Science.gov

Sample records for media unsaturated zone

  1. Unsaturated Zone Flow Model Expert Elicitation Project

    SciTech Connect

    Coppersmith, K. J.

    1997-05-30

    This report presents results of the Unsaturated Zone Flow Model Expert Elicitation (UZFMEE) project at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. This project was sponsored by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and managed by Geomatrix Consultants, Inc. (Geomatrix), for TRW Environmental Safety Systems, Inc. The objective of this project was to identify and assess the uncertainties associated with certain key components of the unsaturated zone flow system at Yucca Mountain. This assessment reviewed the data inputs, modeling approaches, and results of the unsaturated zone flow model (termed the ''UZ site-scale model'') being developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and the US Geological Survey (USGS). In addition to data input and modeling issues, the assessment focused on percolation flux (volumetric flow rate per unit cross-sectional area) at the potential repository horizon. An understanding of unsaturated zone processes is critical to evaluating the performance of the potential high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. A major goal of the project was to capture the uncertainties involved in assessing the unsaturated flow processes, including uncertainty in both the models used to represent physical controls on unsaturated zone flow and the parameter values used in the models. To ensure that the analysis included a wide range of perspectives, multiple individual judgments were elicited from members of an expert panel. The panel members, who were experts from within and outside the Yucca Mountain project, represented a range of experience and expertise. A deliberate process was followed in facilitating interactions among the experts, in training them to express their uncertainties, and in eliciting their interpretations. The resulting assessments and probability distributions, therefore, provide a reasonable aggregate representation of the knowledge and uncertainties about key issues regarding the unsaturated zone at the Yucca Mountain site.

  2. Unsaturated zone characteristics rating for North Carolina

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Terziotti, Silvia; Eimers, Jo Leslie

    2001-01-01

    This web site contains the Federal Geographic Data Committee-compliant metadata (documentation) for digital data produced for the North Carolina, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Public Water Supply Section, Source Water Assessment Program. The metadata are for 11 individual Geographic Information System data sets. An overlay and indexing method was used with the data to derive a rating for unsaturated zone and watershed characteristics for use by the State of North Carolina in assessing more than 11,000 public water-supply wells and approximately 245 public surface-water intakes for susceptibility to contamination. For ground-water supplies, the digital data sets used in the assessment included unsaturated zone rating, vertical series hydraulic conductance, land-surface slope, and land cover. For assessment of public surface-water intakes, the data sets included watershed characteristics rating, average annual precipitation, land-surface slope, land cover, and ground-water contribution. Documentation for the land-use data set applies to both the unsaturated zone and watershed characteristics ratings. Documentation for the estimated depth-to-water map used in the calculation of the vertical series hydraulic conductance also is included.

  3. Flow in the unsaturated zone, Tucson, Arizona

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Graham, D.D.

    1988-01-01

    Field studies in Tucson, Arizona were conducted based on the discovery of contaminants in groundwater from a substantial number of municipal and private wells, and evidence that the presence of a thick unsaturated zone does not prevent the eventual migration of contaminants to regional groundwater systems. A pulse of water containing a tracer was monitored as it passed through the unsaturated zone by using six soil-moisture samplers (lysimeters) that were installed at depths of 11 to 45 ft, 10 ft apart, beneath a shallow, manmade, 3/4-acre recharge basin. The tracer was allowed to infiltrate into the ground for seven days, and water was collected from samplers at 12-hr intervals for about 30 days. Well defined tracer peaks, presented graphically as tracer breakthrough curves, were observed for all but one of the lysimeters installed at the site. Maximum tracer concentration showed no consistent relation with depth; tracer breakthrough sometimes occurred earlier in deep sampling locations than in shallow ones. Rather than moving straight down, water movement occurred along preferential flow paths, referred to as bypass or macropore flow, probably at low soil tension which occurs when the soil is near saturation. Under such conditions, contaminant arrival times can occur sooner than would be expected if flow was assumed to occur as a uniform wetting front that pushes ahead of it the water previously stored in the pores of the unsaturated sediments. Much of the water stored in the soil profile is not involved under conditions of bypass flow, and less interaction occurs between the recharge water and the solid matrix of the unsaturated zone. Therefore certain substances such as chlorinated hydrocarbons (trichloroethylene, pesticides) , other refractory organic compounds (detergents, humic acid), and microorganisms (bacteria) could pass into the underlying groundwater. Results of this study have applicability throughout the southwestern United States as well as in other

  4. Radioactive waste disposal in thick unsaturated zones.

    PubMed

    Winogard, I J

    1981-06-26

    Portions of the Great Basin are undergoing crustal extension and have unsaturated zones as much as 600 meters thick. These areas contain multiple natural barriers capable of isolating solidified toxic wastes from the biosphere for tens of thousands to perhaps hundreds of thousands of years. An example of the potential utilization of such arid zone environments for toxic waste isolatic is the burial of transuranic radioactive wastes at relatively shallow depths (15 to 100 meters) in Sedan Crater, Yucca Flat, Nevada. The volume of this man-made crater is several times that of the projected volume of such wastes to the year 2000. Disposal in Sedan Crater could be accomplished at a savings on the order of $0.5 billion, in comparison with current schemes for burial of such wastes in mined repositories at depths of 600 to 900 meters, and with an apparently equal likelihood of waste isolation from the biosphere.

  5. NaturAnalogs for the Unsaturated Zone

    SciTech Connect

    A. Simmons; A. Unger; M. Murrell

    2000-03-08

    The purpose of this Analysis/Model Report (AMR) is to document natural and anthropogenic (human-induced) analog sites and processes that are applicable to flow and transport processes expected to occur at the potential Yucca Mountain repository in order to build increased confidence in modeling processes of Unsaturated Zone (UZ) flow and transport. This AMR was prepared in accordance with ''AMR Development Plan for U0135, Natural Analogs for the UZ'' (CRWMS 1999a). Knowledge from analog sites and processes is used as corroborating information to test and build confidence in flow and transport models of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. This AMR supports the Unsaturated Zone (UZ) Flow and Transport Process Model Report (PMR) and the Yucca Mountain Site Description. The objectives of this AMR are to test and build confidence in the representation of UZ processes in numerical models utilized in the UZ Flow and Transport Model. This is accomplished by: (1) applying data from Boxy Canyon, Idaho in simulations of UZ flow using the same methodologies incorporated in the Yucca Mountain UZ Flow and Transport Model to assess the fracture-matrix interaction conceptual model; (2) Providing a preliminary basis for analysis of radionuclide transport at Pena Blanca, Mexico as an analog of radionuclide transport at Yucca Mountain; and (3) Synthesizing existing information from natural analog studies to provide corroborating evidence for representation of ambient and thermally coupled UZ flow and transport processes in the UZ Model.

  6. Gas transport in unsaturated porous media: the adequacy of Fick's law

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Thorstenson, D.C.; Pollock, D.W.

    1989-01-01

    The increasing use of natural unsaturated zones as repositories for landfills and disposal sites for hazardous wastes (chemical and radioactive) requires a greater understanding of transport processes in the unsaturated zone. For volatile constituents an important potential transport mechanism is gaseous diffusion. Diffusion, however, cannot be treated as an independent isolated transport mechanism. A complete understanding of multicomponent gas transport in porous media (unsaturated zones) requires a knowledge of Knudsen transport, the molecular and nonequimolar components of diffusive flux, and viscous (pressure driven) flux. This review presents a brief discussion of the underlying principles and interrelationships among each of the above flux mechanisms. -from Authors

  7. Unsaturated Zone and Saturated Zone Transport Properties (U0100)

    SciTech Connect

    J. Conca

    2000-12-20

    This Analysis/Model Report (AMR) summarizes transport properties for the lower unsaturated zone hydrogeologic units and the saturated zone at Yucca Mountain and provides a summary of data from the Busted Butte Unsaturated Zone Transport Test (UZTT). The purpose of this report is to summarize the sorption and transport knowledge relevant to flow and transport in the units below Yucca Mountain and to provide backup documentation for the sorption parameters decided upon for each rock type. Because of the complexity of processes such as sorption, and because of the lack of direct data for many conditions that may be relevant for Yucca Mountain, data from systems outside of Yucca Mountain are also included. The data reported in this AMR will be used in Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA) calculations and as general scientific support for various Process Model Reports (PMRs) requiring knowledge of the transport properties of different materials. This report provides, but is not limited to, sorption coefficients and other relevant thermodynamic and transport properties for the radioisotopes of concern, especially neptunium (Np), plutonium (Pu), Uranium (U), technetium (Tc), iodine (I), and selenium (Se). The unsaturated-zone (UZ) transport properties in the vitric Calico Hills (CHv) are discussed, as are colloidal transport data based on the Busted Butte UZTT, the saturated tuff, and alluvium. These values were determined through expert elicitation, direct measurements, and data analysis. The transport parameters include information on interactions of the fractures and matrix. In addition, core matrix permeability data from the Busted Butte UZTT are summarized by both percent alteration and dispersion.

  8. Transient Point Infiltration In The Unsaturated Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buecker-Gittel, M.; Mohrlok, U.

    The risk assessment of leaking sewer pipes gets more and more important due to urban groundwater management and environmental as well as health safety. This requires the quantification and balancing of transport and transformation processes based on the water flow in the unsaturated zone. The water flow from a single sewer leakage could be described as a point infiltration with time varying hydraulic conditions externally and internally. External variations are caused by the discharge in the sewer pipe as well as the state of the leakage itself. Internal variations are the results of microbiological clogging effects associated with the transformation processes. Technical as well as small scale laboratory experiments were conducted in order to investigate the water transport from an transient point infiltration. From the technical scale experiment there was evidence that the water flow takes place under transient conditions when sewage infiltrates into an unsaturated soil. Whereas the small scale experiments investigated the hydraulics of the water transport and the associated so- lute and particle transport in unsaturated soils in detail. The small scale experiment was a two-dimensional representation of such a point infiltration source where the distributed water transport could be measured by several tensiometers in the soil as well as by a selective measurement of the discharge at the bottom of the experimental setup. Several series of experiments were conducted varying the boundary and initial con- ditions in order to derive the important parameters controlling the infiltration of pure water from the point source. The results showed that there is a significant difference between the infiltration rate in the point source and the discharge rate at the bottom, that could be explained by storage processes due to an outflow resistance at the bottom. This effect is overlayn by a decreasing water content decreases over time correlated with a decreasing infiltration

  9. Unsaturated Zone Flow Patterns and Analysis

    SciTech Connect

    C. Ahlers

    2001-10-17

    This Analysis/Model Report (AMR) documents the development of an expected-case model for unsaturated zone (UZ) flow and transport that will be described in terms of the representativeness of models of the natural system. The expected-case model will provide an evaluation of the effectiveness of the natural barriers, assess the impact of conservatism in the Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA), and support the development of further models and analyses for public confidence building. The present models used in ''Total System Performance Assessment for the Site Recommendation'' (Civilian Radioactive Waste Management System Management and Operating Contractor (CRWMS M&O) 2000 [1532461]) underestimate the natural-barrier performance because of conservative assumptions and parameters and do not adequately address uncertainty and alternative models. The development of an expected case model for the UZ natural barrier addresses issues regarding flow-pattern analysis and modeling that had previously been treated conservatively. This is in line with the Repository Safety Strategy (RSS) philosophy of treating conservatively those aspects of the UZ flow and transport system that are not important for achieving regulatory dose (CRWMS M&O 2000 [153246], Section 1.1.1). The development of an expected case model for the UZ also provides defense-in-depth in areas requiring further analysis of uncertainty and alternative models. In general, the value of the conservative case is to provide a more easily defensible TSPA for behavior of UZ flow and transport processes at Yucca Mountain. This AMR has been prepared in accordance with the ''Technical Work Plan for Unsaturated Zone (UZ) Flow and Transport Process Model Report'' (Bechtel SAIC Company (BSC) 2001 [155051], Section 1.3 - Work Package 4301213UMG). The work scope is to examine the data and current models of flow and transport in the Yucca Mountain UZ to identify models and analyses where conservatism may be reduced and

  10. Unsaturated zone 14CO2: implications for groundwater dating

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wood, C.; Cook, P. G.; Harrington, G. A.; Meredith, K.; Kipfer, R.

    2013-12-01

    Quantitative interpretation of the carbon-14 activity (14C) of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) in groundwater requires an understanding of the various chemical and physical processes that can vary the initial 14C activity from that of the original atmospheric source (carbon dioxide, CO2). Such processes include radioactive decay, carbonate mineral dissolution, isotope exchange, decay of organic matter and molecular diffusion. Many geochemical correction models exist to account for some of these processes (e.g., Fontes and Garnier, 1979). However in most existing correction schemes, it is assumed that the 14C activity of CO2 in the unsaturated zone is in equilibrium with the atmosphere (i.e., 14C:12C is the same as the atmospheric ratio). This assumption is rarely tested and in several cases has been found to be inappropriate (eg. Bacon and Keller, 1998; Walvoord et al., 2005). Not accounting for the influence of unsaturated zone processes on 14C may lead to problems in determining residence time and estimating fluxes from measured 14C data in groundwater. In this study we examined carbon isotope processes in deep unsaturated zone profiles (up to 30m in depth) in arid central Australia. At five sites, multi-level samples of unsaturated zone gas and groundwater were collected for 14C analysis. Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC-11 and CFC-12) samples were also collected in unsaturated zone gas. At all sites we observed a decrease in the 14C activity of unsaturated zone gas with depth, from approximately 107 pmC near the ground surface to 50 - 80 pmC immediately above the water table. The measured 14C data was reproduced in a one-dimensional model using Hydrus, with CFC concentrations used to help constrain the gas transport parameters. Modelling showed that the decrease in 14C could be explained by CO2 production from different sources at different depths in the unsaturated zone (e.g. plant root respiration at shallower depths, oxidation of dead organic matter at greater

  11. Hydraulic properties of adsorbed water films in unsaturated porous media

    SciTech Connect

    Tokunaga, Tetsu K.

    2009-03-01

    Adsorbed water films strongly influence residual water saturations and hydraulic conductivities in porous media at low saturations. Hydraulic properties of adsorbed water films in unsaturated porous media were investigated through combining Langmuir's film model with scaling analysis, without use of any adjustable parameters. Diffuse double layer influences are predicted to be important through the strong dependence of adsorbed water film thickness (f) on matric potential ({Psi}) and ion charge (z). Film thickness, film velocity, and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity are predicted to vary with z{sup -1}, z{sup -2}, and z{sup -3}, respectively. In monodisperse granular media, the characteristic grain size ({lambda}) controls film hydraulics through {lambda}{sup -1} scaling of (1) the perimeter length per unit cross sectional area over which films occur, (2) the critical matric potential ({Psi}{sub c}) below which films control flow, and (3) the magnitude of the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity when {Psi} < {Psi}{sub c}. While it is recognized that finer textured sediments have higher unsaturated hydraulic conductivities than coarser sands at intermediate {Psi}, the {lambda}{sup -1} scaling of hydraulic conductivity predicted here extends this understanding to very low saturations where all pores are drained. Extremely low unsaturated hydraulic conductivities are predicted under adsorbed film-controlled conditions (generally < 0.1 mm y{sup -1}). On flat surfaces, the film hydraulic diffusivity is shown to be constant (invariant with respect to {Psi}).

  12. 40 CFR 264.278 - Unsaturated zone monitoring.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... rate of waste application, and the soil permeability. The owner or operator must express the results of... or operator must monitor the soil and soil-pore liquid to determine whether hazardous constituents... unsaturated zone monitoring system that includes soil monitoring using soil cores and soil-pore...

  13. 40 CFR 264.278 - Unsaturated zone monitoring.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... rate of waste application, and the soil permeability. The owner or operator must express the results of... or operator must monitor the soil and soil-pore liquid to determine whether hazardous constituents... unsaturated zone monitoring system that includes soil monitoring using soil cores and soil-pore...

  14. BIODEGRADATION OF HYDROCARBON VAPORS IN THE UNSATURATED ZONE

    EPA Science Inventory

    The time-averaged concentration of hydrocarbon and oxygen vapors were measured in the unsaturated zone above the residually contaminated capillary fringe at the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station in Traverse City, Michigan. Total hydrocarbon and oxygen vapor concentrations were observe...

  15. 40 CFR 264.278 - Unsaturated zone monitoring.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... or operator must monitor the soil and soil-pore liquid to determine whether hazardous constituents... unsaturated zone monitoring system that includes soil monitoring using soil cores and soil-pore liquid... the quality of background soil-pore liquid quality and the chemical make-up of soil that has not...

  16. 40 CFR 264.278 - Unsaturated zone monitoring.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... or operator must monitor the soil and soil-pore liquid to determine whether hazardous constituents... unsaturated zone monitoring system that includes soil monitoring using soil cores and soil-pore liquid... the quality of background soil-pore liquid quality and the chemical make-up of soil that has not...

  17. Comparison of different filter methods for data assimilation in the unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lange, Natascha; Berkhahn, Simon; Erdal, Daniel; Neuweiler, Insa

    2016-04-01

    The unsaturated zone is an important compartment, which plays a role for the division of terrestrial water fluxes into surface runoff, groundwater recharge and evapotranspiration. For data assimilation in coupled systems it is therefore important to have a good representation of the unsaturated zone in the model. Flow processes in the unsaturated zone have all the typical features of flow in porous media: Processes can have long memory and as observations are scarce, hydraulic model parameters cannot be determined easily. However, they are important for the quality of model predictions. On top of that, the established flow models are highly non-linear. For these reasons, the use of the popular Ensemble Kalman filter as a data assimilation method to estimate state and parameters in unsaturated zone models could be questioned. With respect to the long process memory in the subsurface, it has been suggested that iterative filters and smoothers may be more suitable for parameter estimation in unsaturated media. We test the performance of different iterative filters and smoothers for data assimilation with a focus on parameter updates in the unsaturated zone. In particular we compare the Iterative Ensemble Kalman Filter and Smoother as introduced by Bocquet and Sakov (2013) as well as the Confirming Ensemble Kalman Filter and the modified Restart Ensemble Kalman Filter proposed by Song et al. (2014) to the original Ensemble Kalman Filter (Evensen, 2009). This is done with simple test cases generated numerically. We consider also test examples with layering structure, as a layering structure is often found in natural soils. We assume that observations are water content, obtained from TDR probes or other observation methods sampling relatively small volumes. Particularly in larger data assimilation frameworks, a reasonable balance between computational effort and quality of results has to be found. Therefore, we compare computational costs of the different methods as well

  18. Heat and mass transfer in unsaturated porous media. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Childs, S.W.; Malstaff, G.

    1982-02-01

    A preliminary study of heat and water transport in unsaturated porous media is reported. The project provides background information regarding the feasibility of seasonal thermal energy storage in unconfined aquifers. A parametric analysis of the factors of importance, and an annotated bibliography of research findings pertinent to unconfined aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) are presented. This analysis shows that heat and mass transfer of water vapor assume dominant importance in unsaturated porous media at elevated temperature. Although water vapor fluxes are seldom as large as saturated medium liquid water fluxes, they are important under unsaturated conditions. The major heat transport mechanism for unsaturated porous media at temperatures from 50 to 90/sup 0/C is latent heat flux. The mechanism is nonexistent under saturated conditions but may well control design of unconfined aquifer storage systems. The parametric analysis treats detailed physical phenomena which occur in the flow systems study and demonstrates the temperature and moisture dependence of the transport coefficients of importance. The question of design of an unconfined ATES site is also addressed by considering the effects of aquifer temperature, depth to water table, porous medium flow properties, and surface boundary conditions. Recommendations are made for continuation of this project in its second phase. Both scientific and engineering goals are considered and alternatives are presented.

  19. Transport of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Unsaturated Porous Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chahal, Maninder; Flury, Markus

    2016-04-01

    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are complex organic molecules containing 2 or more fused benzene rings. Being hydrophobic and non-polar, PAHs tend to partition to the organic matter in the soil from bulk aqueous phase. Though transport of these contaminants has been well studied in saturated environment, interactive mechanisms of these fluorescent compounds in unsaturated (identified by presence of air-water interface) porous media is still not well understood. We studied is the transport of fluoranthene in unsaturated porous media as facilitated by moving air-water interfaces. Confocal microscopy was used to visualize the interactions of fluoranthene particles in a glass channel packed with quartz glass beads. The packed glass channel was used to mimic a porous media and effects of an advancing and receding capillary fringe on the detachment of fluoranthene.

  20. Liquid flow and distribution in unsaturated porous media

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Alexander, J. Iwan

    2004-01-01

    Flow and transport in permeable or porous media and microchannels occurs in a variety of situations in micro- and reduced-gravity environments, many of them associated with environmental control and life support systems. While the role of gravity is limited, due to the typically small size scales associated permeable media, gravity, at the very least, affects the overall disposition of fluid in a macroscopic system. This presentation will discuss examples where the absence of gravity affects flow and phase distribution in selected examples of unsaturated flow and transport of heat and mass in porous media and microchannels that are pertinent to spacecraft systems.

  1. Volatile organic compounds in the unsaturated zone from radioactive wastes.

    PubMed

    Baker, Ronald J; Andraski, Brian J; Stonestrom, David A; Luo, Wentai

    2012-01-01

    Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are often comingled with low-level radioactive wastes (LLRW), but little is known about subsurface VOC emanations from LLRW landfills. The current study systematically quantified VOCs associated with LLRW over an 11-yr period at the USGS Amargosa Desert Research Site (ADRS) in southwestern Nevada. Unsaturated-zone gas samples of VOCs were collected by adsorption on resin cartridges and analyzed by thermal desorption and GC/MS. Sixty of 87 VOC method analytes were detected in the 110-m-thick unsaturated zone surrounding a LLRW disposal facility. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were detected in 100% of samples collected. Chlorofluorocarbons are powerful greenhouse gases, deplete stratospheric ozone, and are likely released from LLRW facilities worldwide. Soil-gas samples collected from a depth of 24 m and a horizontal distance 100 m south of the nearest waste-disposal trench contained >60,000 ppbv total VOCs, including >37,000 ppbv CFCs. Extensive sampling in the shallow unsaturated zone (0-2 m deep) identified areas where total VOC concentrations exceeded 5000 ppbv at the 1.5-m depth. Volatile organic compound concentrations exceeded background levels up to 300 m from the facility. Maximum vertical diffusive fluxes of total VOCs were estimated to be 1 g m yr. Volatile organic compound distributions were similar but not identical to those previously determined for tritium and elemental mercury. To our knowledge, this study is the first to characterize the unsaturated zone distribution of VOCs emanating from a LLRW landfill. Our results may help explain anomalous transport of radionuclides at the ADRS and elsewhere.

  2. Artificial recharge through a thick, heterogeneous unsaturated zone.

    PubMed

    Izbicki, John A; Flint, Alan L; Stamos, Christina L

    2008-01-01

    Thick, heterogeneous unsaturated zones away from large streams in desert areas have not previously been considered suitable for artificial recharge from ponds. To test the potential for recharge in these settings, 1.3 x 10(6) m(3) of water was infiltrated through a 0.36-ha pond along Oro Grande Wash near Victorville, California, between October 2002 and January 2006. The pond overlies a regional pumping depression 117 m below land surface and is located where thickness and permeability of unsaturated deposits allowed infiltration and saturated alluvial deposits were sufficiently permeable to allow recovery of water. Because large changes in water levels caused by nearby pumping would obscure arrival of water at the water table, downward movement of water was measured using sensors in the unsaturated zone. The downward rate of water movement was initially as high as 6 m/d and decreased with depth to 0.07 m/d; the initial time to reach the water table was 3 years. After the unsaturated zone was wetted, water reached the water table in 1 year. Soluble salts and nitrate moved readily with the infiltrated water, whereas arsenic and chromium were less mobile. Numerical simulations done using the computer program TOUGH2 duplicated the downward rate of water movement, accumulation of water on perched zones, and its arrival at the water table. Assuming 10 x 10(6) m(3) of recharge annually for 20 years, a regional ground water flow model predicted water level rises of 30 m beneath the ponds, and rises exceeding 3 m in most wells serving the nearby urban area.

  3. Artificial recharge through a thick, heterogeneous unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Izbicki, J.A.; Flint, A.L.; Stamos, C.L.

    2008-01-01

    Thick, heterogeneous unsaturated zones away from large streams in desert areas have not previously been considered suitable for artificial recharge from ponds. To test the potential for recharge in these settings, 1.3 ?? 10 6 m3 of water was infiltrated through a 0.36-ha pond along Oro Grande Wash near Victorville, California, between October 2002 and January 2006. The pond overlies a regional pumping depression 117 m below land surface and is located where thickness and permeability of unsaturated deposits allowed infiltration and saturated alluvial deposits were sufficiently permeable to allow recovery of water. Because large changes in water levels caused by nearby pumping would obscure arrival of water at the water table, downward movement of water was measured using sensors in the unsaturated zone. The downward rate of water movement was initially as high as 6 m/d and decreased with depth to 0.07 m/d; the initial time to reach the water table was 3 years. After the unsaturated zone was wetted, water reached the water table in 1 year. Soluble salts and nitrate moved readily with the infiltrated water, whereas arsenic and chromium were less mobile. Numerical simulations done using the computer program TOUGH2 duplicated the downward rate of water movement, accumulation of water on perched zones, and its arrival at the water table. Assuming 10 ?? 10 6 m3 of recharge annually for 20 years, a regional ground water flow model predicted water level rises of 30 m beneath the ponds, and rises exceeding 3 m in most wells serving the nearby urban area.

  4. Volatile organic compounds in the unsaturated zone from radioactive wastes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Baker, Ronald J.; Andraski, Brian J.; Stonestrom, David A.; Luo, Wentai

    2012-01-01

    Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are often comingled with low-level radioactive wastes (LLRW), but little is known about subsurface VOC emanations from LLRW landfills. The current study systematically quantified VOCs associated with LLRW over an 11-yr period at the USGS Amargosa Desert Research Site (ADRS) in southwestern Nevada. Unsaturated-zone gas samples of VOCs were collected by adsorption on resin cartridges and analyzed by thermal desorption and GC/MS. Sixty of 87 VOC method analytes were detected in the 110-m-thick unsaturated zone surrounding a LLRW disposal facility. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were detected in 100% of samples collected. Chlorofluorocarbons are powerful greenhouse gases, deplete stratospheric ozone, and are likely released from LLRW facilities worldwide. Soil-gas samples collected from a depth of 24 m and a horizontal distance 100 m south of the nearest waste-disposal trench contained >60,000 ppbv total VOCs, including >37,000 ppbv CFCs. Extensive sampling in the shallow unsaturated zone (0–2 m deep) identified areas where total VOC concentrations exceeded 5000 ppbv at the 1.5-m depth. Volatile organic compound concentrations exceeded background levels up to 300 m from the facility. Maximum vertical diffusive fluxes of total VOCs were estimated to be 1 g m-2 yr-1. Volatile organic compound distributions were similar but not identical to those previously determined for tritium and elemental mercury. To our knowledge, this study is the first to characterize the unsaturated zone distribution of VOCs emanating from a LLRW landfill. Our results may help explain anomalous transport of radionuclides at the ADRS and elsewhere.

