTERIZATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    Accurate description of transport pathways on the gross scale, the location of contamination, and characterization of heterogeneity within the vadose zone, are now realized as vital for proper treatment, confinement and stabilization of subsurface contamination at Department of E...

  13. ANNUAL PROGRESS REPORT. HIGH FREQUENCY ELECTROMAGNETIC IMPEDANCE IMAGING FOR VADOSE ZONE AND GROUNDWATER CHARACTERIZATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    Accurate description of transport pathways on the gross scale, the location of contamination, and characterization of heterogeneity within the vadose zone, are now realized as vital for proper treatment, confinement and stabilization of subsurface contamination at Department of E...

  14. HIGH FREQUENCY ELECTROMAGNETIC IMPEDANCE IMAGING FOR VADOSE ZONE AND GROUNDWATER CHARACTERIZATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    Accurate description of transport pathways on the gross scale, the location of contamination, and characterization of heterogeneity within the vadose zone, are now realized as vital for proper treatment, confinement and stabilization of subsurface contamination at DOE waste sites...

  15. A HYDROLOGIC-GEOPHYSICAL METHOD FOR CHARACTERIZING FLOW AND TRANSPORT PROCESSES WITHIN THE VADOSE ZONE

    EPA Science Inventory

    Predictive models have often been employed to estimate fluid flow and contaminant transport rates within the vadose zone, that lies beneath many DOE hazardous waste sites. Unfortunately, these schemes have often failed to provide accurate results and have underestimated transpor...

  16. Theoretical Modeling of Gpr Reflection from Vadose Zone in Silty Soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Halabe, Udaya B.

    2008-02-01

    Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) is routinely being used for subsurface investigations including detection of water table and contaminant flow pattern. Past laboratory studies on water table detection in silty soils has shown that GPR actually detects reflection from within the unsaturated capillary (vadose) zone, which is just above the water table. While this phenomenon has been observed from experimental studies, no attempt has been made so far to explain the theoretical basis for the occurrence of GPR reflection within the vadose zone above the water table and not at the level of the actual water table. Understanding this phenomenon from a theoretical stand point requires modeling of GPR reflection from the vadose zone where the moisture content varies with depth. This paper describes the theoretical model which includes discretization of the vadose zone into a number of thin layers with different moisture contents. The model also includes the dry soil above the vadose zone and the underlying fully saturated zone. The GPR waveforms are generated from this model by utilizing frequency domain synthesis algorithm which accounts for all the multiple reflections within the thin layers. These synthetic waveforms have been used to explain the phenomenon of GPR reflection from the vadose zone.

  17. MONITORING IN THE VADOSE ZONE: A REVIEW OF TECHNICAL ELEMENTS AND METHODS

    EPA Science Inventory

    This report covers the topics of (1) principles of pollutant movement in the vadose zone (zone of aeration or unsaturated zone), (2) basic chemical reactions of fluids in the zone, (3) state-of-the-art monitoring techniques, and (4) the relative advantages and disadvantages of th...

  18. Remedy Evaluation Framework for Inorganic, Non-Volatile Contaminants in the Vadose Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Truex, Michael J.; Carroll, Kenneth C.

    2013-05-01

    Contaminants in the vadose zone may act as a potential long-term source of groundwater contamination and need to be considered in remedy evaluations. In many cases, remediation decisions for the vadose zone will need to be made all or in part based on projected impacts to groundwater. Because there are significant natural attenuation processes inherent in vadose zone contaminant transport, remediation in the vadose zone to protect groundwater is functionally a combination of natural attenuation and use of other remediation techniques, as needed, to mitigate contaminant flux to groundwater. Attenuation processes include both hydrobiogeochemical processes that serve to retain contaminants within porous media and physical processes that mitigate the rate of water flux. In particular, the physical processes controlling fluid flow in the vadose zone are quite different and generally have a more significant attenuation impact on contaminant transport relative to those within the groundwater system. A remedy evaluation framework is presented herein that uses an adaptation of the established EPA Monitored Natural Attenuation (MNA) evaluation approach and a conceptual model based approach focused on identifying and quantifying features and processes that control contaminant flux through the vadose zone. A key concept for this framework is to recognize that MNA will comprise some portion of all remedies in the vadose zone. Thus, structuring evaluation of vadose zone waste sites to use an MNA-based approach provides information necessary to either select MNA as the remedy, if appropriate, or to quantify how much additional attenuation would need to be induced by a remedial action (e.g., technologies considered in a feasibility study) to augment the natural attenuation processes and meet groundwater protection goals.

  19. Colloid Facilitated Transport of Radioactive Cations in the Vadose Zone: Field Experiments Oak Ridge

    SciTech Connect

    James E. Saiers

    2012-09-20

    The overarching goal of this study was to improve understanding of colloid-facilitated transport of radioactive cations through unsaturated soils and sediments. We conducted a suite of laboratory experiments and field experiments on the vadose-zone transport of colloids, organic matter, and associated contaminants of interest to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The laboratory and field experiments, together with transport modeling, were designed to accomplish the following detailed objectives: 1. Evaluation of the relative importance of inorganic colloids and organic matter to the facilitation of radioactive cation transport in the vadose zone; 2. Assessment of the role of adsorption and desorption kinetics in the facilitated transport of radioactive cations in the vadose zone; 3. Examination of the effects of rainfall and infiltration dynamics and in the facilitated transport of radioactive cations through the vadose zone; 4. Exploration of the role of soil heterogeneity and preferential flow paths (e.g., macropores) on the facilitated transport of radioactive cations in the vadose zone; 5. Development of a mathematical model of facilitated transport of contaminants in the vadose zone that accurately incorporates pore-scale and column-scale processes with the practicality of predicting transport with readily available parameters.

  20. Evaluation of Soil Flushing for Application to the Deep Vadose Zone in the Hanford Central Plateau

    SciTech Connect

    Truex, Michael J.; Oostrom, Martinus; Zhang, Z. F.; Carroll, Kenneth C.; Schramke, Janet A.; Wietsma, Thomas W.; Tartakovsky, Guzel D.; Gordon, Kathryn A.; Last, George V.

    2010-11-01

    Soil flushing was included in the Deep Vadose Zone Treatability Test Plan for the Hanford Central Plateau as a technology with the potential to remove contaminants from the vadose zone. Soil flushing operates through the addition of water, and if necessary an appropriate mobilizing agent, to mobilize contaminants and flush them from the vadose zone and into the groundwater where they are subsequently captured by a pump-and-treat system. There are uncertainties associated with applying soil flushing technology to contaminants in the deep vadose zone at the Hanford Central Plateau. The modeling and laboratory efforts reported herein are intended to provide a quantitative assessment of factors that impact water infiltration and contaminant flushing through the vadose zone and into the underlying groundwater. Once in the groundwater, capture of the contaminants would be necessary, but this aspect of implementing soil flushing was not evaluated in this effort. Soil flushing was evaluated primarily with respect to applications for technetium and uranium contaminants in the deep vadose zone of the Hanford Central Plateau.

  1. Tracing long-term vadose zone processes at the Nevada Test Site, USA

    PubMed Central

    Hunt, James R.; Tompson, Andrew F. B.

    2010-01-01

    The nuclear weapons testing programme of the USA has released radionuclides to the subsurface at the Nevada Test Site. One of these tests has been used to study the hydrological transport of radionuclides for over 25 years in groundwater and the deep unsaturated zone. Ten years after the weapon’s test, a 16 year groundwater pumping experiment was initiated to study the mobility of radionuclides from that test in an alluvial aquifer. The continuously pumped groundwater was released into an unlined ditch where some of the water infiltrated into the 200 m deep vadose zone. The pumped groundwater had well-characterized tritium activities that were utilized to trace water migration in the shallow and deep vadose zones. Within the near-surface vadose zone, tritium levels in the soil water are modelled by a simple one-dimensional, analytical wetting front model. In the case of the near-surface soils at the Cambric Ditch experimental site, water flow and salt accumulation appear to be dominated by rooted vegetation, a mechanism not included within the wetting front model. Simulation results from a two-dimensional vadose groundwater flow model illustrate the dominance of vertical flow in the vadose zone and the recharge of the aquifer with the pumped groundwater. The long-time series of hydrological data provides opportunities to understand contaminant transport processes better in the vadose zone with an appropriate level of modelling. PMID:21785525

  2. Technical Basis for Evaluating Surface Barriers to Protect Groundwater from Deep Vadose Zone Contamination

    SciTech Connect

    Fayer, Michael J.; Ward, Anderson L.; Freedman, Vicky L.

    2010-02-03

    This document presents a strategy for evaluating the effectiveness of surface barriers for site-specific deep vadose zone remediation. The strategy provides a technically defensible approach to determine the depth to which a surface barrier can effectively isolate contaminants in the vadose at a specific site as a function of subsurface properties, contaminant distribution, barrier design, and infiltration control performance. The strategy also provides an assessment of additional data and information needs with respect to surface barrier performance for deep vadose zone applications. The strategy addresses the linkage between surface barriers and deep vadose zone in situ remediation activities, monitoring issues, and emerging science, technology, and regulatory objectives. In short, the report documents the existing knowledge base, identifies knowledge needs (based on data gaps), and suggests tasks whose outcomes will address those knowledge needs. More important, the report serves as a starting point to engage the regulator and stakeholder community on the viability of deploying surface barriers for deep vadose zone contamination. As that engagement unfolds, a systematic methodology can be formalized and instituted. The strategy is focused on deep vadose zone contamination and the methods needed to determine the impact to groundwater from those deep vadose zone contaminants. Processes that affect surface barrier performance, recharge in the areas surrounding the surface barrier, and the near-surface vadose zone beneath the barrier are acknowledged but are not addressed by this strategy. In addition, the collection of site-specific data on contaminant distribution and geologic structure and properties are programmatic responsibilities and are not provided by this strategy.

  3. Enhanced vadose zone nitrogen removal by poplar during dormancy.

    PubMed

    Ausland, Hayden; Ward, Adam; Licht, Louis; Just, Craig

    2015-01-01

    A pilot-scale, engineered poplar tree vadose zone system was utilized to determine effluent nitrate (NO3(-)) and ammonium concentrations resulting from intermittent dosing of a synthetic wastewater onto sandy soils at 4.5°C. The synthetic wastewater replicated that of an industrial food processor that irrigates onto sandy soils even during dormancy which can leave groundwater vulnerable to NO3(-) contamination. Data from a 21-day experiment was used to assess various Hydrus model parameterizations that simulated the impact of dormant roots. Bromide tracer data indicated that roots impacted the hydraulic properties of the packed sand by increasing effective dispersion, water content and residence time. The simulated effluent NO3(-) concentration on day 21 was 1.2 mg-N L(-1) in the rooted treatments compared to a measured value of 1.0 ± 0.72 mg-N L(-1). For the non-rooted treatment, the simulated NO3(-) concentration was 4.7 mg-N L(-1) compared to 5.1 ± 3.5 mg-N L(-1) measured on day 21. The model predicted a substantial "root benefit" toward protecting groundwater through increased denitrification in rooted treatments during a 21-day simulation with 8% of dosed nitrogen converted to N2 compared to 3.3% converted in the non-rooted test cells. Simulations at the 90-day timescale provided similar results, indicating increased denitrification in rooted treatments. PMID:26030360

  4. Spectroelectrochemical Sensor for Technetium Applicable to the Vadose Zone

    SciTech Connect

    William R. Heineman; Carl J. Seliskar; Samuel A. Bryan; Timothy L. Hubler

    2003-06-23

    The general aim of this project is to continue the design and implementation of a new sensor technology that offers the unprecedented levels of specificity needed for analysis of the complex chemical mixtures found at DOE sites nationwide. The new sensor concept combines the elements of electrochemistry, spectroscopy and selective partitioning into a single device that provides three levels of selectivity. The specific goal of this project is the development of a sensor for technetium (Tc) that is applicable to characterizing and monitoring the Vadose Zone and associated subsurface water at the Hanford site. The first goal is a sensor that determines technetium in the chemical form pertechnetate (TcO{sub 4}{sup -}). This report summarizes work during 6/16/01-6/15/02 of a three-year project that began on 9/15/99. During this period our efforts have focused on four areas that are discussed in the following sections. Electrochemistry of pertechnetate (TcO{sub 4}{sup -}) at bare ITO and film-coated ITO electrodes; Enhancing sensitivity by increasing analyte absorptivity; Development and characterization of selective films; and Improved field portable spectroelectrochemical sensor.

  5. Adaptive Fusion of Stochastic Information for Imaging Fractured Vadose Zones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Daniels, J.; Yeh, J.; Illman, W.; Harri, S.; Kruger, A.; Parashar, M.

    2004-12-01

    A stochastic information fusion methodology is developed to assimilate electrical resistivity tomography, high-frequency ground penetrating radar, mid-range-frequency radar, pneumatic/gas tracer tomography, and hydraulic/tracer tomography to image fractures, characterize hydrogeophysical properties, and monitor natural processes in the vadose zone. The information technology research will develop: 1) mechanisms and algorithms for fusion of large data volumes ; 2) parallel adaptive computational engines supporting parallel adaptive algorithms and multi-physics/multi-model computations; 3) adaptive runtime mechanisms for proactive and reactive runtime adaptation and optimization of geophysical and hydrological models of the subsurface; and 4) technologies and infrastructure for remote (pervasive) and collaborative access to computational capabilities for monitoring subsurface processes through interactive visualization tools. The combination of the stochastic fusion approach and information technology can lead to a new level of capability for both hydrologists and geophysicists enabling them to "see" into the earth at greater depths and resolutions than is possible today. Furthermore, the new computing strategies will make high resolution and large-scale hydrological and geophysical modeling feasible for the private sector, scientists, and engineers who are unable to access supercomputers, i.e., an effective paradigm for technology transfer.

  6. Vadose Zone Hydrogeology Data Package for Hanford Assessments

    SciTech Connect

    Last, George V.; Freeman, Eugene J.; Cantrell, Kirk J.; Fayer, Michael J.; Gee, Glendon W.; Nichols, William E.; Bjornstad, Bruce N.; Horton, Duane G.

    2006-06-01

    This data package documents the technical basis for selecting physical and geochemical parameters and input values that will be used in vadose zone modeling for Hanford assessments. This work was originally conducted as part of the Characterization of Systems Task of the Groundwater Remediation Project managed by Fluor Hanford, Inc., Richland, Washington, and revised as part of the Characterization of Systems Project managed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for the U.S. Department of Energy, Richland Operations Office (DOE-RL). This data package describes the geologic framework, the physical, hydrologic, and contaminant transport properties of the geologic materials, and deep drainage (i.e., recharge) estimates, and builds on the general framework developed for the initial assessment conducted using the System Assessment Capability (SAC) (Bryce et al. 2002). The general approach for this work was to update and provide incremental improvements over the previous SAC data package completed in 2001. As with the previous SAC data package, much of the data and interpreted information were extracted from existing documents and databases. Every attempt was made to provide traceability to the original source(s) of the data or interpretations.

  7. Multi-scale hydrogeological and hydrogeophysical approach to monitor vadose zone hydrodynamics of a karst system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Watlet, Arnaud; Poulain, Amaël; Van Camp, Michel; Francis, Olivier; Triantafyllou, Antoine; Rochez, Gaëtan; Hallet, Vincent; Kaufmann, Olivier

    2016-04-01

    The vadose zone of karst systems plays an important role on the water dynamics. In particular, temporary perched aquifers can appear in the subsurface due to changes of weather conditions, reduced evapotranspiration and the vertical gradients of porosity and permeability. Although many difficulties are usually encountered when studying karst environments due to their heterogeneities, cave systems offer an outstanding opportunity to investigate vadose zone from the inside. We present a multi-scale study covering two years of hydrogeological and geophysical monitoring of the Lomme Karst System (LKS) located in the Variscan fold-and-thrust belt (Belgium), a region (~ 3000 ha) that shows many karstic networks within Devonian limestone units. Hydrogeological data cover the whole LKS and involve e.g. flows and levels monitoring or tracer tests performed in both vadose and saturated zones. Such data bring valuable information on the hydrological context of the studied area at the catchment scale. Combining those results with geophysical measurements allows validating and imaging them at a smaller scale, with more integrative techniques. Hydrogeophysical measurements are focused on only one cave system of the LKS, at the Rochefort site (~ 40 ha), taking benefit of the Rochefort Cave Laboratory (RCL) infrastructures. In this study, a microgravimetric monitoring and an Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) monitoring are involved. The microgravimetric monitoring consists in a superconducting gravimeter continuously measuring gravity changes at the surface of the RCL and an additional relative gravimeter installed in the underlying cave located 35 meters below the surface. While gravimeters are sensible to changes that occur in both the vadose zone and the saturated zone of the whole cave system, combining their recorded signals allows enhancing vadose zone's gravity changes. Finally, the surface ERT monitoring provide valuable information at the (sub)-meter scale on the

  8. CONSTRAINTS AND CATEGORIES OF VADOSE ZONE MONITORING DEVICES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Traditional monitoring methods using chemical analysis of groundwater samples to detect pollutant migration are being superseded or used in conjunction with innovate approaches. A need to detect pollutants before they reach the water table has drawn interest to vadose (unsaturate...

  9. Atrazine retention and degradation in the vadose zone at a till plain site in central Indiana

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bayless, E.R.

    2001-01-01

    The vadose zone was examined as an environmental compartment where significant quantities of atrazine and its degradation compounds may be stored and transformed. The vadose zone was targeted because regional studies in the White River Basin indicated a large discrepancy between the mass of atrazine applied to fields and the amount of the pesticide and its degradation compounds that are measured in ground and surface water. A study site was established in a rotationally cropped field in the till plain of central Indiana. Data were gathered during the 1994 growing season to characterize the site hydrogeology and the distribution of atrazine, desethylatrazine, deisopropylatrazine, didealkylatrazine and hydroxyatrazine in runoff, pore water, and ground water. The data indicated that atrazine and its degradation compounds were transported from land surface to a depth of 1.5 m within 60 days of application, but were undetected in the saturated zone at nearby monitoring wells. A numerical model was developed, based on the field data, to provide information about processes that could retain and degrade atrazine in the vadose zone. Simulations indicated that evapotranspiration is responsible for surface directed soil-moisture flow during much of the growing season. This process causes retention and degradation of atrazine in the vadose zone. Increased residence time in the vadose zone leads to nearly complete transformation of atrazine and its degradation products to unquantified degradation compounds. As a result of mascropore flow, small quantities of atrazine and its degradation compounds may reach the saturated zone.

  10. Foam-based delivery of amendments to immobilize metals and radionuclides in deep vadose zone environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Istok, J. D.; Jansik, D. P.; Foote, M.; Zhang, Z. F.; Wu, Y.; Hubbard, S. S.; Mattigod, S.; Zhong, L.; Wellman, D. M.

    2011-12-01

    Vadose zone environments can be sources and pathways for contaminant migration to groundwater aquifers, when very deep (> ~ 50 m) contaminants are difficult to remediate using conventional methods (e.g. excavation). This problem is particularly challenging in the arid western United States where the vadose zone may be > 100 m thick, extremely dry (~ 5 % water content), and in some cases, contaminated with a mixture of metals, radionuclides, and a variety of organic and inorganic co-contaminants. Chemical amendments have been developed for use in immobilizing contaminants in groundwater aquifers e.g., adding base to increase pH and sorb metals and radionuclides from acidic plumes or adding growth substrates to stimulate indigenous microbial activity and create reducing conditions that precipitate contaminants in poorly soluble mineral phases. However, delivering chemical amendments to dry vadose zone environments by injecting aqueous solutions may potentially mobilize contaminants by increasing the sediment's water content. Development of alternative methods for delivering chemical amendments to the deep vadose zone is a potentially useful approach for meeting remediation goals at some sites. We are exploring the use of foams, formed from liquid surfactants and air, as an agent to deliver chemical amendments to the deep vadose zone at the Hanford Site where the targeted contaminants include U, Tc, and nitrate. Injected foams can carry chemical amendments with limited amounts of water, reducing the potential for contaminant mobilization. We will present the results of numerical modeling, and pore- to intermediate scale laboratory experiments aimed at formulating foams to deliver polyphosphate to deep vadose zone sediments contaminated with uranium. When phosphate, delivered by injected foam, reacts with vadose zone pore water, poorly soluble, apatite-like phosphate minerals precipitate and sequester U(VI), limiting its downward migration to the underlying groundwater

  11. Karst system vadose zone hydrodynamics highlighted by an integrative geophysical and hydrogeological monitoring

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Watlet, A.; Van Camp, M. J.; Francis, O.; Poulain, A.; Hallet, V.; Rochez, G.; Kaufmann, O.

    2015-12-01

    The vadose zone of karst systems plays an important role on the water dynamics. In particular, temporary perched aquifers can appear in the subsurface due to changes of climate conditions, diminished evapotranspiration and differences of porosity relative to deeper layers. It is therefore crucial, but challenging, to separate the hydrological signature of the vadose zone from the one of the saturated zone for understanding hydrological processes that occur in the vadose zone. Although many difficulties are usually encountered when studying karst environments due to their heterogeneities, cave systems offer an outstanding opportunity to investigate vadose zone from the inside with various techniques. We present results covering two years of hydrogeological and geophysical monitoring at the Rochefort Cave Laboratory (RCL), located in the Variscan fold-and-thrust belt (Belgium), a region that shows many karstic networks within Devonian limestone units. Hydrogeological data such as flows and levels monitoring or tracer tests performed in both vadose and saturated zones bring valuable information on the hydrological context of the studied area. Combining those results with geophysical measurements allows validating and imaging them with more integrative techniques. A microgravimetric monitoring involves a superconducting gravimeter continuously measuring at the surface of the RCL. Early in 2015, a second relative gravimeter was installed in the underlying cave system located 35 meters below the surface. This set up allows highlighting vadose gravity changes. These relative measurements are calibrated using an absolute gravimeter. 12 additional stations (7 at the surface, 5 in the cave) are monitored on a monthly basis by a spring gravimeter. To complete these gravimetric measurements, the site has been equipped with a permanent Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) monitoring system comprising an uncommon array of surface, borehole and cave electrodes. Although such

  12. A new general 1-D vadose zone flow solution method

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ogden, Fred L.; Lai, Wencong; Steinke, Robert C.; Zhu, Jianting; Talbot, Cary A.; Wilson, John L.

    2015-06-01

    We have developed an alternative to the one-dimensional partial differential equation (PDE) attributed to Richards (1931) that describes unsaturated porous media flow in homogeneous soil layers. Our solution is a set of three ordinary differential equations (ODEs) derived from unsaturated flux and mass conservation principles. We used a hodograph transformation, the Method of Lines, and a finite water-content discretization to produce ODEs that accurately simulate infiltration, falling slugs, and groundwater table dynamic effects on vadose zone fluxes. This formulation, which we refer to as "finite water-content", simulates sharp fronts and is guaranteed to conserve mass using a finite-volume solution. Our ODE solution method is explicitly integrable, does not require iterations and therefore has no convergence limits and is computationally efficient. The method accepts boundary fluxes including arbitrary precipitation, bare soil evaporation, and evapotranspiration. The method can simulate heterogeneous soils using layers. Results are presented in terms of fluxes and water content profiles. Comparing our method against analytical solutions, laboratory data, and the Hydrus-1D solver, we find that predictive performance of our finite water-content ODE method is comparable to or in some cases exceeds that of the solution of Richards' equation, with or without a shallow water table. The presented ODE method is transformative in that it offers accuracy comparable to the Richards (1931) PDE numerical solution, without the numerical complexity, in a form that is robust, continuous, and suitable for use in large watershed and land-atmosphere simulation models, including regional-scale models of coupled climate and hydrology.

  13. Short-term and long-term Vadose zone monitoring: Current technologies, development, and applications

    SciTech Connect

    Faybishenko, Boris

    1999-05-01

    At Hanford, Savannah River, Oak Ridge, Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL), and other DOE sites, field vadose zone observations have shown complex water seepage and mass transport behavior in a highly heterogeneous, thick vadose zone on a variety of scales. Recent investigation showed that severe contamination of soils and groundwater by organic contaminant and nuclear waste occurred because of water seepage and contaminant transport along localized, preferential, fast flow within the heterogeneous vadose zone. However, most of the existing characterization and monitoring methods are not able to locate these localized and persistent preferential pathways associated with specific heterogeneous geologic features, such as clastic dikes, caliche layers, or fractures. In addition, changes in the chemical composition of moving and indigenous solutes, particularly sodium concentration, redox conditions, biological transformation of organic materials, and high temperature, may significantly alter water, chemicals, and bio-transformation exchange between the zones of fast flow and the rest of the media. In this paper, using the data from Hanford and INEEL sites, we will (1) present evidence that central problems of the vadose zone investigations are associated with preferential, fast flow phenomena and accelerated migration of organic and radioactive elements, (2) identify gaps in current characterization and monitoring technologies, and (3) recommend actions for the development of advanced vadose zone characterization and monitoring methods using a combination of hydrologic, geochemical, and geophysical techniques.

  14. Reducing Uncertainty in Characterization of the Vadose Zone for Modeling Groundwater Vulnerability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, R.; Merchant, J.; Chen, X.; Oglesby, R. J.; Gosselin, D. C.

    2009-12-01

    Groundwater is the principal source of drinking water for nearly two billion people. Modeling aquifer susceptibility to pollution is critical for implementing programs to protect groundwater quality. Such models typically involve geospatial analysis of the inter-relationships between landscape characteristics (e.g. depth-to-water, soils, aquifer properties, and recharge) that impact pollution risks. It has, however, been especially difficult to characterize the vadose zone, the unsaturated zone between the soil surface and the water table. Working in the Elkhorn River Basin, Nebraska, we demonstrate a novel GIS approach for characterizing the vadose zone such that the uncertainty in groundwater pollution risk assessment modeling is reduced. The method is implemented using standard, widely-available national and state geospatial data. The groundwater level data from 2000-2008 in the study area, retrieved by using Microsoft Excel based web-query from USGS Active Groundwater Level Network, were processed and stored in a geodatabase with uniform horizontal and vertical coordinate systems. GIS queries using an interpolated groundwater level raster layer determined the vadose zone depth at each test-hole location of the study area. The thickness of low-permeability materials within the vadose zone depth, like silt and clay, was calculated at each test-hole location, and then interpolated into the whole study area using the optimized variograph and kriging in GIS. This raster map resulting from geostatistical simulation was used to characterize the vadose zone for the aquifer susceptibility modeling. Different from the traditional qualitative approach, this one captures both horizontal spatial variability and vertical structure of the vadose zone regarding its pollution prevention properties. The results showed that the Lower Elkhorn River Basin has a thick (averages about 14 feet) low-permeability vadose zone generally associated with low pollutant-leaching potential

  15. Options To Cleanup Site-wide Vadose Zone Contamination At The Hanford Site, WA, State

    SciTech Connect

    Goswami, D.

    2008-07-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Hanford Site in south central Washington State lies along the Columbia River and is one of DOE's largest legacy waste management sites. Enormous radionuclide and chemical inventories exist below-ground. These include Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) storage facilities where hazardous and radioactive contaminants were discharged and leaked to the soil surface and to the deep vadose zone and groundwater. The vadose zone is also contaminated from facilities regulated by the RCRA and Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) Act. Hanford now contains as much as 28,300 cubic meters of soil contaminated with radionuclides from liquid wastes released near processing facilities. The Hanford Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order, Tri-Party Agreement (TPA) has set the completion of the cleanup of these sites by 2024. There are numerous technical and regulatory challenges to cleanup of the vadose zone at the Hanford site. This paper attempts to identify the categories of deep vadose zone problem and identifies a few possible regulatory options to clean up the site under the mix of state and federal regulatory authorities. There are four major categories of vadose contamination areas at the Hanford Site. The first is laterally extensive with intermediate depth (ground surface to about 45 meters depth) mostly related to high volume effluent discharge into cribs, ponds and ditches of designated CERCLA facilities. The second is dominated by laterally less extensive mostly related to leaks from RCRA tank farms. The later contamination is often commingled at depth with wastes from adjacent CERCLA facilities. The third category is from the high volume CERCLA facilities extending from the surface to more than 60 meters below ground. Contamination from the later category crosses the entire thickness of the vadose zone and reached groundwater. The fourth category is the lower volume waste sites

  16. Three-Dimensional Simulation of Volatile Organic Compound Mass Flux from the Vadose Zone to Groundwater

    SciTech Connect

    Oostrom, Martinus; Truex, Michael J.; Tartakovsky, Guzel D.; Wietsma, Thomas W.