  5. Effects of Heterogeneity on Transport of Graphene Oxide in Saturated and Unsaturated Porous Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dong, S.; Sun, Y.; Shi, X.; Wu, J.; Gao, B.

    2015-12-01

    Graphene oxide (GO) has received increasing attention in many fields with its wide applications and rapid growth in production. Therefore, it is expected that GO nanoparticles will inevitably be released into the subsurface and cause the environmental risk subsequently. In view of this, knowledge of the fate for GO in the vadose zone and groundwater systems is indispensable. So far most research has focused on the deposition and transport of GO nanoparticles in one-dimensional homogenous porous media; nonetheless, the complex heterogeneous system is extensively distributed in natural subsurface environment and may not be well represented by the homogeneous packed columns. However, little investigations have been directed toward understanding the transport of GO in heterogeneous porous media. The overarching objective of this study is to advance current understanding of GO transport in structured heterogeneous porous media. The saturated and unsaturated columns packed with different sand combinations and solution ionic strength, were used to examine the breakthrough behavior of GO in heterogeneous porous media. A two-domain model considering GO exchange between zones was developed to describe GO transport in structured, heterogeneous porous media. The experimental data indicate that volumetric moisture content and water flow are the critical factors that control GO transport in heterogeneous porous media. And higher ionic strength decrease the mobility of GO particles in both saturated and unsaturated heterogeneous pore media. Simulations of this two-domain nanoparticle transport model matched experimental breakthrough data well for all the experimental conditions. Experimental and model results show that under saturated conditions, both fast-flow and slow-flow domains affect colloid transport in heterogeneous media. Under unsaturated conditions, however, our results indicate that flows in the fast flow domain dominate the colloid transport and retention processes.

  6. Evaluation of unsaturated zone air permeability through pneumatic tests

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Baehr, Arthur L.; Hult, Marc F.

    1991-01-01

    Predicting the steady state distribution of air pressure in the unsaturated zone resulting from a pneumatic test provides a method for determining air-phase permeability. This technique is analogous to the inverse problem of well hydraulics; however, air flow is more complicated than ground water flow because of air compressibility, the Klinkenberg effect, variations in air density and viscosity that result from temperature fluctuations in the unsaturated zone and the possibility of inducing water movement during the pneumatic test. An analysis of these complicating factors reveals that, when induced water movement can be neglected, a linear version of the airflow equation can provide an appropriate approximation for the purpose of determining air-phase permeability. Two analytical solutions for steady state, two-dimensional, axisymmetric airflow to a single well partially screened in the unsaturated zone are developed. One solution applies where there is a stratum of relatively low air permeability, separating the stratum in which the well is completed, from the atmosphere. The other solution applies where there is no separating stratum between the domain and atmosphere. In both situations the water table forms the lower horizontal boundary. Applications of both solutions to determine air permeability from data collected during pneumatic tests are presented.

  7. Hydrogeology of the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Montazer, P.; Wilson, W.E.

    1985-12-31

    The unsaturated volcanic tuff beneath Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is being evaluated by the US Department of Energy as a host rock for a potential mined geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste. Assessment of site suitability needs an efficient and focused investigative program. A conceptual hydrogeologic model that simulates the flow of fluids through the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain was developed to guide the program and to provide a basis for preliminary assessment of site suitability. The study was made as part of the Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations Project of the US Department of Energy. Thickness of the unsaturated zone is about 1640 to 2460 feet (500 to 750 meters). Based on physical properties, the rocks in the unsaturated zone are grouped for the purpose of this paper into five informal hydrogeologic units. From top to bottom these units are: Tiva Canyon welded unit, Paintbrush nonwelded unit. Topopah Spring welded unit, Calico Hills nonwelded unit, and Crater Flat unit. Welded units have a mean fracture density of 8 to 40 fractures per unit cubic meter, mean matrix porosities of 12 to 23%, matrix hydraulic conductivities with geometric means ranging from 6.5 x 10{sup -6} to 9.8 x 10{sup -6} foot per day (2 x 10{sup -6} to 3 x 10{sup -6} meter per day), and bulk hydraulic conductivities of 0.33 to 33 feet per day (0.1 to 10 meters per day). The nonwelded units have a mean fracture density of 1 to 3 fractures per unit cubic meter, mean matrix porosities of 31 to 46%, and saturated hydraulic conductivities with geometric means ranging from 2.6 x 10{sup -5} to 2.9 x 10{sup -2} foot per day (8 x 10{sup -6} to 9 x 10{sup -3} meter per day). 15 refs., 4 figs., 1 tab.

  8. Oxygenated gasoline release in the unsaturated zone - Part 1: Source zone behavior.

    PubMed

    Freitas, Juliana G; Barker, James F

    2011-11-01

    Oxygenates present in gasoline, such as ethanol and MTBE, are a concern in subsurface contamination related to accidental spills. While gasoline hydrocarbon compounds have low solubility, MTBE and ethanol are more soluble, ethanol being completely miscible with water. Consequently, their fate in the subsurface is likely to differ from that of gasoline. To evaluate the fate of gasoline containing oxygenates following a release in the unsaturated zone shielded from rainfall/recharge, a controlled field test was performed at Canadian Forces Base Borden, in Ontario. 200L of a mixture composed of gasoline with 10% ethanol and 4.5% MTBE was released in the unsaturated zone, into a trench 20cm deep, about 32cm above the water table. Based on soil cores, most of the ethanol was retained in the source, above the capillary fringe, and remained there for more than 100 days. Ethanol partitioned from the gasoline to the unsaturated pore-water and was retained, despite the thin unsaturated zone at the site (~35cm from the top of the capillary fringe to ground surface). Due to its lower solubility, most of the MTBE remained within the NAPL as it infiltrated deeper into the unsaturated zone and accumulated with the gasoline on top of the depressed capillary fringe. Only minor changes in the distribution of ethanol were noted following oscillations in the water table. Two methods to estimate the capacity of the unsaturated zone to retain ethanol are explored. It is clear that conceptual models for sites impacted by ethanol-fuels must consider the unsaturated zone.

  9. LNAPL Removal from Unsaturated Porous Media using Surfactant Infiltration

    SciTech Connect

    Zhong, Lirong; Oostrom, Martinus

    2012-11-19

    A series of unsaturated column experiments was performed to evaluate light non-aqueous phase liquid (LNAPL) fate and removal during surfactant solution infiltration. Surfactant-LNAPL phase behavior tests were conducted to optimize the remedial solutions. Packed sand and site sediment columns were first processed to establish representative LNAPL smear zone under unsaturated conditions. Infiltration of low-concentration surfactant was then applied in a stepwise flush mode, with 0.3 column pore volume (PV) of solution in each flush. The influence of infiltrated surfactant solution volume and pH on LNAPL removal was assessed. A LNAPL bank was observed at the very front of the first surfactant infiltration in each column, indicating that a very low surfactant concentration is needed to reduce the LNAPL-water interfacial tension sufficiently enough to mobilize trapped LNAPL under unsaturated conditions. More LNAPL was recovered as additional steps of surfactant infiltration were applied. Up to 99% LNAPL was removed after six infiltration steps, with less than 2.0 PV of total surfactant solution application, suggesting surfactant infiltration may be an effective method for vadose zone LNAPL remediation. The influence of pH tested in this study (3.99~10.85) was insignificant because the buffering capacity of the sediment kept the pH in the column higher than the zero point charge, pHzpc, of the sediment and therefore the difference between surfactant sorption was negligible.

  10. New Hydrologic Insights to Advance Geophysical Investigation of the Unsaturated Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nimmo, J. R.; Perkins, K. S.

    2015-12-01

    Advances in hydrology require information from the unsaturated zone, especially for problems related to groundwater contamination, water-supply sustainability, and ecohydrology. Unsaturated-zone processes are notoriously difficult to quantify; soils and rocks are visually opaque, spatially variable in the extreme, and easily disturbed by instrument installation. Thus there is great value in noninvasive techniques that produce water-related data of high density in space and time. Methods based on resistivity and electromagnetic waves have already produced significant new understanding of percolation processes, root-zone water retention, influences of evapotranspiration on soil-water, and effects of preferential flow. Further developments are underway for such purposes as noninvasive application to greater depths, increased resolution, adaptation for lab-scale experiments, and calibration in heterogeneous media. Beyond these, however, there is need for a stronger marriage of hydrologic and geophysical knowledge and perspective. Possible means to greater and faster progress include: Apply the latest hydrologic understanding, both pore-scale and macroscopic, to the detection of preferential flow paths and their degree of activation. In the continuing advancement of hardware and techniques, draw creatively from developments in such fields as high-energy physics, medical imaging, astrogeology, high-tech semiconductors, and bioinstrumentation. Sidestep the imaging process where possible to measure essential properties and fluxes more directly. Pose questions that have a strong end-use character, like "how does storm intensity relate to aquifer recharge rate" rather than "what is the shape of the wetting front". The greatest advances in geophysical investigation of the unsaturated zone will come from methods informed by the latest understanding of unsaturated systems and processes, and aimed as directly as possible at the answers to important hydrologic questions.

  11. Evaluation of unsaturated zone water fluxes in heterogeneous alluvium at a Mojave Basin Site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nimmo, John R.; Deason, Jeffrey A.; Izbicki, John A.; Martin, Peter

    2002-10-01

    Vertical and horizontal water fluxes in the unsaturated zone near intermittent streams critically affect ecosystems, water supply, and contaminant transport in arid and semiarid regions. The subsurface near the Oro Grande Wash is typical in having great textural diversity, pronounced layer contrasts, and extremely low hydraulic conductivities associated with nearly dry media. These features prevent a straightforward application of the Darcian method for recharge estimation, which has provided high-quality flux estimates at simpler, wetter sites. We have augmented the basic Darcian method with theoretical developments such that a small number of core sample unsaturated hydraulic property measurements, combined with additional, easily obtained data (e.g., drillers' logs) can provide useful flux estimates and knowledge of two-dimensional water behavior beneath the wash.

  12. Evaluation of unsaturated zone water fluxes in heterogeneous alluvium at a Mojave Basin site

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nimmo, J.R.; Deason, J.A.; Izbicki, J.A.; Martin, P.

    2002-01-01

    Vertical and horizontal water fluxes in the unsaturated zone near intermittent streams critically affect ecosystems, water supply, and contaminant transport in arid and semiarid regions. The subsurface near the Oro Grande Wash is typical in having great textural diversity, pronounced layer contrasts, and extremely low hydraulic conductivities associated with nearly dry media. These features prevent a straightforward application of the Darcian method for recharge estimation, which has provided high-quality flux estimates at simpler, wetter sites. We have augmented the basic Darcian method with theoretical developments such that a small number of core sample unsaturated hydraulic property measurements, combined with additional, easily obtained data (e.g., drillers' logs) can provide useful flux estimates and knowledge of two-dimensional water behavior beneath the wash.

  13. Transport characteristics of gas phase ozone in unsaturated porous media for in-situ chemical oxidation.

    SciTech Connect

    Choi, H.; Lim, H-N; Kang, J-W; Hwang, T-M; Kim, J.; Environmental Research; Kwangju Inst. of Science and Technology; Yonsei Univ.

    2002-07-01

    Laboratory column experiments were conducted by employing various porous media to delineate the characteristics of gaseous ozone transport in the unsaturated zone under various conditions. Water content, soil organic matter (SOM), and metal oxides (MOs) were found to be the factors most influential in the fate and transport of gaseous ozone in unsaturated porous media. The migration velocity of the gaseous ozone front was inversely proportional to the MO content of the porous media. Increased water content at fixed gas flux decreased the ozone breakthrough time proportionally as a result of reduced gas pore volume (PV) in the column, and increased pore water interfered with reactions of gaseous ozone with SOM and MOs on the surface of porous media. The feasibility of in-situ ozone injection for the remediation of unsaturated soils contaminated with either phenanthrene or diesel-range organics (DROs) was investigated under various conditions. The maximum removal after 1 h of ozone injection was achieved in columns packed with baked sand, followed, in descending order, by glass beads and by sand, indicating that catalytic ozone decomposition with MOs in columns packed with baked sand enhanced hydroxyl radical formation and resulted in increased contaminant removal. Overall removal efficiency of multicomponent C{sub 10}-C{sub 24} DROs after 14 h of ozonation was 78.7%. Ozone transport was retarded considerably because of the high ozone demand of DROs, requiring more than 6 h for the gaseous ozone to initially break through the soil column under the experimental conditions tested in this study. Overall, gaseous ozone was readily delivered and transported to remediate unsaturated soils contaminated with phenanthrene and DROs.

  14. Geophysical borehole logging in the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schimschal, Ulrich; Nelson, Philip H.; ,

    1991-01-01

    Borehole geophysical logging for site characterization in the volcanic rocks at the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, requires data collection under rather unusual conditions. Logging tools must operate in rugose, dry holes above the water table in the unsaturated zone. Not all logging tools will operate in this environment, therefore; careful consideration must be given to selection and calibration. A sample suite of logs is presented that demonstrates correlation of geological formations from borehole to borehole, the definition of zones of altered mineralogy, and the quantitative estimates of rock properties. We show the results of an exploratory calculation of porosity and water saturation based upon density and epithermal neutron logs. Comparison of the results with a few core samples is encouraging, particularly because the logs can provide continuous data in boreholes where core samples are not available.

  15. Assessing groundwater recharge with two unsaturated zone modeling technologies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gogolev, Mikhail I.

    2002-06-01

    Two different unsaturated zone modeling technologies representing two main classes of unsaturated zone models (water-balance and Richards equation-based) were used to assess groundwater recharge for a hypothetical homogeneous profile and three real profiles of the Waterloo Moraine with deep groundwater level. The average rate assessed with the HELP technology for Waterloo Moraine is 8.3 cm/year for low-permeability silt till and silt areas, and 18.7 cm/year for areas built from sandy and gravely deposits. Assessments of the average annual recharge obtained with HELP and HELP/VS2DT technologies are very close, with the maximum difference equal to 12%. Comparison with results obtained independently with the tritium profile method was in favor of the HELP technology, which predicted the annual recharge with 4% error. The effectiveness of the two modeling technologies was assessed. The HELP technology, because of the solution method and interface capabilities, provides a quick and effective means for assessing groundwater recharge. By contrast, the HELP/VS2DT technology appears to be very sensitive to the profile settings and much harder to manipulate. Under conditions of multi-layer profile with the layers of contrast lithologies, the VS2DT model becomes nearly inapplicable. It is contended that the HELP technology has all the necessary qualities to become a core of the computational technology for assessing groundwater recharge rates.

  16. Adaptive multi-scale parameterization for one-dimensional flow in unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hayek, Mohamed; Lehmann, François; Ackerer, Philippe

    2008-01-01

    In the analysis of the unsaturated zone, one of the most challenging problems is to use inverse theory in the search for an optimal parameterization of the porous media. Adaptative multi-scale parameterization consists in solving the problem through successive approximations by refining the parameter at the next finer scale all over the domain and stopping the process when the refinement does not induce significant decrease of the objective function any more. In this context, the refinement indicators algorithm provides an adaptive parameterization technique that opens the degrees of freedom in an iterative way driven at first order by the model to locate the discontinuities of the sought parameters. We present a refinement indicators algorithm for adaptive multi-scale parameterization that is applicable to the estimation of multi-dimensional hydraulic parameters in unsaturated soil water flow. Numerical examples are presented which show the efficiency of the algorithm in case of noisy data and missing data.

  17. Hydrology of the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    LeCain, Gary D.; Stuckless, John S.

    2012-01-01

    The unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain was investigated as a possible site for the nation's first high-level nuclear waste repository. Scientific investigations included infiltration studies, matrix properties testing, borehole testing and monitoring, underground excavation and testing, and the development of conceptual and numerical models of the hydrologic processes at Yucca Mountain. Infiltration estimates by empirical and geochemical methods range from 0.2 to 1.4 mm/yr and 0.2–6.0 mm/yr, respectively. Infiltration estimates from numerical models range from 4.5 mm/yr to 17.6 mm/yr. Rock matrix properties vary vertically and laterally as the result of depositional processes and subsequent postdepositional alteration. Laboratory tests indicate that the average matrix porosity and hydraulic conductivity values for the main level of the proposed repository (Topopah Spring Tuff middle nonlithophysal zone) are 0.08 and 4.7 × 10−12 m/s, respectively. In situ fracture hydraulic conductivity values are 3–6 orders of magnitude greater. The permeability of fault zones is approximately an order of magnitude greater than that of the surrounding rock unit. Water samples from the fault zones have tritium concentrations that indicate some component of postnuclear testing. Gas and water vapor movement through the unsaturated zone is driven by changes in barometric pressure, temperature-induced density differences, and wind effects. The subsurface pressure response to surface barometric changes is controlled by the distribution and interconnectedness of fractures, the presence of faults and their ability to conduct gas and vapor, and the moisture content and matrix permeability of the rock units. In situ water potential values are generally less than −0.2 MPa (−2 bar), and the water potential gradients in the Topopah Spring Tuff units are very small. Perched-water zones at Yucca Mountain are associated with the basal vitrophyre of the Topopah Spring Tuff or the Calico

  18. Hydrology of the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lecain, Gary D.; Stuckless, John S.

    2012-01-01

    The unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain was investigated as a possible site for the nation's first high-level nuclear waste repository. Scientific investigations included infiltration studies, matrix properties testing, borehole testing and monitoring, underground excavation and testing, and the development of conceptual and numerical models of the hydrologic processes at Yucca Mountain. Infiltration estimates by empirical and geochemical methods range from 0.2 to 1.4 mm/yr and 0.2–6.0 mm/yr, respectively. Infiltration estimates from numerical models range from 4.5 mm/yr to 17.6 mm/yr. Rock matrix properties vary vertically and laterally as the result of depositional processes and subsequent postdepositional alteration. Laboratory tests indicate that the average matrix porosity and hydraulic conductivity values for the main level of the proposed repository (Topopah Spring Tuff middle nonlithophysal zone) are 0.08 and 4.7 × 10−12 m/s, respectively. In situ fracture hydraulic conductivity values are 3–6 orders of magnitude greater. The permeability of fault zones is approximately an order of magnitude greater than that of the surrounding rock unit. Water samples from the fault zones have tritium concentrations that indicate some component of postnuclear testing. Gas and water vapor movement through the unsaturated zone is driven by changes in barometric pressure, temperature-induced density differences, and wind effects. The subsurface pressure response to surface barometric changes is controlled by the distribution and interconnectedness of fractures, the presence of faults and their ability to conduct gas and vapor, and the moisture content and matrix permeability of the rock units. In situ water potential values are generally less than −0.2 MPa (−2 bar), and the water potential gradients in the Topopah Spring Tuff units are very small. Perched-water zones at Yucca Mountain are associated with the basal vitrophyre of the Topopah Spring Tuff or the Calico

  19. 40 CFR 265.278 - Unsaturated zone (zone of aeration) monitoring.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... soils nearby; this background monitoring must be conducted before or in conjunction with the monitoring... a minimum: (1) Soil monitoring using soil cores, and (2) Soil-pore water monitoring using devices... demonstrate in his unsaturated zone monitoring plan that: (1) The depth at which soil and soil-pore...

  20. 40 CFR 265.278 - Unsaturated zone (zone of aeration) monitoring.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... soils nearby; this background monitoring must be conducted before or in conjunction with the monitoring... a minimum: (1) Soil monitoring using soil cores, and (2) Soil-pore water monitoring using devices... demonstrate in his unsaturated zone monitoring plan that: (1) The depth at which soil and soil-pore...

  1. 40 CFR 265.278 - Unsaturated zone (zone of aeration) monitoring.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... soils nearby; this background monitoring must be conducted before or in conjunction with the monitoring... a minimum: (1) Soil monitoring using soil cores, and (2) Soil-pore water monitoring using devices... demonstrate in his unsaturated zone monitoring plan that: (1) The depth at which soil and soil-pore...

  2. 40 CFR 265.278 - Unsaturated zone (zone of aeration) monitoring.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... soils nearby; this background monitoring must be conducted before or in conjunction with the monitoring... a minimum: (1) Soil monitoring using soil cores, and (2) Soil-pore water monitoring using devices... demonstrate in his unsaturated zone monitoring plan that: (1) The depth at which soil and soil-pore...

  3. 40 CFR 265.278 - Unsaturated zone (zone of aeration) monitoring.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... soils nearby; this background monitoring must be conducted before or in conjunction with the monitoring... a minimum: (1) Soil monitoring using soil cores, and (2) Soil-pore water monitoring using devices... demonstrate in his unsaturated zone monitoring plan that: (1) The depth at which soil and soil-pore...

  4. Non-intrusive hydro-geophysical characterization of the unsaturated zone of South India-A case study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arora, Tanvi; Boisson, Alexandre; Ahmed, Shakeel

    2016-10-01

    The unsaturated zone is the gateway for water movement from the land surface to the saturated zone. The amount of recharge to aquifer, related to the percolation, is constrained by the characteristics of the unsaturated zone. Unsaturated zone research is still needed to understand the flow paths of the recharge through it, particularly in heterogeneous media. One possibility for this understanding is to use time lapse electrical resistivity tomography [TLERT]. However, the relationship between moisture and electrical resistivity changes still need to be investigated. A time lapse electrical resistivity tomography experiment was carried out in the unsaturated zone of granitic terrain at National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad to develop a relationship between soil moisture and electrical resistivity changes. The measurements of soil moisture using neutron probe and resistivity from TLERT images were correlated. To extend the spatial information between point measurements using neutron probe, a variographic analysis was performed. Variograms were computed using MS-EXCEL to ensure a desired number of pairs for a variogram. The two different datasets (resistivity and moisture) were amalgamated on a common platform by geostatistical tools to relate the soil moisture and resistivity. A relation is established between moisture variations in the form of saturation versus the resistivity. This relation has been tested both from an experiment in laboratory and in field. It shows that initially a non-linear relation exist between soil moisture and resistivity. However, the resistivity becomes invariant even with the moisture increase in the range of 11%-13%. Recharge is reflected in resistivity images by a decrease, along the preferred permeable zones. Since the unsaturated zone exhibit extremely high variability, both in space and time, the surface geophysical investigations such as TLERT (Time Lapse Electrical Resistivity Tomography) is a useful method to

  5. Percolation Theory and Models of Unsaturated Porous Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Golden, J. M.

    1980-02-01

    Concepts from percolation theory (Broadbent and Hammersley, 1957) are applied to a model of unsaturated flow through porous media. This approach in principle allows one to build into the model aspects of the topological structure of pore space. At a very general level the input of results from percolation theory gives a relationship between minimum and maximum saturation values for a medium which should be experimentally checkable, though probably not without sophisticated techniques. Also, it gives some qualitative insight into known properties of unsaturated flow. Furthermore, there emerges a way of looking at the phenomenon of hysteresis that is quite different from the standard approach. This aspect is explored in some detail, and two possible new models are presented. A subsidiary result obtained from the detailed model used is that in a simple pore model the inclusion of a pore length parameter, statistically correlated with pore radius, is equivalent, at least in a restricted sense, to incorporating into the model the concept of tortuosity.

  6. Intermittent Flow Regimes in Unsaturated Fractured Porous Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ghezzehei, T. A.; Or, D.

    2001-12-01

    Flow regimes in unsaturated fractured rocks are significantly influenced by interplay between gravitational and capillary forces and by abrupt changes in media pore space properties. These interactions give rise to complex flow mechanisms that are not amenable to representation by standard continuum theories. Even when the flux of water into the fracture is uniform, actual flow of liquid occurs through preferential pathways. We developed a model for interactions between a uniform flux and local variations in fracture aperture, leading to fragmentation of the liquid into discrete elements (bridges) and subsequent initiation of avalanches. Liquid bridges form and grow in local asperities along the preferential pathways, with subsequent breakup of the bridges at a critical bridge size. The detached bridge has a potential of sweeping other bridges along the pathway downhill from the initiation point, creating an avalanche of growing mass. Consequently, the outflow at the end of the fracture occurs as a series of discrete discharge events. The size and interval of the discharge events depend on the flux of liquid into the fracture and the fracture geometry on the pathway (e.g., number of apertures and aperture sizes). Such complex flow structure was observed in other studies involving gravity-driven unsaturated flow.

  7. Colloid suspension stability and transport through unsaturated porous media

    SciTech Connect

    McGraw, M.A.; Kaplan, D.I.

    1997-04-01

    Contaminant transport is traditionally modeled in a two-phase system: a mobile aqueous phase and an immobile solid phase. Over the last 15 years, there has been an increasing awareness of a third, mobile solid phase. This mobile solid phase, or mobile colloids, are organic or inorganic submicron-sized particles that move with groundwater flow. When colloids are present, the net effect on radionuclide transport is that radionuclides can move faster through the system. It is not known whether mobile colloids exist in the subsurface environment of the Hanford Site. Furthermore, it is not known if mobile colloids would likely exist in a plume emanating from a Low Level Waste (LLW) disposal site. No attempt was made in this study to ascertain whether colloids would form. Instead, experiments and calculations were conducted to evaluate the likelihood that colloids, if formed, would remain in suspension and move through saturated and unsaturated sediments. The objectives of this study were to evaluate three aspects of colloid-facilitated transport of radionuclides as they specifically relate to the LLW Performance Assessment. These objectives were: (1) determine if the chemical conditions likely to exist in the near and far field of the proposed disposal site are prone to induce flocculation (settling of colloids from suspension) or dispersion of naturally occurring Hanford colloids, (2) identify the important mechanisms likely involved in the removal of colloids from a Hanford sediment, and (3) determine if colloids can move through unsaturated porous media.

  8. Noninvasive Quantitative Measurement of Bacterial Growth in Porous Media Under Unsaturated-Flow Conditions

    SciTech Connect

    Yarwood, Rocky; Rockhold, Mark L. ); Niemet, Mike; Selker, John S.; Bottomley, Peter J.

    2002-07-01

    Glucose-dependent growth of the luxCDABE reporter bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens HK44 was monitored noninvasively in quartz sand under unsaturated-flow conditions within a 45- by 56- by 1-cm two-dimensional light transmission chamber. The spatial and temporal development of growth were mapped daily over 7 days by quantifying salicylate-induced bioluminescence. A nonlinear model relating the rate of increase in light emission after salicylate exposure to microbial density successfully predicted growth over 4 orders of magnitude (r{sup 2}=0.95). Total model-predicted growth agreed with growth calculated from the mass balance of the system by using previously determined growth parameters of HK44 (predicted, 1.2 x 10{sup 12} cells; calculated, 1.7 x 10{sup 12} cells). Colonization expanded in all directions from the inoculation region, including upward migration against the liquid flow. Both the daily rate of expansion of the colonized zone and the population density of the first day's growth in each newly colonized region remained relatively constant throughout the experiment. Nonetheless, substantial growth continued to occur on subsequent days in the older regions of the colonized zone. The proportion of daily potential growth that remained within the chamber declined progressively between days 2 and 7 (from 97 to 13%). A densely populated, anoxic region developed in the interior of the colonized zone even though the sand was unsaturated and fresh growth medium continued to flow through the colonized zone. These data illustrate the potential of a light transmission chamber, bioluminescent bacteria, and sensitive digital camera technology to noninvasively study real-time hydrology-microbiology interactions associated with unsaturated flow in porous media.

  9. Noninvasive Quantitative Measurement of Bacterial Growth in Porous Media under Unsaturated-Flow Conditions †

    PubMed Central

    Yarwood, R. R.; Rockhold, M. L.; Niemet, M. R.; Selker, J. S.; Bottomley, P. J.

    2002-01-01

    Glucose-dependent growth of the luxCDABE reporter bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens HK44 was monitored noninvasively in quartz sand under unsaturated-flow conditions within a 45- by 56- by 1-cm two-dimensional light transmission chamber. The spatial and temporal development of growth were mapped daily over 7 days by quantifying salicylate-induced bioluminescence. A nonlinear model relating the rate of increase in light emission after salicylate exposure to microbial density successfully predicted growth over 4 orders of magnitude (r2 = 0.95). Total model-predicted growth agreed with growth calculated from the mass balance of the system by using previously established growth parameters of HK44 (predicted, 1.2 × 1012 cells; calculated, 1.7 × 1012 cells). Colonization expanded in all directions from the inoculation region, including upward migration against the liquid flow. Both the daily rate of expansion of the colonized zone and the population density of the first day's growth in each newly colonized region remained relatively constant throughout the experiment. Nonetheless, substantial growth continued to occur on subsequent days in the older regions of the colonized zone. The proportion of daily potential growth that remained within the chamber declined progressively between days 2 and 7 (from 97 to 13%). A densely populated, anoxic region developed in the interior of the colonized zone even though the sand was unsaturated and fresh growth medium continued to flow through the colonized zone. These data illustrate the potential of a light transmission chamber, bioluminescent bacteria, and sensitive digital camera technology to noninvasively study real-time hydrology-microbiology interactions associated with unsaturated flow in porous media. PMID:12089048

  10. Noninvasive quantitative measurement of bacterial growth in porous media under unsaturated-flow conditions.

    PubMed

    Yarwood, R R; Rockhold, M L; Niemet, M R; Selker, J S; Bottomley, P J

    2002-07-01

    Glucose-dependent growth of the luxCDABE reporter bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens HK44 was monitored noninvasively in quartz sand under unsaturated-flow conditions within a 45- by 56- by 1-cm two-dimensional light transmission chamber. The spatial and temporal development of growth were mapped daily over 7 days by quantifying salicylate-induced bioluminescence. A nonlinear model relating the rate of increase in light emission after salicylate exposure to microbial density successfully predicted growth over 4 orders of magnitude (r(2) = 0.95). Total model-predicted growth agreed with growth calculated from the mass balance of the system by using previously established growth parameters of HK44 (predicted, 1.2 x 10(12) cells; calculated, 1.7 x 10(12) cells). Colonization expanded in all directions from the inoculation region, including upward migration against the liquid flow. Both the daily rate of expansion of the colonized zone and the population density of the first day's growth in each newly colonized region remained relatively constant throughout the experiment. Nonetheless, substantial growth continued to occur on subsequent days in the older regions of the colonized zone. The proportion of daily potential growth that remained within the chamber declined progressively between days 2 and 7 (from 97 to 13%). A densely populated, anoxic region developed in the interior of the colonized zone even though the sand was unsaturated and fresh growth medium continued to flow through the colonized zone. These data illustrate the potential of a light transmission chamber, bioluminescent bacteria, and sensitive digital camera technology to noninvasively study real-time hydrology-microbiology interactions associated with unsaturated flow in porous media.

  11. Anaerobic bioventing of unsaturated zone contaminated with DDT and DNT.

    PubMed

    Shah, J K; Sayles, G D; Suidan, M T; Mihopoulos, P; Kaskassian, S

    2001-01-01

    Initial degradation of highly chlorinated compounds and nitroaromatic compounds found in munition waste streams is accelerated under anaerobic conditions followed by aerobic treatment of the degradation products. The establishment of anaerobic environment in a vadose zone can be accomplished by feeding appropriate anaerobic gas mixture, i.e., "anaerobic bioventing". The gas mixture contains an electron donor for the reduction of these compounds. Lab scale study was conducted to evaluate potential of anaerobic bioventing for the treatment of an unsaturated zone contaminated with 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethane (DDT) and 2,4-dinitrotoluene (DNT). Hydrogen was used as the electron donor. Using the soil columns innoculate with anaerobic microorganisms, it was observed that by feeding a gas mixture of 1% hydrogen, 1% carbon dioxide and nitrogen, methanogenic conditions were established and DDT was reductively dechlorinated. 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethane (DDD) accumulated as the intermediate product. The half life of DDT was calculated to be 8.5 months. DNT completely disappeared after six months of operation and no intermediates could be detected.

  12. Effects of thermal vapor diffusion on seasonal dynamics of water in the unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Milly, P.C.D.

    1996-01-01

    The response of water in the unsaturated zone to seasonal changes of temperature (T) is determined analytically using the theory of nonisothermal water transport in porous media, and the solutions are tested against field observations of moisture potential and bomb fallout isotopic (36Cl and3H) concentrations. Seasonally varying land surface temperatures and the resulting subsurface temperature gradients induce thermal vapor diffusion. The annual mean vertical temperature gradient is close to zero: however, the annual mean thermal vapor flux is downward, because the temperature-dependent vapor diffusion coefficient is larger, on average, during downward diffusion (occurring at high T) than during upward diffusion (low T). The annual mean thermal vapor flux is shown to decay exponentially with depth; the depth (about 1 m) at which it decays to ??-1 of its surface value is one half of the corresponding decay depth for the amplitude of seasonal temperature changes. This depth-dependent annual mean flux is effectively a source of water, which must be balanced by a flux divergence associated with other transport processes. In a relatively humid environment the liquid fluxes greatly exceed the thermal vapor fluxes, so such a balance is readily achieved without measurable effect on the dynamics of water in the unsaturated zone. However, if the mean vertical water flux through the unsaturated zone is very small (<1 mm y-1), as it may be at many locations in a desert landscape, the thermal vapor flux must be balanced mostly by a matric-potential-induced upward flux of water. This return flux may include both vapor and liquid components. Below any near-surface zone of weather- related fluctuations of matric potential, maintenance of this upward flux requires an increase with depth in the annual mean matric potential; this theoretical prediction is supported by long-term field measurements in the Chihuahuan Desert. The analysis also makes predictions, confirmed by the field

  13. Movement of Water Through the Chalk Unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Butler, A.; Ireson, A.; Wheater, H.; Mathias, S.; Finch, J.

    2006-12-01

    Despite many decades study, quantification of water movement through the Chalk unsaturated zone has proved difficult, due to its particular properties. Chalk comprises a fine grained porous matrix intersected by a fracture network. In much of the unsaturated zone, for most of the time, matric potentials remain between -20 and -0.5 m. Thus the matrix is largely saturated by capillary action, and the fractures are largely de-watered. Therefore, debate has often focussed on the importance of the fractures, as compared with the matrix, for the movement of water. Recently, Mathias et al. (J Hydrol., in press) and Brouyère (J Contam Hydrol,82:195-219,2006) have (independently) proposed an Equivalent Continuum Model, ECM, for the Chalk. This assumes that the fractures can be treated as a porous medium and that the fracture and matrix domains can be treated as a single domain i.e. an equivalent continuum. This requires that the fractures and matrix are in pressure equilibrium, and whilst the theoretical basis for this assumption is reasonable, it has not been demonstrated empirically. In addition, Mathias et al. have demonstrated the importance of rainfall attenuation in the near surface weathered and soil zones of the Chalk for attenuating flow. As part of a national research initiative into groundwater dominated catchments, an extensive field monitoring programme has been implemented at two Chalk catchments in Berkshire (UK). This includes comprehensive soil moisture measurements (water content and matric potential), an extensive network of piezometers and observation wells measuring water table response, and the direct measurement of actual evaporation as well as standard meteorological variables, including rainfall. Using the Kosugi (WRR,32:2697-2703,1996) relationships for soil water retention and hydraulic conductivity a methodology for characterising vertical variation in hydraulic properties from competent chalk at depth through weathered rock to surface soil has

  14. Nitrate transport and transformation processes in unsaturated porous media

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tindall, James A.; Petrusak, Robin L.; McMahon, Peter B.

    1995-01-01

    A series of experiments was conducted on two contrasting agricultural soils to observe the influence of soil texture, preferential flow, and plants on nitrate transport and denitrification under unsaturated conditions. Calcium nitrate fertilizer was applied to the surface of four large undisturbed soil cores (30 cm diameter by 40 cm height). Two of the cores were a structured clay obtained from central Missouri and two were an unstructured fine sand obtained from central Florida. The cores were irrigated daily and maintained at a matric potential of -20 kPa, representative of soil tension in the rooting zone of irrigated agricultural fields. Volumetric water content (θ), concentration of nitrate-N in the soil solution, and nitrous oxide flux at the surface, 10, 20, and 30 cm were monitored daily. Leaching loss of surface-applied N03− -N was significant in both the sand and the clay. In unplanted sand cores, almost all of the applied nitrate was leached below 30 cm within 10 days. Gaseous N loss owing to denitrification was no greater than 2% of the nitrate-N applied to the unplanted sand cores and, in general, was less than 1 %. Although leaching was somewhat retarded in the clay cores, about 60% of the applied nitrate-N was leached from the unplanted clay soil in 5–6 weeks. Under unsaturated conditions, the clay had little to no tendency to denitrify despite the greater moisture content of the clay and retarded leaching of nitrate in the clay. The planted sand cores had surprisingly large gaseous N loss owing to denitrification, as much as 17% of the nitrate-N. Results from both the clay and sand experiments show that the dynamics of nitrate transport and transformation in unsaturated soils are affected by small, localized variations in the soil moisture content profile, the gaseous diffusion coefficient of the soil, the rate at which the nitrate pulse passes through the soil, the solubility of N2O and N2 and the diffusion of the gasses through the soil

  15. Nitrate transport and transformation processes in unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tindall, James A.; Petrusak, Robin L.; McMahon, Peter B.

    1995-07-01

    A series of experiments was conducted on two contrasting agricultural soils to observe the influence of soil texture, preferential flow, and plants on nitrate transport and denitrification under unsaturated conditions. Calcium nitrate fertilizer was applied to the surface of four large undisturbed soil cores (30 cm diameter by 40 cm height). Two of the cores were a structured clay obtained from central Missouri and two were an unstructured fine sand obtained from central Florida. The cores were irrigated daily and maintained at a matric potential of -20 kPa, representative of soil tension in the rooting zone of irrigated agricultural fields. Volumetric water content (θ), concentration of nitrate-N in the soil solution, and nitrous oxide flux at the surface, 10, 20, and 30 cm were monitored daily. Leaching loss of surface-applied N0 3- -N was significant in both the sand and the clay. In unplanted sand cores, almost all of the applied nitrate was leached below 30 cm within 10 days. Gaseous N loss owing to denitrification was no greater than 2% of the nitrate-N applied to the unplanted sand cores and, in general, was less than 1 %. Although leaching was somewhat retarded in the clay cores, about 60% of the applied nitrate-N was leached from the unplanted clay soil in 5-6 weeks. Under unsaturated conditions, the clay had little to no tendency to denitrify despite the greater moisture content of the clay and retarded leaching of nitrate in the clay. The planted sand cores had surprisingly large gaseous N loss owing to denitrification, as much as 17% of the nitrate-N. Results from both the clay and sand experiments show that the dynamics of nitrate transport and transformation in unsaturated soils are affected by small, localized variations in the soil moisture content profile, the gaseous diffusion coefficient of the soil, the rate at which the nitrate pulse passes through the soil, the solubility of N 2O and N 2 and the diffusion of the gasses through the soil

  16. Hydrocarbon biodegradation kinetics in an intact unsaturated zone soil core

    SciTech Connect

    Moyer, E.E.; Ostendorf, D.W.; Richards, R.J.; Goodwin, S.

    1995-12-31

    Aerobic biodegradation of vapor-phase petroleum hydrocarbons was evaluated in an intact soil core from the site of an aviation gasoline release. A mid-depth unsaturated zone soil core was subjected to a flow of nitrogen gas, oxygen, water vapor, and vapor-phase hydrocarbons in a configuration analogous to a biofilter or an in situ bioventing or sparging situation. The vertical profiles of vapor-phase hydrocarbon concentration in the soil core were determined by gas chromatography of vapor samples. Steady-state concentrations were input to a simple analytical model balancing advection and first-order biodegradation of hydrocarbons. First-order rate constants for each major hydrocarbon compound were used to calibrate the model to the concentration profiles. Compounds with lower molecular weights, fewer methyl groups, and no quaternary carbons tended to have higher rate constants. The first-order rate constants were consistent with kinetic parameters determined from microcosm studies at the same field site, suggesting that both estimation methods were effective.

  17. Development of models for fast fluid pathways through unsaturated heterogeneous porous media

    SciTech Connect

    Robey, T.H.

    1994-11-01

    The pre-waste-emplacement ground water travel time requirement is a regulatory criterion that specifies ground water travel time to the accessible environment shall be greater than 1,000 years. Satisfying the ground water travel time criterion for the potential repository at Yucca Mountain requires the study of fast travel path formation in the unsaturated zone and development of models that simulate the formation of fast paths. Conceptual models for unsaturated flow that have been used for total-systems performance assessment generally fall into the categories of composite-porosity or fracture models. The actual hydrologic conditions at Yucca Mountain are thought to lie somewhere between the extremes of these two types of models. The current study considers the effects of heterogeneities on composite-porosity models and seeks to develop numerical methods (and models) that can produce locally saturated zones where fracture flow can occur. The credibility of the model and numerical methods is investigated by using test data from the INTRAVAL project (Swedish Nuclear Inspectorate, 1992) to attempt to predict in-situ volumetric water content at specific locations in Yucca Mountain. Work based on the numerical methods presented in this study is eventually intended to allow the calculation of ground water travel times in heterogeneous media. 60 refs.

  18. Upscaling for unsaturated flow for non-Gaussian heterogeneous porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neuweiler, Insa; Vogel, Hans-JöRg

    2007-03-01

    Large-scale models of transient flow processes in the unsaturated zone require, in general, upscaling of the flow problem in order to capture the impact of heterogeneities on a small scale, which cannot be resolved by the model. Effective parameters for the upscaled models are often derived from second-order stochastic properties of the parameter fields. Such properties are good quantifications for parameter fields, which are multi-Gaussian. However, the structure of soil does rarely resemble these kinds of fields. The non-multi-Gaussian field properties can lead to strong discrepancies between predictions of upscaled models and the averaged real flow process. In particular, the connected paths of parameter ranges of the medium are important features, which are usually not taken into account in stochastic approaches. They are determined here by the Euler number of one-cut indicator fields. Methods to predict effective parameters are needed that incorporate this type of information. We discuss different simple and fast approaches for estimating the effective parameter for upscaled models of slow transient flow processes in the unsaturated zone, where connected paths of the material may be taken into account. Upscaled models are derived with the assumption of capillary equilibrium. The effective parameters are calculated using effective media approaches. We also discuss the limits of the applicability of these methods.

  19. Gas transport in unsaturated porous media: The adequacy of Fick's law

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thorstenson, D. C.; Pollock, D. W.

    1989-02-01

    The increasing use of natural unsaturated zones as repositories for landfills and disposal sites for hazardous wastes (chemical and radioactive) requires a greater understanding of transport processes in the unsaturated zone. For volatile constituents an important potential transport mechanism is gaseous diffusion. Diffusion, however, cannot be treated as an independent isolated transport mechanism. A complete understanding of multicomponent gas transport in porous media (unsaturated zones) requires a knowledge of Knudsen transport, the molecular and nonequimolar components of diffusive flux, and viscous (pressure driven) flux. The constitutive equations relating these flux components are available from the "dusty gas" model of Mason et al. (1967). This review presents a brief discussion of the underlying principles and interrelationships among each of the above flux mechanisms. Some aspects of these transport mechanisms are, to our knowledge, generally unrecognized in the Earth science literature. The principles underlying the transport mechanisms are illustrated with binary systems; the constitutive equations are then cast in forms thought to be most useful for the study of natural unsaturated zones. The viscous and diffusive fluxes are coupled in the constitutive equations through the Knudsen diffusivities; a knowledge of Knudsen diffusivities is necessary to calculate the viscous component of flux and pressure gradients. The Knudsen diffusivities can be calculated from measurements of the Klinkenberg effect. Two examples are presented showing that in natural systems, very small pressure gradients (1 Pa/m or less) can produce viscous fluxes greater than or equal to diffusive fluxes and that, conversely, pressure gradients of this magnitude can be generated by diffusive processes. The example calculations show that major concentration gradients can be developed for stagnant (zero flux, nonreactive) gases. A method is presented for approximating the viscous and

  20. Investigations of the unsaturated zone at two radioactive waste disposal sites in Lithuania.

    PubMed

    Skuratovič, Žana; Mažeika, Jonas; Petrošius, Rimantas; Martma, Tõnu

    2016-01-01

    The unsaturated zone is an important part of the water cycle, governed by many hydrological and hydrogeological factors and processes and provide water and nutrients to the terrestrial ecosystem. Besides, the soils of the unsaturated zone are regarded as the first natural barrier to a large extent and are able to limit the spread of contaminants depending on their properties. The unsaturated zone provides a linkage between atmospheric moisture, groundwater, and seepage of groundwater to streams, lakes, or other surface water bodies. The major difference between water flow in saturated and unsaturated soils is that the hydraulic conductivity, which is conventionally assumed to be a constant in saturated soils, is a function of the degree of saturation or matrix suction in the unsaturated soils. In Lithuania, low and intermediate level radioactive wastes generated from medicine, industry and research were accumulated at the Maisiagala radioactive waste repository. Short-lived low and intermediate levels radioactive waste, generated during the operation of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) and arising after the INPP decommissioning will be disposed of in the near surface repository close to the INPP (Stabatiske site). Extensive data sets of the hydraulic properties and water content attributed to unsaturated zone soil profiles of the two radioactive waste disposal sites have been collected and summarized. Globally widespread radionuclide tritium ((3)H) and stable isotope ratio ((18)O/(16)O and (2)H/(1)H) distribution features were determined in precipitation, unsaturated zone soil moisture profiles and groundwater.

  1. ASSESSING UST CORRECTIVE ACTION TECHNOLOGIES: SITE ASSESSMENT AND SELECTION OF UNSATURATED ZONE TREATMENT TECHNOLOGIES

    EPA Science Inventory

    A methodology is presented for evaluating the likely effectiveness of five soil treatment technologies at sites where petroleum products have contaminated the unsaturated zone. he five soil treatment technologies are: soil venting, biorestoration, soil flushing, hydraulic barrier...

  2. 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

  3. Storage and mobilization of natural and septic nitrate in thick unsaturated zones, California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Izbicki, John A.; Flint, Alan L.; O'Leary, David R.; Nishikawa, Tracy; Martin, Peter; Johnson, Russell D.; Clark, Dennis A.

    2015-05-01

    Mobilization of natural and septic nitrate from the unsaturated zone as a result of managed aquifer recharge has degraded water quality from public-supply wells near Yucca Valley in the western Mojave Desert, California. The effect of nitrate storage and potential for denitrification in the unsaturated zone to mitigate increasing nitrate concentrations were investigated. Storage of water extractable nitrate in unsaturated alluvium up to 160 meters (m) thick, ranged from 420 to 6600 kilograms per hectare (kg/ha) as nitrogen (N) beneath undeveloped sites, from 6100 to 9200 kg/ha as N beneath unsewered sites. Nitrate reducing and denitrifying bacteria were less abundant under undeveloped sites and more abundant under unsewered sites; however, δ15N-NO3, and δ18O-NO3 data show only about 5-10% denitrification of septic nitrate in most samples-although as much as 40% denitrification occurred in some parts the unsaturated zone and near the top of the water table. Storage of nitrate in thick unsaturated zones and dilution with low-nitrate groundwater are the primary attenuation mechanisms for nitrate from septic discharges in the study area. Numerical simulations of unsaturated flow, using the computer program TOUGH2, showed septic effluent movement through the unsaturated zone increased as the number and density of the septic tanks increased, and decreased with increased layering, and increased slope of layers, within the unsaturated zone. Managing housing density can delay arrival of septic discharges at the water table, especially in layered unsaturated alluvium, allowing time for development of strategies to address future water-quality issues.

  4. Storage and mobilization of natural and septic nitrate in thick unsaturated zones, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Izbicki, John A.; Flint, Alan L.; O'Leary, David R.; Nishikawa, Tracy; Martin, Peter; Johnson, Russell D.; Clark, Dennis A.

    2015-01-01

    Mobilization of natural and septic nitrate from the unsaturated zone as a result of managed aquifer recharge has degraded water quality from public-supply wells near Yucca Valley in the western Mojave Desert, California. The effect of nitrate storage and potential for denitrification in the unsaturated zone to mitigate increasing nitrate concentrations were investigated. Storage of water extractable nitrate in unsaturated alluvium up to 160 meters (m) thick, ranged from 420 to 6600 kilograms per hectare (kg/ha) as nitrogen (N) beneath undeveloped sites, from 6100 to 9200 kg/ha as N beneath unsewered sites. Nitrate reducing and denitrifying bacteria were less abundant under undeveloped sites and more abundant under unsewered sites; however, δ15N–NO3, and δ18O–NO3 data show only about 5–10% denitrification of septic nitrate in most samples—although as much as 40% denitrification occurred in some parts the unsaturated zone and near the top of the water table. Storage of nitrate in thick unsaturated zones and dilution with low-nitrate groundwater are the primary attenuation mechanisms for nitrate from septic discharges in the study area. Numerical simulations of unsaturated flow, using the computer program TOUGH2, showed septic effluent movement through the unsaturated zone increased as the number and density of the septic tanks increased, and decreased with increased layering, and increased slope of layers, within the unsaturated zone. Managing housing density can delay arrival of septic discharges at the water table, especially in layered unsaturated alluvium, allowing time for development of strategies to address future water-quality issues.

  5. 3-D Distribution of Retained Colloids in Unsaturated Porous Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morales, V. L.; Perez-Reche, F. J.; Holzner, M.; Kinzelbach, W. K.; Otten, W.

    2013-12-01

    It is well accepted that colloid transport processes in porous media differ substantially between water saturated and unsaturated conditions. Differences are frequently ascribed to colloid immobilization by association with interfaces with the gas, as well as to restrictions of the liquid medium through which colloids are transported. Such factors depend on interfacial conditions provided by the water saturation of the porous medium. Yet, the current understanding of the importance of colloid retention at gas interfaces is based on observations of single pores or two-dimensional pore network representations, leaving open the question of their statistical significance when all pores in the medium are considered. In order to address this question, column experiments were performed using a model porous medium of glass beads through which colloidal silver particles were transported for conditions of varying water content. X-ray microtomography was subsequently employed as a non-destructive imaging technique to obtain pore-scale information of the entire column regarding: i) the presence and distribution of the four main locations where colloids can become retained (interfaces with the liquid-solid, gas-liquid and gas-solid, and the bulk liquid), ii) deposition profiles of colloids along the column classified by the available retention location, iii) morphological characteristics of the deposited colloidal aggregates, and iv) channel widths of 3-dimensional pore-water network representations. The results presented provide, for the first time, a direct statistical evaluation on the significance of colloid retention by attachment to the liquid-solid, gas-liquid, gas-solid interfaces, and by straining in the bulk liquid. Additionally, an effective-pore structure characteristic is proposed to improve predictions of mass removal by straining under various water saturations. A) Unsaturated conditions. B) Saturated conditions. Left: Tomograph slice illustrating with false

  6. FITTING OF THE DATA FOR DIFFUSION COEFFICIENTS IN UNSATURATED POROUS MEDIA

    SciTech Connect

    B. Bullard

    1999-05-01

    The purpose of this calculation is to evaluate diffusion coefficients in unsaturated porous media for use in the TSPA-VA analyses. Using experimental data, regression techniques were used to curve fit the diffusion coefficient in unsaturated porous media as a function of volumetric water content. This calculation substantiates the model fit used in Total System Performance Assessment-1995 An Evaluation of the Potential Yucca Mountain Repository (TSPA-1995), Section 6.5.4.

  7. Characterization of chloride transport in the unsaturated zone near salted road

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lax, Samanta; Peterson, Eric W.

    2009-09-01

    The application of road salts as deicing agents contributes to the anthropogenic loading of chloride (Cl-) on the environment. Using a 2D solute model, the potential of the unsaturated zone to serve as a reservoir and the mechanisms controlling the movement of Cl- were examined. Physical properties and initial pore-water Cl- concentrations were derived from an array of soil borings. Initial pore-water concentrations show the presence of a Cl- “slug” approximately 0.75 m below the surface. Simulations show that within the unsaturated zone, Cl- transport is predominantly vertical, driven by molecular diffusion. After a 1-year simulation, a Cl- slug similar to the background observation was noted. While Cl- is retained in the unsaturated zone, a net loss of Cl- from the unsaturated zone was simulated for the first 10 years. In year 11, an equilibrium between the Cl- input and output is achieved. The presence of Cl- in the unsaturated zone becomes a long-term source of chloride to the groundwater, which eventually discharges into the surface water. Historically, surface water chemistry data support the continual discharge of chloride to the surface water in the area, further supporting the hypothesis that the unsaturated zone serves as a Cl- reservoir.