    2010-06-21

    Low permeability layers of the vadose zone containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) may persist as source zones for long time periods and may provide contamination to groundwater. At sites with low recharge rates, where vapor migration is the dominant transport process, the impact of vadose zone sources on groundwater may be difficult to assess. Typical assessment methods include one-dimensional numerical and analytical techniques. The one-dimensional approaches only consider groundwater coupling options through boundary conditions at the water table and may yield artificially high mass flux results when transport is assumed to occur by gas-phase diffusion between a source and an interface with a zero concentration boundary condition. Improvements in mass flux assessments for VOCs originating from vadose zone sources may be obtained by coupling vadose zone gas transport and dissolved contaminant transport in the saturated zone and by incorporating the inherent three-dimensional nature of gas-phase transport, including the potential of density-driven advection. This paper describes a series of three-dimensional simulations using data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hanford Site, where carbon tetrachloride is present in a low permeability zone about 30 m above the groundwater. Results show that, for most cases, only a relatively small amount of the contaminant emanating from the source zone partitions into the groundwater and that density-driven advection is only important when relatively high source concentrations are considered.

  17. Use of a vadose zone biobarrier for removal of nitrate from percolating groundwater

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Over the past decade biobarriers, insoluble organic-rich zones introduced into the aquifer to stimulate microbial activity, have become an accepted method for removing contaminants from aquifer water. This study investigated the use of biobarriers in the unsaturated or vadose zone. In the 12-week-s...

  18. A National Roadmap for Vadose Zone Science and Technology

    SciTech Connect

    Kowall, Stephen Jacob

    2001-08-01

    This roadmap is a means of achieving, to the best of our current knowledge, a reasonable scientific understanding of how contaminants of all forms move in the vadose geological environments. This understanding is needed to reduce the present uncertainties in predicting contaminant movement, which in turn will reduce the uncertainties in remediation decisions.

  19. Vadose Zone Sampling Methods for Detection of Preferential Pesticides Transport

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peranginangin, N.; Richards, B. K.; Steenhuis, T. S.

    2003-12-01

    Leaching of agricultural applied chemicals through the vadose zone is a major cause for the occurrence of agrichemicals in groundwater. Accurate soil water sampling methods are needed to ensure meaningful monitoring results, especially for soils that have significant preferential flow paths. The purpose of this study was to assess the capability and the effectiveness of various soil water sampling methods in detecting preferential transport of pesticides in a strongly-structured silty clay loam (Hudson series) soil. Soil water sampling devices tested were wick pan and gravity pan lysimeters, tile lines, porous ceramic cups, and pipe lysimeters; all installed at 45 to105 cm depth below the ground surface. A reasonable worse-case scenario was tested by applying a simulated rain storm soon after pesticides were sprayed at agronomic rates. Herbicides atrazine (6-chloro-N2-ethyl-N4-isopropyl-1,3,5-triazine-2,4-diamine) and 2,4-D (2,4-dichloro-phenoxyacetic acid) were chosen as model compounds. Chloride (KCl) tracer was used to determine spatial and temporal distribution of non-reactive solute and water as well as a basis for determining the retardation in pesticides movement. Results show that observed pesticide mobility was much greater than would be predicted by uniform flow. Under relatively high soil moisture conditions, gravity and wick pan lysimeters had comparably good collection efficiencies, whereas the wick samplers had an advantage over gravity driven sampler when the soil moisture content was below field capacity. Pipe lysimeters had breakthrough patterns that were similar to pan samplers. At small plot scale, tile line samplers tended to underestimate solute concentration because of water dilution around the samplers. The use of porous cup samplers performed poorly because of their sensitivity to local profile characteristics: only by chance can they intercept and sample the preferential flow paths that are critical to transport. Wick sampler had the least

  20. Gas-Phase Treatment of Technetium in the Vadose Zone at the Hanford Site Central Plateau

    SciTech Connect

    Truex, Michael J.; Szecsody, James E.; Zhong, Lirong; Qafoku, Nikolla

    2014-09-01

    Technetium-99 (Tc-99) is present in the vadose zone of the Hanford Central Plateau and is a concern with respect to the protection of groundwater. The persistence, limited natural attenuation mechanisms, and geochemical behavior of Tc-99 in oxic vadose zone environments must be considered in developing effective alternatives for remediation. This report describes a new in situ geochemical manipulation technique for decreasing Tc-99 mobility using a combination of geochemical Tc-99 reduction with hydrogen sulfide gas and induced sediment mineral dissolution with ammonia vapor, which create conditions for deposition of stable precipitates that decrease the mobility of Tc-99. Laboratory experiments were conducted to examine changes in Tc-99 mobility in vadose zone sediment samples to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment under a variety of operational and sediment conditions.

  1. Solute travel time in the vadose zone under RWMC at INEL

    SciTech Connect

    Liou, J.C.P.; Tian, J.

    1995-02-27

    Solute transport in the vadose zone under the Radioactive Waste Management Complex (RWMC) at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) is considered. The objective is to assess the relative importance of variables involved in modeling the travel time of a conservative solute from ground surface to water table. The vadose zone under RWMC is composed of several layers of basalt flows interceded with sediment layers. The thickness of the layers varies with location. The hydraulic properties also vary. The extents of the variations are large, with standard deviations exceed mean in some instances. The vadose zone is idealized as composed of horizontal layers. Solute transport starts at the ground surface and moves vertically downwards to the water table. The perceived process is one-dimensional. This study used VS2DT, a computer code developed by the US Geological Survey, for simulating solute transport in variably saturated porous media.

  2. Evaluation of deep vadose zone contaminant flux into groundwater: Approach and case study.

    PubMed

    Oostrom, M; Truex, M J; Last, G V; Strickland, C E; Tartakovsky, G D

    2016-06-01

    For sites with a contaminant source located in the vadose zone, the nature and extent of groundwater contaminant plumes are a function of the contaminant flux from the vadose zone to groundwater. Especially for thick vadose zones, transport may be relatively slow making it difficult to directly measure contaminant flux. An integrated assessment approach, supported by site characterization and monitoring data, is presented to explain current vadose zone contaminant distributions and to estimate future contaminant flux to groundwater in support of remediation decisions. The U.S. Department of Energy Hanford Site (WA, USA) SX Tank Farm was used as a case study because of a large existing contaminant inventory in its deep vadose zone, the presence of a limited-extent groundwater plume, and the relatively large amount of available data for the site. A predictive quantitative analysis was applied to refine a baseline conceptual model through the completion of a series of targeted simulations. The analysis revealed that site recharge is the most important flux-controlling process for future contaminant flux. Tank leak characteristics and subsurface heterogeneities appear to have a limited effect on long-term contaminant flux into groundwater. The occurrence of the current technetium-99 groundwater plume was explained by taking into account a considerable historical water-line leak adjacent to one of the tanks. The analysis further indicates that the vast majority of technetium-99 is expected to migrate into the groundwater during the next century. The approach provides a template for use in evaluating contaminant flux to groundwater using existing site data and has elements that are relevant to other disposal sites with a thick vadose zone. PMID:27107320

  3. Evaluation of deep vadose zone contaminant flux into groundwater: Approach and case study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oostrom, M.; Truex, M. J.; Last, G. V.; Strickland, C. E.; Tartakovsky, G. D.

    2016-06-01

    For sites with a contaminant source located in the vadose zone, the nature and extent of groundwater contaminant plumes are a function of the contaminant flux from the vadose zone to groundwater. Especially for thick vadose zones, transport may be relatively slow making it difficult to directly measure contaminant flux. An integrated assessment approach, supported by site characterization and monitoring data, is presented to explain current vadose zone contaminant distributions and to estimate future contaminant flux to groundwater in support of remediation decisions. The U.S. Department of Energy Hanford Site (WA, USA) SX Tank Farm was used as a case study because of a large existing contaminant inventory in its deep vadose zone, the presence of a limited-extent groundwater plume, and the relatively large amount of available data for the site. A predictive quantitative analysis was applied to refine a baseline conceptual model through the completion of a series of targeted simulations. The analysis revealed that site recharge is the most important flux-controlling process for future contaminant flux. Tank leak characteristics and subsurface heterogeneities appear to have a limited effect on long-term contaminant flux into groundwater. The occurrence of the current technetium-99 groundwater plume was explained by taking into account a considerable historical water-line leak adjacent to one of the tanks. The analysis further indicates that the vast majority of technetium-99 is expected to migrate into the groundwater during the next century. The approach provides a template for use in evaluating contaminant flux to groundwater using existing site data and has elements that are relevant to other disposal sites with a thick vadose zone.

  4. Deep Vadose Zone Characterization at the Hanford Site: Accomplishments from the Last Ten Years

    SciTech Connect

    Brown, C.F.; Serne, R.J.

    2008-07-01

    The overall goal of the Tank Farm Vadose Zone Project, led by CH2M HILL Hanford Group, Inc., is to define risks from past and future single-shell tank farm activities at Hanford. To meet this goal, CH2M HILL Hanford Group, Inc. tasked scientists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to perform detailed analyses on vadose zone sediments collected within/adjacent to the twelve single-shell tank farms contained within Hanford's Central Plateau region. This work has been performed under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action Program and is associated with the Hanford Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order. While there are many facets to the laboratory studies employed by PNNL, the four primary objectives of this work are to: identify the type and quantity of contamination present, understand the physical processes that affect the transport of contaminants in the vadose zone sediments, when practical, identify the source(s) of the contamination found in the sediment samples, and when practical, determine if a link can be made between the vadose zone contamination observed and any known groundwater contaminants in the vicinity. Since its inception in 1997, PNNL's Vadose Zone Characterization Project has evolved to better meet these four key objectives. The single-largest adaptation of the Vadose Zone Characterization Project over its ten years of operation was the advent of a tiered sample analysis approach. Use of a tiered approach allows resources to be focused on those samples/tests that provide the largest amount of scientific information to best meet the four key project objectives within the budget available. Another significant, but more recent, adaptation has been the implementation of a rapid turnaround characterization process in which sediment samples are analyzed in near real-time to aid drilling activities within the tank farms. This paper highlights details of the characterization activities performed as well

  5. Deep Vadose Zone Characterization at the Hanford Site: Accomplishments from the Last Ten Years

    SciTech Connect

    Brown, Christopher F.; Serne, R. Jeffrey

    2008-02-28

    The overall goal of the Tank Farm Vadose Zone Project, led by CH2M HILL Hanford Group, Inc., is to define risks from past and future single-shell tank farm activities at Hanford. To meet this goal, CH2M HILL Hanford Group, Inc. tasked scientists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to perform detailed analyses on vadose zone sediments collected within/adjacent to the twelve single-shell tank farms contained within Hanford’s Central Plateau region. This work has been performed under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action Program and is associated with the Hanford Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order. While there are many facets to the laboratory studies employed by PNNL, the four primary objectives of this work are to: identify the type and quantity of contamination present, understand the physical processes that affect the transport of contaminants in the vadose zone sediments, when practical, identify the source(s) of the contamination found in the sediment samples, and when practical, determine if a link can be made between the vadose zone contamination observed and any known groundwater contaminants in the vicinity. Since its inception in 1997, PNNL’s Vadose Zone Characterization Project has evolved to better meet these four key objectives. The single-largest adaptation of the Vadose Zone Characterization Project over its ten years of operation was the advent of a tiered sample analysis approach. Use of a tiered approach allows resources to be focused on those samples/tests that provide the largest amount of scientific information to best meet the four key project objectives within the budget available. Another significant, but more recent, adaptation has been the implementation of a rapid turnaround characterization process in which sediment samples are analyzed in near real-time to aid drilling activities within the tank farms. This paper highlights details of the characterization activities performed as

  6. Vadose Zone Remediation of CO2 Leakage from Geologic CO2 Storage Sites

    SciTech Connect

    Zhang, Yingqi; Oldenburg, Curtis M.; Benson, Sally M.

    2004-03-03

    In the unlikely event that CO2 leakage from deep geologic CO2 sequestration sites reaches the vadose zone, remediation measures for removing the CO2 gas plume may have to be undertaken. Carbon dioxide leakage plumes are similar in many ways to volatile organic compound (VOC) vapor plumes, and the same remediation approaches are applicable. We present here numerical simulation results of passive and active remediation strategies for CO2 leakage plumes in the vadose zone. The starting time for the remediation scenarios is assumed to be after a steady-state CO2 leakage plume is established in the vadose zone, and the source of this plume has been cut off. We consider first passive remediation, both with and without barometric pumping. Next, we consider active methods involving extraction wells in both vertical and horizontal configurations. To compare the effectiveness of the various remediation strategies, we define a half-life of the CO2 plume as a convenient measure of the CO2 removal rate. For CO2 removal by passive remediation approaches such as barometric pumping, thicker vadose zones generally require longer remediation times. However, for the case of a thin vadose zone where a significant fraction of the CO2 plume mass resides within the high liquid saturation region near the water table, the half-life of the CO2 plume without barometric pumping is longer than for somewhat thicker vadose zones. As for active strategies, results show that a combination of horizontal and vertical wells is the most effective among the strategies investigated, as the performance of commonly used multiple vertical wells was not investigated.

  7. Three-Dimensional Simulation of Volatile Organic Compound Mass Flux from the Vadose Zone to Groundwater

    SciTech Connect

    Oostrom, Martinus; Truex, Michael J.; Tartakovsky, Guzel D.; Wietsma, Thomas W.

    2010-01-01

    Source zones containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in low permeability layers of the vadose zone may persist for long time periods and may provide a continuous supply of contamination to groundwater. At sites with low recharge rates where vapor migration is the dominant transport process, the impact of vadose zone sources on groundwater may be difficult to assess. Typical assessment methods include one-dimensional numerical and analytical techniques. The one-dimensional approaches do not consider groundwater coupling and yield artificially high mass fluxes because transport is assumed to occur by gas-phase diffusion between a source and an interface with a zero concentration boundary condition. Improvements in mass flux assessments for VOCs with vadose zone sources may be obtained by coupling vadose zone gas transport and dissolved contaminant transport in the saturated zone and by incorporating the inherent three-dimensional nature of gas-phase transport, including the potential of density-driven advection. In this paper, a series of three-dimensional simulations using data from the U.S. Department of Energy Hanford Site is described where carbon tetrachloride is present in a low permeability zone about 30 m above the groundwater. Results show that for most cases only a relatively small amount of the contaminant emanating from the source zone partitions into the groundwater and that density-driven advection is only important when relatively high source concentrations are considered. The introduction of vadose zone – groundwater coupling yields considerably lower mass fluxes than obtained with single-phase one-dimensional approaches.

  8. Tank 241-AX-104 upper vadose zone cone penetrometer demonstration sampling and analysis plan

    SciTech Connect

    FIELD, J.G.

    1999-02-02

    This sampling and analysis plan (SAP) is the primary document describing field and laboratory activities and requirements for the tank 241-AX-104 upper vadose zone cone penetrometer (CP) demonstration. It is written in accordance with Hanford Tank Initiative Tank 241-AX-104 Upper Vadose Zone Demonstration Data Quality Objective (Banning 1999). This technology demonstration, to be conducted at tank 241-AX-104, is being performed by the Hanford Tanks Initiative (HTI) Project as a part of Tank Waste Remediation System (TWRS) Retrieval Program (EM-30) and the Office of Science and Technology (EM-50) Tanks Focus Area. Sample results obtained as part of this demonstration will provide additional information for subsequent revisions to the Retrieval Performance Evaluation (RPE) report (Jacobs 1998). The RPE Report is the result of an evaluation of a single tank farm (AX Tank Farm) used as the basis for demonstrating a methodology for developing the data and analyses necessary to support making tank waste retrieval decisions within the context of tank farm closure requirements. The RPE includes a study of vadose zone contaminant transport mechanisms, including analysis of projected tank leak characteristics, hydrogeologic characteristics of tank farm soils, and the observed distribution of contaminants in the vadose zone in the tank farms. With limited characterization information available, large uncertainties exist as to the nature and extent of contaminants that may exist in the upper vadose zone in the AX Tank Farm. Traditionally, data has been collected from soils in the vadose zone through the installation of boreholes and wells. Soil samples are collected as the bore hole is advanced and samples are screened on site and/or sent to a laboratory for analysis. Some in-situ geophysical methods of contaminant analysis can be used to evaluate radionuclide levels in the soils adjacent to an existing borehole. However, geophysical methods require compensation for well

  9. ANNUAL REPORT. INFLUENCE OF CLASTIC DIKES ON VERTICAL MIGRATION OF CONTAMINANTS IN THE VADOSE ZONE AT HANFORD

    EPA Science Inventory

    This research is testing the hypothesis that clastic dikes at the Hanford Site provide preferential pathways that enhance the vertical movement of moisture and contaminants through the vadose zone. Current flow and transport models of the vadose zone at the 200 Areas are based on...

  10. Evaluation of In Situ Grouting as a Potential Remediation Method for the Hanford Central Plateau Deep Vadose Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Truex, Michael J.; Pierce, Eric M.; Nimmons, Michael J.; Mattigod, Shas V.

    2011-01-11

    The Deep Vadose Zone Treatability Test Plan for the Hanford Central Plateau report identifies in situ grouting as a potential remediation technology for the deep vadose zone and includes a planned effort to evaluate in situ grouting to provide information for future feasibility studies. This report represents the first step in this evaluation effort.

  11. Estimating the Impact of Vadose Zone Sources on Groundwater to Support Performance Assessment of Soil Vapor Extraction

    EPA Science Inventory

    Soil vapor extraction (SVE) is a prevalent remediation approach for volatile contaminants in the vadose zone. To support selection of an appropriate endpoint for the SVE remedy, an evaluation is needed to determine whether vadose zone contamination has been diminished sufficient...

  12. Monitoring of water and thermal transfers in the vadose zone of a carbonate reservoir formation.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cerepi, A.; Loisy, C.; Burlot, R.

    2009-04-01

    The aim of this study is the monitoring of water and thermal transfers in vadose zone of a carbonate reservoir formation during three hydrological cycles (August 2001- November 2004). The application of the Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) and Self-Potential (SP) methods to determine the water content of porous rock has been widely investigated. More than 285 studied point measurements of rock water content observed during three hydrological cycles and distributed among an abandoned underground quarry in Gironde, France, show a permanently undersaturated limestone (between 35% and 50 %). We also investigated the unsaturated zone in a borehole between 0 and 20 m depth until the water table. 14 TDR and SP electrodes investigate the vadose zone. For the understanding of the streaming potential and electric behaviour from the SP method of a vadose zone we performed an experimental device which allows us to quantify the measurements of electrokinetic coupling coefficient at various saturation conditions. The results show that the vadose zone is characterized by three different sub-zones which are different water dynamics. The shallow zone down to a depth of seven meters corresponds to a zone with a significant variation of water saturation related to evapotranspiration dynamic water. The second zone (so-called transition zone) between seven to sixteen meters displays a high stability. The third zone (zone of capillary fringe) between sixteen to twenty meter shows a high and constant water saturation. Experimental results show three periods of maximum water content corresponding to three occurring effective precipitations. The dephasing and the amplitude attenuation of the hydraulic and thermal waves with the depth can be modelled and explained by the physical properties of the porous medium in an unsaturated zone such as the diffusivity, the water relative permeability, the capillarity pressure versus water saturation and the effective porosity.

  13. Estimating the Impact of Vadose Zone Sources on Groundwater to Support Performance Assessment of Soil Vapor Extraction

    SciTech Connect

    Oostrom, Martinus; Truex, Michael J.; Rice, Amy K.; Johnson, Christian D.; Carroll, Kenneth C.; Becker, Dave; Simon, Michelle A.

    2014-03-13

    Soil vapor extraction (SVE) is a prevalent remediation approach for volatile contaminants in the vadose zone. To support selection of an appropriate endpoint for the SVE remedy, an evaluation is needed to determine whether vadose zone contamination has been diminished sufficiently to protect groundwater. When vapor-phase transport is an important component of the overall contaminant fate and transport from a vadose zone source, the contaminant concentration expected in groundwater is controlled by a limited set of parameters, including specific site dimensions, vadose zone properties, and source characteristics. An approach was developed for estimating the contaminant concentration in groundwater resulting from a contaminant source in the vadose zone based on pre-modeling contaminant transport for a matrix of parameter value combinations covering a range of potential site conditions. An interpolation and scaling process are then applied to estimate groundwater impact for site-specific conditions.

  14. Impact of switching crop type on water and solute fluxes in deep vadose zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Turkeltaub, T.; Kurtzman, D.; Russak, E. E.; Dahan, O.

    2015-12-01

    Switching crop type and consequently changing irrigation and fertilization regimes lead to alterations in deep percolation and solute concentrations of pore water. Herein, observations from the deep vadose zone and model simulations demonstrate the changes in water, chloride, and nitrate fluxes under a commercial greenhouse following the change from tomato to lettuce cropping. The site, located above a phreatic aquifer, was monitored for 5 years. A vadose-zone monitoring system was implemented under the greenhouse and provided continuous data on both temporal variations in water content and chemical composition of the pore water at multiple depths in the deep vadose zone (up to 20 m). Following crop switching, a significant reduction in chloride concentration and dramatic increase in nitrate were observed across the unsaturated zone. The changes in chemical composition of the vadose-zone pore water appeared as sequential breakthroughs across the unsaturated zone, initiating at land surface and propagating down toward the water table. Today, 3 years after switching the crops, penetration of the impact exceeds 10 m depth. Variations in the isotopic composition of nitrate (18O and 15N) in water samples obtained from the entire vadose zone clearly support a fast leaching process and mobilization of solutes across the unsaturated zone following the change in crop type. Water flow and chloride transport models were calibrated to observations acquired during an enhanced infiltration experiment. Forward simulation runs were performed with the calibrated models, constrained to tomato and lettuce cultivation regimes as surface boundary conditions. Predicted chloride and nitrate concentrations were in agreement with the observed concentrations. The simulated water drainage and nitrogen leaching implied that the observed changes are an outcome of recommended agricultural management practices.

  15. Deep arid system hydrodynamics: 1. Equilibrium states and response times in thick desert vadose zones

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walvoord, M.A.; Plummer, M.A.; Phillips, F.M.; Wolfsberg, A.V.

    2002-01-01

    Quantifying moisture fluxes through deep desert soils remains difficult because of the small magnitude of the fluxes and the lack of a comprehensive model to describe flow and transport through such dry material. A particular challenge for such a model is reproducing both observed matric potential and chloride profiles. We propose a conceptual model for flow in desert vadose zones that includes isothermal and nonisothermal vapor transport and the role of desert vegetation in supporting a net upward moisture flux below the root zone. Numerical simulations incorporating this conceptual model match typical matric potential and chloride profiles. The modeling approach thereby reconciles the paradox between the recognized importance of plants, upward driving forces, and vapor flow processes in desert vadose zones and the inadequacy of the downward-only liquid flow assumption of the conventional chloride mass balance approach. Our work shows that water transport in thick desert vadose zones at steady state is usually dominated by upward vapor flow and that long response times, of the order of 104-105 years, are required to equilibrate to existing arid surface conditions. Simulation results indicate that most thick desert vadose zones have been locked in slow drying transients that began in response to a climate shift and establishment of desert vegetation many thousands of years ago.

  16. Electrical Resistivity Imaging for Studying Dynamics of Vadose Zone Processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mitchell, V.; Pidlisecky, A.; Knight, R. J.

    2010-12-01

    deployed. Acquisition geometries designed to target different regions of the subsurface were used to acquire measurements every 1.5 hours. In 2008-2009 ~2000 data sets were acquired; each data set included measurements from probes and surface lines. In 2009-2010 ~1000 data sets were acquired. Data were processed using an extended Kalman filter (EKF) approach. The EKF was chosen for processing time-series ERI data because it models evolution of the physical system and the observation process, incorporating previous information into data-inversion at each time-step. In this application, the first for surface-based ERI field data, we modify the classical Kalman filter cost functional to incorporate spatial smoothing and impose an update constraint to account for slow state evolution with respect to the sampling interval. Results identified more hydrologic complexity than was originally assumed and indicated that processes in the top 0.5 m of the subsurface control infiltration rates. The results of ERI monitoring demonstrate that integrating geophysics into hydrologic studies can provide increased information about spatial and temporal evolution of vadose zone processes.

  17. Regional Analysis of One Dimensional Nitrate Transport Through the Vadose Zone Using a Geographic Information System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sykes, J. F.; Scott, M. E.; Jyrkama, M. I.

    2005-05-01

    Wilmot Township is located in southwestern Ontario within the Grand River Watershed. The township is approximately 266 square kilometers, of which 80 percent is classified as farmland. A majority of the region relies on groundwater as the source of drinking water and it is therefore important to determine the effect of crop fertilization on the groundwater quality. The purpose of this study is to determine the one-dimensional transport of nitrate through the vadose zone to the water table with attenuation due to biodegradation. The model is simulated over a 30-year period to investigate the impact of seasonal applications of nitrate fertilizers on the concentration at the water table. Based on land use/land class maps, ArcView GIS is used to spatially define the location of fertilizer applications. Fertilizer sources are determined from Statistics Canada's Agricultural Census and include livestock manure and popular commercial fertilizers for the past 30 years. A physically based and readily implemented methodology for estimating recharge, as developed by Jyrkama (2003), is used to approximate the advective velocity through the soil column. This research methodology can be applied at the watershed scale. Future large-scale modeling will be performed on the Grand River Watershed, which is approximately 7000 square kilometers. Municipalities can utilize this model as a management tool to determine the extent of contamination and delineate site sensitive locations, such as well-head protection zones. This research is a first step in developing agricultural contaminant loadings for a regional scale surface water and groundwater model.

  18. Continuous monitoring of water flow and solute transport using vadose zone monitoring technology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dahan, O.

    2009-04-01

    Groundwater contamination is usually attributed to pollution events that initiate on land surface. These may be related to various sources such as industrial, urban or agricultural, and may appear as point or non point sources, through a single accidental event or a continuous pollution process. In all cases, groundwater pollution is a consequence of pollutant transport processes that take place in the vadose zone above the water table. Attempts to control pollution events and prevent groundwater contamination usually involve groundwater monitoring programs. This, however, can not provide any protection against contamination since pollution identification in groundwater is clear evidence that the groundwater is already polluted and contaminants have already traversed the entire vadose zone. Accordingly, an efficient monitoring program that aims at providing information that may prevent groundwater pollution has to include vadose-zone monitoring systems. Such system should provide real-time information on the hydrological and chemical properties of the percolating water and serve as an early warning system capable of detecting pollution events in their early stages before arrival of contaminants to groundwater. Recently, a vadose-zone monitoring system (VMS) was developed to allow continuous monitoring of the hydrological and chemical properties of percolating water in the deep vadose zone. The VMS includes flexible time-domain reflectometry (FTDR) probes for continuous tracking of water content profiles, and vadose-zone sampling ports (VSPs) for frequent sampling of the deep vadose pore water at multiple depths. The monitoring probes and sampling ports are installed through uncased slanted boreholes using a flexible sleeve that allows attachment of the monitoring devices to the borehole walls while achieving good contact between the sensors and the undisturbed sediment column. The system has been successfully implemented in several studies on water flow and

  19. Tackling the Challenge of Deep Vadose Zone Remediation at the Hanford Site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morse, J. G.; Wellman, D. M.; Gephart, R.