  8. Apparent Anisotropic Diffusion of SF6 in a Deep Arid Unsaturated Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Green, C. T.; Walvoord, M. A.; Andraski, B. J.; Striegl, R. G.; Stonestrom, D. A.

    2014-12-01

    Gas transport in the unsaturated zone affects contaminant dispersal, remediation, interpretation of groundwater travel times from atmospheric tracers, and mass-budgets of environmentally important gases. Although deep unsaturated zone transport of gases is commonly treated as dominated by Fickian diffusion, previous observations at the Amargosa Desert Research Site have shown that the transport rates of various gas phase contaminants are faster than expected from standard models of diffusive transport. In this study, we use a multi-model approach to analyze results of a gas-tracer (SF6) test to clarify factors affecting gas transport in a deep unsaturated zone. Thirteen separate models with distinct diffusivity structures were calibrated to the tracer-test data. Models were compared on the basis of Akaike Information Criteria estimates of posterior model probability. The greatest posterior probability occurred for a model with significant anisotropy of diffusivity in addition to varying apparent diffusivity among vertically distributed sampling locations. Some horizontal diffusivities were greater than expected for purely diffusive transport, with values approaching free-air diffusivity (tortuosity ≈ 0.6 to 1). The magnitudes of the high apparent diffusivities were consistent with advective oscillations propagating through unsaturated-zone strata based on an analysis of barometric and unsaturated-zone air pressure time series. These results indicate that point source gases in layered unsaturated zones can spread laterally more quickly, and produce higher peak concentrations, than predicted by isotropic Fickian diffusion models.

  9. Vapor-phase interactions and diffusion of organic solvents in the unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Roy, W.R.; Griffin, R.A.

    1990-01-01

    This article presents an analysis of the interactions and static movement of 37 organic solvents as vapors through the unsaturated soil zone. The physicochemical interactions of the organic vapors with unsaturated soil materials were emphasized with focus on diffusive, and adsorptive interactions. Fick's Law and porous media diffusion coefficients for most of the solvent vapors were either compiled or estimated; coefficients were not available for some of the fluorinated solvents. The adsorption of some of the solvent vapors by silica was concluded to be due to hydrogen bond formation with surface silanol groups. Heats of adsorption data for different adsorbents were also compiled. There were very few data on the adsorption of these solvent vapors by soils, but it appears that the magnitude of adsorption of nonpolar solvents is reduced as the relative humidity of the vapor-solid system is increased. Consequently, the interaction of the vapors may then separated into two processes; (1) gas-water partitioning described by Henry's Law constants, and (2) solid-water adsorption coefficients which may be estimated from liquid-solid partition coefficients (Kd values). ?? 1990 Springer-Verlag New York Inc.

  10. Impacts of thickening unsaturated zone on groundwater recharge in the North China Plain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cao, Guoliang; Scanlon, Bridget R.; Han, Dongmei; Zheng, Chunmiao

    2016-06-01

    Unsustainable groundwater development shown by rapid groundwater depletion in the North China Plain (NCP) underscores the need to quantify spatiotemporal variability in groundwater recharge for improved management of the resource. The objective of this study was to assess spatiotemporal variability in recharge in response to thickening of the unsaturated zone in the NCP. Recharge was estimated by linking a soil water balance (SWB) model, on the basis of monthly meteorological data, irrigation applications, and soil moisture monitoring data (1993-2008), to the water table using a deep unsaturated zone flow model. The dynamic bottom boundary (water table) position was provided by the saturated zone flow component, which simulates regional pumping. The model results clearly indicate the effects of unsaturated zone thickening on both temporal distribution and magnitude of recharge: smoothing temporal variability in recharge, and increasing unsaturated storage and lag time between percolation and recharge. The thickening unsaturated zone can result in average recharge reduction of up to ∼70% in loam soils with water table declines ⩾30 m. Declining groundwater levels with irrigation sourced by groundwater converts percolation to unsaturated zone storage, averaging 14 mm equivalent water depth per year in mostly loam soil over the study period, accounting for ∼30% of the saturated groundwater storage depletion. This study demonstrates that, in thickening unsaturated zones, modeling approaches that directly equate deep drainage with recharge will overestimate the amount and underestimate the time lag between percolation and recharge, emphasizing the importance of more realistic simulation of the continuity of unsaturated and saturated storage to provide more reliable estimates of spatiotemporal variability in recharge.

  11. Time-domain reflectometry probing systems for the monitoring of hydrological processes in the unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kallioras, A.; Khan, A.; Piepenbrink, M.; Pfletschinger, H.; Koniger, F.; Dietrich, P.; Schuth, C.

    2016-08-01

    Precise measurements of the downward movement of precipitation through the unsaturated zone, as well as return flow of moisture to the atmosphere via evaporation, have always been challenging in regard to in-situ monitoring techniques. This study investigates the profile of volumetric water-content fluctuations within the unsaturated zone through a combination of field techniques, including in-situ measurements of the volumetric porewater content at different depths using specially designed time-domain reflectometry (TDR) probes. The probes are installed through direct-push vibro-coring methods, at significant depths within the unsaturated zone, providing continuous readings of the soil-moisture content throughout the unsaturated column. The measured waveform is analyzed by using the inverse modeling approach resulting in an apparent relative dielectric permittivity profile of the surrounding medium along the TDR probe length. The approach sufficiently analyzes the mechanisms of water fluxes through significant depths within the unsaturated zone, which in turn can be used to quantify groundwater recharge at areas where the unsaturated zone hydrology plays a key role in the recharge of the underlying aquifers (such as arid and hydrologically sensitive areas). The approach was applied at an experimental field site in the Upper Rhine Valley, Germany.

  12. Correlation equation for predicting attachment efficiency (α) of organic matter-colloid complexes in unsaturated porous media.

    PubMed

    Morales, Verónica L; Sang, Wenjng; Fuka, Daniel R; Lion, Leonard W; Gao, Bin; Steenhuis, Tammo S

    2011-12-01

    Naturally occurring polymers such as organic matter have been known to inhibit aggregation and promote mobility of suspensions in soil environments by imparting steric stability. This increase in mobility can significantly reduce the water filtering capacity of soils, thus jeopardizing a primary function of the vadose zone. Improvements to classic filtration theory have been made to account for the known decrease in attachment efficiency of electrostatically stabilized particles, and more recently, of sterically stabilized particles traveling through simple and saturated porous media. In the absence of an established unsaturated transport expression, and in the absence of applicable theoretical approaches for suspensions with asymmetric and nonindifferent electrolytes, this study presents an empirical correlation to predict attachment efficiency (α) for electrosterically stabilized suspensions in unsaturated systems in the presence of nonideal electrolytes. We show that existing models fall short in estimating polymer-coated colloid deposition in unsaturated media. This deficiency is expected given that the models were developed for saturated conditions where the mechanisms controlling colloid deposition are significantly different. A new correlation is derived from unsaturated transport data and direct characterization of microspheres coated with natural organic matter over a range of pH and CaCl(2) concentrations. The improvements to existing transport models include the following: adjustment for a restricted liquid-phase in the medium, development of a quantitative term to account for unsaturated transport phenomena, and adjustments in the relative contribution of steric stability parameters based on direct measurements of the adsorbed polymer layer characteristics. Differences in model formulation for correlations designed for saturated systems and the newly proposed correlation for unsaturated systems are discussed, and the performance of the new model

  13. Factors affecting carbon-14 activity of unsaturated zone CO2 and implications for groundwater dating

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wood, Cameron; Cook, Peter G.; Harrington, Glenn A.; Meredith, Karina; Kipfer, Rolf

    2014-11-01

    Unsaturated zone processes may influence the carbon-14 (14C) activity of infiltrating groundwater and thus introduce error in derived groundwater residence times. However unsaturated zone 14C activities are rarely measured and there is little understanding of how they may vary spatially in a groundwater basin. In this study we measured 14C activity in unsaturated zone gas at five sites with different watertable depths (8.2-31.5 m) in the arid Ti Tree Basin, central Australia. We observed a relatively uniform decrease in 14C activity of unsaturated zone gas with depth at most sites, with variation in unsaturated zone depths leading to variation in 14C activities directly above the watertable at each site (ranging from 54 to 106 percent Modern Carbon (pMC)). Through modelling we show that the profiles are influenced by CO2 production at different depths from sources with different isotopic ratios, including production of ‘modern' CO2 in the root zone and production of ‘old' CO2 above the watertable. Scenario modelling showed that these processes are independent of recharge when recharge is low (0-10 mm y-1) but that higher recharge rates (>100 mm y-1) result in more advective transport of atmospheric CO2 to the watertable. The variation in 14C above the watertable was more sensitive to watertable depth and shallow and deep CO2 production rates. These findings offer insight into how unsaturated zone 14C activities may vary spatially and provide guidance as to when 14C depletion in unsaturated zone CO2 may become important for groundwater dating, particularly in arid settings.

  14. The Effect of Surface Roughness on Fluid Configuration and Solute Transport in Unsaturated Porous Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kibbey, T. C.

    2013-12-01

    When describing the configuration of water in unsaturated media, a distinction is often made between water that is held by capillary forces between grains (capillary water), and water associated with adsorbed films on solid surfaces (film water). The objective of this work was to better understand the nature of the water associated with solid surfaces, with emphasis on understanding the configuration of water on rough natural surfaces. Stereoscopic SEM was used to determine elevation maps on a range of different natural solid surfaces. A computational technique was then developed to calculate the configuration of water on the surfaces as a function of capillary pressure. Calculations of fluid configurations show that, except at extremely high capillary pressures, fluid configuration is dominated by bridging of surface roughness features, even for extremely smooth surfaces. Results suggest that true adsorbed films are likely extremely rare in the environment except under near-dry, ultra-high capillary pressure conditions. This result has significant implications for understanding fate and transport within the unsaturated zone. Preliminary simulations exploring the impact on transport will be discussed.

  15. Nonlinear dynamics in flow through unsaturated fractured-porous media: Status and perspectives

    SciTech Connect

    Faybishenko, Boris

    2002-11-27

    The need has long been recognized to improve predictions of flow and transport in partially saturated heterogeneous soils and fractured rock of the vadose zone for many practical applications, such as remediation of contaminated sites, nuclear waste disposal in geological formations, and climate predictions. Until recently, flow and transport processes in heterogeneous subsurface media with oscillating irregularities were assumed to be random and were not analyzed using methods of nonlinear dynamics. The goals of this paper are to review the theoretical concepts, present the results, and provide perspectives on investigations of flow and transport in unsaturated heterogeneous soils and fractured rock, using the methods of nonlinear dynamics and deterministic chaos. The results of laboratory and field investigations indicate that the nonlinear dynamics of flow and transport processes in unsaturated soils and fractured rocks arise from the dynamic feedback and competition between various nonlinear physical processes along with complex geometry of flow paths. Although direct measurements of variables characterizing the individual flow processes are not technically feasible, their cumulative effect can be characterized by analyzing time series data using the models and methods of nonlinear dynamics and chaos. Identifying flow through soil or rock as a nonlinear dynamical system is important for developing appropriate short- and long-time predictive models, evaluating prediction uncertainty, assessing the spatial distribution of flow characteristics from time series data, and improving chemical transport simulations. Inferring the nature of flow processes through the methods of nonlinear dynamics could become widely used in different areas of the earth sciences.

  16. Integrated assessment on groundwater nitrate by unsaturated zone probing and aquifer sampling with environmental tracers.

    PubMed

    Yuan, Lijuan; Pang, Zhonghe; Huang, Tianming

    2012-12-01

    By employing chemical and isotopic tracers ((15)N and (18)O in NO(3)(-)), we investigated the main processes controlling nitrate distribution in the unsaturated zone and aquifer. Soil water was extracted from two soil cores drilled in a typical agricultural cropping area of the North China Plain (NCP), where groundwater was also sampled. The results indicate that evaporation and denitrification are the two major causes of the distribution of nitrate in soil water extracts in the unsaturated zone. Evaporation from unsaturated zone is evidenced by a positive correlation between chloride and nitrate, and denitrification by a strong linear relationship between [Formula: see text] and ln(NO(3)(-)/Cl). The latter is estimated to account for up to 50% of the nitrate loss from soil drainage. In the saturated zone, nitrate is reduced at varying extents (100 mg/L and 10 mg/L at two sites, respectively), largely by dilution of the aquifer water.

  17. Quantification of groundwater recharge through application of pilot techniques in the unsaturated zone.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kallioras, Andreas; Piepenbrink, Matthias; Schuth, Christoph; Pfletschinger, Heike; Dietrich, Peter; Koeniger, Franz; Rausch, Randolf

    2010-05-01

    Accurate determination of groundwater recharge is a key issue for the "smart mining" of groundwater resources. Groundwater recharge estimation techniques depend on the investigated hydrologic zone, and therefore main approaches are based on (a) unsaturated zone, (b) saturated zone and (c) surface water studies. This research contributes to the determination of groundwater recharge by investigating the infiltration of groundwater through the unsaturated zone. The investigations are conducted through the application of a combination of different pilot field as well as lab techniques. The field techniques include the installation of specially designed Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) sensors, at different depths within the unsaturated zone for in-situ and continuous measurements of the volumetric pore water content. Additionally, the extraction of pore water -for analysis of its isotopic composition- from multilevel undisturbed soil samples through significant depths within the unsaturated zone column, enables the dating of the groundwater age through the determination of its isotopic composition. The in-situ investigation of the unsaturated zone is complemented by the determination of high resolution temperature profiles. The installation of the pilot TDR sensors is achieved by using direct push methods at significant depths within the unsaturated zone, providing continuous readings of the soil moisture content. The direct push methods are also ideal for multilevel sampling of undisturbed -without using any drilling fluids which affect the isotopic composition of the containing pore water- soil and consequent extraction of the included pore water for further isotopic determination. The pore water is extracted by applying the method of azeotropic distillation; a method which has the least isotopic fractionation effects on groundwater samples. The determination of different isotopic signals such as 18O, 2H, 3H, and 36Cl, aims to the investigation of groundwater transit

  18. Percolation induced heat transfer in deep unsaturated zones

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lu, N.; LeCain, G.D.

    2003-01-01

    Subsurface temperature data from a borehole located in a desert wash were measured and used to delineate the conductive and advective heat transfer regimes, and to estimate the percolation quantity associated with the 1997-1998 El Ni??no precipitation. In an arid environment, conductive heat transfer dominates the variation of shallow subsurface temperature most of the time, except during sporadic precipitation periods. The subsurface time-varying temperature due to conductive heat transfer is highly correlated with the surface atmospheric temperature variation, whereas temperature variation due to advective heat transfer is strongly correlated with precipitation events. The advective heat transfer associated with precipitation and infiltration is the focus of this paper. Disruptions of the subsurface conductive temperature regime, associated with the 1997-1998 El Ni??no precipitation, were detected and used to quantify the percolation quantity. Modeling synthesis using a one-dimensional coupled heat and unsaturated flow model indicated that a percolation per unit area of 0.7 to 1.3 m height of water in two weeks during February 1998 was responsible for the observed temperature deviations down to a depth of 35.2 m. The reported study demonstrated quantitatively, for the first time, that the near surface temperature variation due to advective heat transfer can be significant at a depth greater than 10 m in unsaturated soils and can be used to infer the percolation amount in thick unsaturated soils.

  19. Impact of microbial growth on water flow and solute transport in unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yarwood, R. R.; Rockhold, M. L.; Niemet, M. R.; Selker, J. S.; Bottomley, P. J.

    2006-10-01

    A novel analytical method was developed that permitted real-time, noninvasive measurements of microbial growth and associated changes in hydrodynamic properties in porous media under unsaturated flowing conditions. Salicylate-induced, lux gene-based bioluminescence was used to quantify the temporal and spatial development of colonization over a 7-day time course. Water contents were determined daily by measuring light transmission through the system. Hydraulic flow paths were determined daily by pulsing a bromophenol blue dye solution through the colonized region of the sand. Bacterial growth and accumulation had a significant impact on the hydraulic properties of the porous media. Microbial colonization caused localized drying within the colonized zone, with decreases in saturation approaching 50% of antecedent values, and a 25% lowering of the capillary fringe height. Flow was retarded within the colonized zone and diverted around it concurrent with the expansion of the colonized zone between days 3 and 6. The location of horizontal dispersion corresponded with the cell densities of 1-3 × 109 cells g-1 dry sand. The apparent solute velocity through the colonized region was reduced from 0.41 cm min-1 (R2 = 0.99) to 0.25 cm min-1 (R2 = 0.99) by the sixth day of the experiment, associated with population densities that would occupy approximately 7% of the available pore space within the colonized region. Changes in the extent of colonization occurred over the course of the experiment, including upward migration against flow. The distribution of cells was not determined by water flow alone, but rather by a dynamic interaction between water flow and microbial growth. This experimental system provides rich data sets for the testing of conceptualizations expressed through numerical modeling.

  20. Disposal of high-level radioactive wastes in the unsaturated zone: Technical considerations and response to comments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hackbarth, C. J.; Nicholson, T. J.; Evans, D. D.

    1985-10-01

    On July 22, 1985, the U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) promulgated amendments to 10 CFR Part 60 concerning disposal of high level radioactive waste (HLW) in geologic repositories in the unsaturated zone (50 FR 29641). The principal technical issues considered by the NRC staff during the development of these amendments was discussed. Certain technical discussions originally presented in draft NUREG-1046 were revised based on public comment letters and an increasing understanding of the physical, geochemical, and hydrological processes operative in unsaturated geologic media. The following issues related to disposal of HLW within the unsaturated zone were discussed: hydrogeologic properties and conditions, heat dissipation and temperature, geochemistry, retrievability, potential for exhumation of the radioactive waste by natural causes and by human intrusion, the effects of future climatic changes on the level of the regional water table, and transport of radionuclides in the gaseous state. On July 22, 1985, the U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) promulgated amendments to 10 CFR meter depth for waste emplacement, limitations on exploratory boreholes, backfill requirements, waste package design criteria, and provisions for ventilation.

  1. Investigation of Gas Phase Transport Mechanisms in Unsaturated Zones Under Natural Conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    You, K.; Zhan, H.

    2012-12-01

    Diffusive flux is traditionally treated as the dominant mechanism for gas transport in unsaturated zones without active disturbance. However, some researchers have found that the pressure-driven and density-driven advective flux may also be important under certain conditions. This article conducts a comprehensive study of the diffusive, pressure-driven and density-driven advective fluxes of the gas phase volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the unsaturated zone under various hydrogeological conditions. The presence of a less or more permeable layer at ground surface in a heterogeneous unsaturated zone is investigated for their influence on the time-averaged advective and diffusive fluxes. Our developed numerical solution is applied to interpret a field study of the trichloroethylene contamination in the unsaturated zone at Picatinny Arsenal in Morris County, New Jersey. Results show that under most of the field conditions the time-averaged advective flux is one to three orders of magnitude smaller than the diffusive flux, and the influence of the density-driven flux on the advective flux is undetectable. The time-averaged advective flux is comparable in magnitude with the diffusive flux only in a deep unsaturated zone (thickness greater than 15 m), or when the gas-filled porosity is less than 0.05, or the magnitude of the water table fluctuation is greater than 0.2 m for the default parameters used in this study. A less permeable layer at ground surface increases the total flux of VOCs under it, while a permeable layer at ground surface increases the total flux in it. The error induced by fixing the water table position but allowing the fluctuation of water table moving velocity is negligible for predicting the gas phase VOCs transport in an unsaturated zone at non-coastal sites.

  2. Pore-scale mechanisms for the enhancement of mixing in unsaturated porous media and implications for chemical reactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jiménez-Martínez, Joaquín.; Anna, Pietro de; Tabuteau, Hervé; Turuban, Régis; Borgne, Tanguy Le; Méheust, Yves

    2015-07-01

    Porous media in which different fluid phases coexist are common in nature (e.g., vadose zone and gas-oil reservoirs). In partially saturated porous media, the intricate spatial distributions of the wetting and nonwetting phases causes their flow to be focused onto preferential paths. Using a novel 2-D experimental setup allowing pore-scale measurement of concentration fields in a controlled unsaturated flow, we highlight mechanisms by which mixing of an invading fluid with the resident fluid is significantly enhanced when decreasing saturation. The mean scalar dissipation rate is observed to decrease slowly in time, while under saturated conditions it decays rapidly. This slow decrease is due to sustained longitudinal solute fingering, which causes concentration gradients to remain predominantly transverse to the average flow. Consequently, the effective reactivity is found to be much larger than under saturated conditions. These results provide new insights into the role that multiphase flows play on mixing/reaction in porous media.

  3. Data from a thick unsaturated zone in Joshua Tree, San Bernardino County, California, 2007--09

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Burgess, Matthew; Izbicki, John; Teague, Nicholas; O'Leary, David R.; Clark, Dennis; Land, Michael

    2012-01-01

    Data were collected on the physical properties of unsaturated alluvial deposits, the chemical composition of leachate extracted from unsaturated alluvial deposits, the chemical and isotopic composition of groundwater and unsaturated-zone water, and the chemical composition of unsaturated-zone gas at four monitoring sites in the southwestern part of the Mojave Desert in the town of Joshua Tree, San Bernardino County, California. The presence of denitrifying and nitrate-reducing bacteria from unsaturated alluvial deposits was evaluated for two of these monitoring sites that underlie unsewered residential development. Four unsaturated-zone monitoring sites were installed in the Joshua Tree area—two in an unsewered residential development and two adjacent to a proposed artificial-recharge site in an undeveloped area. The two boreholes in residential development areas were installed by using the ODEX air-hammer method. One borehole was drilled through the unsaturated zone to a depth of 541 ft (feet) below land surface; a well screened across the water table was installed. Groundwater was sampled from this well. The second borehole was drilled to a depth of 81 ft below land surface. Drilling procedures, lithologic and geophysical data, construction details, and instrumentation placed in these boreholes are described. Core material was analyzed for water content, bulk density, matric potential, particle size, and water retention. The leachate from over 500 subsamples of cores and cuttings was analyzed for soluble anions, including fluoride, sulfate, bromide, chloride, nitrate, nitrite, and orthophosphate. Groundwater was analyzed for major ions, inorganic compounds, select trace elements, and isotopic composition. Unsaturated-zone water from suction-cup lysimeters was analyzed for major ions, inorganic compounds, select trace elements, and isotopic composition. Unsaturated-zone gas samples were analyzed for argon, oxygen, nitrogen, methane, carbon dioxide, ethane

  4. Analysis of gaseous-phase stable and radioactive isotopes in the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Yang, I.C.; Haas, H.H.; Weeks, E.P.; Thorstenson, D.C.

    1985-12-31

    The Nevada Nuclear Waste Storage Investigations Project of the US Department of Energy provides that agency with data for evaluating volcanic tuff beneath Yucca Mountain, Nevada, to determine its suitability for a potential repository of high-level radioactive waste. Thickness of the unsaturated zone, which consists of fractured, welded and nonwelded tuff, is about 1640 to 2460 feet (500 to 750 meters). One question to be resolved is an estimate of minimum ground-water traveltime from the disturbed zone of the potentail repository to the accessible environment. Another issue is the potential for diffusive or convective gaseous transport of radionuclides from an underground facility in the unsaturated zone to the accessible environment. Gas samples were collected at intervals to a depth of 1200 feet from the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Samples were analyzed for major atmospheric gases; carbon dioxide in the samples was analyzed for carbon-14 activity and for {delta}2!{sup 3}C; water vapor in the samples was analyzed for deuterium and oxygen-18. These data could provide insight into the nature of unsaturated zone transport processes. 15 refs., 4 figs., 4 tabs.

  5. Impact of microbial growth on water flow and solute transport in unsaturated porous media

    SciTech Connect

    Yarwood, R. R.; Rockhold, M. L.; Niemet, M. R.; Selker, John S.; Bottomley, Peter J.

    2006-10-05

    A novel analytical method was developed that permitted real-time, noninvasive measurements of microbial growth and associated changes in hydrodynamic properties in porous media under unsaturated flowing conditions. Salicylate-induced, lux gene-based bioluminescence was used to quantify the temporal and spatial development of colonization over a seven day time course. Water contents were determined daily by measuring light transmission through the system. Hydraulic flow paths were determined daily by pulsing a bromophenol blue dye solution through the colonized region of the sand. Bacterial growth and accumulation had a significant impact on the hydraulic properties of the porous media. Microbial colonization caused localized drying within the colonized zone, with decreases in saturation approaching 50% of antecedent values, and a 25% lowering of the capillary fringe height. Flow was retarded within the colonized zone and diverted around it. The apparent solute velocity through the colonized region was reduced from 0.41 cm min 1 (R2 = 0.99) to 0.25 cm min 1 (R2 = 0.99) by the sixth day of the experiment, associated with maximum population densities that would occupy about 7% of the available pore space within the colonized region. Changes in the extent of colonization occurred over the course of the experiment, including upward migration against flow. The distribution of cells was not determined by water flow alone, but rather by a dynamic interaction between water flow and microbial growth. This experimental system provides rich data sets for the testing of conceptualizations expressed through numerical modeling.

  6. Time-lapse gravity data for monitoring and modeling artificial recharge through a thick unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kennedy, Jeffrey R.; Ferre, Ty P.A.; Creutzfeldt, Benjamin

    2016-01-01

    Groundwater-level measurements in monitoring wells or piezometers are the most common, and often the only, hydrologic measurements made at artificial recharge facilities. Measurements of gravity change over time provide an additional source of information about changes in groundwater storage, infiltration, and for model calibration. We demonstrate that for an artificial recharge facility with a deep groundwater table, gravity data are more sensitive to movement of water through the unsaturated zone than are groundwater levels. Groundwater levels have a delayed response to infiltration, change in a similar manner at many potential monitoring locations, and are heavily influenced by high-frequency noise induced by pumping; in contrast, gravity changes start immediately at the onset of infiltration and are sensitive to water in the unsaturated zone. Continuous gravity data can determine infiltration rate, and the estimate is only minimally affected by uncertainty in water-content change. Gravity data are also useful for constraining parameters in a coupled groundwater-unsaturated zone model (Modflow-NWT model with the Unsaturated Zone Flow (UZF) package).

  7. Predicting Unsaturated Zone Nitrogen Mass Balances in Agricultural Settings of the United States

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Unsaturated zone N fate and transport were evaluated at four sites to identify the predominant pathways of N cycling: an almond orchard and cornfield in the lower Merced River study basin, California (CA); and corn-soybean rotations in study basins at Maple Creek, Nebraska (NE) and at Morgan Creek, ...

  8. Preferential flow, diffuse flow, and perching in an interbedded fractured-rock unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nimmo, John R.; Creasey, Kaitlyn M.; Perkins, Kim S.; Mirus, Benjamin B.