    2010-12-01

    The Central Plateau of the Hanford Site in Washington State contains some 800 waste disposal sites where 1.7 trillion liters of contaminated water was once discharged into the subsurface. Most of these sites received liquids from the chemical reprocessing of spent uranium fuel to recover plutonium. In addition, 67 single shell tanks have leaked or are suspected to have leaked 3.8 million liters of high alkali and aluminate rich cesium-contaminated liquids into the sediment. Today, this inventory of subsurface contamination contains an estimated 550,000 curies of radioactivity and 150 million kg (165,000 tons) of metals and hazardous chemicals. Radionuclides range from mobile 99Tc to more immobilized 137Cs, 241Am, uranium, and plutonium. A significant fraction of these contaminants likely remain within the deep vadose zone. Plumes of groundwater containing tritium, nitrate, 129I and other contaminants have migrated through the vadose zone and now extend outward from the Central Plateau to the Columbia River. During most of Hanford Site history, subsurface studies focused on groundwater monitoring and characterization to support waste management decisions. Deep vadose zone studies were not a priority because waste practices relied upon that zone to buffer contaminant releases into the underlying aquifer. Remediation of the deep vadose zone is now central to Hanford Site cleanup because these sediments can provide an ongoing source of contamination to the aquifer and therefore to the Columbia River. However, characterization and remediation of the deep vadose zone pose some unique challenges. These include sediment thickness; contaminant depth; coupled geohydrologic, geochemical, and microbial processes controlling contaminant spread; limited availability and effectiveness of traditional characterization tools and cleanup remedies; and predicting contaminant behavior and remediation performance over long time periods and across molecular to field scales. The U

  20. The Use of Radar Methods to Determine Moisture Content in the Vadose Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Knight, Rosemary

    2003-06-01

    Moisture content is a critical parameter affecting both liquid-phase and vapor-phase contaminant transport in the vadose zone. The objective of our three-year research project is to determine the optimal way to use radar methods as a non-invasive means of determining in situ moisture content.

  1. PROGRESS REPORT. QUANTIFYING VADOSE ZONE FLOW AND TRANSPORT UNCERTAINTIES USING A UNIFIED, HIERARCHICAL APPROACH

    EPA Science Inventory

    The objective of this research is to develop and demonstrate a general approach for modeling flow and transport in the heterogeneous vadose zone. The approach uses similar media scaling, geostatistics, and conditional simulation methods to estimate soil hydraulic parameters at un...

  2. ANNUAL REPORT. QUANTIFYING VADOSE ZONE FLOW AND TRANSPORT UNCERTAINTIES USING A UNIFIED, HIERARCHICAL APPROACH

    EPA Science Inventory

    The objective of this research is to develop and demonstrate a general approach for modeling flow and transport in the heterogeneous vadose zone. The approach uses similar media scaling, geostatistics, and conditional simulation methods to estimate soil hydraulic parameters at un...

  3. Sensitivity of Vadose Zone Water Fluxes to Climate Shifts in Arid Settings

    SciTech Connect

    Pfletschinger, H.; Prömmel, K.; Schüth, C.; Herbst, M.; Engelhardt, I.

    2014-01-01

    Vadose zone water fluxes in arid settings are investigated regarding their sensitivity to hydraulic soil parameters and meteorological data. The study is based on the inverse modeling of highly defined soil column experiments and subsequent scenario modeling comparing different climate projections for a defined arid region. In arid regions, groundwater resources are prone to depletion due to excessive water use and little recharge potential. Especially in sand dune areas, groundwater recharge is highly dependent on vadose zone properties and corresponding water fluxes. Nevertheless, vadose zone water fluxes under arid conditions are hard to determine owing to, among other reasons, deep vadose zones with generally low fluxes and only sporadic high infiltration events. In this study, we present an inverse model of infiltration experiments accounting for variable saturated nonisothermal water fluxes to estimate effective hydraulic and thermal parameters of dune sands. A subsequent scenario modeling links the results of the inverse model with projections of a global climate model until 2100. The scenario modeling clearly showed the high dependency of groundwater recharge on precipitation amounts and intensities, whereas temperature increases are only of minor importance for deep infiltration. However, simulated precipitation rates are still affected by high uncertainties in the response to the hydrological input data of the climate model. Thus, higher certainty in the prediction of precipitation pattern is a major future goal for climate modeling to constrain future groundwater management strategies in arid regions.

  4. Engineering report single-shell tank farms interim measures to limit infiltration through the vadose zone

    SciTech Connect

    HAASS, C.C.

    1999-10-14

    Identifies, evaluates and recommends interim measures for reducing or eliminating water sources and preferential pathways within the vadose zone of the single-shell tank farms. Features studied: surface water infiltration and leaking water lines that provide recharge moisture, and wells that could provide pathways for contaminant migration. An extensive data base, maps, recommended mitigations, and rough order of magnitude costs are included.

  5. Sampling and Hydrogeology of the Vadose Zone Beneath the 300 Area Process Ponds

    SciTech Connect

    Bjornstad, Bruce N.

    2004-08-31

    Four open pits were dug with a backhoe into the vadose zone beneath the former 300 Area Process Ponds in April 2003. Samples were collected about every 2 feet for physical, chemical, and/or microbiological characterization. This reports presents a stratigraphic and geohydrologic summary of the four excavations.

  6. INFLUENCE OF CLASTIC DIKES ON VERTICAL MIGRATION OF CONTAMINANTS IN THE VADOSE ZONE AT HANFORD

    EPA Science Inventory

    This research will test the hypothesis that clastic dikes at the Hanford Site provide preferential pathways that enhance the vertical movement of moisture and contaminants through the vadose zone. Studies indicate that contaminants have migrated to greater depths at the Hanford ...

  7. ANNUAL REPORT. TECHNETIUM ATTENUATION IN THE VADOSE ZONE: ROLE OF MINERAL INTERACTIONS

    EPA Science Inventory

    High-level waste (HLW) has leaked into the vadose zone from buried single-shell tanks at the Hanford Site. Contaminant plumes containing radionuclides are slowly migrating toward the groundwater table. The accepted model of contaminant migration places technetium (Tc) at the lead...

  8. Performance Evaluation of Automated Passive Capillary Sampler for Estimating Water Drainage in the Vadose Zone

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Passive capillary samplers (PCAPs) are widely used to monitor, measure and sample drainage water under saturated and unsaturated soil conditions in the vadose zone. The objective of this study was to evaluate the performance and accuracy of automated passive capillary sampler for estimating drainage...

  9. QUANTIFYING VADOSE ZONE FLOW AND TRANSPORT UNCERTAINTIES USING A UNIFIED, HIERARCHICAL APPROACH

    EPA Science Inventory

    Two of the primary factors complicating DOEs need to address vadose zone contamination are the natural heterogeneity or spatial variability of soils and sediments, and the difficulty of characterizing this variability at a sufficiently small scale. Much of the uncertainty in pre...

  10. ESTIMATION OF INFILTRATION RATE IN THE VADOSE ZONE: COMPILATION OF SIMPLE MATHEMATICAL MODELS - VOLUME I

    EPA Science Inventory

    The unsaturated or vadose zone provides a complex system for the simulation of water movement and contaminant transport and fate. Numerous models are available for performing simulations related to the movement of water. There exists extensive documentation of these models. Ho...

  11. AN EXACT SOLUTION FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF NONEQUILIBRIUM SORPTION OF RADIONUCLIDES IN THE VADOSE ZONE

    EPA Science Inventory

    In a report on model evaluation, the authors ran the HYDRUS Code, among other transport codes, to evaluate the impacts of nonequilibrium sorption sites on the time-evolution of 99Tc and 90Sr through the vadose zone. Since our evaluation was based on a rather low, annual recharge...

  12. Impact of CO2 Intrusion into USDWs, the Vadose Zone, and Indoor Air

    EPA Science Inventory

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Water Research Program in the Office of Research and Development is conducting research to better detect and quantify leakage into USDWs, the vadose zone, the atmosphere, and buildings. Research in this initiative is focused in thr...

  13. ESTIMATION OF INFILTRATION RATE IN THE VADOSE ZONE: APPLICATION OF SELECTED MATHEMATICAL MODELS - VOLUME II

    EPA Science Inventory

    Movement of water into and through the vadose zone is of great importance to the assessment of contaminant fate and transport, agricultural management, and natural resource protection. The process of water movement is very dynamic, changing dramatically over time and space. Inf...

  14. THE USE OF RADAR METHODS TO DETERMINE MOISTURE CONTENT IN THE VADOSE ZONE

    EPA Science Inventory

    Moisture content is a critical parameter affecting both liquid-phase and vapor-phase contaminant transport in the vadose zone. This means that accurate estimates of in situ moisture content must be obtained in order to design for the appropriate handling or remediation of a cont...

  15. The Use of Radar Methods to Determine Moisture Content in the Vadose Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Knight, Rosemary

    2002-06-01

    Moisture content is a critical parameter affecting both liquid-phase and vapor-phase contaminant transport in the vadose zone. The objective of our three-year research project is to determine the optimal way to use radar methods as a non-invasive means of determining in situ moisture content.

  16. Characterization of Direct Push Vadose Zone Sediments from the 241-U Single-Shell Tank Farm

    SciTech Connect

    Brown, Christopher F.; Valenta, Michelle M.; Serne, R. Jeffrey; Bjornstad, Bruce N.; Lanigan, David C.; Iovin, Cristian; Clayton, Ray E.; Geiszler, Keith N.; Clayton, Eric T.; Kutnyakov, Igor V.; Baum, Steven R.; Lindberg, Michael J.; Orr, Robert D.

    2007-12-20

    The overall goals of the Tank Farm Vadose Zone Project, led by CH2M HILL Hanford Group, Inc., are 1) to define risks from past and future single-shell tank farm activities, 2) to identify and evaluate the efficacy of interim measures, and 3) to aid, via collection of geochemical information and data, the future decisions that must be made by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) regarding the near-term operations, future waste retrieval, and final closure activities for the single-shell tank Waste Management Areas (WMAs). For a more complete discussion of the goals of the Tank Farm Vadose Zone Project, see the overall work plan, Phase 1 RCRA Facility Investigation/Corrective Measures Study Work Plan for the Single-Shell Tank Waste Management Areas (DOE 1999). Specific details on the rationale for activities performed at WMA U are found in Crumpler (2003). To meet these goals, CH2M HILL Hanford Group, Inc., asked scientists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to perform detailed analyses of vadose zone sediment collected within the U Single-Shell Tank Farm. Specifically, this report contains all the geochemical and selected physical characterization data collected on vadose zone sediment recovered from ten direct push characterization holes emplaced to investigate vadose zone contamination associated with potential leaks within the 241-U Single-Shell Tank Farm. Specific tanks targeted during this characterization campaign included tanks 241-U-104/241-U-105, 241-U-110, and 241-U-112. Additionally, this report compiles data from direct push samples collected north of tank 241-U-201, as well as sediment collected from the background borehole (C3393). After evaluating all the characterization and analytical data, there is no question that the vadose zone in the vicinity of tanks 241-U-104 and 241-U-105 has been contaminated by tank-related waste. This observation is not new, as gamma logging of drywells in the area has identified uranium contamination at the

  17. Remediation Technologies Screening Report for the Deep Vadose Zone, Hanford's Central Plateau - 12414

    SciTech Connect

    Doornbos, Martin; Morse, John

    2012-07-01

    Deep Vadose Zone contamination is a significant issue because it represents a potential source for continued release of contamination to the groundwater and associated receptors. This contamination, which is the result of past waste disposal practices on the Hanford Site Central Plateau, occurs deep in the subsurface and is not easily remediated by typical surface remedies. The Deep Vadose Zone is defined as the sediment below the limit of typical surface-based remedies (such as, excavation or caps), but above the water table. The Central Plateau Deep Vadose Zone begins at a depth of approximately 15 m (50 ft) below ground surface and extends to a depth of approximately 76 m (250 ft) below ground surface. Cleanup of the Deep Vadose Zone is challenging because contamination is difficult to access and expensive to characterize; contaminants occur at different depths and soil types; conventional, surface-based remedies have limited effectiveness; and remedy performance is difficult to predict, test, and monitor. Typically, remedial technologies for Deep Vadose Zone contamination are less developed than for the shallow soil contamination or saturated groundwater contaminants. In addition, few remediation technologies have been tested in the field, and fewer still have been successfully implemented as full remedial actions. These challenges, along with the limited number of potentially applicable remediation technologies, complicate the decision-making process for evaluating and selecting Deep Vadose Zone remedial alternatives. The Deep Vadose Zone remediation technologies pre-screening involved a comprehensive review of potentially applicable technologies for remediating Deep Vadose Zone contamination in the Hanford Site's Central Plateau. The list of remediation technologies was developed from previous Hanford Site studies, science and technology databases, as well as other cleanup projects across the country that have similar conditions. The list of remediation

  18. Bioremediation of RDX in the vadose zone beneath the Pantex Plant

    SciTech Connect

    Shull, T.L.; Speitel, G.E. Jr.; McKinney, D.C.

    1999-01-01

    The presence of dissolved high explosives (HE), in particular RDX and HMX, is well documented in the perched aquifer beneath the Pantex Plant, but the distribution of HE in the vadose zone has not yet been well defined. Although current remediation activities focus on the contamination in the perched aquifer, eventually regulatory concern is likely to turn to the residual contamination in the vadose zone. Sources of HE include the infiltration of past wastewater discharges from several HE-processing facilities through the ditch drainage system and leachate from former Landfill 3. With limited existing data on the HE distribution in the vadose zone and without preventive action, it must be assumed that residual HE could be leached into infiltrating water, providing a continuing supply of contamination to the perched aquifer. The purpose of this project was to more closely examine the fate and transport of HE in the vadose zone through mathematical modeling and laboratory experimentation. In particular, this report focuses on biodegradation as one possible fate of HE. Biodegradation of RDX in the vadose zone was studied because it is both present in highest concentration and is likely to be of the greatest regulatory concern. This study had several objectives: determine if indigenous soil organisms are capable of RDX biodegradation; determine the impact of electron acceptor availability and nutrient addition on RDX biodegradation; determine the extent of RDX mineralization (i.e., conversion to inorganic carbon) during biodegradation; and estimate the kinetics of RDX biodegradation to provide information for mathematical modeling of fate and transport.

  19. Biotic and Abiotic Transformation of a Volatile Organics Plume in a Semi-Arid Vadose Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Studer, J.E.; Singletary, M.A.; Miller, D.R.

    1999-04-08

    An evaluation of biotic and abiotic attenuation processes potentially important to chlorinated and non-chlorinated volatile organic compound (VOC) fate and transport in the 148 meter thick vadose zone beneath the Chemical Waste Landfill (CWL) was conducted. A unique feature of this evaluation is the comparison of two estimates of VOC mass present in the soil gas, pore-water, and solid phases (but not including mass as non-aqueous phase liquid [NAPL]) of the vadose zone in 1993. One estimate, 1,800 kg, was obtained from vadose zone transport modeling that incorporated molecular diffusion and volatilization to the atmosphere, but not biotic or chemical processes. The other estimate, 2,120 kg, was obtained from the sum of VOC mass physically removed during soil vapor extraction and an estimate of VOC mass remaining in the vadose zone in 1998, both adjusted to exclude NAPL mass. This comparison indicates that biogeochemical processes were at best slightly important to historical VOC plume development. Some evidence of aerobic degradation of non-chlorinated VOCs and abiotic transformation of 1,1,1-Trichloroethane was identified. Despite potentially amenable site conditions, no evidence was found of cometabolic and anaerobic transformation pathways. Relying principally on soil-gas analytical results, an upper-bound estimate of 21% mass reduction due to natural biogeochemical processes was developed. Although available information for the CWL indicates that natural attenuation processes other than volatilization to the atmosphere did not effective y enhance groundwater protection, these processes could be important in significantly reducing groundwater contamination and exposure risks at other sites. More laboratory and field research is required to improve our collective ability to characterize and exploit natural VOC attenuation processes, especially with respect to the combination of relatively thick and dry vadose zones and chlorinated VOCs.

  20. Vadose Zone Monitoring as a Key to Groundwater Protection from Pollution Hazard

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dahan, Ofer

    2016-04-01

    Minimization subsurface pollution is much dependent on the capability to provide real-time information on the chemical and hydrological properties of the percolating water. Today, most monitoring programs are based on observation wells that enable data acquisitions from the saturated part of the subsurface. Unfortunately, identification of pollutants in well water is clear evidence that the contaminants already crossed the entire vadose-zone and accumulated in the aquifer water to detectable concentration. Therefore, effective monitoring programs that aim at protecting groundwater from pollution hazard should include vadose zone monitoring technologies that are capable to provide real-time information on the chemical composition of the percolating water. Obviously, identification of pollution process in the vadose zone may provide an early warning on potential risk to groundwater quality, long before contaminates reach the water-table and accumulate in the aquifers. Since productive agriculture must inherently include down leaching of excess lower quality water, understanding the mechanisms controlling transport and degradation of pollutants in the unsaturated is crucial for water resources management. A vadose-zone monitoring system (VMS), which was specially developed to enable continuous measurements of the hydrological and chemical properties of percolating water, was used to assess the impact of various agricultural setups on groundwater quality, including: (a) intensive organic and conventional greenhouses, (b) citrus orchard and open field crops , and (c) dairy farms. In these applications frequent sampling of vadose zone water for chemical and isotopic analysis along with continuous measurement of water content was used to assess the link between agricultural setups and groundwater pollution potential. Transient data on variation in water content along with solute breakthrough at multiple depths were used to calibrate flow and transport models. These models

  1. Borehole time domain reflectometry in layered sandstone: Impact of measurement technique on vadose zone process identification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jared West, L.; Truss, Steven W.

    2006-03-01

    The hydraulic behaviour of the vadose zone of a layered sandstone aquifer has been investigated using borehole-based Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR). Both a commercially available portable packer TDR system (TRIME-B3L Borehole Packer Probe) and specially designed borehole-emplaced TDR probes were used to monitor seasonal fluctuations in water content in the vadose zone of a layered sandstone over 1 year under natural rainfall loading. The data show that the vadose zone contains seasonal perched water tables that form when downward percolating water reaches layers of fine grained sandstone and siltstone and causes local saturation. The formation of perched water tables is likely to lead to lateral flow bypassing the less permeable, finer layers. This contrasts with behaviour inferred from previous studies of the same aquifer that used borehole radar and resistivity, which suggested its vadose zone behaviour was characterized by uniform downwards migration of wetting fronts. To investigate the impact of measurement technique on observed response, the TDR data reported here were used to produce simulated zero offset profile (ZOP) borehole radar responses. This simulation confirmed the limited ability of ZOP borehole radar to detect key vadose zone processes, because the phenomenon of critical refraction minimizes the sensitivity of the results to high water content layers. The ability of the resistivity method to detect perched water table responses is also limited, because of the relatively large sampling volume of the technique. The study illustrates that inappropriate technique selection results in hydrological process mis-identification, with serious consequences for the usefulness of data in hydrological modeling.

  2. Microbial Ecology of the Vadose Zone in the Vicinity of Residual Crude-Oil Contamination

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bekins, B. A.; Godsy, E. M.; Warren, E.; Hostettler, F. D.

    2001-05-01

    We characterized the microbial population in an 8-meter-thick, hydrocarbon-contaminated vadose zone using Most Probable Number (MPN) estimates for four physiologic types: aerobes, heterotrophic fermenters, iron-reducers and methanogens. The site is a surficial sand and gravel aquifer near Bemidji, MN, that was contaminated in 1979 when crude oil infiltrated the subsurface from a broken pipeline. Substantial liquid and vapor-phase petroleum hydrocarbons remain in the vadose zone. We examined three vadose-zone profiles located in: 1) the residual oil, 2) a vapor-contaminated area, and 3) the capillary fringe above the contaminated aquifer. In the residual oil ~100 methanogens per gram dry weight of sediment (g-1) are present throughout the profile, and fermenter numbers g-1 are 10,000 times those of iron-reducers, suggesting that methanogenesis is now the dominant degradation process. Analyses of extracted oil from these sediments show that substantial degradation of C15 -C35 n-alkanes has occurred since 1983. Moreover, gas concentration measurements indicate that methane production in this location has been active since at least 1986, raising the possibility that significant degradation of C15 and higher n-alkanes has occurred under methanogenic conditions. In the vapor-contaminated profile, aerobe numbers g-1 are 10,000 times higher than uncontaminated background values. Methanotrophic activity also was detected in laboratory incubations of these sediments. Apparently, a substantial microbial population has developed that is supported by the hydrocarbon vapors and methane. Downgradient from the oil, where groundwater is contaminated but no hydrocarbon vapors are detected, fermenter and aerobe numbers g-1 above the capillary fringe match those of uncontaminated sediments (100-1,000 g-1). Within the capillary fringe, numbers increase rapidly with depth to values typically found in the contaminated saturated zone. In the vadose zone profiles with significant

  3. Evaluating Contaminant Flux from the Vadose Zone to the Groundwater in the Hanford Central Plateau. SX Tank Farms Case Study

    SciTech Connect

    Truex, Michael J.; Oostrom, Martinus; Last, George V.; Strickland, Christopher E.; Tartakovsky, Guzel D.

    2015-09-01

    At the DOE Hanford Site, contaminants were discharged to the subsurface through engineered waste sites in the Hanford Central Plateau. Additional waste was released through waste storage tank leaks. Much of the contaminant inventory is still present within the unsaturated vadose zone sediments. The nature and extent of future groundwater contaminant plumes and the growth or decline of current groundwater plumes beneath the Hanford Central Plateau are a function of the contaminant flux from the vadose zone to the groundwater. In general, contaminant transport is slow through the vadose zone and it is difficult to directly measure contaminant flux in the vadose zone. Predictive analysis, supported by site characterization and monitoring data, was applied using a structured, systems-based approach to estimate the future contaminant flux to groundwater in support of remediation decisions for the vadose zone and groundwater (Truex and Carroll 2013). The SX Tank Farm was used as a case study because of the existing contaminant inventory in the vadose zone, observations of elevated moisture content in portions of the vadose zone, presence of a limited-extent groundwater plume, and the relatively large amount and wide variety of data available for the site. Although the SX Tank Farm case study is most representative of conditions at tank farm sites, the study has elements that are also relevant to other types of disposal sites in the Hanford Central Plateau.

  4. Soil Flushing Through a Thick Vadose Zone: Perchlorate Removal Documented at Edwards AFB, California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Battey, T. F.; Shepard, A. J.; Tait, R. J.

    2007-12-01

    There are currently few viable alternatives for perchlorate remediation in the vadose zone, particularly for the relatively thick vadose zones that are typical in the arid southwest where many perchlorate sites occur. Perchlorate in the vadose zone occurs in the form of highly soluble salts that may represent a risk to human or ecological receptors, and may also represent a threat to the underlying groundwater. A soil flushing treatability study was conducted at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert of southern California at a site with a 129-foot thick vadose zone consisting primarily of clayey sand. This study utilized an infiltration gallery in conjunction with extraction, treatment, and re-injection of groundwater at the site, which contained perchlorate-contaminated soil and groundwater. The study objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of the infiltration gallery to 1) introduce treated groundwater back into the aquifer and 2) wash the perchlorate from the vadose zone soils to the aquifer. The infiltration gallery consisted of slotted PVC pipes within a highly permeable engineered bed of washed gravel. The initial water introduced into the gallery was amended with potassium bromide tracer. A downhole neutron probe was used to track the movement of the wetting front downward and outward from the gallery. Successive neutron measurements in vertical access tubes revealed that the introduced water reached the 125-foot bottom of the access tubes 14 weeks after the water was introduced into the gallery. The bromide tracer was detected in groundwater immediately below the gallery approximately 1 week later. The infiltration gallery was able to sustain an average flow rate of 2.3 gallons per minute. Prior to infiltration, the perchlorate concentration in groundwater below the gallery was 4,500 µg/L. Approximately 18 weeks after the start of infiltration, a perchlorate spike of 72,400 µg/L was detected below the gallery. The increase in perchlorate

  5. Analysis of vadose zone tritium transport from an underground storage tank release using numerical modeling and geostatistics

    SciTech Connect

    Lee, K.H.

    1997-09-01

    Numerical and geostatistical analyses show that the artificial smoothing effect of kriging removes high permeability flow paths from hydrogeologic data sets, reducing simulated contaminant transport rates in heterogeneous vadose zone systems. therefore, kriging alone is not recommended for estimating the spatial distribution of soil hydraulic properties for contaminant transport analysis at vadose zone sites. Vadose zone transport if modeled more effectively by combining kriging with stochastic simulation to better represent the high degree of spatial variability usually found in the hydraulic properties of field soils. However, kriging is a viable technique for estimating the initial mass distribution of contaminants in the subsurface.

  6. MANAGEMENT ZONE ANALYST (MZA): SOFTWARE FOR SUB-FIELD MANAGEMENT ZONE DELINEATION

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Producers using site-specific crop management (SSCM) have a need for strategies to delineate areas within fields that management can be tailored for. These areas are often referred to as "management zones." Quick and automated procedures are desirable for creating management zones and for testing ...

  7. Conception of vadose zone research in the area of Goczałkowice reservoir.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Czekaj, Joanna; Trepka, Kamil

    2013-09-01

    Goczałkowice reservoir is one of the main source of drinking water for Upper Silesia Region. In reference to Water Frame Directive matter since 2010 the strategic research project: "Integrated system supporting management and protection of dammed reservoir (ZiZoZap)”, which is being conducted on Goczałkowice reservoir, has been pursued. In the framework of this project complex groundwater monitoring is carried on. One aspect is vadose zone research, conducted to obtain information about changes in chemical composition of infiltrating water and mass transport within this zone. Based on historical data and the structural model of direct catchment of Goczałkowice reservoir location of the vadose zone research site was selected. At the end of November 2012 specially designed lysimeter was installed with 10 MacroRhizon samplers at each lithological variation in unsaturated zone. This lysimeter, together with nested observation wells, located in the direct proximity, create the vadose zone research site which main aim is specifying the amount of nitrate transport in the vertical profile.

  8. Field-Scale Assessment of Desiccation Implementation for Deep Vadose Zone Contaminants

    SciTech Connect

    Truex, Michael J.; Oostrom, Martinus; Strickland, Christopher E.; Chronister, Glen B.; Benecke, Mark W.; Johnson, Christian D.

    2012-11-01

    Desiccation of the vadose zone has the potential to reduce the flux of contaminants to underlying groundwater by removing moisture and decreasing the aqueous-phase permeability of the desiccated zone. However, data to evaluate implementation of desiccation are needed to enable consideration of desiccation as a potential remedy. Implementation of desiccation was field tested by injecting dry nitrogen gas to a target treatment zone and monitoring the spatial and temporal progress of the drying process. Aqueous waste discharges to disposal cribs approximately 50 years ago distributed water and contaminants, including primarily technetium-99 and nitrate, within the 100-m deep vadose zone at the test site. A field test location was selected adjacent to one of the former disposal cribs. The test was conducted in a contaminated portion of the vadose zone dominated by fine sands with lenses of silt material. Desiccation reduced volumetric moisture content to as low as 0.01. The lateral and vertical distribution of drying from the injection well was influenced by the subsurface heterogeneity. However, over time, desiccation occurred in the initially wetter, lower permeability lenses.

  9. Advanced Remedial Methods for Metals and Radionuclides in Vadose Zone Environments

    SciTech Connect

    Wellman, Dawn M.; Mattigod, Shas V.; Hubbard, Susan; Miracle, Ann L.; Zhong, Lirong; Foote, Martin; Wu, Yuxin; Jansik, Danielle P.

    2010-10-03

    Functionally, the methods for addressing contamination must remove and/or reduce transport or toxicity of contaminants. This problem is particularly challenging in arid environments where the vadose zone can be up to hundreds of feet thick, rendering transitional excavation methods exceedingly costly and ineffective. Delivery of remedial amendments is one of the most challenging and critical aspects for all remedy-based approaches. The conventional approach for delivery is through injection of aqueous remedial solutions. However, heterogeneous vadose zone environments present hydrologic and geochemical challenges that limit the effectiveness. Because the flow of solution infiltration is dominantly controlled by gravity and suction, injected liquid preferentially percolates through highly permeable pathways, by-passing low-permeability zones which frequently contain the majority of the contamination. Moreover, the wetting front can readily mobilize and enhance contaminant transport to underlying aquifers prior to stabilization. Development of innovative, in-situ technologies may be the only way to meet remedial action objectives and long-term stewardship goals. Shear-thinning fluids (i.e., surfactants) can be used to lower the liquid surface tension and create stabile foams, which readily penetrate low permeability zones. Although surfactant foams have been utilized for subsurface mobilization efforts in the oil and gas industry, so far, the concept of using foams as a delivery mechanism for transporting reactive remedial amendments into deep vadose zone environments to stabilize metal and long-lived radionuclide contaminants has not been explored. Foam flow can be directed by pressure gradients, rather than being dominated by gravity; and, foam delivery mechanisms limit the volume of water (< 20% vol.) required for remedy delivery and emplacement, thus mitigating contaminant mobilization. We will present the results of a numerical modeling and integrated laboratory

  10. Advanced Remedial Methods for Metals and Radionuclides in Vadose Zone Environments

    SciTech Connect

    Wellman, Dawn M.; Mattigod, Shas V.; Hubbard, Susan S.; Miracle, Ann L.; Zhong, Lirong; Foote, Martin W.; Wu, Yuxin; Jansik, Danielle P.

    2012-02-03

    Functionally, the methods for addressing contamination must remove and/or reduce transport or toxicity of contaminants. This problem is particularly challenging in arid environments where the vadose zone can be up to hundreds of feet thick, rendering transitional excavation methods exceedingly costly and ineffective. Delivery of remedial amendments is one of the most challenging and critical aspects for all remedy-based approaches. The conventional approach for delivery is through injection of aqueous remedial solutions. However, heterogeneous vadose zone environments present hydrologic and geochemical challenges that limit the effectiveness. Because the flow of solution infiltration is dominantly controlled by gravity and suction, injected liquid preferentially percolates through highly permeable pathways, bypassing low-permeability zones which frequently contain the majority of the contamination. Moreover, the wetting front can readily mobilize and enhance contaminant transport to underlying aquifers prior to stabilization. Development of innovative, in-situ technologies may be the only way to meet remedial action objectives and long-term stewardship goals. Shear-thinning fluids (i.e., surfactants) can be used to lower the liquid surface tension and create stabile foams, which readily penetrate low permeability zones. Although surfactant foams have been utilized for subsurface mobilization efforts in the oil and gas industry, so far, the concept of using foams as a delivery mechanism for transporting reactive remedial amendments into deep vadose zone environments to stabilize metal and long-lived radionuclide contaminants has not been explored. Foam flow can be directed by pressure gradients rather than being dominated by gravity, and, foam delivery mechanisms limit the volume of water (< 20% vol.) required for remedy delivery and emplacement, thus mitigating contaminant mobilization. We will present the results of an integrated laboratory- / intermediate

  11. Time lag estimates for nitrate travel through the vadose zone in Southland, New Zealand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilson, Scott; Chanut, Pierre; Ledgard, George; Rissmann, Clint

    2014-05-01

    A regional-scale study was carried out to calculate the travel time of a nitrate particle from the ground surface into shallow groundwater. The aim of the study was to obtain preliminary answers to two questions. Firstly, if leaching limits are set, how long would it take to see an improvement in shallow groundwater quality? Secondly, have groundwater nitrate concentrations reached equilibrium from recent dairy expansion in the region, or could we expect future increases? We applied a methodology that provides a balance between the detail and generalisation that is required for a regional-scale study. Steady-state advective transport through the vadose zone was modelled with water retention curves. These curves enable an estimate of the average volumetric water content of the vadose zone. The percentage saturation can then be used to calculate the vadose zone transit time if effective porosity, depth to the water table and annual average soil drainage are known. A time for mixing in the uppermost part of the aquifer has also been calculated. Two different vadose zone water retention curve models were used for comparison, the Brooks-Corey (1964), and the Van Genuchten (1980) methods. The water retention curves were parameterised by sediment texture via the Rawls and Brakensiek (1985) pedotransfer functions. Hydraulic properties were derived by positioning sediment textural descriptions on the Folk textural triangle, estimates of effective porosity from literature, and hydraulic conductivity values from aquifer tests. Uncertainty of parameter estimates was included by assigning standard deviations and appropriate probability distributions. Vadose zone saturation was modelled at 6,450 sites across the region with a Monte Carlo simulation involving 10,000 realisations. This generated a probability distribution of saturation for each site. Average volumetric water content of the vadose zone ranged from 8.5 to 40.7 % for the Brooks-Corey model and 12.9 to 36.3% for the

  12. Deep Vadose Zone-Applied Field Research Initiative Fiscal Year 2011 Annual Report

    SciTech Connect

    Wellman, Dawn M.; Johnson, Timothy C.; Smith, Ronald M.; Truex, Michael J.; Matthews, Hope E.

    2011-10-01

    This annual report describes the background of the Deep Vadose Zone-Applied Field Research Initiative, and some of the programmatic approaches and transformational technologies in groundwater and deep vadose zone remediation developed during fiscal year 2011. The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Technology Innovation and Development's (OTID) mission is to transform science into viable solutions for environmental cleanup. In 2010, OTID developed the Impact Plan, Science and Technology to Reduce the Life Cycle Cost of Closure to outline the benefits of research and development of the lifecycle cost of cleanup across the DOE complex. This plan outlines OTID's ability to reduce by $50 billion, the $200 billion life-cycle cost in waste processing, groundwater and soil, nuclear materials, and deactivation and decommissioning. The projected life-cycle costs and return on investment are based on actual savings realized from technology innovation, development, and insertion into remedial strategies and schedules at the Fernald, Mound, and Ashtabula sites. To achieve our goals, OTID developed Applied Field Research Initiatives to facilitate and accelerate collaborative development and implementation of new tools and approaches that reduce risk, cost and time for site closure. The primary mission of the Deep Vadose Zone-Applied Field Research Initiative (DVZ-AFRI) is to protect our nation's water resources, keeping them clean and safe for future generations. The DVZ-AFRI was established for the DOE to develop effective, science-based solutions for remediating, characterizing, monitoring, and predicting the behavior and fate of deep vadose zone contamination. Subsurface contaminants include radionuclides, metals, organics, and liquid waste that originated from various sources, including legacy waste from the nation's nuclear weapons complexes. The DVZ-AFRI project team is translating strategy into action by working to solve these complex challenges in a collaborative

  13. Research Plan: Foam Delivery of Remedial Amendments to Deep Vadose Zone for Metals and Radionuclides Remediation

    SciTech Connect

    Zhong, Lirong; Hart, Andrea T.; Szecsody, James E.; Zhang, Z. F.; Freedman, Vicky L.; Ankeny, Mark; Hull, Laurence; Oostrom, Martinus; Freshley, Mark D.; Wellman, Dawn M.

    2009-01-16

    Research proposals were submitted to the Scientific and Technical Basis for In Situ Treatment of Metals and Radionuclides Technical Working Group under the US Department of Energy (DOE) Environmental Management Office (specifically, EM-22). After a peer review and selection process, the proposal, “Foam Delivery of Remedial Amendments to Deep Vadose Zone for Metals and Radionuclides Remediation,” submitted by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) was selected for support by the program. A research plan was requested for this EM funded project. The overall objective of this project is to develop foam delivery technology for the distribution of remedial amendments to deep vadose zone sediments for in situ immobilization of metal and radionuclide contaminants. The focus of this research in FY 2009 is on the physical aspects of the foam delivery approach. Specific objectives are to 1) study the foam quality (i.e. the gas volume fraction in foam) influence on injection pressure, 2) study the sediment air permeability influence on injection pressure, 3) investigate liquid uptake in sediment and determine whether a water front will be formed during foam delivery, 4) test amendment distance (and mass) delivery by foam from the injection point, 5) study the enhanced sweeping over heterogeneous systems (i.e., low K zones) by foam delivery relative to water-based delivery under vadose zone conditions, and 6) numerically simulate foam delivery processes in the vadose zone. Laboratory scale experiments will be conducted at PNNL to study a range of basic physical aspects of the foam propagation in sediments, including foam quality and sediment permeability influence on injection pressure, liquid uptake, and foam sweeping across heterogeneous systems. This study will be augmented with separate studies to be conducted at MSE Technology Applications, Inc. (MSE) to evaluate foam transport and amendment delivery at the intermediate-scale. The results of intermediate

  14. Vadose-zone recharge and weathering in an Eocene sand deposit, East Texas, U.S.A.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dutton, A. R.

    1990-03-01

    Weathering of terrigenous sand in the vadose zone of the Eocene Calvert Bluff Formation in Freestone County, Texas, appears to be controlled by vadose-water flow rate and kinetics of dissolution and precipitation of silicate minerals. Feldspar grains more commonly appear corroded by surface-reaction-controlled dissolution than argillized in situ. Kaolinite and smectite, which most likely precipitated from silica-rich vadose water, coat remaining framework grains. Where those grains are later dissolved, delicate clay molds remain. The relative abundances of feldspar and clay minerals are inversely related and vary with depth, reflecting the cumulative effect of feldspar weathering. Concentrations of dissolved and adsorbed cations generally are near massaction equilibrium. Recharge occurs from March to May (spring) and from October to November (autumn) when there is a net excess of water in the vadose zone. Dissolved ionic concentrations fluctuate seasonally with vadose-water residence time, suggesting that mass flux is close to mineral dissolution rate.

  15. Ocean-outfall mixing zone delineation using Doppler radar

    SciTech Connect

    Chin, D.A.; Ding, L.; Huang, H.

    1997-12-01

    A methodology has been developed to use data collected by ocean surface current radar (OSCR) systems to predict the fate and transport of pollutants released from ocean outfalls. The proposed OSCR-based transport model was validated at the Miami Central-District (MCD) outfall using data collected during the Southeast Florida Outfall Experiment 2 (SEFLOE 2). A comparison between the measured dye concentration versus distance from the outfall and the predictions of the OSCR-based transport model showed good agreement. A second validation test of the OSCR-based transport model compared the growth of variance versus time and diffusion coefficients versus length scale with the conventional Okubo diagrams for instantaneous tracer releases. This comparison indicated that the mixing characteristics simulated explicitly by the OSCR-based transport model are in good agreement with field measurements in the coastal ocean. Mixing zones based on worst-case and probabilistic criteria were delineated using the OSCR-based model. The results indicate that an OSCR-based transport model is a significant improvement over conventional models that are used to delineate mixing zones surrounding ocean outfalls with surfacing plumes. This claim is strongly supported by the field data collected during the SEFLOE 2 study in south Florida.

  16. Microbial Populations Associated with Phosphate-Mediated Vadose Zone Sequestration of Strontium and Uranium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wu, C. H.; Chou, J.; Fujita, Y.; Bill, M.; Brodie, E. L.; Andersen, G. L.; Hazen, T. C.; Conrad, M. S.

    2007-12-01

    Significant quantities of metals and radionuclides are contained in thick unsaturated zones at several contaminated sites in the western US. In many cases, this contamination has migrated to underlying groundwater, sometimes decades after being released into the subsurface. Because of the prohibitive costs associated with physically removing the contamination, an attractive remedy to this problem is to develop methods for long-term in situ stabilization of the contamination in the vadose zone. Our research focuses on developing a method of introducing gaseous compounds to stimulate precipitation of stable phosphate mineral phases in the vadose zone to immobilize soluble contaminants thus minimizing further transport to groundwater. Preliminary studies have demonstrated that biological precipitation of phosphate minerals can be stimulated under unsaturated conditions by injection of triethyl phosphate (TEP) gas. Microorganisms hydrolyze TEP, releasing inorganic phosphate, catalyzing the precipitation of metals and radionuclide-containing phosphate minerals. Our initial results demonstrate that a mixed culture of aerobic microorganisms from vadose zone sediments, enriched with TEP, produce significantly higher concentrations of inorganic phosphate than the no TEP control. A high-density microarray (PhyloChip) capable of detecting up to 9,000 prokaryotic taxa will be used to identify the microbial community composition of the enriched culture. In addition, the metabolically active organisms will be investigated through extraction and hybridization of ribosomal RNA. Organisms capable of hydrolyzing TEP to inorganic phosphate will be further characterized to determine the requirements for aerobic microbially-mediated radionuclide immobilization. The chemical and isotopic compositions of the reactants and products will be measured to enable in situ monitoring of microbial TEP utilization. The result of these studies will be the basis for unsaturated column experiments

  17. Biodegradation of chlorobenzene, 1,2-dichlorobenzene, and 1,4-dichlorobenzene in the vadose zone.

    PubMed

    Kurt, Zohre; Spain, Jim C

    2013-07-01

    Much of the microbial activity in nature takes place at interfaces, which are often associated with redox discontinuities. One example is the oxic/anoxic interface where polluted groundwater interacts with the overlying vadose zone. We tested whether microbes in the vadose zone can use synthetic chemicals as electron donors and thus protect the overlying air and buildings from groundwater pollutants. Samples from the vadose zone of a site contaminated with chlorobenzene (CB), 1,2-dichlorobenzene (12DCB), and 1,4-dichlorobenzene (14DCB) were packed in a multiport column to simulate the interface of the vadose zone with an underlying groundwater plume. A mixture of CB, 12DCB, and 14DCB in anoxic water was pumped continuously through the bottom of column to an outlet below the first sampling port to create an oxic/anoxic interface and a capillary fringe. Removal to below the detection limits by rapid biodegradation with rates of 21 ± 1 mg of CB • m(-2) • d(-1), 3.7 ± 0.5 mg of 12DCB • m(-2) • d(-1), and 7.4 ± 0.7 mg of 1.4 DCB • m(-2) • d(-1) indicated that natural attenuation in the capillary fringe can prevent the migration of CB, 12DCB, and 14DCB vapors. Enumeration of bacteria capable of degrading chlorobenzenes suggested that most of the biodegradation takes place within the first 10 cm above the saturated zone. Biodegradation also increased the upward flux of contaminants and thus enhanced their elimination from the underlying water. The results revealed a substantial biodegradation capacity for chlorinated aromatic compounds at the oxic/anoxic interface and illustrate the role of microbes in creating steep redox gradients. PMID:23473240

  18. SPECTROSCOPIC AND MICROSCOPIC CHARACTERIZATION OF CONTAMINANT UPTAKE AND RETENTION BY CARBONATES IN SOILS AND VADOSE ZONE SEDIMENTS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The release and migration of toxic metals and radionuclides within the subsurface and vadose zones at various sites over the DOE Complex pose serious technological challenges for remediation. The design and implementation of cost-effective remediation strategies require knowledg...

  19. Installation of Water Flux Meters to Measure the Temporal Variation in Water Flux Through the Vadose Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Nichols, R.L.

    2003-01-15

    The Savannah River Site has implemented a comprehensive vadose zone monitoring system at it's low level radioactive waste disposal facility in E-Area. The VSMS consists of nests of advanced tesiometers, water content reflectometers, suction lysimeters.

  20. A macroscopic relationship for preferential flow in the vadose zone: Theory and Validation

    SciTech Connect

    Liu, H.H.; Zhang, R.D.

    2010-02-15

    Preferential flow commonly observed in unsaturated soils allows rapid movement of solute from the ground surface or vadose zone to the groundwater, bypassing a significant volume of unsaturated soil and increasing the risk of groundwater contamination. A variety of evidence indicates that complex preferential flow patterns observed from fields are fractals. This paper discusses a macroscopic rela-tionship for modeling preferential flow in the vadose zone. Conceptually, the flow domain can be di-vided into active and inactive regions. Flow occurs preferentially in the active region (characterized by fractals), and inactive region is simply bypassed. The portion of the active region was found to be a power function of saturation. The validity of this macroscopic relationship is demonstrated by its consistency with field observations and the related numerical experiments.

  1. Experimental and Numerical Investigations of Soil Desiccation for Vadose Zone Remediation: Report for Fiscal Year 2007

    SciTech Connect

    Ward, Andy L.; Oostrom, Mart; Bacon, Diana H.

    2008-02-04

    Apart from source excavation, the options available for the remediation of vadose zone metal and radionuclide contaminants beyond the practical excavation depth (0 to 15 m) are quite limited. Of the available technologies, very few are applicable to the deep vadose zone with the top-ranked candidate being soil desiccation. An expert panel review of the work on infiltration control and supplemental technologies identified a number of knowledge gaps that would need to be overcome before soil desiccation could be deployed. The report documents some of the research conducted in the last year to fill these knowledge gaps. This work included 1) performing intermediate-scale laboratory flow cell experiments to demonstrate the desiccation process, 2) implementing a scalable version of Subsurface Transport Over Multiple Phases–Water-Air-Energy (STOMP-WAE), and 3) performing numerical experiments to identify the factors controlling the performance of a desiccation system.

  2. The Use of Radar Methods to Determine Moisture Content in the Vadose Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Rosemary Knight

    2003-12-28

    Water content is a critical parameter affecting both liquid-phase and vapor-phase contaminant transport in the vadose zone. This means that accurate estimate of in situ water content must be obtained in order to design for the appropriate handling or remediation of a contaminated region of the vadose zone. Traditional methods of sampling the subsurface by drilling and/or direct sampling are very time consuming, limited in terms of spatial coverage, and have the associated risk of contacting and increasing the size of the contaminated area. One solution is to use geophysical methods which can provide a high-resolution, non-invasive means of sampling or imagin the subsurface.

  3. A comprehensive analysis of contaminant transport in the vadose zone beneath tank SX-109

    SciTech Connect

    Ward, A.L.; Gee, G.W.; White, M.D.

    1997-02-01

    The Vadose Zone Characterization Project is currently investigating the subsurface distribution of gamma-emitting radionuclides in S and SX Waste Management Area (WMA-S-SX) located in the 200 West Area of the US Department of Energy`s Hanford Site in southeastern Washington State. Spectral-gamma logging of boreholes has detected elevated {sup 137}Cs concentrations as deep as 38 m, a depth considered excessive based on the assumed geochemistry of {sup 137}Cs in Hanford sediments. Routine groundwater sampling under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) have also detected elevated levels of site-specific contaminants downgradient of WMA-S-SX. The objective of this report is to explore the processes controlling the migration of {sup 137}Cs, {sup 99}Tc, and NO{sub 3} through the vadose zone of WMA-S-SX, particularly beneath tank SX-109.

  4. Science Road Map for Phase 2 of the Tank-Farm Vadose Zone Program

    SciTech Connect

    Zachara, John M.; Freshley, Mark D.; Mann, Frederick M.

    2008-08-18

    Phase 1 of the Tank-Farm Vadose Zone Program (TFVZP) developed information on the nature and extent of vadose zone contamination in the tank farms through field studies, laboratory analyses and experiments, and historical data searches; assembled data and performed tank-farm risk analysis; and initiated interim corrective actions to lessen the impacts of tank leak contaminants. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory scientists and external collaborators at universities and U.S. Department of Energy user facilities sampled and analyzed contaminant plumes. These types of activities will continue during Phase 2 of the TFVZP to refine and expand scientific understanding of the subsurface beneath tank farms, especially of water movement, residual waste leaching, and contaminant transport.

  5. Impact Assessment of Existing Vadose Zone Contamination at the Hanford Site SX Tank Farm

    SciTech Connect

    Khaleel, Raziuddin; White, Mark D.; Oostrom, Martinus; Wood, Marcus I.; Mann, Frederick M.; Kristofzski, John G.

    2007-11-01

    The USDOE has initiated an impact assessment of existing vadose zone contamination at the Hanford Site SX tank farm in southeastern Washington State. The assessment followed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action process to address the impacts of past tank waste releases to the vadose zone at the single-shell tank farm. Numerical models were developed that consider the extent of contamination presently within the vadose zone and predict contaminant movement through the vadose zone to groundwater. The transport of representative mobile (technetium-99) and immobile (cesium-137) constituents was evaluated in modeling. The model considered the accelerated movement of moisture around and beneath single-shell tanks that is attributed to bare, gravel surfaces resulting from the construction of the underground storage tanks. Infiltration, possibly nearing 100 mm yr–1, is further amplified in the tank farm because of the umbrella effect created by percolating moisture being diverted by the impermeable, sloping surface of the large, 24-m-diameter, buried tank domes. For both the base case (no-action alternative) simulation and a simulation that considered placement of an interim surface barrier to minimize infiltration, predicted groundwater concentrations for technetium-99 at the SX tank farm boundary were exceedingly high, on the order of 106 pCi L–1. The predicted concentrations are, however, somewhat conservative because of our use of two-dimensional modeling for a three-dimensional problem. A series of simulations were performed, using recharge rates of 50, 30, and 10 mm yr–1, and compared to the base case (100 mm yr–1) results. As expected, lowering meteoric recharge delayed peak arrival times and reduced peak concentrations at the tank farm boundary.

  6. Vadose Zone-Attenuated Artificial Recharge for Input to a Ground Water Model

    SciTech Connect

    Nichols, William E.; Wurstner, Signe K.; Eslinger, Paul W.

    2007-07-31

    Accurate representation of artificial recharge is requisite to calibration of a ground water model of an unconfined aquifer. For semi-arid or arid sites with a thick vadose zone, attenuation of liquid transport by the vadose zone is an important consideration. Artificial recharge occurs in response to liquid disposal to the vadose zone in areas that are small relative to the ground water model domain. In contrast, natural recharge is spatially variable and occurs over the entire upper boundary of a typical unconfined ground water model. An improved technique for partitioning artificial recharge from simulated total recharge is presented. The improved technique is applied using data from the semi-arid Hanford Site in southeast Washington State. During the operational period from 1944 until the late 1980s, when Hanford’s mission was the production of nuclear materials, the quantities of liquid discharged from production facilities to the ground vastly exceeded natural recharge. Nearly all hydraulic head data available for use in calibrating a ground water model at this site were collected during this period or later, when the aquifer was under the subsiding influence of the massive water disposals. The vadose zone is typically 80 to 90 meters thick at the Central Plateau where most production facilities were located at this semi-arid site, and its attenuation of liquid transmission to the aquifer can be significant. The new technique is shown to improve the representation of artificial recharge and thereby contribute to improvement in the calibration of a site-wide ground water model.

  7. Wildfire effects on vadose zone hydrology in forested boreal peatland microforms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thompson, Dan K.; Waddington, James M.

    2013-04-01

    SummaryPeatland vulnerability to wildfire disturbance has been shown to vary as a function of hummock and hollow microforms and vadose zone hydrology, with low-lying hollow microforms most susceptible to deep combustion of peat. To better understand how this microform induced pattern of burning alters vadose water storage, pore-water pressure, and water table relationships, we examined a paired burned and unburned peatland in the boreal plain region of north central Alberta. Water table response to rain events increased significantly after wildfire, resulting in a more variable unsaturated zone thickness that was more responsive to smaller rain events. Water storage losses in the vadose zone occurred primarily at depths greater than 15 cm. Large peat surface water loss occurred in hummock microforms in the early spring due to the presence of unsaturated frozen peat at depth, likely a result of a vapour gradient from the unfrozen peat into the frozen peat underneath. During this period, the loss of water storage in the vadose zone satisfied up to 25% of daily evaporative demand, compared to only 3-5% during ice-free periods. A similar but less severe drying was observed late in summer, with burned hummocks the most vulnerable with high pore-water pressures. The enhanced surface drying observed is a precursor to high pore-water pressure conditions that inhibit Sphagnum regeneration. Our observations point to a paradox where the hummocks, being most resistant to combustion, are themselves most prone to high pore-water pressures following wildfire. The harsher hummock environment may contribute to the observed delay in post-fire Sphagnum regeneration in hummocks compared to hollows.

  8. IMPACT ASSESSMENT OF EXISTING VADOSE ZONE CONTAMINATION AT THE HANFORD SITE SX TANK FARM

    SciTech Connect

    KHALEEL R

    2007-11-01

    The USDOE has initiated an impact assessment of existing vadose zone contamination at the Hanford Site SX tank farm in southeastern Washington State. The assessment followed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action process to address the impacts of past tank waste releases to the vadose zone at the single-shell tank farm. Numerical models were developed that consider the extent of contamination presently within the vadose zone and predict contaminant movement through the vadose zone to groundwater. The transport of representative mobile (technetium-99) and immobile (cesium-137) constituents was evaluated in modeling. The model considered the accelerated movement of moisture around and beneath single-shell tanks that is attributed to bare, gravel surfaces resulting from the construction of the underground storage tanks. Infiltration, possibly nearing 100 mm yr{sup -1}, is further amplified in the tank farm because of the umbrella effect created by percolating moisture being diverted by the impermeable, sloping surface of the large, 24-m-diameter, buried tank domes. For both the base case (no-action alternative) simulation and a simulation that considered placement of an interim surface barrier to minimize infiltration, predicted, groundwater concentrations for technetium-99 at the SX tank farm boundary were exceedingly high, on the order of 10{sup 6} pCi L{sup -1}. The predicted concentrations are, however, somewhat conservative because of our use of two-dimensional modeling for a three-dimensional problem. A series of simulations were performed, using recharge rates of 50, 30, and 10 mm yr{sup -1}, and compared to the basecase(100 mm yr{sup -1}) results. As expected, lowering meteoric recharge delayed peak arrival times and reduced peak concentrations at the tank farm boundary.

  9. Approach to the vadose zone monitoring in hazardous and solid waste disposal facilities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Twardowska, Irena

    2004-03-01

    In the solid waste (SW)disposal sites, in particular at the unlined facilities, at the remediated or newly-constructed units equipped with novel protective/reactive permeable barriers or at lined facilities with leachate collection systems that are prone to failure, the vadose zone monitoring should comprise besides the natural soil layer beneath the landfill, also the anthropogenic vadose zone, i.e. the waste layer and pore solutions in the landfill. The vadose zone screening along the vertical profile of SW facilities with use of direct invasive soil-core and soil-pore liquid techniques shows vertical downward redistribution of inorganic (macroconstituents and heavy metals) and organic (PAHs) contaminant loads in water infiltrating through the waste layer. These loads can make ground water down-gradient of the dump unfit for any use. To avoid damage of protective/reactive permeable barriers and liners, an installation of stationary monitoring systems along the waste layer profile during the construction of a landfill, which are amenable to generate accurate data and information in a near-real time should be considered including:(i) permanent samplers of pore solution, with a periodic pump-induced transport of collected solution to the surface, preferably with instant field measurements;(ii)chemical sensors with continuous registration of critical parameters. These techniques would definitely provide an early alert in case when the chemical composition of pore solution percolating downward the waste profile shows unfavorable transformations, which indicate an excessive contaminant load approaching ground water. The problems concerning invasive and stationary monitoring of the vadose zone in SW disposal facilities will be discussed at the background of results of monitoring data and properties of permeable protective/reactive barriers considered for use.

  10. Remediation of Deep Vadose Zone Radionuclide and Metal Contamination: Status and Issues

    SciTech Connect

    Dresel, P. Evan; Truex, Michael J.; Cantrell, Keri

    2008-12-30

    This report documents the results of a PNNL literature review to report on the state of maturity of deep vadose zone remediation technologies for metal contaminants including some radionuclides. Its recommendations feed into decisionmakers need for scientific information and cost-effective in situ remediation technlogies needed under DOE's Environmental Management initiative Enhanced Remediation Methods: Scientific & Technical Basis for In Stu Treatment Systems for Metals and Radionuclides.

  11. Heat and mass transfer in the vadose zone with plant roots

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sung, Kijune; Yavuz, Corapcioglu M.; Drew, Malcolm C.

    2002-07-01

    The vadose zone is the intermediate medium between the atmosphere and groundwater. The modeling of the processes taking place in the vadose zone needs different approaches to those needed for groundwater transport problems because of the marked changes in environmental conditions affecting the vadose zone. A mathematical model to simulate the water flow, and the fate and transport of recalcitrant contaminants was developed, which could be applied to various bioremediation methods such as phytoremediation and natural attenuation in the vadose zone. Two-phase flow equations and heat flux models were used to develop the model. Surface energy balance equations were used to estimate soil surface temperature, and root growth and root distribution models were incorporated to represent the special contribution of plant roots in the vegetated soils. Interactions between the roots and environmental conditions such as temperature and water content were treated by incorporating a feedback mechanism that made allowance for the effects of water and temperature stresses on root distribution and water uptake by roots. In conducting the modeling study, Johnson grass and unplanted soil were simulated to compare the effect of root water uptake on soil water content. After the numerical experiments were conducted to investigate model behavior, the proposed model was applied to estimate actual water flow and heat flow in field lysimeter experiments over a 1-year period. Root growth and distribution for Johnson grass and rye grass were simulated to compare the warm season grass to the cold season grass. A significant agreement was observed between the simulations and measured data.