    2017-03-01

    Layers of strong geologic contrast within the unsaturated zone can control recharge and contaminant transport to underlying aquifers. Slow diffuse flow in certain geologic layers, and rapid preferential flow in others, complicates the prediction of vertical and lateral fluxes. A simple model is presented, designed to use limited geological site information to predict these critical subsurface processes in response to a sustained infiltration source. The model is developed and tested using site-specific information from the Idaho National Laboratory in the Eastern Snake River Plain (ESRP), USA, where there are natural and anthropogenic sources of high-volume infiltration from floods, spills, leaks, wastewater disposal, retention ponds, and hydrologic field experiments. The thick unsaturated zone overlying the ESRP aquifer is a good example of a sharply stratified unsaturated zone. Sedimentary interbeds are interspersed between massive and fractured basalt units. The combination of surficial sediments, basalts, and interbeds determines the water fluxes through the variably saturated subsurface. Interbeds are generally less conductive, sometimes causing perched water to collect above them. The model successfully predicts the volume and extent of perching and approximates vertical travel times during events that generate high fluxes from the land surface. These developments are applicable to sites having a thick, geologically complex unsaturated zone of substantial thickness in which preferential and diffuse flow, and perching of percolated water, are important to contaminant transport or aquifer recharge.

  9. Removing volatile contaminants from the unsaturated zone by inducing advective air-phase transport

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Baehr, A.L.; Hoag, G.E.; Marley, M.C.

    1989-01-01

    Organic liquids inadvertently spilled and then distributed in the unsaturated zone can pose a long-term threat to ground water. Many of these substances have significant volatility, and thereby establish a premise for contaminant removal from the unsaturated zone by inducing advective air-phase transport with wells screened in the unsaturated zone. In order to focus attention on the rates of mass transfer from liquid to vapour phases, sand columns were partially saturated with gasoline and vented under steady air-flow conditions. The ability of an equilibrium-based transport model to predict the hydrocarbon vapor flux from the columns implies an efficient rate of local phase transfer for reasonably high air-phase velocities. Thus the success of venting remediations will depend primarily on the ability to induce an air-flow field in a heterogeneous unsaturated zone that will intersect the distributed contaminant. To analyze this aspect of the technique, a mathematical model was developed to predict radially symmetric air flow induced by venting from a single well. This model allows for in-situ determinations of air-phase permeability, which is the fundamental design parameter, and for the analysis of the limitations of a single well design. A successful application of the technique at a site once contaminated by gasoline supports the optimism derived from the experimental and modeliing phases of this study, and illustrates the well construction and field methods used to document the volatile contaminant recovery. ?? 1989.

  10. Time-lapse gravity data for monitoring and modeling artificial recharge through a thick unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kennedy, Jeffrey; Ferré, Ty P. A.; Creutzfeldt, Benjamin

    2016-09-01

    Groundwater-level measurements in monitoring wells or piezometers are the most common, and often the only, hydrologic measurements made at artificial recharge facilities. Measurements of gravity change over time provide an additional source of information about changes in groundwater storage, infiltration, and for model calibration. We demonstrate that for an artificial recharge facility with a deep groundwater table, gravity data are more sensitive to movement of water through the unsaturated zone than are groundwater levels. Groundwater levels have a delayed response to infiltration, change in a similar manner at many potential monitoring locations, and are heavily influenced by high-frequency noise induced by pumping; in contrast, gravity changes start immediately at the onset of infiltration and are sensitive to water in the unsaturated zone. Continuous gravity data can determine infiltration rate, and the estimate is only minimally affected by uncertainty in water-content change. Gravity data are also useful for constraining parameters in a coupled groundwater-unsaturated zone model (Modflow-NWT model with the Unsaturated Zone Flow (UZF) package).

  11. Preferential flow, diffuse flow, and perching in an interbedded fractured-rock unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nimmo, John R.; Creasey, Kaitlyn M; Perkins, Kimberlie; Mirus, Benjamin B.

    2017-01-01

    Layers of strong geologic contrast within the unsaturated zone can control recharge and contaminant transport to underlying aquifers. Slow diffuse flow in certain geologic layers, and rapid preferential flow in others, complicates the prediction of vertical and lateral fluxes. A simple model is presented, designed to use limited geological site information to predict these critical subsurface processes in response to a sustained infiltration source. The model is developed and tested using site-specific information from the Idaho National Laboratory in the Eastern Snake River Plain (ESRP), USA, where there are natural and anthropogenic sources of high-volume infiltration from floods, spills, leaks, wastewater disposal, retention ponds, and hydrologic field experiments. The thick unsaturated zone overlying the ESRP aquifer is a good example of a sharply stratified unsaturated zone. Sedimentary interbeds are interspersed between massive and fractured basalt units. The combination of surficial sediments, basalts, and interbeds determines the water fluxes through the variably saturated subsurface. Interbeds are generally less conductive, sometimes causing perched water to collect above them. The model successfully predicts the volume and extent of perching and approximates vertical travel times during events that generate high fluxes from the land surface. These developments are applicable to sites having a thick, geologically complex unsaturated zone of substantial thickness in which preferential and diffuse flow, and perching of percolated water, are important to contaminant transport or aquifer recharge.

  12. Preferential flow, diffuse flow, and perching in an interbedded fractured-rock unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nimmo, John R.; Creasey, Kaitlyn M.; Perkins, Kim S.; Mirus, Benjamin B.

    2016-11-01

    Layers of strong geologic contrast within the unsaturated zone can control recharge and contaminant transport to underlying aquifers. Slow diffuse flow in certain geologic layers, and rapid preferential flow in others, complicates the prediction of vertical and lateral fluxes. A simple model is presented, designed to use limited geological site information to predict these critical subsurface processes in response to a sustained infiltration source. The model is developed and tested using site-specific information from the Idaho National Laboratory in the Eastern Snake River Plain (ESRP), USA, where there are natural and anthropogenic sources of high-volume infiltration from floods, spills, leaks, wastewater disposal, retention ponds, and hydrologic field experiments. The thick unsaturated zone overlying the ESRP aquifer is a good example of a sharply stratified unsaturated zone. Sedimentary interbeds are interspersed between massive and fractured basalt units. The combination of surficial sediments, basalts, and interbeds determines the water fluxes through the variably saturated subsurface. Interbeds are generally less conductive, sometimes causing perched water to collect above them. The model successfully predicts the volume and extent of perching and approximates vertical travel times during events that generate high fluxes from the land surface. These developments are applicable to sites having a thick, geologically complex unsaturated zone of substantial thickness in which preferential and diffuse flow, and perching of percolated water, are important to contaminant transport or aquifer recharge.

  13. 40 CFR 264.278 - Unsaturated zone monitoring.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... background plot having characteristics similar to those of the treatment zone. (2) Background soil-pore liquid values must be based on at least quarterly sampling for one year at a background plot...

  14. Mineral carbonation in water-unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harrison, A. L.; Dipple, G. M.; Mayer, K. U.; Power, I. M.

    2014-12-01

    Ultramafic mine tailings have an untapped capacity to sequester CO2 directly from air or CO2-rich gas streams via carbonation of tailings minerals [1]. The CO2 sequestration capacity of these sites could be exploited simply by increasing the supply of CO2 into tailings, such as through circulation of air or flue gas from mine site power plants [1,2]. Mine tailings storage facilities typically have heterogeneously distributed pore water [1], affecting both the reactive capacity of the porous medium and the exposure of reactive phases to CO2 [3]. We examine the physical reaction processes that govern carbonation efficiency in variably saturated porous media using meter-scale column experiments containing the tailings mineral, brucite [Mg(OH)2], that were supplied with 10% CO2 gas streams. The experiments were instrumented with water content and gas phase CO2 sensors to track changes in water saturation and CO2concentration with time. The precipitation of hydrated Mg-carbonates as rinds encasing brucite particles resulted in passivation of brucite surfaces and an abrupt shut down of the reaction prior to completion. Moreover, the extent of reaction was further limited at low water saturation due to the lack of water available to form hydrated Mg-carbonates, which incorporate water into their crystal structures. Reactive transport modeling using MIN3P-DUSTY [4] revealed that the instantaneous reaction rate was not strongly affected by water saturation, but the reactive capacity was reduced significantly. Surface passivation and water-limited reaction resulted in a highly non-geometric evolution of reactive surface area. The extent of reaction was also limited at high water content because viscous fingering of the gas streams injected at the base of the columns resulted in narrow zones of highly carbonated material, but left a large proportion of brucite unreacted. The implication is that carbonation efficiency in mine tailings could be maximized by targeting an

  15. In-Situ Monitoring Of Nitrate Fluxes Through Unsaturated Zone In Chalk Aquifer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    West, L. J.; Keim, D. M.; Odling, N. E.

    2013-12-01

    Diffuse source nitrate leaching from agricultural land threatens groundwater quality worldwide. In the United Kingdom the source of up to 70% of nitrate found in surface and groundwater is thought to have been leached from agricultural land. Rising concentrations approaching or exceeding the maximum permissible concentration level of 11.3 mg/l NO3-N (EC Drinking Water Directive) have been observed in UK catchments on the Cretaceous Chalk in recent decades. Prediction of future nitrate concentration trends in chalk aquifers is desirable for groundwater abstraction management, but is particularly challenging due to their complex dual porosity nature. Contaminants such as nitrate are either rapidly moved through the system via preferential fracture pathways or more slowly through the porous matrix. We report in-situ nitrate monitoring within the top 1 m of the soil zone and within the deeper chalk unsaturated zone at depths between 30 and 45 m carried out over an entire hydrological year. Observed nitrate concentrations exceeded natural baseline concentration of NO3-N expected in the Cretaceous Chalk aquifer of northern England by nearly four times and were nearly double the legislated maximum permissible drinking water concentration. Soil zone nitrate monitoring (up to 1 m depth) indicated a strong relationship between NO3-N concentration and land management, annual cropping and hydrological cycles. Annual variation in NO3-N concentration were smaller in water from the deeper unsaturated zone (at 30 - 45 m depth) than in the soil zone, i.e. fluctuations are smoothed by travel through the chalk unsaturated zone. However, observations in the deep unsaturated zone indicate water flow is focused in specific fractures or conduits, so contaminants from the surface will rapidly reach the water table, even through thick unsaturated zones in chalk. Moreover, the low permeability of the matrix coupled with fracture flow can result in an accumulation of NO3-N in the unsaturated

  16. Ion Diffusion Within Water Films in Unsaturated Porous Media.

    PubMed

    Tokunaga, Tetsu K; Finsterle, Stefan; Kim, Yongman; Wan, Jiamin; Lanzirotti, Antonio; Newville, Matthew

    2017-04-05

    Diffusion is important in controlling local solute transport and reactions in unsaturated soils and geologic formations. Although it is commonly assumed that thinning of water films controls solute diffusion at low water contents, transport under these conditions is not well understood. We conducted experiments in quartz sands at low volumetric water contents (θ) to quantify ion diffusion within adsorbed films. At the lowest water contents, we employed fixed relative humidities to control water films at nm thicknesses. Diffusion profiles for Rb(+) and Br(-) in unsaturated sand packs were measured with a synchrotron X-ray microprobe, and inverse modeling was used to determine effective diffusion coefficients, De, as low as ∼9 × 10(-15) m(2) s(-1) at θ = 1.0 × 10(-4) m(3) m(-3), where the film thickness = 0.9 nm. Given that the diffusion coefficients (Do) of Rb(+) and Br(-) in bulk water (30 °C) are both ∼2.4 × 10(-9) m(2) s(-1), we found the impedance factor f = De/(θDo) is equal to 0.03 ± 0.02 at this very low saturation, in agreement with the predicted influence of interface tortuosity (τa) for diffusion along grain surfaces. Thus, reduced cross-sectional area (θ) and tortuosity largely accounted for the more than 5 orders of magnitude decrease in De relative to Do as desaturation progressed down to nanoscale films.

  17. Pesticide fate and transport throughout unsaturated zones in five agricultural settings, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hancock, T.C.; Sandstrom, M.W.; Vogel, J.R.; Webb, R.M.T.; Bayless, E.R.; Barbash, J.E.

    2008-01-01

    Pesticide transport through the unsaturated zone is a function of chemical and soil characteristics, application, and water recharge rate. The fate and transport of 82 pesticides and degradates were investigated at five different agricultural sites. Atrazine and metolachlor, as well as several of the degradates of atrazine, metolachlor, acetochlor, and alachlor, were frequently detected in soil water during the 2004 growing season, and degradates were generally more abundant than parent compounds. Metolachlor and atrazine were applied at a Nebraska site the same year as sampling, and focused recharge coupled with the short time since application resulted in their movement in the unsaturated zone 9 m below the surface. At other sites where the herbicides were applied 1 to 2 yr before sampling, only degradates were found in soil water. Transformations of herbicides were evident with depth and during the 4-mo sampling time and reflected the faster degradation of metolachlor oxanilic acid and persistence of metolachor ethanesulfonic acid. The fraction of metolachlor ethanesulfonic acid relative to metolachlor and metolachlor oxanilic acid increased from 0.3 to > 0.9 at a site in Maryland where the unsaturated zone was 5 m deep and from 0.3 to 0.5 at the shallowest depth. The flux of pesticide degradates from the deepest sites to the shallow ground water was greatest (3.0–4.9 μmol m−2 yr−1) where upland recharge or focused flow moved the most water through the unsaturated zone. Flux estimates based on estimated recharge rates and measured concentrations were in agreement with fluxes estimated using an unsaturated-zone computer model (LEACHM).

  18. Multimodel analysis of anisotropic diffusive tracer-gas transport in a deep arid unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Green, Christopher T.; Walvoord, Michelle Ann; Andraski, Brian J.; Striegl, Robert G.; Stonestrom, David A.

    2015-01-01

    Gas transport in the unsaturated zone affects contaminant flux and remediation, interpretation of groundwater travel times from atmospheric tracers, and mass budgets of environmentally important gases. Although unsaturated zone transport of gases is commonly treated as dominated by diffusion, the characteristics of transport in deep layered sediments remain uncertain. In this study, we use a multimodel approach to analyze results of a gas-tracer (SF6) test to clarify characteristics of gas transport in deep unsaturated alluvium. Thirty-five separate models with distinct diffusivity structures were calibrated to the tracer-test data and were compared on the basis of Akaike Information Criteria estimates of posterior model probability. Models included analytical and numerical solutions. Analytical models provided estimates of bulk-scale apparent diffusivities at the scale of tens of meters. Numerical models provided information on local-scale diffusivities and feasible lithological features producing the observed tracer breakthrough curves. The combined approaches indicate significant anisotropy of bulk-scale diffusivity, likely associated with high-diffusivity layers. Both approaches indicated that diffusivities in some intervals were greater than expected from standard models relating porosity to diffusivity. High apparent diffusivities and anisotropic diffusivity structures were consistent with previous observations at the study site of rapid lateral transport and limited vertical spreading of gas-phase contaminants. Additional processes such as advective oscillations may be involved. These results indicate that gases in deep, layered unsaturated zone sediments can spread laterally more quickly, and produce higher peak concentrations, than predicted by homogeneous, isotropic diffusion models.

  19. Relative importance of the saturated and the unsaturated zones in the hydrogeological functioning of karst aquifers: The case of Alta Cadena (Southern Spain)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mudarra, M.; Andreo, B.

    2011-02-01

    SummaryFrom analysis of the hydrodynamic and hydrochemical responses of karst springs, it is possible to know the behaviour of the aquifers they drain. This manuscript aims to contribute to the characterization of infiltration process, and to determine the relative importance of the saturated zone and of the unsaturated zone in the hydrogeological functioning of carbonate aquifers, using natural hydrochemical tracers. Thus, chemical components together with temperature and electrical conductivity (both punctual and continuous records) have been monitored in three springs which drain Alta Cadena carbonate aquifer, Southern Spain. An evaluation of the percentage of the electrical conductivity frequency peaks determined for each of the three springs is linked to the chemical parameters that comprise the conductivity signal. One of these springs responds rapidly to precipitation (conduit flow system), due to the existence of a high degree of karstification in the unsaturated zone and in the saturated zone, both of which play a similar role in the functioning of the spring. Another spring responds to precipitation with small increases in water flow, somewhat lagged, because the aquifer has a low degree of karstification, even in the unsaturated zone, which seems to influence its functioning more strongly than does the saturated zone. The third spring drains a sector of the aquifer with a moderately developed degree of karstification, one that is intermediate between the other two, in which both the unsaturated zone and the saturated zone participate in the functioning of the spring, but with the latter zone having a stronger influence. These three springs show different hydrogeological functioning although they are in similar geological and climatic contexts, which show the heterogeneity of karst media and the importance of an adequate investigation for groundwater management and protection in karst areas.

  20. Simulated fate and transport of metolachlor in the unsaturated zone, Maryland, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bayless, E.R.; Capel, P.D.; Barbash, J.E.; Webb, R.M.T.; Hancock, T.L.C.; Lampe, D.C.

    2008-01-01

    An unsaturated-zone transport model was used to examine the transport and fate of metolachlor applied to an agricultural site in Maryland, USA. The study site was instrumented to collect data on soil-water content, soil-water potential, ground water levels, major ions, pesticides, and nutrients from the unsaturated zone during 2002-2004. The data set was enhanced with site-specific information describing weather, soils, and agricultural practices. The Root Zone Water Quality Model was used to simulate physical, chemical, and biological processes occurring in the unsaturated zone. Model calibration to bromide tracer concentrations indicated flow occurred through the soil matix. Simulated recharge rates were within the measured range of values. The pesticide transport model was calibrated to the intensive data collection period (2002-2004), and the calibrated model was then used to simulate the period 1984 through 2004 to examine the impact of sustained agricultural management practices on the concentrations of metolachlor and its degradates at the study site. Simulation results indicated that metolachlor degrades rapidly in the root zone but that the degradates are transported to depth in measurable quantities. Simulations indicated that degradate transport is strongly related to the duration of sustained use of metolachlor and the extent of biodegradation. 

  1. Consequences of varied soil hydraulic and meteorological complexity on unsaturated zone time lag estimates.

    PubMed

    Vero, S E; Ibrahim, T G; Creamer, R E; Grant, J; Healy, M G; Henry, T; Kramers, G; Richards, K G; Fenton, O

    2014-12-01

    The true efficacy of a programme of agricultural mitigation measures within a catchment to improve water quality can be determined only after a certain hydrologic time lag period (subsequent to implementation) has elapsed. As the biophysical response to policy is not synchronous, accurate estimates of total time lag (unsaturated and saturated) become critical to manage the expectations of policy makers. The estimation of the vertical unsaturated zone component of time lag is vital as it indicates early trends (initial breakthrough), bulk (centre of mass) and total (Exit) travel times. Typically, estimation of time lag through the unsaturated zone is poor, due to the lack of site specific soil physical data, or by assuming saturated conditions. Numerical models (e.g. Hydrus 1D) enable estimates of time lag with varied levels of input data. The current study examines the consequences of varied soil hydraulic and meteorological complexity on unsaturated zone time lag estimates using simulated and actual soil profiles. Results indicated that: greater temporal resolution (from daily to hourly) of meteorological data was more critical as the saturated hydraulic conductivity of the soil decreased; high clay content soils failed to converge reflecting prevalence of lateral component as a contaminant pathway; elucidation of soil hydraulic properties was influenced by the complexity of soil physical data employed (textural menu, ROSETTA, full and partial soil water characteristic curves), which consequently affected time lag ranges; as the importance of the unsaturated zone increases with respect to total travel times the requirements for high complexity/resolution input data become greater. The methodology presented herein demonstrates that decisions made regarding input data and landscape position will have consequences for the estimated range of vertical travel times. Insufficiencies or inaccuracies regarding such input data can therefore mislead policy makers regarding

  2. Geologic character of tuffs in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, southern Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Scott, R.B.; Spengler, R.W.; Diehl, S.; Lappin, A.R.; Chornack, M.P.

    1982-12-31

    At Yucca Mountain, a potential site for a high-level nuclear waste repository on the Nevada Test Site in southern Nevada, evaluation of the geologic setting and rock physical properties, along with previous regional hydrologic studies, has provided background that can be used for construction of a preliminary conceptual hydrologic model of the unsaturated zone. The 500-m-thick unsaturated portion of Yucca Mountain consists of alternating layers of two contrasting types of tuff. One type consists of highly fractured, densely welded, relatively nonporous but highly transmissive ash-flow tuffs. The other type consists of relatively unfractured, nonwelded, highly porous but relatively nontransmissive, argillic and zeolitic bedded tuffs and ash-flow tuffs. The contrast between these two sets of distinctive physical properties results in a stratified sequence best described as "physical-property stratigraphy" as opposed to traditional petrologic stratigraphy of volcanic rocks. The vast majority of recharge through the unsaturated zone is assumed to be vertical; the dominant migration may occur in fractures of densely welded tuffs and in the matrix of nonwelded tuff, but the mode of fluid flow in these unsaturated systems is undetermined. Limited lateral flow of recharge may occur at horizons where local perched water tables may exist above relatively nontransmissive zeolitized nonwelded tuffs. The pervasive north-northwest-striking fractures may control the direction of lateral flow of recharge, if any, in the unsaturated zone, and certainly that direction coincides closely with the observed southeasterly flow direction in the saturated zone under Yucca Mountain. Empirical evaluation of this conceptual hydrologic model has begun. 41 refs., 18 figs., 2 tabs.

  3. Thermal history of the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Whelan, J.F.; Neymark, L.A.; Moscati, R.J.; Marshall, B.D.; Roedder, E.

    2008-01-01

    Secondary calcite, silica and minor amounts of fluorite deposited in fractures and cavities record the chemistry, temperatures, and timing of past fluid movement in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the proposed site of a high-level radioactive waste repository. The distribution and geochemistry of these deposits are consistent with low-temperature precipitation from meteoric waters that infiltrated at the surface and percolated down through the unsaturated zone. However, the discovery of fluid inclusions in calcite with homogenization temperatures (Th) up to ???80 ??C was construed by some scientists as strong evidence for hydrothermal deposition. This paper reports the results of investigations to test the hypothesis of hydrothermal deposition and to determine the temperature and timing of secondary mineral deposition. Mineral precipitation temperatures in the unsaturated zone are estimated from calcite- and fluorite-hosted fluid inclusions and calcite ??18O values, and depositional timing is constrained by the 207Pb/235U ages of chalcedony or opal in the deposits. Fluid inclusion Th from 50 samples of calcite and four samples of fluorite range from ???35 to ???90 ??C. Calcite ??18O values range from ???0 to ???22??? (SMOW) but most fall between 12 and 20???. The highest Th and the lowest ??18O values are found in the older calcite. Calcite Th and ??18O values indicate that most calcite precipitated from water with ??18O values between -13 and -7???, similar to modern meteoric waters. Twenty-two 207Pb/235U ages of chalcedony or opal that generally postdate elevated depositional temperatures range from ???9.5 to 1.9 Ma. New and published 207Pb/235U and 230Th/Uages coupled with the Th values and estimates of temperature from calcite ??18O values indicate that maximum unsaturated zone temperatures probably predate ???10 Ma and that the unsaturated zone had cooled to near-present-day temperatures (24-26 ??C at a depth of 250 m) by 2-4 Ma. The evidence

  4. Moisture Content and Migration Dynamics in Unsaturated Porous Media

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Homsy, G. M.

    1993-01-01

    Fundamental studies of fluid mechanics and transport in partially saturated soils are presented. Solution of transient diffusion problems in support of the development of probes for the in-situ measurement of moisture content is given. Numerical and analytical methods are used to study the fundamental problem of meniscus and saturation front propagation in geometric models of porous media.

  5. Nitrogen transport and transformation in the saturated-unsaturated zone under recharge, runoff, and discharge conditions.

    PubMed

    Ma, Zhifei; Lian, Xinying; Jiang, Yonghai; Meng, Fanhua; Xi, Beidou; Yang, Yu; Yuan, Zhiye; Xu, Xiangjian

    2016-05-01

    Water level (WL) changes are an important factor in the fate and transport of nitrogen in the saturated-unsaturated zone. In this study, the fate of nitrogen was investigated under simulated conditions of replenishment, runoff, and discharge. Three patterns of water level changes of ascent, stability, and descent were simulated under laboratory conditions to study nitrogen transport and transformation. Three columns (I, II, and III) were used to simulate the conditions of replenishment, steady water level, and discharge, respectively. The nitrate-nitrogen (NO3 (-)-N), nitrite-nitrogen (NO2 (-)-N), and ammonia-nitrogen (NH4 (+)-N) concentrations observed at different depths were compared among the three columns at 46.5 and 251.5 h. The results indicated that the NO3 (-)-N concentration decreased with time in both the saturated and unsaturated zones of the three columns (columns I, II, and III). The maximum decreasing concentrations of NO3 (-)-N in the three columns were 14.3, 37.97, and 38.17 mg/L, respectively. However, NH4 (+)-N in the saturated zone increased with time, whereas the NH4 (+)-N concentration decreased in both the saturated and unsaturated zones of other columns. No significant change in NO2 (-)-N concentration was observed in the experiment. These results suggest that water level changes must be considered in the remediation of groundwater nitrate pollution in the field.

  6. Unsaturated Zone Tracer Test at the Bemidji, Minnesota Crude Oil Spill Site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Herkelrath, W. N.; Delin, G. N.

    2003-12-01

    As a part of a study of the subsurface transport and natural attenuation of petroleum hydrocarbon contaminants at the Bemidji, Minnesota crude-oil spill research site, we used aqueous tracers to investigate solute transport from the soil surface through the crude oil-contaminated unsaturated zone to the water table. We applied tracer solution to the soil surface within a 5 by 12 meter tracer test plot that ran from a heavily oil-contaminated area to an oil-free zone. The depth to the water table was about 6 meters. The tracer test plot was instrumented with soil moisture probes, tensiometers, suction lysimeters, and drive-point sampling wells. Sixty liters of solution containing about 6.0E03 mg/l rhodamine WT and 1.0E04 mg/l bromide was uniformly sprayed on the soil surface in October 2001. We monitored subsequent tracer movement in response to precipitation by obtaining water samples weekly using the suction lysimeters in the unsaturated zone and the drive point wells in the saturated zone. Rhodamine concentrations were measured in the field using a fluorometer, and bromide concentrations were measured in the lab using ion chromatography. The time required for rhodamine tracer to reach the water table was 340 +/- 26 days. Travel times for bromide were about the same as for rhodamine, but the bromide data were less useful because the maximum bromide concentrations observed in the wells were close to background values. Rhodamine travel times through the oily unsaturated zone were not significantly different from the travel times through the oil-free unsaturated zone. However, the peak rhodamine concentrations found in ground-water samples obtained below the oil zone were an average of 3 times larger than the peak rhodamine values beneath the oil-free zone. We hypothesize that the rhodamine was adsorbed less in the oil-contaminated zone than in the oil-free zone because iron-containing minerals that absorb rhodamine have been largely removed from the oily sediments

  7. Determination of groundwater recharge mechanism in the deep loessial unsaturated zone by environmental tracers.

    PubMed

    Li, Zhi; Chen, Xi; Liu, Wenzhao; Si, Bingcheng

    2017-05-15

    Studying the groundwater recharge mechanism in regions with thick unsaturated zone can greatly improve our understanding of hydrological processes since these regions have complex groundwater processes. This study attempted to discuss the groundwater recharge in a region covered by loess over 130m deep in China's Loess Plateau. The water stable isotope, tritium and chloride in precipitation, groundwater and soil water were determined and used as inputs of mass balance methods. The tracer technique is found to be applicable and effective this region with thick unsaturated zone. The groundwater originates from rapid precipitation infiltration through some fast flow paths. The total recharge is likely to be 107±55mmyr(-1) accounting for 19±10% of average annual precipitation, while the recharge from preferential flow accounts for 87±4% of the total recharge. The identified recharge mechanism has important implication to groundwater management and recharge modeling for regions covered by thick loess.

  8. Ground water age and nitrate distribution within a glacial aquifer beneath a thick unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Johnston, C.T.; Cook, P.G.; Frape, S.K.; Plummer, L.N.; Busenberg, E.; Blackport, R.J.

    1998-01-01

    The impact on ground water quality from increasing fertilizer application rates over the past 40 years is evaluated within a glacial aquifer system beneath a thick unsaturated zone. Ground water ages within the aquifer could not be accurately determined from the measured distribution of 3H and as a result, chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and 3H/3He dating techniques were applied. Beneath a 25 m thick unsaturated zone, ground water ages based on CFC-11 concentrations were greater than 3H/3He ground water ages by 6 to 10 years, due to the time lag associated with the diffusion of CFCs through the unsaturated zone. Using the corrected CFC-11 and 3H/3He ground water ages and the estimated travel time of 3H within the unsaturated zone, the approximate position of ground water recharged since the mid-1960s was determined. Nitrate concentrations within post mid-1960s recharge were generally elevated and near or above the drinking water limit of 10 mg-N/L. In comparison, pre mid-1960s recharge had nitrate concentrations <2.5 mg-N/L. The elevated NO3- concentrations in post mid-1960s recharge are attributed mainly to increasing fertilizer application rates between 1970 and the mid- to late 1980s. Anaerobic conditions suitable for denitrification are present within pre mid-1960s recharge indicating that removal of DO is a slow process taking tens of years. Over the next 10 to 20 years, nitrate concentrations at municipal well fields that are currently capturing aerobic ground water recharged near the mid-1960s are expected to increase because of the higher fertilizer application rates beginning in the 1970s and 1980s.The impact on ground water quality from increasing fertilizer application rates over the past 40 years is evaluated within a glacial aquifer system beneath a thick unsaturated zone. Beneath a 25 m thick unsaturated zone, ground water ages based on CFC-11 concentrations were greater than 3H/3He ground water ages by 6 to 10 years, due to the time lag associated with the

  9. Collboration: Interfacial Soil Chemistry of Radionuclides in the Unsaturated Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Karl T. Mueller; Don Chorover; Peggy O'Day; R. Jeff Serne; Garry Crosson; Geoffrey Bowers; Nelson Rivera

    2006-12-11

    The principal goal of this project was to assess the molecular nature and stability of radionuclide immoblization during weathering reactions in bulk Hanford sediments and their high surface area clay mineral constituents. We focused on the unique aqueous geochemical conditions that are representative of waste-impacted locations in the Hanford site vadose zone; high ionic strength, high pH and high Al concentrations. The specific objectives of the work were to measure the coupling of clay mineral weathering and contaminant uptake kinetics of Cs, Sr and I; determine the molecular structure of contaminant binding sites and their change with weathering time during and after exposure to synthetic tank waste leachate; establish the stability of neoformed weathering products and their sequestered contaminbants upon exposure of the solids to more natural soil solutaions afer remofal of the caustic waste source; and integrate macroscopic, microscopic and spectroscopic data to distinguish labile from non-labile contaminant binding environments, including their dependence on system composition and weathering time.

  10. Porosity and permeability of tuffs from the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Soeder, D.J.; Dishart, J.E. )

    1992-01-01

    An investigation of the intrinsic flow properties of the rock matrix in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, was carried out by performing single-phase water or air permeability measurements on about 150 selected samples representing all of the different rock units in the unsaturated zone. Pores were studied by examining thin sections of samples impregnated with fluorescent-dyed epoxy. Yucca Mountain is made up of volcanic tuff, which occurs in three distinct textures: welded, nonwelded, and bedded. Welded tuffs occur in two thick, rhyolitic, pyroclastic flow units. In thin sections, the typical welded-tuff pore structure appears to consist of isolated voids interconnected by microfractures. Porosities average about 10 percent, and matrix permeabilities are generally 1 microdarcy or less. The nonwelded tuffs occur in several thin pyroclastic flows between and below the two main welded units. Porosities average about 20 to 30%, and permeabilities are in the microdarcy to millidarcy range. The nonwelded tuffs appear in thin sections to have an open, well-interconnected pore system with significant intragranular porosity in pumice and lithic grains. These tuffs often contain various amounts of secondary clay and zeolite minerals in the pores, which may account for the wide range in permeabilities. The bedded tuffs consist of friable, low-density volcanic ash with porosities of 50% or more and permeabilities often above 1 darcy. These tuffs are the most porous and permeable rock units in the unsaturated zone, and contain large intergranular pores and significant intragranular porosity in frothy pumice clasts. Results of this investigation will help improve the understanding of groundwater movement through the unsaturated zone.

  11. Groundwater and unsaturated zone evaporation and transpiration in a semi-arid open woodland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balugani, E.; Lubczynski, M. W.; Reyes-Acosta, L.; van der Tol, C.; Francés, A. P.; Metselaar, K.

    2017-04-01

    Studies on evapotranspiration partitioning under eddy covariance (EC) towers rarely address the separate effects of transpiration and evaporation on groundwater resources. Such partitioning is important to accurately assess groundwater resources, especially in arid and semi-arid areas. The main objective of this study was to partition (evaluate separately) the evaporation and transpiration components of evapotranspiration, originated either from saturated or unsaturated zone, and estimate their contributions in a semi-arid area characterized by relatively shallow groundwater Table (0-10 m deep). Evapotranspiration, tree transpiration and subsurface evaporation were estimated with EC tower, using sap flow methods and HYDRUS1D model, respectively. To set up the HYDRUS1D model, soil material properties, soil moisture, soil temperature, soil matric potential and water table depth were measured in the area. The tree transpiration was sourced into groundwater and unsaturated zone components (∼0.017 mm d-1 for both) and accounted for only ∼6% of the evapotranspiration measured by the EC tower (∼0.565 mm d-1), due to the low canopy coverage in the study area (7%). The subsurface evaporation fluxes were also sourced into groundwater and unsaturated zone components using the SOURCE package, and their relative relevance in total evapotranspiration was assessed. Subsurface evaporation was the main flux year-round (∼0.526 mm d-1). During late autumn, winter and early spring time, the unsaturated zone evaporation was dominant, while in dry summer the relevance of groundwater evaporation increased, reaching one third of evapotranspiration, although errors in the water balance closure point still at its possible underestimation. The results show that, in arid and semi-arid areas with sparse vegetation, the often neglected groundwater evaporation is a relevant contribution to evapotranspiration, and that water vapor flow should be taken into account in the calculation of

  12. Effect of grain-coating mineralogy on nitrate and sulfate storage in the unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reilly, T.J.; Fishman, N.S.; Baehr, A.L.

    2009-01-01

    Unsaturated-zone sediments and the chemistry of shallow groundwater underlying a small (???8-km2) watershed were studied to identify the mechanisms responsible for anion storage within the Miocene Bridgeton Formation and weathered Coastal Plain deposits in southern New Jersey. Lower unsaturated-zone sediments and shallow groundwater samples were collected and concentrations of selected ions (including NO3- and SO42-) from 11 locations were determined. Grain size, sorting, and color of the lower unsaturated-zone sediments were determined and the mineralogy of these grains and the composition of coatings were analyzed by petrographic examination, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive analysis of x-rays, and quantitative whole-rock x-ray diffraction. The sediment grains, largely quartz and chert (80-94% w/w), are coated with a very fine-grained (<20 ??m), complex mixture of kaolinite, halloysite, goethite, and possibly gibbsite and lepidocrocite. The mineral coatings are present as an open fabric, resulting in a large surface area in contact with pore water. Significant correlations between the amount of goethite in the grain coatings and the concentration of sediment-bound SO42- were observed, indicative of anion sorption. Other mineral-chemical relations indicate that negatively charged surfaces and competition with SO 42- results in exclusion of NO3- from inner sphere exchange sites. The observed NO3- storage may be a result of matrix forces within the grain coatings and outer sphere complexation. The results of this study indicate that the mineralogy of grain coatings can have demonstrable effects on the storage of NO 3- and SO42- in the unsaturated zone. ?? Soil Science Society of America. All rights reserved.

  13. Field testing plan for unsaturated zone monitoring and field studies

    SciTech Connect

    Young, M.H.; Wierenga, P.J.; Warrick, A.W.

    1996-10-01

    The University of Arizona, in cooperation with the Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin, and Stephens and Associates in Albuquerque, New Mexico has developed a field testing plan for evaluating subsurface monitoring systems. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has requested development of these testing plans for low-level radioactive waste disposal sites (LLW) and for monitoring at decommissioned facilities designated under the {open_quotes}Site Decommissioning Management Plan{close_quotes} (SDMP). The tests are conducted on a 50 m by 50 m plot on the University of Arizona`s Maricopa Agricultural Center. Within the 50 m by 50 m plot one finds: (1) an instrumented buried trench, (2) monitoring islands similar to those proposed for the Ward Valley, California LLW Facility, (3) deep borehole monitoring sites, (4) gaseous transport monitoring, and (5) locations for testing non-invasive geophysical measurement techniques. The various subplot areas are instrumented with commercially available instruments such as neutron probes, time domain reflectometry probes, tensiometers, psychrometers, heat dissipation sensors, thermocouples, solution samplers, and cross-hole geophysics electrodes. Measurement depths vary from ground surface to 15 m. The data from the controlled flow and transport experiments, conducted over the plot, will be used to develop an integrated approach to long-term monitoring of the vadose zone at waste disposal sites. The data will also be used to test field-scale flow and transport models. This report describes in detail the design of the experiment and the methodology proposed for evaluating the data.

  14. Interfacial Soil Chemistry of Radionuclides in the Unsaturated Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Chorover, Jon; Mueller, Karl T.; Karthikeyan, K. G.; Vairavamurthy, A.; Serne, R. Jeff

    2002-06-01

    We are in the final year (in a one-year extension) of a project with the principal goal of investigating the impact of clay surface alteration, resulting from hydroxy-aluminum (HyA) and hydroxyaluminosilicate (HAS) species intercalation on reactivity of soils towards Cs and Sr. Special emphasis has been accorded to the unique geochemical conditions that are representative of the Hanford site vadose zone (high ionic strength, high pH, high Al concentrations). Specific objectives of the research include: (1) Quantify the rate and extent of contaminant sorption to prevalent soil minerals as a function of system composition and contaminant concentration. (2) Determine the effects of intercalation of clays by HyA and HAS on the sorption/ion exchange process. (3) Determine the role of NOM (dissolved and mineral bound) on the particle retention of Cs and Sr. (4) Investigate the nature of mineral transformations induced by high pH and ionic strength conditions characteristic of waste impacted environments as it affects concurrent/subsequent retention of Cs and Sr. (5) Determine the coordination chemistry of contaminants bound into clay surfaces [as measured in objectives (1)-(4)] using NMR and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS). Significant progress has been made in achieving these objectives. We have conducted long-term kinetic studies--reaction times ranging from 1 to 370 d--to examine relationships between aluminosilicate weathering in the presence of synthetic tank waste leachate (STWL) and Cs/Sr uptake and release. Our experiments employ a sequence of specimen clay minerals including illite, vermiculite, smectite and kaolinite, which are also important reactive solids in the Hanford sediments (Serne et al., 2001). Parallel studies have been conducted with three representative Hanford sediment samples.

  15. Interfacial Soil Chemistry of Radionuclides in the Unsaturated Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Chorover, Jon; Mueller, Karl T.; Karthikeyan, K. G.; Vairavamurthy, A.; Serne, R. Jeff

    2003-06-01

    This is the final year (in a one-year extension) of a project with the principal goal of investigating the impact of clay surface alteration, resulting from hydroxy-aluminum (HyA) and hydroxyaluminosilicate (HAS) species intercalation on reactivity of soils towards Cs and Sr. Special emphasis has been accorded to the unique geochemical conditions that are representative of the Hanford site vadose zone (high ionic strength, high pH, high Al concentrations). Specific objectives of the research include: (1) Quantify the rate and extent of contaminant sorption to prevalent soil minerals as a function of system composition and contaminant concentration. (2) Determine the effects of intercalation of clays by HyA and HAS on the sorption/ion exchange process. (3) Determine the role of NOM (dissolved and mineral bound) on the particle retention of Cs and Sr. (4) Investigate the nature of mineral transformations induced by high pH and ionic strength conditions characteristic of waste impacted environments as it affects concurrent/subsequent retention of Cs and Sr. (5) Determine the coordination chemistry of contaminants bound into clay surfaces [as measured in objectives (1)-(4)] using NMR and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS). Significant progress has been made in achieving these objectives. We have conducted long-term kinetic studies--reaction times ranging from 1 d to 2 yr--to examine relationships between aluminosilicate weathering in the presence of synthetic tank waste leachate (STWL) and Cs/Sr uptake and release. Our experiments employ a sequence of specimen clay minerals including illite, vermiculite, smectite and kaolinite, which are also important reactive solids in the Hanford sediments (Serne et al., 2001).

  16. Limited denitrification in glacial deposit aquifers having thick unsaturated zones (Long Island, USA)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Young, Caitlin; Kroeger, Kevin D.; Hanson, Gilbert

    2013-01-01

    The goal of this study was to demonstrate how the extent of denitrification, which is indirectly related to dissolved organ carbon and directly related to oxygen concentrations, can also be linked to unsaturated-zone thickness, a mappable aquifer property. Groundwater from public supply and monitoring wells in Northport on Long Island, New York state (USA), were analyzed for denitrification reaction progress using dissolved N2/Ar concentrations by membrane inlet mass spectrometry. This technique allows for discernment of small amounts of excess N2, attributable to denitrification. Results show an average 15 % of total nitrogen in the system was denitrified, significantly lower than model predictions of 35 % denitrification. The minimal denitrification is due to low dissolved organic carbon (29.3–41.1 μmol L−1) and high dissolved oxygen concentrations (58–100 % oxygen saturation) in glacial sediments with minimal solid-phase electron donors to drive denitrification. A mechanism is proposed that combines two known processes for aquifer re-aeration in unconsolidated sands with thick (>10 m) unsaturated zones. First, advective flux provides 50 % freshening of pore space oxygen in the upper 2 m due to barometric pressure changes. Then, oxygen diffusion across the water-table boundary occurs due to high volumetric air content in the unsaturated-zone catchment area.

  17. Preferential dealkylation reactions of s-triazine herbicides in the unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mills, M.S.; Michael, Thurman E.

    1994-01-01

    The preferential dealkylation pathways of the s-triazine herbicides, atrazine (2-chloro-4-ethylamino-6-isopropylamino-s-triazine), propazine [2-chloro-4,6-bis(isopropylamino)-s-triazine], and simazine [2-chloro-4,6-bis(ethylamino)-s-triazine], and two monodealkylated triazine metabolites, deisopropylatrazine (DIA: 2-amino-4-chloro-6-ethylamino-s-triazine) and deethylatrazine (DEA: 2-amino-4-chloro-6-isopropylamino-s-triazine) were investigated on two adjacent Eudora silt-loam plots growing corn (Zea mays L.). Results from the shallow unsaturated zone and surface-water runoff showed preferential removal of an ethyl side chain from atrazine, simazine, and DIA relative to an isopropyl side chain from atrazine, propazine, and DEA. It is hypothesized that deethylation reactions may proceed at 2-3 times the rate of deisopropylation reactions. It is concluded that small concentrations of DIA reportedly associated with the degradation of atrazine may be due to a rapid turnover rate of the metabolite in the unsaturated zone, not to small production levels. Because of continued dealkylation of both monodealkylated metabolites, a strong argument is advanced for the presence of a didealkylated metabolite in the unsaturated zone.

  18. Percent-slope classes to characterize the unsaturated zone in North Carolina

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Terziotti, Silvia; Eimers, Jo Leslie

    2001-01-01

    This web site contains the Federal Geographic Data Committee-compliant metadata (documentation) for digital data produced for the North Carolina, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Public Water Supply Section, Source Water Assessment Program. The metadata are for 11 individual Geographic Information System data sets. An overlay and indexing method was used with the data to derive a rating for unsaturated zone and watershed characteristics for use by the State of North Carolina in assessing more than 11,000 public water-supply wells and approximately 245 public surface-water intakes for susceptibility to contamination. For ground-water supplies, the digital data sets used in the assessment included unsaturated zone rating, vertical series hydraulic conductance, land-surface slope, and land cover. For assessment of public surface-water intakes, the data sets included watershed characteristics rating, average annual precipitation, land-surface slope, land cover, and ground-water contribution. Documentation for the land-use data set applies to both the unsaturated zone and watershed characteristics ratings. Documentation for the estimated depth-to-water map used in the calculation of the vertical series hydraulic conductance also is included.

  19. Land-use classes to characterize watersheds and unsaturated zones in North Carolina

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Terziotti, Silvia; Eimers, Jo Leslie

    2001-01-01

    This web site contains the Federal Geographic Data Committee-compliant metadata (documentation) for digital data produced for the North Carolina, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Public Water Supply Section, Source Water Assessment Program. The metadata are for 11 individual Geographic Information System data sets. An overlay and indexing method was used with the data to derive a rating for unsaturated zone and watershed characteristics for use by the State of North Carolina in assessing more than 11,000 public water-supply wells and approximately 245 public surface-water intakes for susceptibility to contamination. For ground-water supplies, the digital data sets used in the assessment included unsaturated zone rating, vertical series hydraulic conductance, land-surface slope, and land cover. For assessment of public surface-water intakes, the data sets included watershed characteristics rating, average annual precipitation, land-surface slope, land cover, and ground-water contribution. Documentation for the land-use data set applies to both the unsaturated zone and watershed characteristics ratings. Documentation for the estimated depth-to-water map used in the calculation of the vertical series hydraulic conductance also is included.

  20. Vertical series hydraulic conductance classes to characterize the unsaturated zone in North Carolina

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Eimers, Jo Leslie; Terziotti, Silvia; Ferrell, Gloria M.

    2001-01-01

    This web site contains the Federal Geographic Data Committee-compliant metadata (documentation) for digital data produced for the North Carolina, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Public Water Supply Section, Source Water Assessment Program. The metadata are for 11 individual Geographic Information System data sets. An overlay and indexing method was used with the data to derive a rating for unsaturated zone and watershed characteristics for use by the State of North Carolina in assessing more than 11,000 public water-supply wells and approximately 245 public surface-water intakes for susceptibility to contamination. For ground-water supplies, the digital data sets used in the assessment included unsaturated zone rating, vertical series hydraulic conductance, land-surface slope, and land cover. For assessment of public surface-water intakes, the data sets included watershed characteristics rating, average annual precipitation, land-surface slope, land cover, and ground-water contribution. Documentation for the land-use data set applies to both the unsaturated zone and watershed characteristics ratings. Documentation for the estimated depth-to-water map used in the calculation of the vertical series hydraulic conductance also is included.

  1. Land-cover classes to characterize the unsaturated zone in North Carolina

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Terziotti, Silvia; Eimers, Jo Leslie

    2001-01-01

    This web site contains the Federal Geographic Data Committee-compliant metadata (documentation) for digital data produced for the North Carolina, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Public Water Supply Section, Source Water Assessment Program. The metadata are for 11 individual Geographic Information System data sets. An overlay and indexing method was used with the data to derive a rating for unsaturated zone and watershed characteristics for use by the State of North Carolina in assessing more than 11,000 public water-supply wells and approximately 245 public surface-water intakes for susceptibility to contamination. For ground-water supplies, the digital data sets used in the assessment included unsaturated zone rating, vertical series hydraulic conductance, land-surface slope, and land cover. For assessment of public surface-water intakes, the data sets included watershed characteristics rating, average annual precipitation, land-surface slope, land cover, and ground-water contribution. Documentation for the land-use data set applies to both the unsaturated zone and watershed characteristics ratings. Documentation for the estimated depth-to-water map used in the calculation of the vertical series hydraulic conductance also is included.

  2. Hydrogeology of the unsaturated zone, North Ramp area of the Exploratory Studies Facility, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Rousseau, J.P.; Kwicklis, E.M.; Gillies, D.C.

    1999-03-01

    Yucca Mountain, in southern Nevada, is being investigated by the US Department of Energy as a potential site for a repository for high-level radioactive waste. This report documents the results of surface-based geologic, pneumatic, hydrologic, and geochemical studies conducted during 1992 to 1996 by the US Geological Survey in the vicinity of the North Ramp of the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) that are pertinent to understanding multiphase fluid flow within the deep unsaturated zone. Detailed stratigraphic and structural characteristics of the study area provided the hydrogeologic framework for these investigations. Shallow infiltration is not discussed in detail in this report because the focus in on three major aspects of the deep unsaturated-zone system: geologic framework, the gaseous-phase system, and the aqueous-phase system. However, because the relation between shallow infiltration and deep percolation is important to an overall understanding of the unsaturated-zone flow system, a summary of infiltration studies conducted to date at Yucca Mountain is provided in the section titled Shallow Infiltration. This report describes results of several Site Characterization Plan studies that were ongoing at the time excavation of the ESF North Ramp began and that continued as excavation proceeded.

  3. Quantification of natural vapor fluxes of trichloroethene in the unsaturated zone at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Smith, James A.; Tisdale, Amy K.; Cho, H. Jean

    1996-01-01

    The upward flux of trichloroethene (TCE) vapor through the unsaturated zone above a contaminated, water-table aquifer at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, has been studied under natural conditions over a 12-month period. Vertical gas-phase diffusion fluxes were estimated indirectly by measuring the TCE vapor concentration gradient in the unsaturated zone and using Fick's law to calculate the flux. The total gas-phase flux (e.g., the sum of diffusion and advection fluxes) was measured directly with a vertical flux chamber (VFC). In many cases, the upward TCE vapor flux was several orders of magnitude greater than the upward TCE diffusion flux, suggesting that mechanisms other than steady-state vapor diffusion are contributing to the vertical transport of TCE vapors through the unsaturated zone. The measured total flux of TCE vapor from the subsurface to the atmosphere is approximately 50 kg/yr and is comparable in magnitude to the removal rate of TCE from the aquifer by an existing pump-and-treat system and by discharge into a nearby stream. The net upward flux of TCE is reduced significantly during a storm event, presumably due to the mass transfer of TCE from the soil gas to the infiltrating rainwater and its subsequent downward advection. Several potential problems associated with the measurement of total gas-phase fluxes are discussed.

  4. Limited denitrification in glacial deposit aquifers having thick unsaturated zones (Long Island, USA)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Young, Caitlin; Kroeger, Kevin D.; Hanson, Gilbert

    2013-12-01

    The goal of this study was to demonstrate how the extent of denitrification, which is indirectly related to dissolved organ carbon and directly related to oxygen concentrations, can also be linked to unsaturated-zone thickness, a mappable aquifer property. Groundwater from public supply and monitoring wells in Northport on Long Island, New York state (USA), were analyzed for denitrification reaction progress using dissolved N2/Ar concentrations by membrane inlet mass spectrometry. This technique allows for discernment of small amounts of excess N2, attributable to denitrification. Results show an average 15 % of total nitrogen in the system was denitrified, significantly lower than model predictions of 35 % denitrification. The minimal denitrification is due to low dissolved organic carbon (29.3-41.1 μmol L-1) and high dissolved oxygen concentrations (58-100 % oxygen saturation) in glacial sediments with minimal solid-phase electron donors to drive denitrification. A mechanism is proposed that combines two known processes for aquifer re-aeration in unconsolidated sands with thick (>10 m) unsaturated zones. First, advective flux provides 50 % freshening of pore space oxygen in the upper 2 m due to barometric pressure changes. Then, oxygen diffusion across the water-table boundary occurs due to high volumetric air content in the unsaturated-zone catchment area.

  5. Nitrogen fluxes through unsaturated zones in five agricultural settings across the United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Green, C.T.; Fisher, L.H.; Bekins, B.A.

    2008-01-01

    The main physical and chemical controls on nitrogen (N) fluxes between the root zone and the water table were determined for agricultural sites in California, Indiana, Maryland, Nebraska, and Washington from 2004 to 2005. Sites included irrigated and nonirrigated fields; soil textures ranging from clay to sand; crops including corn, soybeans, almonds, and pasture; and unsaturated zone thicknesses ranging from 1 to 22 m. Chemical analyses of water from lysimeters and shallow wells indicate that advective transport of nitrate is the dominant process affecting the flux of N below the root zone. Vertical profiles of (i) nitrogen species, (ii) stable isotopes of nitrogen and oxygen, and (iii) oxygen, N, and argon in unsaturated zone air and correlations between N and other agricultural chemicals indicate that reactions do not greatly affect N concentrations between the root zone and the capillary fringe. As a result, physical factors, such as N application rate, water inputs, and evapotranspiration, control the differences in concentrations among the sites. Concentrations of N in shallow lysimeters exhibit seasonal variation, whereas concentrations in lysimeters deeper than a few meters are relatively stable. Based on concentration and recharge estimates, fluxes of N through the deep unsaturated zone range from 7 to 99 kg ha-1 yr-1. Vertical fluxes of N in ground water are lower due to spatial and historical changes in N inputs. High N fluxes are associated with coarse sediments and high N application rates. Copyright ?? 2008 by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. All rights reserved.