  12. Characterization of Vadose Zone Sediment: Uncontaminated RCRA Borehole Core Samples and Composite Samples

    SciTech Connect

    Serne, R. Jeffrey; Bjornstad, Bruce N.; Schaef, Herbert T.; Williams, Bruce A.; Lanigan, David C.; Horton, Duane G.; Clayton, Ray E.; Mitroshkov, Alexandre V.; Legore, Virginia L.; O'Hara, Matthew J.; Brown, Christopher F.; Parker, Kent E.; Kutnyakov, Igor V.; Serne, Jennifer N.; Last, George V.; Smith, Steven C.; Lindenmeier, Clark W.; Zachara, John M.; Burke, Deborah S.

    2008-09-11

    This report was revised in September 2008 to remove acid-extractable sodium data from Tables 4.14, 4.16, 5.20, 5.22, 5.43, and 5.45. The sodium data was removed due to potential contamination introduced during the acid extraction process. The rest of the text remains unchanged from the original report issued in February 2002. The overall goal of the of the Tank Farm Vadose Zone Project, led by CH2M HILL Hanford Group, Inc., is to define risks from past and future single-shell tank farm activities. To meet this goal, CH2M HILL Hanford Group, Inc. asked scientists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to perform detailed analyses on vadose zone sediment from within the S-SX Waste Management Area. This report is one in a series of four reports to present the results of these analyses. Specifically, this report contains all the geologic, geochemical, and selected physical characterization data collected on vadose zone sediment recovered from Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) borehole bore samples and composite samples.

  13. Changes in water and solute fluxes in the vadose zone after switching crops

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Turkeltaub, Tuvia; Dahan, Ofer; Kurtzman, Daniel

    2015-04-01

    Switching crop type and therefore changing irrigation and fertilization regimes leads to alternation in deep percolation and concentrations of solutes in pore water. Changes of fluxes of water, chloride and nitrate under a commercial greenhouse due to a change from tomato to green spices were observed. The site, located above the a coastal aquifer, was monitored for the last four years. A vadose-zone monitoring system (VMS) was implemented under the greenhouse and provided continuous data on both the temporal variation in water content and the chemical composition of pore water at multiple depths in the deep vadose zone (~20 m). Chloride and nitrate profiles, before and after the crop type switching, indicate on a clear alternation in soil water solutes concentrations. Before the switching of the crop type, the average chloride profile ranged from ~130 to ~210, while after the switching, the average profile ranged from ~34 to ~203 mg L-1, 22% reduction in chloride mass. Counter trend was observed for the nitrate concentrations, the average nitrate profile before switching ranged from ~11 to ~44 mg L-1, and after switching, the average profile ranged from ~500 to ~75 mg L-1, 400% increase in nitrate mass. A one dimensional unsaturated water flow and chloride transport model was calibrated to transient deep vadose zone data. A comparison between the simulation results under each of the surface boundary conditions of the vegetables and spices cultivation regime, clearly show a distinct alternation in the quantity and quality of groundwater recharge.

  14. Assessment of Non-Point Source Pollution in the Vadose Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Corwin, L.; Loague, Keith; Ellsworth, R.

    Non-point source (NPS) pollution in the vadose zone (simply defined as the layer of soil extending from the soil surface to the groundwater table) is a global environmental problem. Characteristically, NPS pollutants are widespread and occasionally ubiquitous in extent, thus making remediation efforts difficult and complex; have the potential for maintaining a relatively long active presence in the global ecosystem; and may result in long-term, chronic health effects in humans and other life forms. Similar to other global environmental issues, the knowledge and information required to address the problem of NPS pollutants in the vadose zone cross several technological and subdisciplinary lines: spatial statistics, geographic information systems (GIS), hydrology, soil science, and remote sensing. Cooperation between disciplines and scientific societies is essential to address the problem. Evidence of such cooperation was the jointly sponsored American Geophysical Union Chapman/Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) Outreach Conference that occurred in October 1997, entitled "Applications of GIS, Remote Sensing, Geostatistics, and Solute Transport Modeling to the Assessment of Non-Point Source Pollution in the Vadose Zone." The objective of the conference and this book, which was developed from the conference, was to explore current multidisciplinary research for assessing NPS pollution in soil and groundwater resources.

  15. TREATABILITY TEST PLAN FOR DEEP VADOSE ZONE REMEDIATION AT THE HANFORD SITE CENTRAL PLATEAU

    SciTech Connect

    PETERSEN SW; MORSE JG; TRUEX MJ; LAST GV

    2007-11-29

    A treatability test plan has been prepared to address options for remediating portions of the deep vadose zone beneath a portion of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Hanford Site. The vadose zone is the region of the subsurface that extends from the ground surface to the water table. The overriding objective of the treatability test plan is to recommend specific remediation technologies and laboratory and field tests to support the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 remedial decision-making process in the Central Plateau of the Hanford Site. Most of the technologies considered involve removing water from the vadose zone or immobilizing the contaminants to reduce the risk of contaminating groundwater. A multi-element approach to initial treatability testing is recommended, with the goal of providing the information needed to evaluate candidate technologies. The proposed tests focus on mitigating two contaminants--uranium and technetium. Specific technologies are recommended for testing at areas that may affect groundwater in the future, but a strategy to test other technologies is also presented.

  16. Treatability Test Plan for Deep Vadose Zone Remediation at the Hanford Site's Central Plateau

    SciTech Connect

    Petersen, S.W.; Morse, J.G.; Truex, M.J.; Last, G.V.

    2008-07-01

    A treatability test plan has been prepared to address options for remediating portions of the deep vadose zone beneath the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Hanford Site. The vadose zone is the region of the subsurface that extends from the ground surface to the water table. The overriding objective of the treatability test plan is to recommend specific remediation technologies and laboratory and field tests to support the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 remedial decision-making process in the Central Plateau of the Hanford Site. Most of the technologies considered involve removing water from the vadose zone or immobilizing the contaminants to reduce the risk of contaminating groundwater. A multi-element approach to initial treatability testing is recommended, with the goal of providing the information needed to evaluate candidate technologies. The proposed tests focus on mitigating two contaminants - uranium and technetium. Specific technologies are recommended for testing at areas that may affect groundwater in the future, but a strategy to test other technologies is also presented. (authors)

  17. Interfacial Reduction-Oxidation Mechanisms Governing Fate and Transport of Contaminants in the Vadose Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Deng, Baolin; Thornton, Edward C.; Cantrell, Kirk J.; Olsen, Khris B.; Amonette, James E.

    2003-06-01

    Immobilization of toxic and radioactive metals (e.g., Cr, Tc, and U) in the vadose zone by the In Situ Gaseous Reduction (ISGR) using hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a promising technology for soil remediation. Earlier laboratory studies have shown that Cr(VI) in soil samples can be effectively immobilized by treatment with dilute gaseous H2S. A field test completed in 1999 at White Sand Missile Range, New Mexico, has shown a 70% immobilization of Cr(VI). The objective of this EMSP project is to characterize the interactions among H2S, the metal contaminants, and soil components. Understanding these interactions is needed to optimize the remediation system and to assess the long-term effectiveness of the technology. Proposed research tasks included: (A) Evaluation of the potential catalytic effect of mineral surfaces on the rate of Cr(VI) reduction by H2S and the rate of H2S oxidation by air; (B) Identification of the reactions of soil minerals with H2S and determination of associated reaction rates; (C) Evaluation of the role of soil water chemistry on the reduction of Cr(VI) by H2S; (D) Assessment of the reductive buffering capacity of H2S-reduced soil and the potential for emplacement of long-term vadose zone reactive barriers; and (E) Evaluation of the potential for immobilization of Tc and U in the vadose zone by reduction and an assessment of the potential for remobilization by subsequent reoxidation.

  18. Experimental and modeling study of pure terephthalic acid (PTA) wastewater transport in the vadose zone.

    PubMed

    Wang, Cuiling; Liu, Changli; Pei, Lixin; Pang, Yajie; Zhang, Yun; Hou, Hongbing

    2015-02-01

    PTA wastewater discharged from a factory was selected as the research object in this project and CODcr was selected as the characteristic pollution factor. Static adsorption and soil column leaching experiments of silty clay and clayey soil were carried out to study the adsorption, bio-degradation and dispersion coefficient of CODcr in PTA wastewater. Hydrus-1D was used to build the convection-diffusion model to demonstrate the migration of PTA wastewater in the vadose zone. The results indicate that silty clay and clayey soil in the vadose zone can adsorb, degrade and impede the contaminants in PTA wastewater; however, the coefficient of adsorption and degradation were very low, they were down to 0.0002 L g(-1), 0.0003 L g(-1) and 0.0097 d(-1), 0.0077 d(-1) for silty clay and clayey soil, respectively. Under the virtual condition that, wastewater in the sewage pool is 5 m deep, CODcr concentration is 4000 mg L(-1), vadose zone is 21 m, PTA wastewater will reach the phreatic surface after 20.87 years. When wastewater in the sewage pool is 7 m with other conditions unchanged, after 17.18 years PTA wastewater will reach groundwater. The results show that there is a higher pollution risk for groundwater if we do not take any anti-seepage measures. PMID:25524255

  19. A vadose zone Transport Processes Investigation within the glacial till at the Fernald Environmental Management Project.

    SciTech Connect

    Schwing, J.; Roepke, Craig Senninger; Brainard, James Robert; Glass, Robert John, Jr.; Mann, Michael J. A.; Holt, Robert M.; Kriel, Kelly

    2007-08-01

    This report describes a model Transport Processes Investigation (TPI) where field-scale vadose zone flow and transport processes are identified and verified through a systematic field investigation at a contaminated DOE site. The objective of the TPI is to help with formulating accurate conceptual models and aid in implementing rational and cost effective site specific characterization strategies at contaminated sites with diverse hydrogeologic settings. Central to the TPI are Transport Processes Characterization (TPC) tests that incorporate field surveys and large-scale infiltration experiments. Hypotheses are formulated based on observed pedogenic and hydrogeologic features as well as information provided by literature searches. The field and literature information is then used to optimize the design of one or more infiltration experiments to field test the hypothesis. Findings from the field surveys and infiltration experiments are then synthesized to formulate accurate flow and transport conceptual models. Here we document a TPI implemented in the glacial till vadose zone at the Fernald Environmental Management Project (FEMP) in Fernald, Ohio, a US Department of Energy (DOE) uranium processing site. As a result of this TPI, the flow and transport mechanisms were identified through visualization of dye stain within extensive macro pore and fracture networks which provided the means for the infiltrate to bypass potential aquatards. Such mechanisms are not addressed in current vadose zone modeling and are generally missed by classical characterization methods.

  20. DEEP VADOSE ZONE APPLIED FIELD RESEARCH CENTER: TRANSFORMATIONAL TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION

    SciTech Connect

    Wellman, Dawn M.; Triplett, Mark B.; Freshley, Mark D.; Truex, Michael J.; Gephart, Roy E.; Johnson, Timothy C.; Chronister, Glen B.; Gerdes, Kurt D.; Chamberlain, Skip; Marble, Justin; Ramirez, Rosa

    2011-02-27

    DOE-EM, Office of Groundwater and Soil Remediation and DOE Richland, in collaboration with the Hanford site and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, have established the Deep Vadose Zone Applied Field Research Center (DVZ-AFRC). The DVZ-AFRC leverages DOE investments in basic science from the Office of Science, applied research from DOE EM Office of Technology Innovation and Development, and site operation (e.g., site contractors [CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Contractor and Washington River Protection Solutions], DOE-EM RL and ORP) in a collaborative effort to address the complex region of the deep vadose zone. Although the aim, goal, motivation, and contractual obligation of each organization is different, the integration of these activities into the framework of the DVZ-AFRC brings the resources and creativity of many to provide sites with viable alternative remedial strategies to current baseline approaches for persistent contaminants and deep vadose zone contamination. This cooperative strategy removes stove pipes, prevents duplication of efforts, maximizes resources, and facilitates development of the scientific foundation needed to make sound and defensible remedial decisions that will successfully meet the target cleanup goals for one of DOE EM's most intractable problems, in a manner that is acceptable by regulators.

  1. Vadose Zone Transport Field Study: Detailed Test Plan for Simulated Leak Tests

    SciTech Connect

    Ward, Anderson L.; Gee, Glendon W.

    2000-06-23

    This report describes controlled transport experiments at well-instrumented field tests to be conducted during FY 2000 in support of DOE?s Vadose Zone Transport Field Study (VZTFS). The VZTFS supports the Groundwater/Vadose Zone Integration Project Science and Technology Initiative. The field tests will improve understanding of field-scale transport and lead to the development or identification of efficient and cost-effective characterization methods. These methods will capture the extent of contaminant plumes using existing steel-cased boreholes. Specific objectives are to 1) identify mechanisms controlling transport processes in soils typical of the hydrogeologic conditions of Hanford?s waste disposal sites; 2) reduce uncertainty in conceptual models; 3) develop a detailed and accurate data base of hydraulic and transport parameters for validation of three-dimensional numerical models; and 4) identify and evaluate advanced, cost-effective characterization methods with the potential to assess changing conditions in the vadose zone, particularly as surrogates of currently undetectable high-risk contaminants. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) manages the VZTFS for DOE.

  2. Limited hydrologic response to Pleistocene climate change in deep vadose zones - Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Paces, J.B.; Neymark, L.A.; Whelan, J.F.; Wooden, J.L.; Lund, S.P.; Marshall, B.D.

    2010-01-01

    Understanding the movement of water through thick vadose zones, especially on time scales encompassing long-term climate change, is increasingly important as societies utilize semi-arid environments for both water resources and sites viewed as favorable for long-term disposal or storage of hazardous waste. Hydrologic responses to Pleistocene climate change within a deep vadose zone in the eastern Mojave Desert at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, were evaluated by uranium-series dating of finely layered hyalitic opal using secondary ion mass spectrometry. Opal is present within cm-thick secondary hydrogenic mineral crusts coating floors of lithophysal cavities in fractured volcanic rocks at depths of 200 to 300 m below land surface. Uranium concentrations in opal fluctuate systematically between 5 and 550 μg/g. Age-calibrated profiles of uranium concentration correlate with regional climate records over the last 300,000 years and produce time-series spectral peaks that have distinct periodicities of 100- and 41-ka, consistent with planetary orbital parameters. These results indicate that the chemical compositions of percolating solutions varied in response to near-surface, climate-driven processes. However, slow (micrometers per thousand years), relatively uniform growth rates of secondary opal and calcite deposition spanning several glacial–interglacial climate cycles imply that water fluxes in the deep vadose zone remained low and generally buffered from the large fluctuations in available surface moisture during different climates.

  3. Evaluating Transport and Attenuation of Inorganic Contaminants in the Vadose Zone for Aqueous Waste Disposal Sites

    SciTech Connect

    Truex, Michael J.; Oostrom, Martinus; Tartakovsky, Guzel D.

    2015-09-01

    An approach was developed for evaluating vadose zone transport and attenuation of aqueous wastes containing inorganic (non-volatile) contaminants that were disposed of at the land surface (i.e., directly to the ground in cribs, trenches, tile fields, etc.) and their effect on the underlying groundwater. The approach provides a structured method for estimating transport of contaminants through the vadose zone and the resulting temporal profile of groundwater contaminant concentrations. The intent of the approach is also to provide a means for presenting and explaining the results of the transport analysis in the context of the site-specific waste disposal conditions and site properties, including heterogeneities and other complexities. The document includes considerations related to identifying appropriate monitoring to verify the estimated contaminant transport and associated predictions of groundwater contaminant concentrations. While primarily intended for evaluating contaminant transport under natural attenuation conditions, the approach can also be applied to identify types of, and targets for, mitigation approaches in the vadose zone that would reduce the temporal profile of contaminant concentrations in groundwater, if needed.

  4. Limited hydrologic response to Pleistocene climate change in deep vadose zones — Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paces, James B.; Neymark, Leonid A.; Whelan, Joseph F.; Wooden, Joseph L.; Lund, Steven P.; Marshall, Brian D.

    2010-12-01

    Understanding the movement of water through thick vadose zones, especially on time scales encompassing long-term climate change, is increasingly important as societies utilize semi-arid environments for both water resources and sites viewed as favorable for long-term disposal or storage of hazardous waste. Hydrologic responses to Pleistocene climate change within a deep vadose zone in the eastern Mojave Desert at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, were evaluated by uranium-series dating of finely layered hyalitic opal using secondary ion mass spectrometry. Opal is present within cm-thick secondary hydrogenic mineral crusts coating floors of lithophysal cavities in fractured volcanic rocks at depths of 200 to 300 m below land surface. Uranium concentrations in opal fluctuate systematically between 5 and 550 μg/g. Age-calibrated profiles of uranium concentration correlate with regional climate records over the last 300,000 years and produce time-series spectral peaks that have distinct periodicities of 100- and 41-ka, consistent with planetary orbital parameters. These results indicate that the chemical compositions of percolating solutions varied in response to near-surface, climate-driven processes. However, slow (micrometers per thousand years), relatively uniform growth rates of secondary opal and calcite deposition spanning several glacial-interglacial climate cycles imply that water fluxes in the deep vadose zone remained low and generally buffered from the large fluctuations in available surface moisture during different climates.

  5. Characterization and Remediation of Chlorinated Volatile Organic Contaminants in the Vadose Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Brusseau, Mark L.; Carroll, Kenneth C.; Truex, Michael J.; Becker, Dave

    2013-02-15

    Contamination of vadose-zone systems by chlorinated solvents is widespread, and poses significant potential risk to human health through impacts on groundwater quality and vapor intrusion. Soil vapor extraction (SVE) is the presumptive remedy for such contamination, and has been used successfully for innumerable sites. However, SVE operations typically exhibit reduced mass-removal effectiveness at some point due to the impact of poorly accessible contaminant mass and associated mass-transfer limitations. Assessment of SVE performance and closure is currently based on characterizing contaminant mass discharge associated with the vadose-zone source, and its impact on groundwater or vapor intrusion. These issues are addressed in this overview, with a focus on summarizing recent advances in our understanding of the transport, characterization, and remediation of chlorinated solvents in the vadose zone. The evolution of contaminant distribution over time and the associated impacts on remediation efficiency will be discussed, as will the potential impact of persistent sources on groundwater quality and vapor intrusion. In addition, alternative methods for site characterization and remediation will be addressed.

  6. IDENTIFICATION AND COMPILATION OF UNSATURATED/VADOSE ZONE MODELS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The present report contains the result of research and information processing activities supporting evaluation of the capabilities of various unsaturated zone flow and transport models in predicting the movement of hazardous chemicals through soils to ground water. t provides an ...

  7. Influence of hydro-climatic conditions, soil type, and application matrix on potential vadose zone export of PPCPs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gall, H. E.; Rao, P.; O'Connor, G.

    2013-12-01

    The land-application of biosolids and animal manure to agricultural fields has the potential to negatively impact the quality of nearby surface and subsurface water due to the presence of emerging contaminants in these residuals. We investigated the extent to which the vadose zone acts as a hydrologic and biogeochemical filter of two emerging contaminants, Triclosan (TCS) and estrone (E1) using a coupled source zone and vadose zone modeling approach. Monte Carlo simulations were run for a year following residual applications to explore the following research questions: (1) how does the application matrix (e.g., de-watered solids, liquid lagoon effluent, etc.) affect PPCP mass fluxes?; (2) how do hydro-climatic conditions and soil type affect PPCP mass fluxes?; (3) what role does the presence of macropore pathways play in PPCP export from the vadose zone; and (4) does the long-term, repeated application of residuals affect the ability of the vadose zone to act as an effective biogeochemical filter? The simulations were conducted for a sub-tropical climate with sand (e.g., Florida) and a humid climate with a silty clay loam (e.g., Midwestern United States). Simulation results suggest that the potential mobility of emerging contaminants increases linearly with increasing fraction applied to the mobile phase of the source zone (i.e., higher PPCP mass fraction in the dissolved phase during application). Following a single application, the total amount of PPCP mass exported from the source zone over the course of a year can be as high as 70% in a sub-tropical climate with sand soil. However, these types of soils do not have macropore flow pathways and the annual PPCP mass exported from the vadose zone is less than 1% of the mass applied. The higher organic carbon content in a silty clay loam reduces the amount of PPCP mass released from the source zone to less than 5% of the mass applied. In the presence of macropore pathways, the silty clay loam's vadose zone acts as a

  8. Carbon dioxide respiration in the deep vadose zone: Implications for groundwater age dating

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bacon, Diana Holford; Keller, C. Kent

    1998-11-01

    In the deep vadose zone at the Dalmeny site, subsurface gas samples were collected and analyzed for CO2 and the 13C and 14C ratios of that CO2. High concentrations of CO2 depleted in 14C near the water table necessitate the use of an open-system model of calcite dissolution to match observed dissolved inorganic carbon 14C ratios just below the water table. Groundwater age-dating models assuming closed-system calcite dissolution predict incorrect groundwater age dates at the Dalmeny site. These results and our field observations suggest that such errors may generally occur where deep-vadose generation of nonmodern CO2 is not accounted for in groundwater age-dating exercises.

  9. ModBack - simplified contaminant source zone delineation using backtracking

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thielsch, K.; Herold, M.; Ptak, T.

    2012-12-01

    Contaminated groundwater poses a serious threat to drinking water resources all over the world. Even though contaminated water might be detected in observation wells, a proper clean up is often only successful if the source of the contamination is detected and subsequently removed, contained or remediated. The high costs of groundwater remediation could be possibly significantly reduced if, from the outset, a focus is placed on source zone detection. ModBack combines several existing modelling tools in one easy to use GIS-based interface helping to delineate potential contaminant source zones in the subsurface. The software is written in Visual Basic 3.5 and uses the ArcObjects library to implement all required GIS applications. It can run without modification on any Microsoft Windows based PC with sufficient RAM and at least Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5. Using ModBack requires additional installation of the following software: Processing Modflow Pro 7.0, ModPath, CSTREAM (Bayer-Raich et al., 2003), Golden Software Surfer and Microsoft Excel. The graphical user interface of ModBack is separated into four blocks of procedures dealing with: data input, groundwater modelling, backtracking and analyses. Geographical data input includes all georeferenced information pertaining to the study site. Information on subsurface contamination is gathered either by conventional sampling of monitoring wells or by conducting integral pumping tests at control planes with a specific sampling scheme. Hydraulic data from these pumping tests together with all other available information are then used to set up a groundwater flow model of the study site, which provides the flow field for transport simulations within the subsequent contamination backtracking procedures, starting from the defined control planes. The backtracking results are then analysed within ModBack. The potential areas of contamination source presence or absence are determined based on the procedure used by Jarsjö et

  10. CO2 phase mutation by fluctuating water table in the vadose zone over a CCS site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Joun, W.; Ha, S. W.; Kim, H. H.; Kim, T. W.; Lee, S. S.; Lee, K. K.

    2015-12-01

    Geological sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the feasible plans to control greenhouse gas emissions. In order to be more perfect, the plan has to prove that the injected CO2 gas will not be leaking. Even if CO2 leaking happens, we should possess a technique which provides information on specific aquifer system before critical effect to ground and subsurface environments. Many parameters have been utilized for early detection before risk to environments by sensing CO2 gas concentration, electric conductivity, pH, and ion analysis. However, these are not enough to all CCS sites for leakage detection. For example, the importance of gas leaking path is emphasized because finding the dominant gas flow path can reduce risk and provide a quick estimation. Herein, we investigate dissolved solute degassing and vertical flow from saturated zone to unsaturated zone in shallow depth aquifer. Especially we focused on the water table fluctuation effect. Based on field data and basic parameters, we perform a pilot scale gas injection test and calculate gas flow saturation with STOMP simulator. The CO2 gas concentrations at different depth levels according to amount of injected CO2 infused water, CO2 gas saturation in vadose zone have different concentration values. If we estimate this phenomenon in vadose zone by using CO2 gas detection method, we could presume that the CO2 dissolved in shallow groundwater is degassing and flow upward into vadose zone. However, the concentration level and change patterns are not same and will be changed according to the pattern of water table fluctuation. This study could be usefully applied to strategic CCS environmental monitoring of CO2 leakage.Acknowledgement: Financial support was provided by the "R&D Project on Environmental Management of Geologic CO2 Storage" from the KEITI (Project Number: 2014001810003).

  11. Biodegradation of organic compounds in vadose zone and aquifer sediments

    SciTech Connect

    Konopka, A.; Turco, R. )

    1991-08-01

    The microbial processes that occur in the subsurface under a typical Midwest agricultural soil were studied. A 26-m bore was installed in November of 1988 at a site of the Purdue University Agronomy Research Center. Aseptic collections of soil materials were made at 17 different depths. Physical analysis indicated that the site contained up to 14 different strata. The site materials were primarily glacial tills with a high carbonate content. The N,P, and organic C contents of sediments tended to decrease with depth. Ambient water content was generally less than the water content, which corresponds to a -0.3-bar equivalent. No pesticides were detected in slurry incubations of up to 128 days. The sorption of atrazine and metolachlor was correlated with the clay content of the sediments. Microbial biomass (determined by direct microscopic count, viable count, and phospholipid assay) in the tills was lower than in either the surface materials or the aquifer located at 25 m. The biodegradation of glucose and phenol occurred rapidly and without a lag in samples from the aquifer capillary fringe, saturated zone, and surface soils. In contrast, lag periods and smaller biodegradation rates were found in the till samples. Subsurface sediments are rich in microbial numbers and activity. The most active strata appear to be transmissive layers in the saturated zone. This implies that the availability of water may limit activity in the profile.

  12. Real Time Monitoring of the Vadose Zone - Key to Groundwater Protection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dahan, Ofer

    2015-04-01

    Minimization subsurface pollution is much dependent on reliable and effective monitoring tools. Such monitoring tools should be capable to provide real-time information on the chemical and hydrological state of the percolating water, from land surface to the groundwater. Today, most monitoring programs are based on observation wells that enable collection of hydrological and chemical information from the saturated part of the subsurface. As a result, identification of pollution in well water is clear evidence that the contaminants already crossed the entire vadose-zone and accumulated in the aquifer. Unfortunately, only little can be done to fully remediate contaminated aquifers. Accordingly, effective monitoring program must include monitoring means that provide real-time information on the hydrological and chemical properties of the percolating in the unsaturated zone, long before contaminates reach the water-table and accumulate in the aquifers. Such monitoring programs may provide "early warning" for potential pollution processes that may risk groundwater quality. A vadose-zone monitoring system (VMS), which was developed recently, allows continuous monitoring of the hydrological and chemical properties of percolating water in the deep vadose zone. Data which is collected by the system allows direct measurements of the water percolation fluxes and detect the chemical evolution of the percolating water across the entire unsaturated domain. The VMS is designed for long term continuous operation in a time scale of years to decades. Up-to-date the system has been successfully implemented in several studies on water flow and contaminant transport in various hydrological and geological setups. These include research projects on: (a) floodwater infiltration and groundwater recharge from stream channels and reservoirs, (b) impact of various agricultural regimes on quality and quantity of groundwater recharge, (c) subsurface pollution of dairy farms, (d) chemical

  13. Geochemical Processes Controlling Chromium Transport in the Vadose Zone and Regional Aquifer, Los Alamos, New Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Longmire, P.; Ding, M.; Rearick, M.; Vaniman, D.; Katzman, D.

    2008-12-01

    The environmental aqueous geochemistry of Cr is of considerable interest to physical scientists and toxicologists in quantifying the fate and transport of this metal in surface and subsurface environments. Chromium(VI) solutions were released from cooling towers to a stream channel within Sandia Canyon at Los Alamos National Laboratory, NM from 1956 to 1971. These solutions have migrated 293 m depth through the vadose zone, containing several saturated zones, to the regional water table. Concentrations of total dissolved Cr, mainly as Cr(VI), in the regional aquifer range between 0.17 to 8.46 mM. The regional aquifer is characterized by calcium-sodium-bicarbonate solution, contains dissolved oxygen (0.09 to 0.22 mM), and has a circumneutral pH (6.8 to 8.3). Geochemical processes controlling the fate and transport of Cr in groundwater at Los Alamos include a combination of adsorption and precipitation reactions within aquifer systems. Vadose zone material containing hydrous ferric oxide, smectite, silica glass, and calcite widely range in their ability to adsorb Cr(VI) under basic pH conditions. Overall, the vadose zone at Los Alamos is relatively oxidizing, however, basalt flows are locally reducing with respect to Fe. Ferrous iron concentrated within the Cerros del Rio basalt has been shown through batch experiments to reduce Cr(VI) to Cr(III) resulting in precipitation of chromium(III) hydroxide. Regional aquifer material, consisting of silicates, oxides, and calcite, vary in the amount of Fe(II) available in reactive minerals to effectively reduce Cr(VI) to Cr(III). The results of our studies (1) directly assess the relationship between mineralogical characterization and transport behavior of Cr using site-specific hydrogeologic material and (2) provide site-specific adsorption and precipitation parameters obtained through the experiments to refine the fate and transport modeling of Cr within the vadose zone and regional aquifer. Natural attenuation of Cr at Los

  14. Hornblendite delineates zones of mass transfer through the lower crust

    PubMed Central

    Daczko, Nathan R.; Piazolo, Sandra; Meek, Uvana; Stuart, Catherine A.; Elliott, Victoria

    2016-01-01

    Geochemical signatures throughout the layered Earth require significant mass transfer through the lower crust, yet geological pathways are under-recognized. Elongate bodies of basic to ultrabasic rocks are ubiquitous in exposures of the lower crust. Ultrabasic hornblendite bodies hosted within granulite facies gabbroic gneiss of the Pembroke Valley, Fiordland, New Zealand, are typical occurrences usually reported as igneous cumulate hornblendite. Their igneous features contrast with the metamorphic character of their host gabbroic gneiss. Both rock types have a common parent; field relationships are consistent with modification of host gabbroic gneiss into hornblendite. This precludes any interpretation involving cumulate processes in forming the hornblendite; these bodies are imposter cumulates. Instead, replacement of the host gabbroic gneiss formed hornblendite as a result of channeled high melt flux through the lower crust. High melt/rock ratios and disequilibrium between the migrating magma (granodiorite) and its host gabbroic gneiss induced dissolution (grain-scale magmatic assimilation) of gneiss and crystallization of mainly hornblende from the migrating magma. The extent of this reaction-replacement mechanism indicates that such hornblendite bodies delineate significant melt conduits. Accordingly, many of the ubiquitous basic to ultrabasic elongate bodies of the lower crust likely map the ‘missing’ mass transfer zones. PMID:27546342

  15. Hornblendite delineates zones of mass transfer through the lower crust.

    PubMed

    Daczko, Nathan R; Piazolo, Sandra; Meek, Uvana; Stuart, Catherine A; Elliott, Victoria

    2016-01-01

    Geochemical signatures throughout the layered Earth require significant mass transfer through the lower crust, yet geological pathways are under-recognized. Elongate bodies of basic to ultrabasic rocks are ubiquitous in exposures of the lower crust. Ultrabasic hornblendite bodies hosted within granulite facies gabbroic gneiss of the Pembroke Valley, Fiordland, New Zealand, are typical occurrences usually reported as igneous cumulate hornblendite. Their igneous features contrast with the metamorphic character of their host gabbroic gneiss. Both rock types have a common parent; field relationships are consistent with modification of host gabbroic gneiss into hornblendite. This precludes any interpretation involving cumulate processes in forming the hornblendite; these bodies are imposter cumulates. Instead, replacement of the host gabbroic gneiss formed hornblendite as a result of channeled high melt flux through the lower crust. High melt/rock ratios and disequilibrium between the migrating magma (granodiorite) and its host gabbroic gneiss induced dissolution (grain-scale magmatic assimilation) of gneiss and crystallization of mainly hornblende from the migrating magma. The extent of this reaction-replacement mechanism indicates that such hornblendite bodies delineate significant melt conduits. Accordingly, many of the ubiquitous basic to ultrabasic elongate bodies of the lower crust likely map the 'missing' mass transfer zones. PMID:27546342

  16. Effect of soil moisture on the sorption of trichloroethene vapor to vadose-zone soil at picatinny arsenal, New Jersey

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Smith, J.A.; Chiou, C.T.; Kammer, J.A.; Kile, D.E.

    1990-01-01

    This report presents data on the sorption of trichloroethene (TCE) vapor to vadose-zone soil above a contaminated water-table aquifer at Picatinny Arsenal in Morris County, NJ. To assess the impact of moisture on TCE sorption, batch experiments on the sorption of TCE vapor by the field soil were carried out as a function of relative humidity. The TCE sorption decreases as soil moisture content increases from zero to saturation soil moisture content (the soil moisture content in equilibrium with 100% relative humidity). The moisture content of soil samples collected from the vadose zone was found to be greater than the saturation soil-moisture content, suggesting that adsorption of TCE by the mineral fraction of the vadose-zone soil should be minimal relative to the partition uptake by soil organic matter. Analyses of soil and soil-gas samples collected from the field indicate that the ratio of the concentration of TCE on the vadose-zone soil to its concentration in the soil gas is 1-3 orders of magnitude greater than the ratio predicted by using an assumption of equilibrium conditions. This apparent disequilibrium presumably results from the slow desorption of TCE from the organic matter of the vadose-zone soil relative to the dissipation of TCE vapor from the soil gas.

  17. Improvements to measuring water flux in the vadose zone.

    PubMed

    Masarik, Kevin C; Norman, John M; Brye, Kristofor R; Baker, John M

    2004-01-01

    Evaluating the impact of land use practices on ground water quality has been difficult because few techniques are capable of monitoring the quality and quantity of soil water flow below the root zone without disturbing the soil profile and affecting natural flow processes. A recently introduced method, known as equilibrium tension lysimetry, was a major improvement but it was not a true equilibrium since it still required manual intervention to maintain proper lysimeter suction. We addressed this issue by developing an automated equilibrium tension lysimeter (AETL) system that continuously matches lysimeter tension to soil-water matric potential of the surrounding soil. The soil-water matric potential of the bulk soil is measured with a heat-dissipation sensor, and a small DC pump is used to apply suction to a lysimeter. The improved automated approach reported here was tested in the field for a 12-mo period. Powered by a small 12-V rechargeable battery, the AETLs were able to continuously match lysimeter suction to soil-water matric potential for 2-wk periods with minimal human attention, along with the added benefit of collecting continuous soil-water matric potential data. We also demonstrated, in the laboratory, methods for continuous measurement of water depth in the AETL, a capability that quantifies drainage on a 10-min interval, making it a true water-flux meter. Equilibrium tension lysimeters have already been demonstrated to be a reliable method of measuring drainage flux, and the further improvements have created a more effective device for studying water drainage and chemical leaching through the soil matrix. PMID:15224955

  18. Vertical Extent of 100 Area Vadose Zone Contamination of Metals at the Hanford Site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Khaleel, R.; Mehta, S.

    2012-12-01

    The 100 Area is part of the U.S. Department of Energy Hanford Site in southeastern Washington and borders the Columbia River. The primary sources of contamination in the area are associated with the operation of nine former production reactors, the last one shutting down in 1988. The area is undergoing a CERCLA remedial investigation (RI) that will provide data to support final cleanup decisions. During reactor operations, cooling water contaminated with radioactive and hazardous chemicals was discharged to both the adjacent Columbia River and infiltration cribs and trenches. Contaminated solid wastes were disposed of in burial grounds; the estimated Lead-Cadmium used as "reactor poison" and disposed of in 100 Area burial grounds is 1103 metric tons, of which up to 1059 metric tons are Lead and 44 metric tons are Cadmium. We summarize vadose zone site characterization data for the recently drilled boreholes, including the vertical distribution of concentration profiles for metals (i.e., Lead, Arsenic and Mercury) under the near neutral pH and oxygenated conditions. The deep borehole measurements targeted in the RI work plan were identified with a bias towards locating contaminants throughout the vadose zone and targeted areas at or near the waste sites; i.e., the drilling as well as the sampling was biased towards capturing contamination within the "hot spots." Unlike non-reactive contaminants such as tritium, Arsenic, Mercury and Lead are known to have a higher distribution coefficient (Kd), expected to be relatively immobile, and have a long residence time within the vadose zone. However, a number of sediment samples located close to the water table exceed the background concentrations for Lead and Arsenic. Three conceptual models are postulated to explain the deeper than expected penetration for the metals.

  19. Significance of water fluxes in a deep arid-region vadose zone to waste disposal strategies

    SciTech Connect

    Johnejack, K.R.; Blout, D.O.; Sully, M.J.; Emer, D.F.; Hammermeister, D.P.; Dever, L.G.; O`Neill, L.J.; Tyler, S.W.; Chapman, J.

    1994-03-01

    Recently collected subsurface site characterization data have led to the development of a conceptual model of water movement beneath the Area 5 Radioactive Waste Management Site (RWMS) at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) that differs significantly from the conceptual model of water movement inherent in Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations. At the Area 5 RWMS, water fluxes in approximately the upper 75 m (250 ft) of the vadose zone point in the upward direction (rather than downward) which effectively isolates this region from the deep (approximately 250 m (820 ft)) uppermost aquifer. Standard RCRA approaches for detection and containment (groundwater monitoring and double liners/leachate collection/leak detection systems) are not able to fulfill their intended function in this rather unique hydrogeologic environment. In order to better fulfill the waste detection and containment intentions of RCRA for mixed waste disposal at the Area 5 RWMS, the Department of Energy, Nevada Operations Office (DOE/NV) is preparing a single petition for both a waiver from groundwater monitoring and an exemption from double liners with leachate collection/leak detection. DOE/NV proposes in this petition that the containment function of liners and leachate collection is better accomplished by the natural hydrogeologic processes operating in the upper vadose zone; and the detection function of groundwater monitoring and the leak detection system in liners is better fulfilled by an alternative vadose zone monitoring system. In addition, an alternative point of compliance is proposed that will aid in early detection, as well as limit the extent of potential contamination before detection. Finally, special cell design features and operation practices will be implemented to limit leachate formation, especially while the cell is open to the atmosphere during waste emplacement.

  20. Vadose zone characterization project at the Hanford Tank Farms: U Tank Farm Report

    SciTech Connect

    1997-05-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy Grand Junction Office (DOE-GJO) was tasked by the DOE Richland Operations Office (DOE-RL) to perform a baseline characterization of the gamma-ray-emitting radionuclides that are distributed in the vadose zone sediments beneath and around the single-shell tanks (SSTs) at the Hanford Site. The intent of this characterization is to determine the nature and extent of the contamination, to identify contamination sources when possible, and to develop a baseline of the contamination distribution that will permit future data comparisons. This characterization work also allows an initial assessment of the impacts of the vadose zone contamination as required by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). This characterization project involves acquiring information regarding vadose zone contamination with borehole geophysical logging methods and documenting that information in a series of reports. This information is presently limited to detection of gamma-emitting radionuclides from both natural and man-made sources. Data from boreholes surrounding each tank are compiled into individual Tank Summary Data Reports. The data from each tank in a tank farm are then compiled and summarized in a Tank Farm Report. This document is the Tank Farm Report for the U Tank Farm. Logging operations used high-purity germanium detection systems to acquire laboratory-quality assays of the gamma-emitting radionuclides in the sediments around and below the tanks. These assays were acquired in 59 boreholes that surround the U Tank Farm tanks. Logging of all boreholes was completed in December 1995, and the last Tank Summary Data Report for the U Tank Farm was issued in September 1996.

  1. An Experimental Study of Diffusivity of Technetium-99 in Hanford Vadose Zone Sediments

    SciTech Connect

    Mattigod, Shas V.; Bovaird, Chase C.; Wellman, Dawn M.; Parker, Kent E.; Wood, Marcus I.

    2012-11-01

    One of the methods being considered at the Hanford site in Washington for safely disposing of low-level radioactive wastes (LLW) is to encase the waste in concrete and entomb the packages in the Hanford vadose zone sediments. The current plan for waste isolation consists of stacking low-level waste packages on a trench floor, surrounding the stacks with reinforced steel, and encasing these packages with concrete. Any failure of the concrete encasement may result in water intrusion and consequent mobilization of radionuclides from the waste packages. The mobilized radionuclides may escape from the encased concrete by mass flow and/or diffusion and move into the surrounding subsurface sediments. It is therefore necessary to conduct an assessment of the performance of the concrete encasement structure and the surrounding soil’s ability to retard radionuclide migration. The retardation factors for radionuclides contained in the waste packages can be determined from measurements of diffusion coefficients for these contaminants through concrete and fill material. Because of their anionic nature in aqueous solutions, the radionuclides, 99Tc and 129I were identified as long-term dose contributors in LLW. The leachability and/or diffusion of these radionuclide species must be measured in order to assess the long-term performance of waste grouts when contacted with vadose-zone porewater or groundwater. To measure the diffusivity, a set of experiments were conducted using 99Tc-spiked concrete (with 0 and 4% metallic iron additions) in contact with unsaturated soil half-cells that reflected the typical moisture contents of Hanford vadose zone sediments. The 99Tc diffusion profiles in the soil half cells were measured after a time lapse of ~1.9 yr. Using the concentration profiles, the 99Tc diffusivity coefficients were calculated based on Fick’s Second Law.

  2. The Use of Radar Methods to Determine Moisture Content in the Vadose Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Rosemary Knight

    2003-12-28

    Water content is a critical parameter affecting both liquid-phase and vapor-phase contaminant transport in the vadose zone. This means that accurate estimates of in situ water content must be obtained in order to design for the appropriate handling or remediation of a contaminated region of the vadose zone. Traditional methods of sampling the subsurface by drilling and/or direct sampling are very time consuming, limited in terms of spatial coverage, and have the associated risk of contacting and increasing the size of the contaminated area. One solution is to use geophysical methods which can provide a high-resolution, non-invasive means of sampling or imaging the subsurface. The overall objective of our research, defined at the start of this project, was to advance the usefulness of radar methods (ground-based and borehole) as a means of characterizing water content in the vadose zone. We have met this objective by providing research results that can be used to (1) improve the accuracy of water content estimates from radar measurements; (2) provide estimates of the potential error in water content estimates from radar measurements; (3) improve the clarity of radar images; (4) develop large-scale models of the subsurface ''architecture'' using radar images; (5) develop ways of quantifying the spatial heterogeneity of the subsurface through analysis of radar images. We have also been able to identify the critical areas where more research is needed in order to be able to use radar methods most effectively as an accurate means of subsurface characterization.

  3. Innovative Technologies And Vadose Zone Treatment Of Chlorinated Volatile Organic Compounds - Case Study

    SciTech Connect

    NOONKESTER, JAY V.; NICHOLS, RALPH L.; DIXON, KENETH L.

    2005-08-02

    Over the last 10 years a mix of innovative and conventional characterization techniques has been used to assess the contamination of vadose zone sediments beneath the pilot-scale test facility known as TNX at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina. Shallow soils and groundwater beneath the TNX facility are contaminated with chlorinated volatile organic compounds (CVOCs), trichloroethylene (TCE), carbon tetrachloride (CCl{sub 4}), perchloroethylene (PCE), and chloroform (CHCl{sub 3}). An interim pump and treat remediation system was placed in operation in 1996 to provide hydraulic containment of groundwater containing greater than 500 ug/L dissolved TCE. In 1994, a vadose zone study was initiated to determine the degree and extent of CVOC contamination above the contaminated groundwater. Headspace sampling and analysis, acoustic infrared spectroscopy, cone penetrometry, and vadose zone pumping tests were used to determine contaminant concentrations and physical properties related to soil vapor extraction. In 2001, soil vapor extraction (SVE), a presumptive remedy for CVOCs in soils similar to those present beneath TNX, was selected to treat the CVOC contamination. Cone Penetrometer Testing (CPT) with soil vapor sampling provided a detailed understanding of the subsurface geology and CVOC distribution which was essential for proper well design and placement. Twelve SVE wells were installed using direct push technology (DPT) and were tested to determine specific capacity and CVOC concentrations. This information was then used to develop a strategy for operating the SVE system. Based on the results of the baseline testing and previous studies, sets of 2 to 3 extraction wells will be treated using SVE at one month intervals. This will allow continuous operation of the SVE system and give individual wells up to 3 months for rebound between treatments. This method of operation is intended to maximize contaminant recovery from individual wells and reduce the

  4. Advanced information technologies for assessing nonpoint source pollution in the vadose zone: Conference overview

    SciTech Connect

    Corwin, D.L.; Loague, K.; Ellsworth, T.R.

    1999-03-01

    The information age has ushered in an awareness of and concern for global environmental problems such as climatic change, ozone depletion, deforestation, desertification, and nonpoint source (NPS) pollution. Nonpoint source pollution is the single greatest threat to surface and subsurface drinking water resources. Nonpoint source pollutants also pose a threat to sustainable agriculture, which is viewed as the most viable means of meeting the food demands of a world population that is expected to reach 9.4 billion by the middle of the next century. The ability to accurately assess present and future NPS pollution impacts on ecosystems ranging from local to global scales would provide a powerful tool for environmental stewardship and guiding future human activities. Assessing NPS pollutant is a multidisciplinary problem. To address the problem, advanced information technologies and methodologies are needed that draw from all areas of science and are applied in a spatial context. It was from this setting that the 1997 Joint AGU Chapman/SSSA Outreach Conference Application of GIS, Remote Sensing, Geostatistics, and Solute Transport Modeling for Assessing Nonpoint Source Pollutants in the Vadose Zone (19--24 Oct. 1997, Riverside, CA) materialized. The objective of the conference was to examine current multidisciplinary technologies and methodologies for assessing NPS pollutants in the vadose zone, and to explore new conceptual approaches. It was the conference`s goal to provide a forum to stimulate multidisciplinary interaction to enhance the development of techniques for the real-time measurement and modeling of NPS pollution in the vadose zone and subsurface waters.

  5. Heterogeneity and Scaling in Geologic Media: Applications to Transport in the Vadose and Saturated Zones

    SciTech Connect

    Brown, Stephen R.

    2003-06-01

    The DOE National Laboratories have extensive environmental remediation and operations centers as well as research teams specializing in environmental problems. These organizations are concerned largely with pollution prevention, safe disposal of hazardous materials, polluted site identification and characterization, and cleanup of polluted sites. These organizations, and the private-industry subcontractors they hire, require state of the art tools and techniques for characterization and monitoring. Our research will contribute to this effort by providing descriptions of heterogeneities and scaling properties in the vadose and saturated zones with particular emphasis on flow and transport. This work will also provide an important link between some geophysical measurements and fluid transport characteristics.

  6. Immobilization of Radionuclides in the Hanford Vadose Zone by Incorporation in Solid Phases

    SciTech Connect

    Gordon E. Brown, Jr.; Jeffrey G. Catalano; Jeffrey A. Warner; Samual Shaw; Daniel Grolimund

    2005-01-24

    The Department of Energy's Hanford Nuclear Site located in Washington State has accumulated over 2 million curies of radioactive waste from activities related to the production of plutonium (Ahearne, 1997). Sixty-seven of the single-shelled tanks located at the site are thought to have leaked, allowing between 2 and 4 million liters of waste fluids into the underlying vadose zone. The chemical processes employed at the Hanford Site to extract plutonium, as well as the need to minimize corrosion of the high-carbon steel storage tanks, resulted in uncharacterized hyperalkaline waste streams rich in radionuclides as well as other species including significant amounts of sodium and aluminum.

  7. Interfacial Reduction-Oxidation Mechanisms Governing Fate and Transport of Contaminants in the Vadose Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Baolin Deng; Edward Thornton; Kirk Cantrell; Khris Olsen; James Amonette

    2004-01-11

    Immobilization of toxic and radioactive metals in the vadose zone by In Situ Gaseous Reduction (ISGR) using hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a promising technology for soil remediation. Earlier laboratory and field studies have shown that Cr(VI) can be effectively immobilized by treatment with dilute gaseous H2S. The objective of this project is to characterize the interactions among H2S, the metal contaminants, and soil components. Understanding these interactions is needed to assess the long-term effectiveness of the technology and to optimize the remediation system.

  8. Electrical Conductivity in the Vadose Zone beneath a Tamarisk Grove along the Virgin River in Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shillito, R.; Sueki, S.; Berli, M.; Healey, J. M.; Acharya, K.

    2013-12-01

    Thick tamarisk groves along river corridors of the Southwest can transpire vast quantities of water and, as an invasive species, compete with native plants for space and resources. It is hypothesized that tamarisk can outcompete other species by not only tolerating high soil salinity, but by increasing soil salinity due to transpiration of salt-rich near-surface groundwater. The goal of this study was to garner experimental evidence for salt accumulation around tamarisk trees in comparison with other species (mesquite) along the Virgin River near Riverside, NV. At the experimental site, electrical conductivity (EC), temperature (T), and volumetric water content (VWC) within the vadose zone were monitored using sensors at 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100 cm depth on 30-minute intervals within the tamarisk thicket where several mesquite trees are found. Nearby groundwater levels were monitored every 40 days. The 2012 - 2013 data reveal an unexpected EC profile between the surface and the groundwater table (average depth 100 cm). A crust was found within depressions on the surface with EC values as high as 18.8 mS/cm. In the vadose zone (0 to 80 cm depth), average EC values of 4.4 mS/cm were recorded. Most interestingly, in the capillary fringe immediately above the water table (80 to 100 cm depth) average EC values of only 1.25 mS/cm were found whereas the groundwater (>100 cm depth) showed considerably higher EC values averaging 8.8 mS/cm. Additionally, the surface beneath the tamarisk had double the EC as that beneath the mesquite. The contrast in the EC indicates an increase in the aquifer salinity, which may be due to leachate infiltration through the vadose zone concentrated by plant transpiration and direct deposition of saline tamarisk leaf litter and secretions onto the understory. Evapotranspiration and shedding of litter by the tamarisk accelerated the salinity concentrations in the uppermost part of the vadose zone. Ultimately, understanding the salinity regime as

  9. Effects of Porous Medium Heterogeneity on Vadose Zone Desiccation: Intermediate-scale Laboratory Experiments and Simulations

    SciTech Connect

    Oostrom, Martinus; Freedman, Vicky L.; Wietsma, Thomas W.; Dane, Jacob H.; Truex, Michael J.

    2012-11-01

    Soil desiccation (drying), involving water evaporation induced by dry gas injection, is a potentially robust vadose zone remediation process to limit contaminant transport through the vadose zone. A series of four intermediate-scale flow cell experiments was conducted in homogeneous and simple layered heterogeneous porous medium systems to investigate the effects of heterogeneity on desiccation of unsaturated porous media. The permeability ratios of porous medium layers ranged from about five to almost two orders of magnitude. The insulated flow cell was equipped with twenty humidity and temperature sensors and a dual-energy gamma system was used to determine water saturations at various times. The multiphase code STOMP was used to simulate the desiccation process. Results show that injected dry gas flowed predominantly in the higher permeability layer and delayed water removal from the lower permeability material. For the configurations tested, water vapor diffusion from the lower to the higher permeability zone was considerable over the duration of the experiments, resulting in much larger relative humidity values of the outgoing air than based on permeability ratios alone. Acceptable numerical matches with the experimental data were obtained when an extension of the saturation-capillary pressure relation below the residual water saturation was used. The agreements between numerical and experimental results suggest that the correct physics are implemented in the simulator and that the thermal and hydraulic properties of the porous media, flow cell wall and insulation materials were properly represented.

  10. Vadose zone characterization project at the Hanford Tank Farms: BY Tank Farm report

    SciTech Connect

    Kos, S.E.

    1997-02-01

    The US Department of Energy Grand Junction Office (GJO) was tasked by the DOE Richland Operations Office (DOE-RL) to perform a baseline characterization of the contamination distributed in the vadoze zone sediment beneath and around the single-shell tanks (SSTs) at the Hanford Site. The intent of this characterization is to determine the nature and extent of the contamination, to identify contamination sources, and to develop a baseline of the contamination distribution that will permit future data comparisons. This characterization work also allows an initial assessment of the impacts of the vadose zone contamination as required by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). This characterization project involves acquiring information about the vadose zone contamination with borehole geophysical logging methods and documenting that information in a series of reports. Data from boreholes surrounding each tank are compiled into individual Tank Summary Data Reports. The data from each tank farm are then compiled and summarized in a Tank Farm Report. This document is the Tank Farm Report for the BY Tank Farm.

  11. Simulations of Groundwater Flow and Radionuclide Transport in the Vadose and Saturated Zones beneath Area G, Los Alamos National Laboratory

    SciTech Connect

    Kay H. Birdsell; Kathleen M. Bower; Andrew V. Wolfsberg; Wendy E. Soll; Terry A. Cherry; Tade W. Orr

    1999-07-01

    Numerical simulations are used to predict the migration of radionuclides from the disposal units at Material Disposal Area G through the vadose zone and into the main aquifer in support of a radiological performance assessment and composite analysis for the site. The calculations are performed with the finite element code, FEHM. The transport of nuclides through the vadose zone is computed using a three-dimensional model that describes the complex mesa top geology of the site. The model incorporates the positions and inventories of thirty-four disposal pits and four shaft fields located at Area G as well as those of proposed future pits and shafts. Only three nuclides, C-14, Tc-99, and I-129, proved to be of concern for the groundwater pathway over a 10,000-year period. The spatial and temporal flux of these three nuclides from the vadose zone is applied as a source term for the three-dimensional saturated zone model of the main aquifer that underlies the site. The movement of these nuclides in the aquifer to a downstream location is calculated, and aquifer concentrations are converted to doses. Doses related to aquifer concentrations are six or more orders of magnitude lower than allowable Department of Energy performance objectives for low-level radioactive waste sites. Numerical studies were used to better understand vadose-zone flow through the dry mesa-top environment at Area G. These studies helped define the final model used to model flow and transport through the vadose zone. The study of transient percolation indicates that a steady flow vadose-zone model is adequate for computing contaminant flux to the aquifer. The fracture flow studies and the investigation of the effect of basalt and pumice properties helped us define appropriate hydrologic properties for the modeling. Finally, the evaporation study helped to justify low infiltration rates.

  12. Soil Moisture Flow and Nitrate Movement Simulation through Deep and Heterogeneous Vadose Zone using Dual-porosity Approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yadav, B. K.; Tomar, J.; Harter, T.

    2014-12-01

    We investigate nitrate movement from non-point sources in deep, heterogeneous vadose zones, using multi-dimensional variably saturated flow and transport simulations. We hypothesize that porous media heterogeneity causes saturation variability that leads to preferential flow systems such that a significant portion of the vadose zone does not significantly contribute to flow. We solve Richards' equation and the advection-dispersion equation to simulate soil moisture and nitrate transport regimes in plot-scale experiments conducted in the San Joaquin Valley, California. We compare equilibrium against non-equilibrium (dual-porosity) approaches. In the equilibrium approach we consider each soil layer to have unique hydraulic properties as a whole, while in the dual-porosity approach we assume that large fractions of the porous flow domain are immobile. However we consider exchange of water and solute between mobile and immobile zone using the appropriate mass transfer terms. The results indicate that flow and transport in a nearly 16 m deep stratified vadose zone comprised of eight layers of unconsolidated alluvium experiences highly non-uniform, localized preferential flow and transport patterns leading to accelerated nitrate transfer. The equilibrium approach largely under-predicted the leaching of nitrate to groundwater while the dual-porosity approach showed higher rates of nitrate leaching, consistent with field observations. The dual-porosity approach slightly over-predicted nitrogen storage in the vadose zone, which may be the result of limited matrix flow or denitrification not accounted for in the model. Results of this study may be helpful to better predict fertilizer and pesticide retention times in deep vadose zone, prior to recharge into the groundwater flow system. Keywords: Nitrate, Preferential flow, Heterogeneous vadose zone, Dual-porosity approach

  13. A "Fossil Vadose Zone" from the Triassic Cooper Canyon Formation (Dockum Group) of West Texas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holt, R. M.; Hughes, E.; Hubbell, J. M.; Grisak, G.; Cook, S.; Pickens, J.; Griffith, B. C.