  6. Microbial growth and transport in saturated and unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hron, Pavel; Jost, Daniel; Bastian, Peter; Ippisch, Olaf

    2014-05-01

    There is a considerable ongoing effort aimed at understanding the behavior of microorganisms in porous media. Microbial activity is of significant interest in various environmental applications such as in situ bioremediation, protection of drinking water supplies and for subsurface geochemistry in general. The main limiting factors for bacterial growth are the availability of electron acceptors, nutrients and bio-available water. The capillary fringe, defined - in a wider sense than usual - as the region of the subsurface above the groundwater table, but still dominated by capillary rise, is a region where all these factors are abundantly available. It is thus a region where high microbial activity is to be expected. In a research unit 'Dynamic Capillary Fringes - A Multidisciplinary Approach (DyCap)' founded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the growth of microorganisms in the capillary fringe was studied experimentally and with numerical simulations. Processes like component transport and diffusion, exchange between the liquid phase and the gas phase, microbial growth and cell attachment and detachment were incorporated into a numerical simulator. The growth of the facultative anaerobic Escherichia coli as a function of nutrient availability and oxygen concentration in the liquid phase is modeled with modified Monod-type models and modifications for the switch between aerobic and anaerobic growth. Laboratory batch experiments with aqueous solutions of bacteria have been carried out under various combinations of oxygen concentrations in the gas phase and added amounts of dissolved organic carbon to determine the growth model parameters by solution of a parameter estimation problem. For the transport of bacteria the adhesion to phase boundaries is also very important. As microorganisms are transported through porous media, they are removed from the pore fluid by physicochemical filtration (attachment to sediment grain surfaces) or are adhering to gas

  7. SIMULATING RADIONUCLIDE FATE AND TRANSPORT IN THE UNSATURATED ZONE: EVALUATION AND SENSITIVITY ANALYSES OF SELECT COMPUTER MODELS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Numerical, mathematical models of water and chemical movement in soils are used as decision aids for determining soil screening levels (SSLs) of radionuclides in the unsaturated zone. Many models require extensive input parameters which include uncertainty due to soil variabil...

  8. Modeling the co-transport of viruses and colloids in unsaturated porous media.

    PubMed

    Seetha, N; Mohan Kumar, M S; Majid Hassanizadeh, S

    2015-10-01

    A mathematical model is developed to simulate the co-transport of viruses and colloids in unsaturated porous media under steady-state flow conditions. The virus attachment to the mobile and immobile colloids is described using a linear reversible kinetic model. Colloid transport is assumed to be decoupled from virus transport; that is, we assume that colloids are not affected by the presence of attached viruses on their surface. The governing equations are solved numerically using an alternating three-step operator splitting approach. The model is verified by fitting three sets of experimental data published in the literature: (1) Syngouna and Chrysikopoulos (2013) and (2) Walshe et al. (2010), both on the co-transport of viruses and clay colloids under saturated conditions, and (3) Syngouna and Chrysikopoulos (2015) for the co-transport of viruses and clay colloids under unsaturated conditions. We found a good agreement between observed and fitted breakthrough curves (BTCs) under both saturated and unsaturated conditions. Then, the developed model was used to simulate the co-transport of viruses and colloids in porous media under unsaturated conditions, with the aim of understanding the relative importance of various processes on the co-transport of viruses and colloids in unsaturated porous media. The virus retention in porous media in the presence of colloids is greater during unsaturated conditions as compared to the saturated conditions due to: (1) virus attachment to the air-water interface (AWI), and (2) co-deposition of colloids with attached viruses on its surface to the AWI. A sensitivity analysis of the model to various parameters showed that the virus attachment to AWI is the most sensitive parameter affecting the BTCs of both free viruses and total mobile viruses and has a significant effect on all parts of the BTC. The free and the total mobile viruses BTCs are mainly influenced by parameters describing virus attachment to the AWI, virus interaction

  9. Transport and time lag of chlorofluorocarbon gases in the unsaturated zone, Rabis Creek, Denmark

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Engesgaard, Peter; Højberg, Anker L.; Hinsby, Klaus; Jensen, Karsten H.; Laier, Troels; Larsen, Flemming; Busenberg, Eurybiades; Plummer, L. Niel

    2004-01-01

    Transport of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases through the unsaturated zone to the water table is affected by gas diffusion, air–water exchange (solubility), sorption to the soil matrix, advective–dispersive transport in the water phase, and, in some cases, anaerobic degradation. In deep unsaturated zones, this may lead to a time lag between entry of gases at the land surface and recharge to groundwater. Data from a Danish field site were used to investigate how time lag is affected by variations in water content and to explore the use of simple analytical solutions to calculate time lag. Numerical simulations demonstrate that either degradation or sorption of CFC-11 takes place, whereas CFC-12 and CFC-113 are nonreactive. Water flow did not appreciably affect transport. An analytical solution for the period with a linear increase in atmospheric CFC concentrations (approximately early 1970s to early 1990s) was used to calculate CFC profiles and time lags. We compared the analytical results with numerical simulations. The time lags in the 15-m-deep unsaturated zone increase from 4.2 to between 5.2 and 6.1 yr and from 3.4 to 3.9 yr for CFC-11 and CFC-12, respectively, when simulations change from use of an exponential to a linear increase in atmospheric concentrations. The CFC concentrations at the water table before the early 1990s can be estimated by displacing the atmospheric input function by these fixed time lags. A sensitivity study demonstrates conditions under which a time lag in the unsaturated zone becomes important. The most critical parameter is the tortuosity coefficient. The analytical approach is valid for the low range of tortuosity coefficients (τ = 0.1–0.4) and unsaturated zones greater than approximately 20 m in thickness. In these cases the CFC distribution may still be from either the exponential or linear phase. In other cases, the use of numerical models, as described in our work and elsewhere, is an option.

  10. Water movement through thick unsaturated zones overlying the central High Plains aquifer, southwestern Kansas, 2000-2001

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McMahon, Peter B.; Dennehy, K.F.; Michel, R.L.; Sophocleous, M.A.; Ellett, K.M.; Hurlbut, D.B.

    2003-01-01

    The role of irrigation as a driving force for water and chemical movement to the central High Plains aquifer is uncertain because of the thick unsaturated zone overlying the aquifer. Water potentials and profiles of tritium, chloride, nitrate, and pesticide concentrations were used to evaluate water movement through thick unsaturated zones overlying the central High Plains aquifer at three sites in southwestern Kansas. One site was located in rangeland and two sites were located in areas dominated by irrigated agriculture. In 2000?2001, the depth to water at the rangeland site was 50 meters and the depth to water at the irrigated sites was about 45.4 meters. Irrigation at the study sites began in 1955?56. Measurements of matric potential and volumetric water content indicate wetter conditions existed in the deep unsaturated zone at the irrigated sites than at the rangeland site. Total water potentials in the unsaturated zone at the irrigated sites systematically decreased with depth to the water table, indicating a potential existed for downward water movement from the unsaturated zone to the water table at those sites. At the rangeland site, total water potentials in the deep unsaturated zone indicate small or no potential existed for downward water movement to the water table. Postbomb tritium was not detected below a depth of 1.9 meters in the unsaturated zone or in ground water at the rangeland site. In contrast, postbomb tritium was detected throughout most of the unsaturated zone and in ground water at both irrigated sites. These results indicate post-1953 water moved deeper in the unsaturated zone at the irrigated sites than at the rangeland site. The depth of the interface between prebomb and postbomb tritium and a tritium mass-balance method were used to estimate water fluxes in the unsaturated zone at each site. The average water fluxes at the rangeland site were 5.4 and 4.4 millimeters per year for the two methods, which are similar to the average water

  11. Estimation of Unsaturated Zone Traveltimes for Rainier Mesa and Shoshone Mountain, Nevada Test Site, Nevada, Using a Source-Responsive Preferential-Flow Model

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ebel, Brian A.; Nimmo, John R.

    2009-01-01

    zone takes place as preferential flow, faster than would be predicted by the coupled Richards' and advection-dispersion equations with hydraulic properties estimated by traditional means. At present the hydrologic community has not achieved consensus as to whether a modification of Richards' equation, or a fundamentally different formulation, would best quantify preferential flow. Where the fastest contaminant transport speed is what needs to be estimated, there is the possibility of simplification of the evaluation process. One way of doing so is by a two-step process in which the first step is to evaluate whether significant preferential flow and solute transport is possible for the media and conditions of concern. The second step is to carry out (a) a basic Richards' and advection-dispersion equation analysis if it is concluded that preferential flow is not possible or (b) an analysis that considers only the fastest possible preferential-flow processes, if preferential flow is possible. For the preferential-flow situation, a recently published model describable as a Source-Responsive Preferential-Flow (SRPF) model is an easily applied option. This report documents the application of this two-step process to flow through the thick unsaturated zones of Rainier Mesa and Shoshone Mountain in the Nevada Test Site. Application of the SRPF model involves distinguishing between continuous and intermittent water supply to preferential flow paths. At Rainier Mesa and Shoshone Mountain this issue is complicated by the fact that contaminant travel begins at a location deep in the subsurface, where there may be perched water that may or may not act like a continuous supply, depending on such features as the connectedness of fractures and the nature of impeding layers. We have treated this situation by hypothesizing both continuous and intermittent scenarios for contaminant transport to the carbonate aquifer and reporting estimation of the fastest speed for both of th

  12. Estimation of unsaturated zone traveltimes for Rainier Mesa and Shoshone Mountain, Nevada Test Site, Nevada, using a source-responsive preferential-flow model

    SciTech Connect

    Brian A. Ebel; John R. Nimmo

    2009-09-11

    zone takes place as preferential flow, faster than would be predicted by the coupled Richards' and advection-dispersion equations with hydraulic properties estimated by traditional means. At present the hydrologic community has not achieved consensus as to whether a modification of Richards' equation, or a fundamentally different formulation, would best quantify preferential flow. Where the fastest contaminant transport speed is what needs to be estimated, there is the possibility of simplification of the evaluation process. One way of doing so is by a two-step process in which the first step is to evaluate whether significant preferential flow and solute transport is possible for the media and conditions of concern. The second step is to carry out (a) a basic Richards' and advection-dispersion equation analysis if it is concluded that preferential flow is not possible or (b) an analysis that considers only the fastest possible preferential-flow processes, if preferential flow is possible. For the preferential-flow situation, a recently published model describable as a Source-Responsive Preferential-Flow (SRPF) model is an easily applied option. This report documents the application of this two-step process to flow through the thick unsaturated zones of Rainier Mesa and Shoshone Mountain in the Nevada Test Site. Application of the SRPF model involves distinguishing between continuous and intermittent water supply to preferential flow paths. At Rainier Mesa and Shoshone Mountain this issue is complicated by the fact that contaminant travel begins at a location deep in the subsurface, where there may be perched water that may or may not act like a continuous supply, depending on such features as the connectedness of fractures and the nature of impeding layers. We have treated this situation by hypothesizing both continuous and intermittent scenarios for contaminant transport to the carbonate aquifer and reporting estimation of the fastest speed for both of these end

  13. Methods of rating unsaturated zone and watershed characteristics of public water supplies in North Carolina

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Eimers, Jo Leslie; Weaver, J.C.; Terziotti, Silvia; Midgette, R.W.

    2000-01-01

    Overlay and index methods were derived for rating the unsaturated zone and watershed characteristics for use by the State of North Carolina in assessing more than 11,000 public water-supply wells and approximately 245 public surface-water intakes. The rating of the unsaturated zone and watershed characteristics represents a practical and effective means of assessing part of the inherent vulnerability of water supplies to potential contamination. Factors that influence the inherent vulnerability of the drinking water supply to potential contamination were selected and assigned ratings (on a scale of 1 to 10) to cover the possible range of values in North Carolina. These factors were assigned weights of 1, 2, or 3 to reflect their relative influence on the inherent vulnerability of the drinking water supply. The factor values were obtained from Geographic Information System data layers, and were transformed into grids having 60-meter by 60-meter cells, with each cell being assigned a value. Identification of factors, the development of ratings for each, and assignment of weights were based on (1) a literature search, which included examination of potential factors and their effects on the drinking water; and (2) consultation with experts in the science and engineering of hydrology, geology, forestry, agriculture, and water management. Factors selected for rating the inherent vulnerability of the unsaturated zone are vertical hydraulic conductance, land-surface slope, land cover, and land use. Vertical hydraulic conductance is a measure of the capacity of unsaturated material to transmit water. Land-surface slope influences whether precipitation runs off land surfaces or infiltrates into the subsurface. Land cover, the physical overlay of the land surface, influences the amount of precipitation that becomes overland flow or infiltrates into the subsurface. Land use describes activities that occur on the land surface and influence the potential generation of nonpoint

  14. High-quality unsaturated zone hydraulic property data for hydrologic applications

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Perkins, K.; Nimmo, J.

    2009-01-01

    In hydrologic studies, especially those using dynamic unsaturated zone moisture modeling, calculations based on property transfer models informed by hydraulic property databases are often used in lieu of measured data from the site of interest. Reliance on database-informed predicted values has become increasingly common with the use of neural networks. High-quality data are needed for databases used in this way and for theoretical and property transfer model development and testing. Hydraulic properties predicted on the basis of existing databases may be adequate in some applications but not others. An obvious problem occurs when the available database has few or no data for samples that are closely related to the medium of interest. The data set presented in this paper includes saturated and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity, water retention, particle-size distributions, and bulk properties. All samples are minimally disturbed, all measurements were performed using the same state of the art techniques and the environments represented are diverse.

  15. Chromium(VI) transport and fate in unsaturated zone and aquifer: 3D Sandbox results.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Xingmin; Sobecky, Patricia A; Zhao, Lanpo; Crawford, Patrice; Li, Mingtang

    2016-04-05

    The simulation of Cr(VI) behavior in an unsaturated zone and aquifer, using a 3D experimental set-up were performed to illustrate the distribution, transport and transformation of Cr(VI), and further to reveal the potential harm of Cr(VI) after entering the groundwater. The result indicated that chromium(VI) was transported in the vertical direction, meanwhile, was transported in the horizontal direction under the influence of groundwater flow. The direction and distance away from the pollution source zone had great effect on the chromium(VI) concentration. At the sampling sites near the pollution source zone, there was a sudden increase of chromium(VI) concentration. The concentration of chromium(III) concentration in some random effluent samples was not detected. Chromium had not only transported but also had fraction and specie transformation in the unsaturated zone and aquifer. The relative concentration of residue fraction chromium was decreased with time. The content of Fe-Mn oxide fraction chromium was increased with time. The relative content of exchangeable and carbonate-bound fraction chromium was lower and the content variations were not obvious. Chromium(VI) (91-98%) was first reduced to chromium(III) rapidly. The oxidation reaction occurred later and the relative content of chromium(VI) was increased again. The presence of manganese oxides under favorable soil conditions can promote the reoxidation of Cr(III) to Cr(VI).

  16. Interpretation of chemical and isotopic data from boreholes in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Yang, I.C.; Rattray, G.W.; Yu, P.

    1996-12-31

    Analyses of pore water from boreholes at Yucca Mountain indicate that unsaturated-zone pore water has significantly larger concentrations of chloride and dissolved solids than the saturated-zone water or perched-water bodies. Chemical compositions are of the calcium sulfate or calcium chloride types in the Paintbrush Group (Tiva Canyon, Yucca Mountain, Pah Canyon, and bedded tuffs), and sodium carbonate or bicarbonate type water in the Calico Hills Formation. Tritium profiles from boreholes at Yucca Mountain indicate tritium-concentration inversions (larger tritium concentrations are located below the smaller tritium concentration in a vertical profile) occur in many places. These inversions indicate preferential flow through fractures. Rock-gas compositions are similar to that of atmospheric air except that carbon dioxide concentrations are generally larger than those in the air. The delta carbon-13 values of gas are fairly constant from surface to 365.8 meters, indicating little interaction between the gas CO{sub 2} and caliche in the soil. Model calculations indicate that the gas transport in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain agrees well with the gas-diffusion process. Tritium-modeling results indicate that the high tritium value of about 100 tritium units in the Calico Hills Formation of UZ-16 is within limits of a piston-flow model with a water residence time of 32 to 35 years. The large variations in tritium concentrations with narrow peaks imply piston flow or preferential fracture flow rather than matrix flow. In reality, the aqueous-phase flow in the unsaturated zone is between piston and well-mixed flows but is closer to a piston flow.

  17. Conservation Laws for Coupled Hydro-mechanical Processes in Unsaturated Porous Media: Theory and Implementation

    SciTech Connect

    Borja, R I; White, J A

    2010-02-19

    We develop conservation laws for coupled hydro-mechanical processes in unsaturated porous media using three-phase continuum mixture theory. From the first law of thermodynamics, we identify energy-conjugate variables for constitutive modeling at macroscopic scale. Energy conjugate expressions identified relate a certain measure of effective stress to the deformation of the solid matrix, the degree of saturation to the matrix suction, the pressure in each constituent phase to the corresponding intrinsic volume change of this phase, and the seepage forces to the corresponding pressure gradients. We then develop strong and weak forms of boundary-value problems relevant for 3D finite element modeling of coupled hydro-mechanical processes in unsaturated porous media. The paper highlights a 3D numerical example illustrating the advances in the solution of large-scale coupled finite element systems, as well as the challenges in developing more predictive tools satisfying the basic conservation laws and the observed constitutive responses for unsaturated porous materials.

  18. Full-field dye concentration measurement within saturated/unsaturated thin slabs of porous media

    SciTech Connect

    Norton, D.L.; Glass, R.J.

    1992-12-31

    This paper presents a full-field dye concentration measurement technique that extends our experimental capabilities to the measurement of transient dye concentration fields within steady state flow fields under unsaturated or saturated conditions. Simple light absorption theory provides a basis for translating images into high resolution dye concentration fields. A series of dye pulse experiments that demonstrate the combined use of the full-field saturation and dye concentration techniques was conducted at four different degrees of saturation. Each of these experimental sequences was evaluated with respect to mass balance, the results being within 5% of the known dye mass input. An image windowing technique allowed us to see increased dispersion due to decreasing moisture content, tailing of concentration at the rear of the dye pulse and slight velocity changes of the dispersive front due to changes in moisture content. The exceptional resolution of dye concentration in space and time provided by this laboratory technique allows systematic experimentation for examining basic processes affecting solute transport within saturated/unsaturated porous media. Future challenges for this work will be to use these techniques to analyze more complex systems involving heterogeneities, scaling laws, and detailed investigations of the relationship between transverse and longitudinal dispersion in unsaturated media.

  19. Use of a reactive gas transport model to determine rates of hydrocarbon biodegradation in unsaturated porous media

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Baehr, Arthur L.; Baker, Ronald J.

    1995-01-01

    A mathematical model is presented that simulates the transport and reaction of any number of gaseous phase constituents (e.g. CO2, O2, N2, and hydrocarbons) in unsaturated porous media. The model was developed as part of a method to determine rates of hydrocarbon biodegradation associated with natural cleansing at petroleum product spill sites. The one-dimensional model can be applied to analyze data from column experiments or from field sites where gas transport in the unsaturated zone is approximately vertical. A coupled, non-Fickian constitutive relation between fluxes and concentration gradients, together with the capability of incorporating heterogeneity with respect to model parameters, results in model applicability over a wide range of experimental and field conditions. When applied in a calibration mode, the model allows for the determination of constituent production/consumption rates as a function of the spatial coordinate. Alternatively, the model can be applied in a predictive mode to obtain the distribution of constituent concentrations and fluxes on the basis of assumed values of model parameters and a biodegradation hypothesis. Data requirements for the model are illustrated by analyzing data from a column experiment designed to determine the aerobic degradation rate of toluene in sediments collected from a gasoline spill site in Galloway Township, New Jersey.

  20. Evolution of the conceptual model of unsaturated zone hydrology at yucca mountain, nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Flint, A. L.; Flint, L. E.; Bodvarsson, G. S.; Kwicklis, E. M.; Fabryka-Martin, J.

    2001-02-01

    Yucca Mountain is an arid site proposed for consideration as the United States' first underground high-level radioactive waste repository. Low rainfall (approximately 170 mm/yr) and a thick unsaturated zone (500-1000 m) are important physical attributes of the site because the quantity of water likely to reach the waste and the paths and rates of movement of the water to the saturated zone under future climates would be major factors in controlling the concentrations and times of arrival of radionuclides at the surrounding accessible environment. The framework for understanding the hydrologic processes that occur at this site and that control how quickly water will penetrate through the unsaturated zone to the water table has evolved during the past 15 yr. Early conceptual models assumed that very small volumes of water infiltrated into the bedrock (0.5-4.5 mm/yr, or 2-3 percent of rainfall), that much of the infiltrated water flowed laterally within the upper nonwelded units because o f capillary barrier effects, and that the remaining water flowed down faults with a small amount flowing through the matrix of the lower welded, fractured rocks. It was believed that the matrix had to be saturated for fractures to show. However, accumulating evidence indicated that infiltration rates were higher than initially estimated, such as infiltration modeling based on neutron borehole data, bomb-pulse isotopes deep in the mountain, perched water analyses and thermal analyses. Mechanisms supporting lateral diversion did not apply at these higher fluxes, and the flux calculated in the lower welded unit exceeded the conductivity of the matrix, implying vertical flow of water into the high permeability fractures of the potential repository host rock, and disequilibrium between matrix and fracture water potentials. The development of numerical modeling methods and parameter values evolved concurrently with the conceptual model in order to account for the observed field data

  1. Evolution of the conceptual model of unsaturated zone hydrology at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Flint, Alan L.; Flint, Lorraine E.; Bodvarsson, Gudmundur S.; Kwicklis, Edward M.; Fabryka-Martin, June

    2001-01-01

    Yucca Mountain is an arid site proposed for consideration as the United States’ first underground high-level radioactive waste repository. Low rainfall (approximately 170 mm/yr) and a thick unsaturated zone (500–1000 m) are important physical attributes of the site because the quantity of water likely to reach the waste and the paths and rates of movement of the water to the saturated zone under future climates would be major factors in controlling the concentrations and times of arrival of radionuclides at the surrounding accessible environment. The framework for understanding the hydrologic processes that occur at this site and that control how quickly water will penetrate through the unsaturated zone to the water table has evolved during the past 15 yr. Early conceptual models assumed that very small volumes of water infiltrated into the bedrock (0.5–4.5 mm/yr, or 2–3 percent of rainfall), that much of the infiltrated water flowed laterally within the upper nonwelded units because of capillary barrier effects, and that the remaining water flowed down faults with a small amount flowing through the matrix of the lower welded, fractured rocks. It was believed that the matrix had to be saturated for fractures to flow. However, accumulating evidence indicated that infiltration rates were higher than initially estimated, such as infiltration modeling based on neutron borehole data, bomb-pulse isotopes deep in the mountain, perched water analyses and thermal analyses. Mechanisms supporting lateral diversion did not apply at these higher fluxes, and the flux calculated in the lower welded unit exceeded the conductivity of the matrix, implying vertical flow of water in the high permeability fractures of the potential repository host rock, and disequilibrium between matrix and fracture water potentials. The development of numerical modeling methods and parameter values evolved concurrently with the conceptual model in order to account for the observed field data

  2. Approaches to large scale unsaturated flow in heterogeneous, stratified, and fractured geologic media

    SciTech Connect

    Ababou, R.

    1991-08-01

    This report develops a broad review and assessment of quantitative modeling approaches and data requirements for large-scale subsurface flow in radioactive waste geologic repository. The data review includes discussions of controlled field experiments, existing contamination sites, and site-specific hydrogeologic conditions at Yucca Mountain. Local-scale constitutive models for the unsaturated hydrodynamic properties of geologic media are analyzed, with particular emphasis on the effect of structural characteristics of the medium. The report further reviews and analyzes large-scale hydrogeologic spatial variability from aquifer data, unsaturated soil data, and fracture network data gathered from the literature. Finally, various modeling strategies toward large-scale flow simulations are assessed, including direct high-resolution simulation, and coarse-scale simulation based on auxiliary hydrodynamic models such as single equivalent continuum and dual-porosity continuum. The roles of anisotropy, fracturing, and broad-band spatial variability are emphasized. 252 refs.

  3. Water movement within the unsaturated zone in four agricultural areas of the United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fisher, L.H.; Healy, R.W.

    2008-01-01

    Millions of tons of agricultural fertilizer and pesticides are applied annually in the USA. Due to the potential for these chemicals to migrate to groundwater, a study was conducted in 2004 using field data to calculate water budgets, rates of groundwater recharge and times of water travel through the unsaturated zone and to identify factors that influence these phenomena. Precipitation was the only water input at sites in Indiana and Maryland; irrigation accounted for about 80% of total water input at sites in California and Washington. Recharge at the Indiana site (47.5 cm) and at the Maryland site (31.5 cm) were equivalent to 51 and 32%, respectively, of annual precipitation and occurred between growing seasons. Recharge at the California site (42.3 cm) and Washington site (11.9 cm) occurred in response to irrigation events and was about 29 and 13% of total water input, respectively. Average residence time of water in the unsaturated zone, calculated using a piston-flow approach, ranged from less than 1 yr at the Indiana site to more than 8 yr at the Washington site. Results of bromide tracer tests indicate that at three of the four sites, a fraction of the water applied at land surface may have traveled to the water table in less than 1 yr. The timing and intensity of precipitation and irrigation were the dominant factors controlling recharge, suggesting that the time of the year at which chemicals are applied may be important for chemical transport through the unsaturated zone. Copyright ?? 2008 by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. All rights reserved.

  4. Unsaturated zone hydrology and cave drip discharge water response: Implications for speleothem paleoclimate record variability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Markowska, Monika; Baker, Andy; Treble, Pauline C.; Andersen, Martin S.; Hankin, Stuart; Jex, Catherine N.; Tadros, Carol V.; Roach, Regina

    2015-10-01

    High-frequency, spatially-dense discharge monitoring was conducted over fifteen months to characterise unsaturated zone flow at Harrie Wood Cave (HWC), in the Snowy Mountains, Yarrangobilly (SE Australia). The cave was formed in the Late Silurian Yarrangobilly Limestone, a fractured rock associated with very low primary porosity due to past diagenesis. Over our monitoring period we simultaneously measured rainfall, soil moisture saturation and drip discharge rate at fourteen sites to characterise infiltration-discharge relationships. All drip discharge sites exhibited non-Gaussian distributions, indicating long periods where low discharge predominates, punctuated by short infrequent periods of high discharge. However, there was significant variability in discharge between sites and consequently no spatial correlation in the cave. We investigated the depth-discharge relationship at HWC and found a moderate relationship between depth and drip discharge lag (response) times to soil moisture content, but only weak relationships between depth and mean and maximum discharge. This highlights that the karst architecture plays an important role in controlling drip discharge dynamics. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Agglomerative Hierarchal Clustering (AHC) were used to classify similar drip types, revealing five unique drip regimes. Two-phase flow and non-linear response to recharge behaviour were observed, suggesting secondary porosity is controlling unsaturated zone flow in mature limestone environments with low primary porosity. Using the data presented here, the first coupled conceptual and box hydrological flow model was developed. This study highlights the heterogeneous nature of hydrological flow in karst and the need to understand unsaturated zone hydrology at the individual drip discharge level, to inform speleothem studies for high-resolution paleoclimate reconstruction.