    2008-12-01

    Hydrogeologic investigations at a proposed low-level radioactive waste disposal facility in Andrews County, Texas, have revealed evidence of a "fossil vadose zone" present within the redbeds of the Cooper Canyon Formation. The Cooper Canyon Formation is the uppermost stratigraphic unit in the Triassic Dockum Group in the study area and consists of very low permeability claystone and mudstone with several areally extensive siltstone/sandstone interbeds. Piezometers installed within two of the siltstone/sandstone zones show that water levels can rise up to about 20 m above the top of the zones and that uppermost of these zones is locally unsaturated. Waters in these zones have radiometric age dates of about 16,000 years. Recently twelve boreholes were drilled into the Cooper Canyon, cored, and sampled for in situ water potential (the sum of the matric and osmotic potential) and other hydraulic properties including moisture content, porosity, electrical conductivity of a saturated paste (EC), and chloride content. Water potential and saturation data show that Cooper Canyon mudstones are unsaturated to depths greater than 110 m with water potentials typically ranging from -2 MPa to -5 MPa. Very low water potentials (less than -1 MPa) occur within 0.1 m to 1 m of the upper and lower contacts of the siltstone/sandstone zones. Hydraulic gradients are outward from the siltstone/sandstone zones, and water potential values in the mudstones show one or more minima. These conditions preclude vertical flow between the land surface and underlying units and between siltstone/sandstone zones. The average air-entry pressure for Cooper Canyon rocks is about -1 MPa, and water saturation averages 83%. Chloride concentration profiles show a strong bulge in the sediments and rocks above the Cooper Canyon suggesting that very little Holocene recharge has reached the redbeds. Chloride concentrations within the siltstone/sandstone zones are higher than the surrounding mudstones, indicating

  14. Application of Vadose Zone Monitoring Technology for Characterization of Leachate Generation in Landfills

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    aharoni, imri; dahan, ofer

    2016-04-01

    Ground water contamination due to landfill leachate percolation is considered the most severe environmental threat related to municipal solid waste landfills. Natural waste degradation processes in landfills normally produce contaminated leachates up to decades after the waste has been buried. Studies have shown that understanding the mechanisms which govern attenuation processes and the fate of pollutants in the waste and in the underlying unsaturated zone is crucial for evaluation of environmental risks and selection of a restoration strategy. This work focuses on a closed landfill in the coastal plain of Israel that was active until 2002 without any lining infrastructure. A vadose zone monitoring system (VMS) that was implemented at the site enables continuous measurements across the waste body (15 m thick) and underlying sandy vadose zone (16 m thick). Data collected by the VMS included continuous measurements of water content as well as chemical composition of the leachates across the entire waste and vadose zone cross section. Results indicated that winter rain percolated through the waste, generating wetting waves which were observed across the waste and unsaturated sediment from land surface until groundwater at 31 m bls. Quick percolation and high fluxes were observed in spite of the clay cover that was implemented at the site as part of the rehabilitation scheme. The results show that the flow pattern is controlled by a preferential mechanism within the waste body. Specific sections showed rapid fluxes in response to rain events, while other sections remained unaffected. In the underlying sandy vadose zone the flow pattern exhibited characteristics of matrix flow. Yet, some sections received higher fluxes due to the uneven discharge of leachates from the overlying waste body. Water samples collected from the waste layer indicate production of highly polluted leachates over 14 years after the landfill was closed. The chemical composition within the waste

  15. Characterization of Vadose Zone Sediments from C Waste Management Area: Investigation of the C-152 Transfer Line Leak

    SciTech Connect

    Brown, Christopher F.; Serne, R. Jeffrey; Bjornstad, Bruce N.; Valenta, Michelle M.; Lanigan, David C.; Vickerman, Tanya S.; Clayton, Ray E.; Geiszler, Keith N.; Iovin, Cristian; Clayton, Eric T.; Kutnyakov, Igor V.; Baum, Steven R.; Lindberg, Michael J.; Orr, Robert D.

    2008-09-11

    The sodium data was removed due to potential contamination introduced during the acid extraction process. The rest of the text remains unchanged from the original report issued in January 2007. The overall goal of the Tank Farm Vadose Zone Project, led by CH2M HILL Hanford Group, Inc., is to define risks from past and future single-shell tank farm activities at Hanford. To meet this goal, CH2M HILL Hanford Group, Inc., tasked scientists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to perform detailed analyses on vadose zone sediments from within waste management area (WMA) C. Specifically, this report contains all the geologic, geochemical, and selected physiochemical characterization data compiled on vadose zone sediment recovered from direct-push samples collected around the site of an unplanned release (UPR), UPR-200-E-82, adjacent to the 241-C-152 Diversion Box located in WMA C.

  16. Integrated Field, Laboratory, and Modeling Studies to Determine the Effects of Linked Microbial and Physical Spatial Heterogeneity on Engineered Vadose Zone Bioremediation

    SciTech Connect

    Brockman, Fred; Selker, John

    2001-06-01

    In situ bioremediation of contaminants can offer advantages in cost, speed, public acceptance, and final cleanup levels achieved relative to physical removal methods. However, microbial populations in the unsaturated zone are spatially discontinuous and sparse, especially in deep vadose zones and in arid climates with very low moisture and nutrient flux. In addition, there is a lack of knowledge on (1) the ability of microbes to colonize ''empty'' regions of the vadose zone in response to nutrient delivery and (2) how microbial colonization is controlled by hydrologic and physical features. These issues raise questions about the feasibility of deep vadose zone bioremediation and the accuracy of flow and transport models for vadose zone bioremediation. The goal of this research is to provide DOE with an increased understanding of the effect of interacting hydrologic and microbiological processes that control the feasibility of engineered bioremediation of chlorinated compounds in heterogeneous, microbially sparse deep vadose zones. The specific objectives are: (1) to conduct laboratory research on vadose zone microbial colonization processes as a function of hydrologic and physical features and use the information to develop an improved vadose zone reactive transport model; (2) to evaluate a gas-phase nutrient delivery approach for enhancing removal of carbon tetrachloride from the vadose zone.

  17. Geochemical monitoring of vadose zone retention ability on induced CO2 leakage

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cohen, G.; Loisy, C.; Cerepi, A.

    2012-04-01

    CO2 emissions in the atmosphere are increasing continually, which are mainly originated from burning of fossil fuels. The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change Special Report on Carbon Capture and Storage in 2005 identified various knowledge gaps that need to be resolved before the large-scale implementation of CO2 geological storage is possible. One of them is to determine what would be the impact of a CO2 leakage from a geological storage on vadose zone and near surface environment. The CO2-Vadose Project aims at developing a facility around a room of a former underground limestone quarry in Saint-Emilion (Gironde, France) to perform experimental releases of CO2 under controlled conditions in order to study CO2 transport and geochemical reactions along the vadose zone and to test near-surface detection techniques. Experimental site was set up among others with more than forty gas probe in order to follow CO2 concentrations before and after injection thanks to µGC and infrared analyser. These probes have been set at different depths spatially distributed: in the soil at ten centimetres, at the contact between soil and limestone at about 40 centimetres depth, in limestone at about 90 centimetres depth, and in limestone all around the injection chamber. Micro-climatic parameters were also recorded by a weather station at the site surface (precipitation, barometric pressure, temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, amount of sunshine) and around the injection room (barometric pressure, relative humidity, temperature). Natural ground and limestone CO2 concentrations were monitored during almost a year before CO2 injection. During this period, natural CO2 concentrations variations were observed in order to plot a natural baseline and so to determine the best period for the injection and to distinguish natural biogenic from injected CO2. Natural CO2 concentrations recorded vary between about 400 ppm in deeply limestone to more than 20,000 ppm in the upper part

  18. Deep Vadose Zone Treatability Test for the Hanford Central Plateau: Interim Post-Desiccation Monitoring Results, Fiscal Year 2014

    SciTech Connect

    Truex, Michael J.; Strickland, Christopher E.; Johnson, Christian D.; Johnson, Timothy C.; Clayton, Ray E.; Chronister, Glen B.

    2014-09-01

    Over decades of operation, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its predecessors have released nearly 2 trillion L (450 billion gal.) of liquid into the vadose zone at the Hanford Site. Much of this discharge of liquid waste into the vadose zone occurred in the Central Plateau, a 200 km2 (75 mi2) area that includes approximately 800 waste sites. Some of the inorganic and radionuclide contaminants in the deep vadose zone at the Hanford Site are at depths below the limit of direct exposure pathways, but may need to be remediated to protect groundwater. The Tri-Party Agencies (DOE, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Washington State Department of Ecology) established Milestone M 015 50, which directed DOE to submit a treatability test plan for remediation of technetium-99 (Tc-99) and uranium in the deep vadose zone. These contaminants are mobile in the subsurface environment and have been detected at high concentrations deep in the vadose zone, and at some locations have reached groundwater. Testing technologies for remediating Tc-99 and uranium will also provide information relevant for remediating other contaminants in the vadose zone. A field test of desiccation is being conducted as an element of the DOE test plan published in March 2008 to meet Milestone M 015 50. The active desiccation portion of the test has been completed. Monitoring data have been collected at the field test site during the post-desiccation period and are reported herein. This is an interim data summary report that includes about 3 years of post-desiccation monitoring data. The DOE field test plan proscribes a total of 5 years of post-desiccation monitoring.

  19. Establishing a Geochemical Heterogeneity Model for a Contaminated Vadose Zone-Aquifer System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murray, C. J.; Zachara, J. M.; McKinley, J. P.; Bott, Y.

    2010-12-01

    The Hanford Integrated Field Research Center (IFRC) is investigating multiscale mass-transfer processes that control seasonally variable concentrations in the 300 Area uranium plume. The plume has displayed remarkable persistence over the past 20 years, and questions remain as to whether causes are hydrologic or geochemical. Key to the understanding and simulation of these questions is information on the spatial distribution of U(VI) contaminant concentrations, and reaction properties that determine solid-liquid distribution. About 750 grab samples were collected during the installation of 35 wells within the 1600 sq m IFRC site. Particle size distribution was measured, and the <2 mm fraction characterized for the following properties: total U, 1000 h bicarbonate extractable U, surface area, and ammonium oxalate- and hydroxyl amine-extractable Fe(III). Adsorption distribution ratios (Kd’s) were measured from synthetic groundwater on bicarbonate extracted sediments that had been washed repeatedly to remove residual bicarbonate. Desorption Kd’s, were measured in eight successive equilibrations with synthetic site groundwater. Correlations between the variables were evaluated, and a geostatistical analysis was performed that included generation of stochastic realizations of the spatial distribution of key properties and variables in the lower vadose zone and upper saturated zone of the IFRC site for reactive transport modeling. We found that high extractable U (> 7.5 µg-U/g of sediment) was localized to middle vadose zone hot spots that did not correlate with grain-size distribution. A secondary maximum of adsorbed U (~5 µg-U/g of sediment) occurred in the lower vadose zone, with concentrations increasing upward to the maximum elevation of the current water table (the “smear zone”). Adsorbed U(VI) was low but detectable in the saturated zone where the plume exists. Monte Carlo analysis was used to estimate the mass of extractable U present in the smear zone

  20. The CO2 Vadose Project - Buffering capacity of a carbonate vadose zone on induced CO2 leakage. Part 2: reversed numerical simulation with PHREEQC

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Loisy, Corinne; Cohen, Grégory; Le roux, Olivier; Garcia, Bruno; Rouchon, Virgile; Delaplace, Philippe; Cérepi, Adrian

    2013-04-01

    The interest in CO2 capture and storage as a method of reducing CO2 emissions has underlined the need for more knowledge regarding the geological storage capacity. Because the ultimate failure of geologic CO2 storage occurs when CO2 seeps out of the ground into the atmospheric surface layer, it is of primary interest to understand how much vadose zone could buffer a CO2 leakage. To assess the buffering capacity of the carbonate vadose zone with respect to this diffuse CO2 leakage, numerical simulation using PHREEQC were performed with data obtained from CO2 leakage experiment. One of the aims of the CO2-Vadose Project is to perform an experimental release of CO2 and associated tracers (He and Kr) in order to study CO2 transport and geochemical reactions along the carbonate vadose zone. Experimental site, which is a cavity of about 9 m3 located at about 7 m in depth in a former underground limestone quarry in Saint-Emilion (Gironde, France), was set up with more than ten gas probes around the injection cavity in order to follow CO2 concentrations before and after injection thanks to micro-GC and infrared analyser. Micro-climatic parameters were also recorded by a weather station at the site surface and around the injection room (barometric pressure, relative humidity, temperature). About 11 m3 of gas mixture was released in the injection room and different concentrations of CO2 were observed inside and all around the cavity, in limestone. At the end of the gas mixture injection, the observed CO2 concentrations were about 90 % in the experimental cavity. A few meters away from the source, CO2 concentrations varied from atmospheric level (about 400 ppm) to about 11,000 ppm. Numerical simulations were done with PHREEQC to understand the kinetic and thermodynamic equilibrium of reactions occurring in limestone, to figure out how the carbonate vadose zone could buffer this CO2 leakage. Field characterisation data, moisture content data, pore-water analyses results and CO

  1. Foam, a promising vehicle to deliver nanoparticles for vadose zone remediation

    SciTech Connect

    Shen, Xin; Zhao, Lin; Ding, Yuanzhao; Liu, Bo; Zeng, Hui; Zhong, Lirong; Li, Xiqing

    2011-02-23

    Foam delivery of remedial amendments for in-situ immobilization of deep vadose zone contaminants can overcome the intrinsic problems associated with solution-based delivery, such as preferential flow and contaminant mobilization. In this work, the feasibility of using foam to deliver nanoparticles in unsaturated porous media was investigated. Carboxyl-modified polystyrene latex microspheres were used as surrogates for nanoparticles of remediation purposes. Foams generated from the solutions of six commonly available surfactants all had excellent abilities to carry the microspheres. The presence of the microspheres did not reduce the stabilities of the foams. When microsphere-laden foam was injected through the unsaturated columns, the fractions of microspheres exiting the column were much higher than that when the microsphere water suspensions were injected through the columns. The enhanced microsphere transport implies that foam delivery could significantly increase the radius of influence of injected nanoparticles of remediation purposes. Reduced tension at air-water interfaces by the surfactant and increased driving forces imparted on the microspheres at the interfaces by the flowing foam bubbles may have both contributed to the enhanced transport. Preliminary tests also demonstrated that foam can carry significant fractions of zero valent iron nanoparticles at concentrations relevant to field remediation conditions (up to 5.3 g L-1). As such, this study demonstrates that surfactant foam is potentially a promising vehicle to deliver nanoparticles for vadose zone remediation.

  2. Field Evidence for Strong Chemical Separation of Contaminants in the Hanford Vadose Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Conrad, Mark E.; Depaolo, D. J.; Maher, Katharine; Gee, Glendon W.; Ward, Anderson L.

    2007-11-01

    Water and chemical transport from a point source within vadose zone sediments at the Hanford Site in Washington State were examined with a leak test consisting of five 3800-L aliquots of water released at 4.5-m depth every week over a 4-wk period. The third aliquot contained bromide, D2O, and 87Sr. Movement of the tracers was monitored for 9 mo by measuring pore water compositions of samples from boreholes drilled 2 to 8 m from the injection point. Graded sedimentary layers acting as natural capillary barriers caused significant lateral spreading of the leak water. Shortly after injections were completed, D2O was found at the 9- to 11-m depth at levels in excess of 50% of the tracer aliquot concentration, while sediment layers with elevated water content at the 6- to 7-m depth had less than 3% of the D2O tracer concentration, suggesting deep penetration of the D2O tracer and limited mixing between different aliquots of leak fluids. Initially, high bromide concentrations decreased more rapidly over time than D2O, suggesting enhanced transport of bromide due to anion exclusion. No significant increase in 87Sr was detected in the sampled pore water, indicating strong retardation of Sr by the sediments. These results highlight some of the processes strongly affecting chemical transport in the vadose zone and demonstrate the significant separation of contaminant plumes that can occur.

  3. 32Si in Wet and Dry Deposition as an Input to the Vadose Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Einloth, S. L.; Ekwurzel, B.; Eastoe, C.; Lal, D.

    2002-12-01

    Silicon-32 (32Si) is a cosmogenic isotope produced in the atmosphere by spallation of argon with a global production rate of 5x10-4 atoms cm-2 sec-1 (Kharkar et al., 1966). This isotope is valuable for examining century-scale processes due to its half-life of 140 +/- 10 yr, which is particularly relevant for recharge processes in semi-arid regions. 32Si is ideal for this purpose because, unlike other tracers, there are no subsurface or {\\in-situ} contributions. In order to characterize the potential recharge input of 32Si to the vadose zone in the southwestern United States, precipitation samples were collected that represent monsoon, winter, and snow conditions. These are the first measurements of 32Si in composite wet and dry deposition. Previous studies have considered only precipitation, and preliminary results suggest the dry deposition can be significant, particularly in a semi-arid region. Capturing the entire input function is critical to accurately model the 32Si system in the vadose zone. Kharkar, D.P., V.N. Nijumpurkar, and D. Lal. The global fallout of Si32 produced by cosmic rays. Geochim. Et Cosmochim. Acta, 1966, v30, 621-631.

  4. The effect of subsurface military detonations on vadose zone hydraulic conductivity, contaminant transport and aquifer recharge

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lewis, Jeffrey; Burman, Jan; Edlund, Christina; Simonsson, Louise; Berglind, Rune; Leffler, Per; Qvarfort, Ulf; Thiboutot, Sonia; Ampleman, Guy; Meuken, Denise; Duvalois, Willem; Martel, Richard; Sjöström, Jan

    2013-03-01

    Live fire military training involves the detonation of explosive warheads on training ranges. The purpose of this experiment is to evaluate the hydrogeological changes to the vadose zone caused by military training with high explosive ammunition. In particular, this study investigates artillery ammunition which penetrates underground prior to exploding, either by design or by defective fuze mechanisms. A 105 mm artillery round was detonated 2.6 m underground, and hydraulic conductivity measurements were taken before and after the explosion. A total of 114 hydraulic conductivity measurements were obtained within a radius of 3 m from the detonation point, at four different depths and at three different time periods separated by 18 months. This data was used to produce a three dimensional numerical model of the soil affected by the exploding artillery round. This model was then used to investigate potential changes to aquifer recharge and contaminant transport caused by the detonating round. The results indicate that an exploding artillery round can strongly affect the hydraulic conductivity in the vadose zone, increasing it locally by over an order of magnitude. These variations, however, appear to cause relatively small changes to both local groundwater recharge and contaminant transport.

  5. Implementation Plan for the Deep Vadose Zone-Applied Field Research Center

    SciTech Connect

    Wellman, Dawn M.; Truex, Michael J.; Freshley, Mark D.; Gephart, Roy E.; Triplett, Mark B.; Johnson, Timothy C.

    2011-02-11

    The Long-Range Deep Vadose Zone Program Plan was published in October 2010. It summarized the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) state-of-knowledge about the contaminant remediation challenges facing the deep vadose zone (DVZ) beneath the Central Plateau of the Hanford Site and their approach to solving those challenges. Developing an implementation plan is the next step to address the knowledge and capabilities required to solve DVZ challenges when needed. This multi-year plan (FY-11 through FY-20) identifies the short to long-term research, management, and execution plans required to solve those problems facing the DVZ-Applied Field Research Center (DVZ-AFRC). The schedule supporting implementation overlies existing activities and milestones from Hanford’s DOE-Environmental Management (EM) end-user projects. Success relies upon multi-project teams focused on coordinated subsurface projects undertaken across the DOE Complex combined with facilitated, problem-focused, research investments implemented through the DVZ-AFRC.

  6. Non-isothermal water flow in the vadose zone of arid and semi-arid environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mallants, Dirk; Gerke, Kirill; Cook, Peter

    2013-04-01

    In desert environments thermally-driven vapour flow can be an important component of the total water flux in soils. As such, vapour flow can have considerable impact on recharge estimation, with small errors in soil water flow rates resulting in relatively larger errors in the recharge estimates since recharge is a very small fraction of rainfall. The additional effects of vegetation and temperature contributions may also impact soil water movement and thus calculated recharge rates in arid and semi-arid vadose zones. Currently most methods for estimating large-scale recharge rates do not consider these various processes, which adds an unknown degree of uncertainty to recharge estimation. The HYDRUS-1D numerical simulator was used to simulate coupled isothermal liquid, isothermal vapour, non-isothermal liquid and vapour flow, and heat flow in deep variably saturated vadose zones. The considered climatic conditions are characteristic of central Australia with approximate mean annual precipitation and potential evapotranspiration rates of 300 and 3000 mm, respectively. A time series of 130 years of daily climate data provides the upper boundary conditions. Groundwater recharge under highly erratic rainfall conditions is hypothesized to be primarily episodic and linked to flood events which may be significant only once every few years. The combined effect of vegetation and temperature on water flow and soil water redistribution is discussed for both vegetated and bare soils.

  7. Effects of atmospheric pressures on gas transport in the vadose zone

    SciTech Connect

    Massmann, J. ); Farrier, D.F. )

    1992-03-01

    Temporal variations in barometric pressure due to weather patterns may induce air intrusion into the subsurface. This air intrusion can affect monitoring activities aimed at characterizing the composition and movement of gases in the vadose zone. Expressions are presented to estimate gas fluxes due to the combined effects of Knudsen diffusion, multicomponent molecular diffusion, and viscous flow. These expressions are used to evaluate the validity of the single-component advection-dispersion equation for simulating gas transport in the presence of atmospheric pressure variations. The single-component equation provides reasonable results when used to simulate transport in media with relatively high gas permeability. Computer simulations of vertical transport at sites with homogeneous soils indicate that fresh' air can migrate several meters into the subsurface during a typical barometric pressure cycle. Horizontal pressure gradients can develop at sites with near-surface heterogeneities. These gradients may cause fresh air to intrude meters or tens of meters into the vadose zone during a storm event.

  8. Flow and Transport in the Hanford 300 Area Vadose Zone-Aquifer-River System

    SciTech Connect

    Waichler, Scott R.; Yabusaki, Steven B.

    2005-07-13

    Contaminant migration in the 300 Area unconfined aquifer is strongly coupled to fluctuations in the Columbia River stage. To better understand the interaction between the river, aquifer, and vadose zone, a 2-D saturated-unsaturated flow and transport model was developed for a vertical cross-section aligned west-east across the Hanford Site 300 Area, nearly perpendicular to the river. The model was used to investigate water flow and tracer transport in the vadose zone-aquifer-river flow system, in support of the ongoing study of the 300 Area uranium plume. The STOMP simulator was used to model 1-year from 3/1/92 to 2/28/93, a period when hourly data were available for both groundwater and river levels. Net water flow to the river (per 1-meter width of shoreline) was 182 m3/y in the base case, but the cumulative exchange or total flow back and forth across the riverbed was 30 times greater. The low river case had approximately double the net water and Groundwater tracer flux into the river as compared to the base case.

  9. CALCITE PRECIPITATION AND TRACE METAL PARTITIONING IN GROUNDWATER AND THE VADOSE ZONE: REMEDIATION OF STRONTIUM-90 AND OTHER DIVALENT METALS AND RADIONUCLIDES IN ARID WESTERN ENVIRONMENTS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Radionuclide and metal contaminants are present in the vadose zone and groundwater throughout the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) weapons complex. Demonstrating in situ immobilization of these contaminants in vadose zones or groundwater plumes is a cost-effective remediation str...

  10. Foam as a Delivery Vehicle in Vadose Zone Remediation: Transport; Amendment Distribution; and Tc-99 Immobilization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhong, L.; Szecsody, J.; Wellman, D. M.; Zhang, Z. F.; Mattigod, S.; Pierce, E. M.

    2009-12-01

    Foam is a promising low water content advection technology for the distribution of remedial amendments to the deep vadose zone for metals and radionuclides remediation. Foam flow in the vadose zone can be directed by manipulating the pressure field, therefore the foam delivery technology allows more even distribution of remedial amendments under vadose zone conditions than water-based delivery. With minimal water content in foam flow, foam delivery minimizes the potential for contaminant mobilization and spreading. Laboratory scale experiments were conducted to investigate the physical aspects of foam transport in sediments under vadose zone conditions, to study the (poly)phosphate amendment foam-delivery; and to evaluate technetium-99 immobilization by foam-delivered calcium polysulfide. Foam quality (percentage of gas volume in total foam volume) between 95% and 99% was tested to study its influence on foam injection pressure. It was observed that the injection pressure increased inversely as a function of foam quality. The effect of sediment permeability on foam injection pressure was evaluated in sediments with a range of permeabilities. Results suggested that when the foam injection rate was low, the injection pressure increased with sediment permeability; but when the foam injection rate was high, the injection pressure versus permeability relationship was reversed. Foam bubbles rupture at the foam-flow-front in the unsaturated sediments. The front of the gas injected with foam traveled significantly faster (~ 8 times) than the foam front observed in the sediment. The liquid carried by foam was left behind the foam front. In addition a water accumulation front developed in sediment ahead of the foam-flow-front, i.e. sediment not swept by foam flow, as native pore water was displaced by the foam front. The water content in this liquid accumulation front increased with the increasing of initial water content in the sediment. However, the water content in the

  11. Preferential Flow and Transport of Cryptosporidium Parvum Oocysts Through Vadose Zone: Experiments and Modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Darnault, C. J.; Darnault, C. J.; Garnier, P.; Kim, Y.; Oveson, K.; Jenkins, M.; Ghiorse, W.; Baveye, P.; Parlange, J.; Steenhuis, T.

    2001-12-01

    Oocysts of the protozoan Cryptosporidium parvum, when they contaminate drinking water supplies, can cause outbreaks of Cryptosporidiosis, a common waterborne disease. Of the different pathways by which oocysts can wind up in drinking water, one has received very little attention to date; because soils are often considered to be perfect filters, the transport of oocysts through the subsoil to groundwater by preferential flow is generally ignored. To evaluate its significance, three set of laboratory experiments investigated transport of oocysts through vadose zone. Experiment set I was carried out in a vertical 50 cm-long column filled with silica sand, under conditions known to foster fingered flow. Experiment set II investigates the effect of gas-water interfaces by modifying the hydrodynamical conditions in the sand columns with water-repellent sand barriers. Experiment III involved undisturbed soil columns subjected to macropores flow. The sand and soil columns were subjected to artificial rainfall and were allowed to reach steady-state. At that point, feces of contaminated calves were applied at the surface, along with a known amount of KCl to serve as tracer, and rainfall was continued at the same rate. The breakthrough of oocysts and Cl-, monitored in the effluent, demonstrate the importance of preferential flow - fingered flow and macropore flow - on the transport of oocysts through vadose zone. Peak oocyst concentrations were not appreciably delayed, compared to Cl-, and in some cases, occurred even before the Cl- peak. However, the numbers of oocysts present in the effluents were still orders of magnitude higher than the 5 to 10 oocysts per liter that are considerable sufficient to cause cryptosporidiosis in healthy adults. The transport of oocysts was simulated based on a partitioning the soil profile in both a distribution zone and a preferential zone, In particular, the model simulates accurately the markedly asymmetric breakthrough patterns, and the

  12. Analysis of Radionuclide Migration Through a 200-m Vadose Zone Following a 16-Year Infiltration Event

    SciTech Connect

    Tompson, A F B; Smith, D K; Hudson, G B

    2002-01-31

    The CAMBRIC nuclear test was conducted beneath Frenchman Flat at the Nevada Test Site on May 14, 1965. The nuclear device was emplaced in heterogeneous alluvium, approximately 70 m beneath the ambient water table, which is itself 220 m beneath the ground surface. Approximately 10 years later, groundwater adjacent to the test was pumped steadily for 16 years to elicit information on radionuclide migration in the saturated zone. The pumping well effluent--containing mostly soluble radionuclides such as tritium, {sup 14}C, {sup 36}Cl, {sup 85}Kr, {sup 129}I, and {sup 106}Ru--was monitored, discharged to an unlined ditch, and allowed to flow towards Frenchman Lake just over one kilometer away. Water discharged into the ditch infiltrated into the ground during flow along the ditch. This created an unexpected and remarkable second experiment in which the migration of the effluent through the 220 meters of unsaturated media, or ''vadose zone'', back to the water table, could be studied. In this paper, the pumping and effluent data are being utilized in conjunction with a series of geologic data, new radionuclide measurements, isotopic age-dating estimates, and vadose zone flow and transport models to better understand the movement of radionuclides between the ditch and the water table. Measurements of radionuclide concentrations in water samples produced from a water table monitoring well 100m away from the ditch indicate rising levels of tritium since 1993. The detection of tritium in the monitoring well occurs approximately 16 years after its initial discharge into the ditch. Modeling and tritium age dating have suggested 3 to 5 years of this 16-year transit time occurred solely in the vadose zone. They also suggest considerable recirculation of the pumping well discharge back into the original pumping well. Surprisingly, no {sup 14}C was observed at the water table, suggesting its preferential retention, possibly due to precipitation or other chemical reaction, during

  13. Characterization and Extraction of Uranium Contamination Perched within the Deep Vadose Zone at the Hanford Site, Washington State

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, B. A.; Rohay, V. J.; Benecke, M. W.; Chronister, G. B.; Doornbos, M. H.; Morse, J.

    2012-12-01

    A highly contaminated perched water zone has been discovered in the deep vadose zone above the unconfined aquifer during drilling of wells to characterize groundwater contamination within the 200 East Area of the U.S. Department of Energy's Hanford Site in southeast Washington. The perched water, which contains nitrate, uranium, and technetium-99 at concentrations that have exceeded 100,000 μg/L, 70,000 μg/L, and 45,000 pCi/L respectively, is providing contamination to the underlying unconfined aquifer. A perched zone extraction well has been installed and is successfully recovering the contaminated perched water as an early remedial measure to reduce impacts to the unconfined aquifer. The integration and interpretation of various borehole hydrogeologic, geochemical, and geophysical data sets obtained during drilling facilitated the delineation of the perching horizon and determination of the nature and extent of the perched contamination. Integration of the borehole geologic and geophysical logs defined the structural elevation and thickness of the perching low permeability silt interval. Borehole geophysical moisture logs, gamma logs, and sample data allowed detailed determination of the elevation and thickness of the oversaturated zone above the perching horizon, and the extent and magnitude of the radiological uranium contamination within the perching interval. Together, these data sets resolved the nature of the perching horizon and the location and extent of the contaminated perched water within the perching zone, allowing an estimation of remaining contaminant extent. The resulting conceptual model indicates that the contaminated perched water is contained within a localized sand lens deposited in a structural low on top of a semi-regional low-permeability silt layer. The top of the sand lens is approximately 72 m (235 ft) below ground surface; the maximum thickness of the sand lens is approximately 3 m (10 ft). The lateral and vertical extent of the

  14. Microscale controls on the fate of contaminant uranium in the vadose zone, Hanford Site, Washington

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McKinley, James P.; Zachara, John M.; Liu, Chongxuan; Heald, Steven C.; Prenitzer, Brenda I.; Kempshall, Brian W.

    2006-04-01

    microfracture environment within the presently unsaturated Vadose Zone.

  15. Which key properties controls the preferential transport in the vadose zone under transient hydrological conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Groh, J.; Vanderborght, J.; Puetz, T.; Gerke, H. H.; Rupp, H.; Wollschlaeger, U.; Stumpp, C.; Priesack, E.; Vereecken, H.

    2015-12-01

    Understanding water flow and solute transport in the unsaturated zone is of great importance for an appropriate land use management strategy. The quantification and prediction of water and solute fluxes through the vadose zone can help to improve management practices in order to limit potential risk on our fresh water resources. Water related solute transport and residence time is strongly affected by preferential flow paths in the soil. Water flow in soils depends on soil properties and site factors (climate or experiment conditions, land use) and are therefore important factors to understand preferential solute transport in the unsaturated zone. However our understanding and knowledge of which on-site properties or conditions define and enhance preferential flow and transport is still poor and mostly limited onto laboratory experimental conditions (small column length and steady state boundary conditions). Within the TERENO SOILCan lysimeter network, which was designed to study the effects of climate change on soil functions, a bromide tracer was applied on 62 lysimeter at eight different test sites between Dec. 2013 and Jan. 2014. The TERENO SOILCan infrastructure offers the unique possibility to study the occurrence of preferential flow and transport of various soil types under different natural transient hydrological conditions and land use (crop, bare and grassland) at eight TERENO SOILCan observatories. Working with lysimeter replicates at each observatory allows defining the spatial variability of preferential transport and flow. Additionally lysimeters in the network were transferred within and between observatories in order to subject them to different rainfall and temperature regimes and enable us to relate the soil type susceptibility of preferential flow and transport not only to site specific physical and land use properties, but also to different transient boundary conditions. Comparison and statistical analysis between preferential flow indicators 5

  16. Robust quantitative parameter estimation by advanced CMP measurements for vadose zone hydrological studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koyama, C.; Wang, H.; Khuut, T.; Kawai, T.; Sato, M.

    2015-12-01

    Soil moisture plays a crucial role in the understanding of processes in the vadose zone hydrology. In the last two decades ground penetrating radar (GPR) has been widely discussed has nondestructive measurement technique for soil moisture data. Especially the common mid-point (CMP) technique, which has been used in both seismic and GPR surveys to investigate the vertical velocity profiles, has a very high potential for quantitaive obervsations from the root zone to the ground water aquifer. However, the use is still rather limited today and algorithms for robust quantitative paramter estimation are lacking. In this study we develop an advanced processing scheme for operational soil moisture reetrieval at various depth. Using improved signal processing, together with a semblance - non-normalized cross-correlation sum combined stacking approach and the Dix formula, the interval velocities for multiple soil layers are obtained from the RMS velocities allowing for more accurate estimation of the permittivity at the reflecting point. Where the presence of a water saturated layer, like a groundwater aquifer, can be easily identified by its RMS velocity due to the high contrast compared to the unsaturated zone. By using a new semi-automated measurement technique the acquisition time for a full CMP gather with 1 cm intervals along a 10 m profile can be reduced significantly to under 2 minutes. The method is tested and validated under laboratory conditions in a sand-pit as well as on agricultural fields and beach sand in the Sendai city area. Comparison between CMP estimates and TDR measurements yield a very good agreement with RMSE of 1.5 Vol.-%. The accuracy of depth estimation is validated with errors smaller than 2%. Finally, we demonstrate application of the method in a test site in semi-arid Mongolia, namely the Orkhon River catchment in Bulgan, using commercial 100 MHz and 500 MHz RAMAC GPR antennas. The results demonstrate the suitability of the proposed method for

  17. Interfacial Reduction-Oxidation Mechanisms Governing Fate and Transport of Contaminants in the Vadose Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Principal Investigator: Baolin Deng, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO; Co-Principal Investigator: Silvia Sabine Jurisson, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO; Co-Principal Investigator: Edward C. Thornton, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Richland, WA; Co-Principal Investigator: Jeff Terry, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL

    2008-05-12

    There are many soil contamination sites at the Department of Energy (DOE) installations that contain radionuclides and toxic metals such as uranium (U), technetium (Tc), and chromium (Cr). Since these contaminants are the main 'risk drivers' at the Hanford site (WA) and some of them also pose significant risk at other DOE facilities (e.g., Oak Ridge Reservation - TN; Rocky Flats - CO), development of technologies for cost effective site remediation is needed. Current assessment indicates that complete removal of these contaminants for ex-situ disposal is infeasible, thus in-situ stabilization through reduction to insoluble species is considered one of the most important approaches for site remediation. In Situ Gaseous Reduction (ISGR) is a technology developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for vadose zone soil remediation. The ISGR approach uses hydrogen sulfide (H{sub 2}S) for reductive immobilization of contaminants that show substantially lower mobility in their reduced forms (e.g., Tc, U, and Cr). The technology can be applied in two ways: (i) to immobilize or stabilize pre-existing contaminants in the vadose zone soils by direct H{sub 2}S treatment, or (ii) to create a permeable reactive barrier (PRB) that prevents the migration of contaminants. Direct treatment involves reduction of the contaminants by H{sub 2}S to less mobile species. Formation of a PRB is accomplished through reduction of ferric iron species in the vadose zone soils by H{sub 2}S to iron sulfides (e.g., FeS), which provides a means for capturing the contaminants entering the treated zone. Potential future releases may occur during tank closure activities. Thus, the placement of a permeable reactive barrier by ISGR treatment can be part of the leak mitigation program. Deployment of these ISGR approaches, however, requires a better understanding of the immobilization kinetics and mechanisms, and a better assessment of the long-term effectiveness of treatment. The primary

  18. Monitoring water storage variations in the vadose zone with gravimeters - quantifying the influence of observatory buildings

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reich, Marvin; Güntner, Andreas; Mikolaj, Michal; Blume, Theresa

    2016-04-01

    Time-lapse ground-based measurements of gravity have been shown to be sensitive to water storage variations in the surroundings of the gravimeter. They thus have the potential to serve as an integrative observation of storage changes in the vadose zone. However, in almost all cases of continuous gravity measurements, the gravimeter is located within a building which seals the soil beneath it from natural hydrological processes like infiltration and evapotranspiration. As water storage changes in close vicinity of the gravimeter have the strongest influence on the measured signal, it is important to understand the hydrology in the unsaturated soil zone just beneath the impervious building. For this reason, TDR soil moisture sensors were installed in several vertical profiles up to a depth of 2 m underneath the planned new gravimeter building at the Geodetic Observatory Wettzell (southeast Germany). In this study, we assess the influence of the observatory building on infiltration and subsurface flow patterns and thus the damping effect on gravimeter data in a two-way approach. Firstly, soil moisture time series of sensors outside of the building area are correlated with corresponding sensors of the same depth beneath the building. The resulting correlation coefficients, time lags and signal to noise relationships are used to find out how and where infiltrating water moves laterally beneath the building and towards its centre. Secondly, a physically based hydrological model (HYDRUS) with high discretization in space and time is set up for the 20 by 20 m area around and beneath the gravimeter building. The simulated spatial distribution of soil moisture in combination with the observed point data help to identify where and to what extent water storage changes and thus mass transport occurs beneath the building and how much this differs to the dynamics of the surroundings. This allows to define the umbrella space, i.e., the volume of the vadose zone where no mass

  19. The DOE Vadose Zone Science and Technology Roadmap: A National Program to Address Characeterization, Monitoring and Simulation of Subsurface Contaminant Fate and Transport

    SciTech Connect

    Kowall, Stephen Jacob

    2001-02-01

    The vadose zone comprises the region lying between the earth’s surface and the top of the regional seasonal aquifer. Until recently contamination in the vadose zone was believed to remain relatively immobile. Thus, little attention was paid to understanding the nature of the vadose zone or the potential pathways for contaminants to migrate through it to the water table or other accessible environments. However, recent discoveries of contaminants migrating considerable distances through the vadose zone at several Department of Energy (DOE) sites have changed many assumptions both about the nature and function of the vadose zone and the importance we place on understanding this region. As a result of several vadose zone surprises, DOE Environmental Management (EM) tasked the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) to lead the development of a vadose zone science and technology roadmap. The roadmap is focused on identifying research spanning the next 25 years necessary to be able to better predict the fate and transport of contaminants in the vadose zone. This in turn will provide the basis for reducing scientific uncertainty in environmental remediation and, especially, vadose zone related long-term stewardship decisions across the DOE complex. Vadose zone issues are now recognized as a national problem affecting other federal agencies as well as state and municipal sites with similar problems. Over the next few decades, dramatic and fundamental advances in computing, communication, electronics and micro-engineered systems will transform our understanding of many aspects of the scientific and technical challenges we face today. The roadmap will serve to develop a common perspective on possible future science and technology needs in an effort to help make better R&D investment decisions.

  20. Analysis of Contaminant Transport through the Vadose and Saturated Zones for Source Screening

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bedekar, V.; Neville, C. J.; Tonkin, M. J.

    2010-12-01

    At complex sites there may be many potential source areas. Screening level analyses are useful to identify which of the source areas should be the focus of detailed investigation and analysis. A screening tool has been developed to evaluate the threat posed by waste sites on groundwater quality. This tool implements analytical solutions to simulate contaminant transport through the vadose and saturated zones and predict time-varying concentrations at potential groundwater receptors. The screening tool is developed within a user friendly, Microsoft ExcelTM based interface; however, care has been taken to implement rigorous solutions. The screening tool considers the following mechanisms: (a) Partitioning of soil contamination in to an equivalent dissolved concentration. For a time-invariant source, the solution is generalized from [3] for sorption and decay. For a time-varying source, the solution represents a special, degenerate, case of a solution implemented in ATRANS [2]; (b) One-dimensional (1D) transport of the dissolved contamination through the vadose zone considering 1D dispersion, equilibrium sorption, and first order transformation reactions. Steady state infiltration and moisture content are assumed; (c) Blending (mixing) of ambient water quality in the saturated zone with the contaminated water leaching from the vadose zone; and (d) Three-dimensional (3D) transport through the saturated zone using the formulation provided in [2], considering advection, dispersion, sorption, and first-order transformation reactions. The solution is derived using integral transform methods, following approaches adopted in [1] and [4]. Independent verification showed that the analytical techniques implemented in this study generate solutions that closely approximate those obtained using sophisticated numerical approaches, with a systematic over-estimate of the likely impact to groundwater that (predictably) stems from the use of a 1D approximation in the vadose zone. As a

  1. Ecotonal Control on Vadose-Zone Fluxes in Arid Regions Over Very Long Time Scales

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Phillips, F. M.; Walvoord, M. A.; Sandvig, R.

    2003-12-01

    Recent studies indicate that vegetation plays an important role in regulating recharge in semiarid and arid basins over very long time scales. Several lines of evidence from desert floor environments in the southwestern United States suggest that vegetation has established essentially permanent upward hydraulic gradients, effectively precluding diffuse recharge since the transition from woodland to xeric scrub in the early Holocene. However, less xeric vegetation (such as the pygmy piñon and juniper forest) may support significant diffuse recharge. We show comparative water potential and porewater chemistry profiles collected from various vegetation communities in the Chihuahuan Desert of west Texas. The modeled soil water (vapor and liquid) flux regimes illustrate a conversion from substantial downward fluxes under the mixed woodland to upward fluxes under grassland and xeric scrub. Model results also indicated a trend in increasing drying front propagation depth from the grassland to recently-encroached xeric scrub to well-established xeric scrub. Drying fronts are the result of upward soil water fluxes initiated up to 16 thousand years ago in the xeric scrub community. In contrast, the nearby woodland community supports active, and likely episodic, recharge on the order of 5 to 15 mm yr-1. The mechanism by which some vegetation takes up essentially all seasonally available moisture within the root zone, preventing downward soil water fluxes for periods of thousands of years, but adjacent vegetation communities regularly permit downward fluxes, remains to be determined. Nevertheless, these results suggest that understanding the relation between vegetation community and vadose-zone hydrological processes may be the most profitable avenue toward quantifying diffuse groundwater recharge. We hypothesize that vegetation type may be a reasonable proxy for estimating recharge in semiarid and arid basins. Ongoing research is intended to test the hypothesis of ecotonal

  2. Hydrologic Processes Controlling the Transport of Radionuclides Through the Hanford Vadose Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mayes, M. A.; Jardine, P. M.; Pace, M. N.; Fendorf, S. E.; Mehlhorn, T. L.; Roh, Y.; Ladd, J. L.; Bjornstad, B. N.

    2001-12-01

    At the U.S. Department of Energy's Hanford Reservation in south central Washington, accelerated migration of radionuclides has been observed in the vadose zone beneath the Hanford Tank Farms. The goal of this research was to provide an improved understanding and predictive capability of the coupled hydrological and geochemical mechanisms that are responsible for contaminant mobility in the vadose zone. The research strategy consisted of collecting undisturbed sediment cores (0.3 m diameter x 0.3 m length) in order to perform laboratory-scale, multiple nonreactive and reactive transport experiments at a variety of different water contents. Cores were collected from the Miocene-Pliocene age Upper Ringold Formation, which consists of fine sand, silt and clay. Cores were acquired both parallel and perpendicular to bedding. Two units within the U. Ringold were sampled, a horizontally-bedded, laminated Upper Silt and a cross-bedded Lower Silty Sand. Unsaturated transport experiments were performed using the nonreactive tracers Br-, PFBA, and PIPES, which differ in their free-water molecular diffusion coefficients. Unsaturated transport experiments through cores with discontinuous layering resulted in the formation of an unstable wetting front characterized by preferential finger flow and the development of zones of perched water. Media bypass is inferred by early breakthrough of tracers relative to saturated flow, while the presence of perched water is suggested by decreasing core matric potential. Further, observed separation of tracers (Br-> PFBA > PIPES) suggests that diffusional processes can contribute to contaminant transport. Conversely, transport through cores composed of laterally continuous beds did not result in preferential flow, the development of perched water, or tracer separation regardless of saturation. This suggests a propensity for lateral flow beneath the tank farms. Preferential vertical finger flow may be initiated by intersection with lithologic

  3. Preplanning for D and D: Monitoring the Vadose Zone at Radioactive Waste Trenches

    SciTech Connect

    Wyatt, Douglas

    2008-01-15

    Planning for ultimate Decontamination and Decommissioning (D and D) of a nuclear facility is as much a part of a successful nuclear strategy as is the ultimate disposal of radioactive waste. As facilities, in this case radioactive waste disposal trenches, are closed and abandoned leading to ultimate decommissioning, long term monitoring may be required. However, preplanning by characterizing, modeling, and monitoring the environment around the facility prior to and during operations will allow a performance assessment to be made and future behavior predicted. In the radioactive waste burial grounds of the Savannah River Site new slit trenches were constructed to receive demolition debris associated with site foot print reduction. Some of the construction debris and associated process waste contained small amounts of tritium. Since the trenches were constructed over an existing tritium groundwater plume the monitoring and performance assessment of the trench, particularly with respect to tritium contributions to the vadose zone and groundwater, were important. These disposal trenches vary in length and width but are typically constructed within the upper 7 to 8 meters (21 to 24 feet) of the local sediments. The unconfined aquifer (water table) typically underlies the area at depths varying from 20 to 24 meters (60 to 72 feet), depending on elevation. Therefore, with downward flow and 13 to 16 meters (40 to 48 feet) of unsaturated sediments separating the base of the waste trenches from the unconfined aquifer, there was potential for an environmental impact to the sediments within the vadose zone and to the underlying groundwater. Monitoring and predicting this impact can support ultimate D and D activities and future performance assessment evaluation. From this work several key observations were made that will support long term monitoring and subsequent D and D: - The observed lateral variation of thinly bedded sands and clays may be less than 20 meters particularly

  4. Plutonium Particle Migration in the Shallow Vadose Zone: The Nevada Test Site as an Analog Site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hunt, J. R.; Smith, D. K.

    2004-12-01

    The upper meter of the vadose zone in desert environments is the horizon where wastes have been released and human exposure is determined through dermal, inhalation, and food uptake pathways. This region is also characterized by numerous coupled processes that determine contaminant transport, including precipitation infiltration, evapotranspiration, daily and annual temperature cycling, dust resuspension, animal burrowing, and geochemical weathering reactions. While there is considerable interest in colloidal transport of minerals, pathogenic organisms, and contaminants in the vadose zone, there are limited field sites where the actual occurrence of contaminant migration can be quantified over the appropriate spatial and temporal scales of interest. At the US Department of Energy Nevada Test Site, there have been numerous releases of radionuclides since the 1950's that have become field-scale tracer tests. One series of tests was the four safety shots conducted in an alluvial valley of Area 11 in the 1950's. These experiments tested the ability of nuclear materials to survive chemical explosions without initiating fission reactions. Four above-ground tests were conducted and they released plutonium and uranium on the desert valley floor with only one of the tests undergoing some fission. Shortly after the tests, the sites were surveyed for radionuclide distribution on the land surface using aerial surveys and with depth. Additional studies were conducted in the 1970's to better understand the fate of plutonium in the desert that included studies of depth distribution and dust resuspension. More recently, plutonium particle distribution in the soil profile was detected using autoradiography. The results to date demonstrate the vertical migration of plutonium particles to depths in excess of 30 cm in this arid vadose zone. While plutonium migration at the Nevada Test Site has been and continues to be a concern, these field experiments have become analog sites for the

  5. Numerical Investigations of Vadose Zone Transport of Saturated Sodium Thiosulfate Solutions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    White, M. D.; Ward, A. L.

    2001-12-01

    Compared with water, hypersaline liquid wastes ([NaNO3] > 10 N) from the reduction-oxidation (REDOX) process at the Hanford site have elevated viscosity (μ > 1.2 cP), density (ρ > 1.4 gm/cm3), and surface tension (σ > 100 dyn/cm). Such liquids have infiltrated into the vadose zone at Hanford from leaking underground storage tanks. The migration behavior of saturated or hypersaline salt solutions through unsaturated soils is largely unknown. Laboratory tests with tank-waste simulants suggest that the elevated density, viscosity, and surface tension properties of these liquids can influence the wetting front behavior, altering its shape and migration rate. Conditions under which these mechanisms are active in the field and the extent to which they contribute to transport through the vadose zone are largely unknown, making it impossible to accurately predict the post-leak distribution of these fluids in the field. To investigate the effects of fluid properties on subsurface migration of hypersaline saline solutions, numerical simulations were conducted of a field-scale, tank-leak experiment. The field experiments consisted of five 4000-L injections, at a depth of 5 m, of saturated sodium thiosulfate brine (used as a surrogate for REDOX type wastes) over a 5-week period, followed by three 4000-L injections of Columbia River water. Pre-test modeling of river water injections at this Hanford field site predicted significant lateral spreading of the moisture plume and were confirmed by geophysical logging. A series of three-dimensional, multifluid (i.e., aqueous and gas phases) numerical simulations were conducted that systematically considered the effects of elevated density, viscosity, and surface tension, and reduced vapor pressure on vadose-zone transport. Hydrologic properties were determined from cores collected at the field site and calibrated using river-water injection experiments. Isothermal conditions were assumed for the simulations, however, the effects of

  6. Vegetation as a Mechanism for Increased Vadose Zone Infiltration in the Pacific Lowlands of Nicaragua

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Niemeyer, R. J.; Fremier, A. K.; Heinse, R.; DeClerck, F.; Chávez Huamán, W.

    2011-12-01

    Expansion of agricultural land in the Pacific Lowlands of Nicaragua coupled with intense seasonal rains increases vulnerabilities to the adverse effects of altered surface and vadose zone hydrologic processes seen in flooding, increased soil loss, as well as pollution of rivers and lakes. A primary hydrologic vadose zone process that is altered with land conversion is infiltration often due to changes in bulk density, soil structure, and vertical vegetation structure. Our aim was to study how vegetation affects the soil physical properties that determine infiltration in the vadose zone. We hypothesized that vegetation would increase saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ks) in more forested plots due to preferential pathways in the soil from root and fauna activity. We determined Ks using a Guelph Permeameter in fifteen plots, including, two pastures, two cultivated areas, and eleven plots of varying degrees of forestation in Rivas, Nicaragua. To quantify the effects of soil physical properties and vegetation on Ks we measured sand, silt, clay, bulk density, and soil organic matter as well as vegetation measurements leaf area index (LAI) and total plot tree basal area (DBH>10cm). We applied the Rosetta pedotransfer function (USDA Salinity Lab) to model Ks from sand, silt, clay, and bulk density measurements. We performed a blue dye tracer study in a pasture and a primary forest plot to explore possible mechanisms for changes in Ks between forest and pasture plots. Clay, sand, LAI, and basal area were all individually significant (p<0.0001) in the regression model. The pedotransfer function modeling resulted in 25.7% of the Ks values from low and medium LAI plots (LAI<3.5) being under predicted (i.e. observed value greater than modeled value), whereas 66.7% of Ks values from high LAI plots were under predicted, partially attributed to increased preferential pathways. The blue dye tracer study revealed 10 times more preferential pathways in the forested plot than in the

  7. Tier II Analysis of Vadose Zone Sediments from UPRS 200-E-81 and 200-E-86

    SciTech Connect

    Valenta, Michelle M.; Geiszler, Keith N.; Bjornstad, Bruce N.; Schaef, Herbert T.; Brown, Christopher F.

    2009-04-01

    The overall goals of the Tank Farm Vadose Zone Project, led by Washington River Protection Solutions, are to define risks from past and future single-shell tank farm activities; identify and evaluate the efficacy of interim measures; and aid, via collection of geochemical information and data, the future decisions that must be made by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) regarding the near-term operations, future waste retrieval, and final closure activities for the single-shell tank waste management areas (WMAs). To meet the investigative goals of the Tank Farm Vadose Zone Project, the Environmental Sciences Laboratory performed geochemical analyses on vadose zone sediments collected within Waste Management Area C. Tier one analyses of UPR-200-E-86, which includes direct push probe holes C5952, C5958 and C5960, were performed between 3/25/08 and 4/14/08. Preliminary results were presented to CH2M Hill Hanford Group on 6/5/08. As a result of the tier one investigations, further tier two analyses were requested. Tier two investigations include particle size and mineralogy analyses on samples collected between 80 to 120 feet below ground surface that were found to contain high concentrations of chloride and sulfate. Tier one analyses on sediments retrieved near UPR-200-E-81, direct push probe hole C6394, were performed between 6/20/08 and 7/22/08. Preliminary results of the tier one analyses were presented on 8/15/08. As a result of the tier one investigations, further tier two analyses were requested. Tier two analyses include determining whether U-236 exists in samples at approximately 42 feet below the ground surface. Confirmation of U-236 will determine whether the U-238 seen in the leaches performed on samples at that depth is a result of contamination and not from leaching natural uranium. Using the water and acid extract U-238 concentrations from the tier one analysis, equilibrium Kd values were requested to be calculated. Additional tier two analysis includes

  8. Vadose zone process that control landslide initiation and debris flow propagation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sidle, Roy C.

    2015-04-01

    Advances in the areas of geotechnical engineering, hydrology, mineralogy, geomorphology, geology, and biology have individually advanced our understanding of factors affecting slope stability; however, the interactions among these processes and attributes as they affect the initiation and propagation of landslides and debris flows are not well understood. Here the importance of interactive vadose zone processes is emphasized related to the mechanisms, initiation, mode, and timing of rainfall-initiated landslides that are triggered by positive pore water accretion, loss of soil suction and increase in overburden weight, and long-term cumulative rain water infiltration. Both large- and small-scale preferential flow pathways can both contribute to and mitigate instability, by respectively concentrating and dispersing subsurface flow. These mechanisms are influenced by soil structure, lithology, landforms, and biota. Conditions conducive to landslide initiation by infiltration versus exfiltration are discussed relative to bedrock structure and joints. The effects of rhizosphere processes on slope stability are examined, including root reinforcement of soil mantles, evapotranspiration, and how root structures affect preferential flow paths. At a larger scale, the nexus between hillslope landslides and in-channel debris flows is examined with emphasis on understanding the timing of debris flows relative to chronic and episodic infilling processes, as well as the episodic nature of large rainfall and related stormflow generation in headwater streams. The hydrogeomorphic processes and conditions that determine whether or not landslides immediately mobilize into debris flows is important for predicting the timing and extent of devastating debris flow runout in steep terrain. Given the spatial footprint of individual landslides, it is necessary to assess vadose zone processes at appropriate scales to ascertain impacts on mass wasting phenomena. Articulating the appropriate

  9. Dissolution rates and vadose zone drainage from strontium isotope measurements of groundwater in the Pasco Basin, WA unconfined aquifer

    SciTech Connect

    Singleton, Michael J.; Maher, Katharine; DePaolo, Donald J.; Conrad, Mark E.; Dresel, P. EVAN

    2006-04-30

    Strontium isotope compositions measured in groundwater samples from 273 wells in the Pasco Basin unconfined aquifer below the Hanford Site show large and systematic variations that provide constraints on groundwater recharge, weathering rates of the aquifer host rocks, communication between unconfined and deeper confined aquifers, and vadose zone-groundwater interaction. This article describes the evaluation of strontium geochemistry of a major aquifer.

  10. SCREENING MODEL FOR NONAQUEOUS PHASE-LIQUID TRANSPORT IN THE VADOSE ZONE USING GREEN-AMPT AND KINEMATIC WAVE THEORY

    EPA Science Inventory

    In this paper, a screening model for flow of a nonaqueous phase liquid (NAPL) and associated chemical transport in the vadose zone is developed. he model is based on kinematic approximation of the governing equations for both the NAPL and a partitionable chemical constituent. he ...