  5. Documentation of the Unsaturated-Zone Flow (UZF1) Package for modeling Unsaturated Flow Between the Land Surface and the Water Table with MODFLOW-2005

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Niswonger, Richard G.; Prudic, David E.; Regan, R. Steven

    2006-01-01

    Percolation of precipitation through unsaturated zones is important for recharge of ground water. Rain and snowmelt at land surface are partitioned into different pathways including runoff, infiltration, evapotranspiration, unsaturated-zone storage, and recharge. A new package for MODFLOW-2005 called the Unsaturated-Zone Flow (UZF1) Package was developed to simulate water flow and storage in the unsaturated zone and to partition flow into evapotranspiration and recharge. The package also accounts for land surface runoff to streams and lakes. A kinematic wave approximation to Richards? equation is solved by the method of characteristics to simulate vertical unsaturated flow. The approach assumes that unsaturated flow occurs in response to gravity potential gradients only and ignores negative potential gradients; the approach further assumes uniform hydraulic properties in the unsaturated zone for each vertical column of model cells. The Brooks-Corey function is used to define the relation between unsaturated hydraulic conductivity and water content. Variables used by the UZF1 Package include initial and saturated water contents, saturated vertical hydraulic conductivity, and an exponent in the Brooks-Corey function. Residual water content is calculated internally by the UZF1 Package on the basis of the difference between saturated water content and specific yield. The UZF1 Package is a substitution for the Recharge and Evapotranspiration Packages of MODFLOW-2005. The UZF1 Package differs from the Recharge Package in that an infiltration rate is applied at land surface instead of a specified recharge rate directly to ground water. The applied infiltration rate is further limited by the saturated vertical hydraulic conductivity. The UZF1 Package differs from the Evapotranspiration Package in that evapotranspiration losses are first removed from the unsaturated zone above the evapotranspiration extinction depth, and if the demand is not met, water can be removed

  6. A simple method to assess unsaturated zone time lag in the travel time from ground surface to receptor.

    PubMed

    Sousa, Marcelo R; Jones, Jon P; Frind, Emil O; Rudolph, David L

    2013-01-01

    In contaminant travel from ground surface to groundwater receptors, the time taken in travelling through the unsaturated zone is known as the unsaturated zone time lag. Depending on the situation, this time lag may or may not be significant within the context of the overall problem. A method is presented for assessing the importance of the unsaturated zone in the travel time from source to receptor in terms of estimates of both the absolute and the relative advective times. A choice of different techniques for both unsaturated and saturated travel time estimation is provided. This method may be useful for practitioners to decide whether to incorporate unsaturated processes in conceptual and numerical models and can also be used to roughly estimate the total travel time between points near ground surface and a groundwater receptor. This method was applied to a field site located in a glacial aquifer system in Ontario, Canada. Advective travel times were estimated using techniques with different levels of sophistication. The application of the proposed method indicates that the time lag in the unsaturated zone is significant at this field site and should be taken into account. For this case, sophisticated and simplified techniques lead to similar assessments when the same knowledge of the hydraulic conductivity field is assumed. When there is significant uncertainty regarding the hydraulic conductivity, simplified calculations did not lead to a conclusive decision.

  7. Comparison of strongly heat-driven flow codes for unsaturated media

    SciTech Connect

    Updegraff, C.D.

    1989-08-01

    Under the sponsorship of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) is developing a performance assessment methodology for the analysis of long-term disposal of high-level radioactive waste (HLW) in unsaturated welded tuff. As part of this effort, SNL evaluated existing strongly heat-driven flow computer codes for simulating ground-water flow in unsaturated media. The three codes tested, NORIA, PETROS, and TOUGH, were compared against a suite of problems for which analytical and numerical solutions or experimental results exist. The problems were selected to test the abilities of the codes to simulate situations ranging from simple, uncoupled processes, such as two-phase flow or heat transfer, to fully coupled processes, such as vaporization caused by high temperatures. In general, all three codes were found to be difficult to use because of (1) built-in time stepping criteria, (2) the treatment of boundary conditions, and (3) handling of evaporation/condensation problems. A drawback of the study was that adequate problems related to expected repository conditions were not available in the literature. Nevertheless, the results of this study suggest the need for thorough investigations of the impact of heat on the flow field in the vicinity of an unsaturated HLW repository. Recommendations are to develop a new flow code combining the best features of these three codes and eliminating the worst ones. 19 refs., 49 figs.

  8. Does water content or flow rate control colloid transport in unsaturated porous media?

    PubMed

    Knappenberger, Thorsten; Flury, Markus; Mattson, Earl D; Harsh, James B

    2014-04-01

    Mobile colloids can play an important role in contaminant transport in soils: many contaminants exist in colloidal form, and colloids can facilitate transport of otherwise immobile contaminants. In unsaturated soils, colloid transport is, among other factors, affected by water content and flow rate. Our objective was to determine whether water content or flow rate is more important for colloid transport. We passed negatively charged polystyrene colloids (220 nm diameter) through unsaturated sand-filled columns under steady-state flow at different water contents (effective water saturations Se ranging from 0.1 to 1.0, with Se = (θ - θr)/(θs - θr)) and flow rates (pore water velocities v of 5 and 10 cm/min). Water content was the dominant factor in our experiments. Colloid transport decreased with decreasing water content, and below a critical water content (Se < 0.1), colloid transport was inhibited, and colloids were strained in water films. Pendular ring and water film thickness calculations indicated that colloids can move only when pendular rings are interconnected. The flow rate affected retention of colloids in the secondary energy minimum, with less colloids being trapped when the flow rate increased. These results confirm the importance of both water content and flow rate for colloid transport in unsaturated porous media and highlight the dominant role of water content.

  9. Does Water Content or Flow Rate Control Colloid Transport in Unsaturated Porous Media?

    SciTech Connect

    Thorsten Knappenberger; Markus Flury; Earl D. Mattson; James B. Harsh

    2014-03-01

    Mobile colloids can play an important role in contaminant transport in soils: many contaminants exist in colloidal form, and colloids can facilitate transport of otherwise immobile contaminants. In unsaturated soils, colloid transport is, among other factors, affected by water content and flow rate. Our objective was to determine whether water content or flow rate is more important for colloid transport. We passed negatively charged polystyrene colloids (220 nm diameter) through unsaturated sand-filled columns under steady-state flow at different water contents (effective water saturations Se ranging from 0.1 to 1.0, with Se = (? – ?r)/(?s – ?r)) and flow rates (pore water velocities v of 5 and 10 cm/min). Water content was the dominant factor in our experiments. Colloid transport decreased with decreasing water content, and below a critical water content (Se < 0.1), colloid transport was inhibited, and colloids were strained in water films. Pendular ring and water film thickness calculations indicated that colloids can move only when pendular rings are interconnected. The flow rate affected retention of colloids in the secondary energy minimum, with less colloids being trapped when the flow rate increased. These results confirm the importance of both water content and flow rate for colloid transport in unsaturated porous media and highlight the dominant role of water content.

  10. Soil Moisture Processes in the Near Surface Unsaturated Zone: Experimental Investigations in Multi-scale Test Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Illangasekare, T. H.; Sakaki, T.; Smits, K. M.; Limsuwat, A.; Terrés-Nícoli, J. M.

    2008-12-01

    scale test systems together with instrumentation and measuring techniques. The features and capabilities of a new coupled porous media/climate wind tunnel test system that allows for the study of near surface unsaturated soil moisture conditions under climate boundary conditions will also be presented with the goal of exploring opportunities to use such a facility to study some of the multi-scale problems in the near surface unsaturated zone.

  11. Field determination of vertical permeability to air in the unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Weeks, Edwin P.

    1978-01-01

    The vertical permeability to air of layered materials in the unsaturated zone may be determined from air pressure data obtained at depth during a period when air pressure is changing at land surface. Such data may be obtained by monitoring barometric pressure with a microbarograph or surveying altimeter and simultaneously measuring down-hole pneumatic head differences in specially constructed piezometers. These data, coupled with air-filled porosity data from other sources, may be compared with the results of electric-analog or numerical solution of the one-dimensional diffusion equation to make a trial-and-error determination of the air permeability for each layer. The permeabilities to air may in turn be converted to equivalent hydraulic conductivity values if the materials are well drained, are permeable enough that the Klinkenberg effect is small, and are structurally unaffected by wetting. The method offers potential advantages over present methods to evaluate sites for artificial recharge by spreading; to evaluate ground-water pollution hazards from feedlots, sanitary landfills , and land irrigated with sewage effluent; and to evaluate sites for temporary storage of gas in the unsaturated zone. (Woodard-USGS)

  12. Seasonal variability and long term trends of chlorofluorocarbon mixing ratios in the unsaturated zone.

    PubMed

    Santella, Nicholas; Schlosser, Peter; Smethie, William M; Ho, David T; Stute, Martin

    2006-07-15

    To investigate processes that might affect chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) mixing ratios at the water table, a time series was obtained of unsaturated zone soil gas CFCs to depths of ca. 4 m at a site near New York City (NYC). Observed CFC 11, 12, and 113 mixing ratios were lower in winter than expected from either a local, high-resolution time series or remote atmospheric mixing ratios. A diffusion model, which includes seasonal changes in soil temperature, moisture, and CFC solubility, reproduces to first order the observed soil gas mixing ratios for CFC 11 and 12. Underestimation by the model of the seasonal cycle of CFC 11 points to changing levels of sorption to soils due to seasonal changes in temperature as an additional cause of the cycle seen in CFC 11 mixing ratios in soil air. In the case of spring recharge, low CFC mixing ratios in soil air caused by increased solubility may result in low CFC 11 concentrations in groundwater and, when dating groundwater recharged before the 1990s with CFCs, older apparent ages by up to 4 years. Attempts to observe average atmospheric CFC levels from soil gas are also significantly hindered by these seasonal fluctuations. Our results indicate the importance of considering seasonal changes in soil temperature when making precise observations of even very moderately soluble gases in the unsaturated zone and shallow groundwater.

  13. Conceptual hydrologic model of flow in the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Montazer, P.M.; Wilson, W.E.

    1984-01-01

    The unsaturated volcanic tuffs beneath Yucca Mountain, Nevada, are being evaluated as a host rock for a potential repository for high-level radioactive waste. A conceptual hydrologic model is proposed to describe the flow of fluids through these rocks. Thickness of the unsaturated zone is about 500 to 750 meters and consists of three welded units interlayered with two nonwelded units. Compared to nonwelded units, welded units have low matrix porosities and permeabilities, high fracture densities, and high bulk hydraulic conductivities. The principal repository area is bounded by normal fault zones. Of the average annual precipitation of 150 millimeters per year, 0.5 to 4.5 millimeters per year becomes net infiltration. Percolation through the matrix of the welded units is principally vertical and is less than 1 millimeter per year. Percolation through nonwelded units occurs both vertically and laterally and has variable rates (0.1 to 100 millimeters per year). Fracture flow is predominant in the uppermost welded unit during intense pulses of infiltration, but is insignificant in the welded unit that forms the potential host rock. Lateral flow in the upper nonwelded unit, enhanced by existence of a capillary barrier, probably is the factor controlling the low fluxes in the host rock and relatively high fluxes in the structural features. (USGS)

  14. Isotopic data of pore water extracted from unsaturated-zone cores at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Yang, I.C.

    1997-12-01

    Isotopic compositions of unsaturated-zone (UZ) ground water ({delta}{sup 18}O, {delta}D, {delta}{sup 13}C and {sup 14}C) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the site of a potential permanent national nuclear waste repository, can be used to infer the origins of water, residence times of the water, water flux, climatic and evaporative history of water, flow paths and velocities. These data can also be used as indicators of transport properties or water-rock interaction. The lack of long-term direct measurements of infiltration requires proxy indicators of water movement through the unsaturated zone to extend the record into the past. This report will discuss {delta}D and {delta}{sup 18}O data obtained from pore water, along with the {delta}{sup 13}C and {sup 14}C data of gas and water obtained from four boreholes dry-drilled through all UZ lithologic units to infer the existence of nonvertical flowpaths through the mountain and residence times of pore water.

  15. Estimation of rates of aerobic hydrocarbon biodegradation by simulation of gas transport in the unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lahvis, M.A.; Baehr, A.L.

    1996-01-01

    The distribution of oxygen and carbon dioxide gases in the unsaturated zone provides a geochemical signature of aerobic hydrocarbon degradation at petroleum product spill sites. The fluxes of these gases are proportional to the rate of aerobic biodegradation and are quantified by calibrating a mathematical transport model to the oxygen and carbon dioxide gas concentration data. Reaction stoichiometry is assumed to convert the gas fluxes to a corresponding rate of hydrocarbon degradation. The method is applied at a gasoline spill site in Galloway Township, New Jersey, to determine the rate of aerobic degradation of hydrocarbons associated with passive and bioventing remediation field experiments. At the site, microbial degradation of hydrocarbons near the water table limits the migration of hydrocarbon solutes in groundwater and prevents hydrocarbon volatilization into the unsaturated zone. In the passive remediation experiment a site-wide degradation rate estimate of 34,400 g yr-1 (11.7 gal. yr-1) of hydrocarbon was obtained by model calibration to carbon dioxide gas concentration data collected in December 1989. In the bioventing experiment, degradation rate estimates of 46.0 and 47.9 g m-2 yr-1 (1.45 x 10-3 and 1.51 x 10-3 gal. ft.-2 yr-1) of hydrocarbon were obtained by model calibration to oxygen and carbon dioxide gas concentration data, respectively. Method application was successful in quantifying the significance of a naturally occurring process that can effectively contribute to plume stabilization.

  16. Preferential and diffuse high-volume flow through an interbedded fractured-rock unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perkins, K. S.; Nimmo, J. R.; Creasey, K. M.; Mirus, B. B.

    2015-12-01

    Layers of strong geologic contrast within the unsaturated zone can control recharge and contaminant transport to underlying aquifers. The importance of slow diffuse flow in certain geologic layers and rapid preferential flow in others complicates the prediction of vertical and lateral fluxes. Here we present a simple model designed to use limited geological site information to predict these critical subsurface flow processes in response to a sustained recharge source. The model is developed and tested using site-specific information from the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) in the Eastern Snake River Plain (ESRP), where confined anthropogenic sources of infiltration from spills, leaks, waste-water disposal, or retention ponds are often associated with facilities where contamination is present. In the thick unsaturated zone overlying the ESRP Aquifer, multiple sedimentary interbeds, which vary in thickness and hydraulic properties, are interspersed between massive fractured basalt units. The combination of surficial sediments, basalts, and interbeds determines the water fluxes through the variably saturated subsurface. Interbeds are often less conductive, causing perched water to collect above them, which is consistent with a hypothesis of rapid flow through the basalt being impeded from vertical percolation by the interbeds. The model successfully predicts volume and extent of perching, and approximates vertical travel times, during events that generate high fluxes from the land surface. The model is useful at sites like the INL where little hydrologic information is available about the combination of preferential and diffuse fluxes, but simple approximations of these combined flow processes can help inform operational decisions.

  17. Estimation of rates of aerobic hydrocarbon biodegradation by simulation of gas transport in the unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lahvis, Matthew A.; Baehr, Arthur L.

    1996-07-01

    The distribution of oxygen and carbon dioxide gases in the unsaturated zone provides a geochemical signature of aerobic hydrocarbon degradation at petroleum product spill sites. The fluxes of these gases are proportional to the rate of aerobic biodegradation and are quantified by calibrating a mathematical transport model to the oxygen and carbon dioxide gas concentration data. Reaction stoichiometry is assumed to convert the gas fluxes to a corresponding rate of hydrocarbon degradation. The method is applied at a gasoline spill site in Galloway Township, New Jersey, to determine the rate of aerobic degradation of hydrocarbons associated with passive and bioventing remediation field experiments. At the site, microbial degradation of hydrocarbons near the water table limits the migration of hydrocarbon solutes in groundwater and prevents hydrocarbon volatilization into the unsaturated zone. In the passive remediation experiment a site-wide degradation rate estimate of 34,400 gyr-1 (11.7 gal. yr-1) of hydrocarbon was obtained by model calibration to carbon dioxide gas concentration data collected in December 1989. In the bioventing experiment, degradation rate estimates of 46.0 and 47.9 gm-2yr-1 (1.45×10-3 and 1.51×10-3 gal.ft.-2yr-1) of hydrocarbon were obtained by model calibration to oxygen and carbon dioxide gas concentration data, respectively. Method application was successful in quantifying the significance of a naturally occurring process that can effectively contribute to plume stabilization.

  18. Migration of contaminants through the unsaturated zone overlying the Hesbaye chalky aquifer in Belgium: a field investigation.

    PubMed

    Brouyère, Serge; Dassargues, Alain; Hallet, Vincent

    2004-08-01

    This paper presents the results of a detailed field investigation that was performed for studying groundwater recharge processes and solute downward migration mechanisms prevailing in the unsaturated zone overlying a chalk aquifer in Belgium. Various laboratory measurements were performed on core samples collected during the drilling of boreholes in the experimental site. In the field, experiments consisted of well logging, infiltration tests in the unsaturated zone, pumping tests in the saturated zone and tracer tests in both the saturated and unsaturated zones. Results show that gravitational flows govern groundwater recharge and solute migration mechanisms in the unsaturated zone. In the variably saturated chalk, the migration and retardation of solutes is strongly influenced by recharge conditions. Under intense injection conditions, solutes migrate at high speed along the partially saturated fissures, downward to the saturated zone. At the same time, they are temporarily retarded in the almost immobile water located in the chalk matrix. Under normal recharge conditions, fissures are inactive and solutes migrate slowly through the chalk matrix. Results also show that concentration dynamics in the saturated zone are related to fluctuations of groundwater levels in the aquifer. A conceptual model is proposed to explain the hydrodispersive behaviour of the variably saturated chalk. Finally, the vulnerability of the chalk to contamination issues occurring at the land surface is discussed.

  19. Effects of unsaturated zone on aquifer test analysis in a shallow-aquifer system

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Halford, K.J.

    1997-01-01

    A comparison between two hypothetical flow models of an unconfined aquifer, one saturated and the other variably saturated, indicates that the variably saturated model which explicitly models drainage from the unsaturated zone provides a better conceptual framework for analyzing unconfined aquifer test data and better estimates of the lateral and vertical hydraulic conductivity in fine-grained sands. Explicitly accounting for multiple aquifers, well-bore storage, and the effects of delayed drainage from the unsaturated zone increases confidence in aquifer property estimates by removing some assumptions and allowing for the inclusion of early time data and water-table observations in an aquifer test analysis. The inclusion of the unsaturated zone expands the number of parameters to be estimated, but reasonable estimates of lateral and vertical hydraulic conductivity and specific storage of the unconfined aquifer can be obtained. For the cases examined, only the van Genuchten parameter ?? needed to be determined by the test, because the parameters n and ??(r) had a minimal effect on the estimates of hydraulic conductivities, and literature values could be used for these parameters. Estimates of lateral and vertical hydraulic conductivity using MODFLOW were not as good as the VS2DT based estimates and differed from the known values by as much as 30 percent. The hydraulic properties of a surficial aquifer system were estimated through a series of aquifer tests conducted at Cecil Field Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida. Aquifer test results were analyzed by calibrating a variably saturated, radial flow model to the measured drawdowns. Parameter estimation was performed by minimizing the difference between simulated and measured drawdowns with an optimization routine coupled to VS2DT and was constrained by assuming that the hydraulic properties of each aquifer or confining unit were homogeneous. Given the hydrogeologic conditions at the field site, estimating

  20. Flow-path textures and mineralogy in tuffs of the unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Levy, Schön; Chipera, Steve; WoldeGabriel, Giday; Fabryka-Martin, June; Roach, Jeffrey; Sweetkind, Donald S.; Haneberg, William C.; Mozley, Peter S.; Moore, J. Casey; Goodwin, Laurel B.

    1999-01-01

    The high concentration of chlorine-36 (36Cl) produced by above-ground nuclear tests (bomb-pulse) provides a fortuitous tracer for infiltration during the last 50 years, and is used to detect fast flow in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, a thick deposit of welded and nonwelded tuffs. Evidence of fast flow as much as 300 m into the mountain has been found in several zones in a 7.7-km tunnel. Many zones are associated with faults that provide continuous fracture flow paths from the surface. In the Sundance fault zone, water with the bomb-pulse signature has moved into subsidiary fractures and breccia zones. We found no highly distinctive mineralogic associations of fault and fracture samples containing bomb-pulse 36Cl. Bomb-pulse sites are slightly more likely to have calcite deposits than are non-bomb-pulse sites. Most other mineralogic and textural associations of fast-flow paths reflect the structural processes leading to locally enhanced permeability rather than the effects of ground-water percolation. Water movement through the rock was investigated by isotopic analysis of paired samples representing breccia zones and fractured wall rock bounding the breccia zones. Where bomb-pulse 36Cl is present, the waters in bounding fractures and intergranular pores of the fast pathways are not in equilibrium with respect to the isotopic signal. In structural domains that have experienced extensional deformation, fluid flow within a breccia is equivalent to matrix flow in a particulate rock, whereas true fracture flow occurs along the boundaries of a breccia zone. Where shearing predominated over extension, the boundary between wall rock and breccia is rough and irregular with a tight wallrock/breccia contact. The absence of a gap between the breccia and the wall rock helps maintain fluid flow within the breccia instead of along the wallrock/breccia boundary, leading to higher 36Cl/Cl values in the breccia than in the wall rock.

  1. NOVEL METHODS FOR MEASURING AIR-WATER INTERFACIAL AREA IN UNSATURATED POROUS MEDIA

    PubMed Central

    Brusseau, Mark L.; Ouni, Asma El; Araujo, Juliana B.; Zhong, Hua

    2015-01-01

    Interfacial partitioning tracer tests (IPTT) are used to measure air-water interfacial area for unsaturated porous media. The standard IPTT method involves conducting tests wherein an aqueous surfactant solution is introduced into a packed column under unsaturated flow conditions. Surfactant-induced drainage has been observed to occur for this method in some cases, which can complicate data analysis and impart uncertainty to the measured values. Two novel alternative approaches for conducting IPTTs are presented herein that are designed in part to prevent surfactant-induced drainage. The two methods are termed the dual-surfactant IPTT (IPTT-DS) and the residual-air IPTT (IPTT-RA). The two methods were used to measure air-water interfacial areas for two natural porous media. System monitoring during the tests revealed no measurable surfactant-induced drainage. The measured interfacial areas compared well to those obtained with the standard IPTT method conducted in such a manner that surfactant-induced drainage was prevented. PMID:25732632

  2. Thermophysical properties of sodium nitrate and sodium chloride solutions and their effects on fluid flow in unsaturated media

    SciTech Connect

    Xu, Tianfu; Pruess, Karsten

    2001-10-01

    Understanding movement of saline sodium nitrate (NaNO{sub 3}) waste solutions is important for assessing the contaminant migration near leaking waste storage tanks in the unsaturated zone at the Hanford site (Washington, USA). The purpose of this study is to contribute a basic understanding of effects of the thermophysical behavior of NaNO{sub 3} solutions on fluid flow in unsaturated media. We first present mathematical expressions for the dependence of density, viscosity, solubility and vapor pressure of NaNO{sub 3} solutions on both salt concentration and temperature, which were determined by fitting from published measured data. Because the previous studies of thermophysical behavior of sodium chloride (NaCl) solutions can provide a basis for those of NaNO{sub 3} solutions, we also present a comparison of thermophysical properties of both salt solutions. We have implemented the functional thermophysical properties of NaNO{sub 3} solutions into a new TOUGH2 equation-of-state module EWASG-NaNO{sub 3}, which is modified from a previous TOUGH2 equation-of-state module EWASG for NaCl. Using the simulation tool, we have investigated effects of the thermophysical properties on fluid flow in unsaturated media. The effect of density and viscosity of saline solutions has been long recognized. Here we focus our attention on the effect of vapor pressure lowering due to salinity. We present simulations of a one-dimensional problem to study this salinity-driven fluid flow. A number of simulations were performed using different values of thermal conductivity, permeability, and temperature, to illustrate conditions and parameters controlling these processes. Results indicate that heat conduction plays a very important role in this salinity-driven vapor diffusion by maintaining a nearly constant temperature. The smaller the permeability, the more water is transferred into the saline environment. Effects of permeability on water flow are also complicated by effects of capillary

  3. Plant Production Systems for Microgravity: Critical Issues in Water, Air, and Solute Transport Through Unsaturated Porous Media

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Steinberg, Susan L. (Editor); Ming, Doug W. (Editor); Henninger, Don (Editor)

    2002-01-01

    This NASA Technical Memorandum is a compilation of presentations and discussions in the form of minutes from a workshop entitled 'Plant Production Systems for Microgravity: Critical Issues in Water, Air, and Solute Transport Through Unsaturated Porous Media' held at NASA's Johnson Space Center, July 24-25, 2000. This workshop arose from the growing belief within NASA's Advanced Life Support Program that further advances and improvements in plant production systems for microgravity would benefit from additional knowledge of fundamental processes occurring in the root zone. The objective of the workshop was to bring together individuals who had expertise in various areas of fluid physics, soil physics, plant physiology, hardware development, and flight tests to identify, discuss, and prioritize critical issues of water and air flow through porous media in microgravity. Participants of the workshop included representatives from private companies involved in flight hardware development and scientists from universities and NASA Centers with expertise in plant flight tests, plant physiology, fluid physics, and soil physics.

  4. Analytical and numerical analyses of an unconfined aquifer test considering unsaturated zone characteristics

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Moench, A.F.

    2008-01-01

    A 7-d, constant rate aquifer test conducted by University of Waterloo researchers at Canadian Forces Base Borden in Ontario, Canada, is useful for advancing understanding of fluid flow processes in response to pumping from an unconfined aquifer. Measured data include not only drawdown in the saturated zone but also volumetric soil moisture measured at various times and distances from the pumped well. Analytical analyses were conducted with the model published in 2001 by Moench and colleagues, which allows for gradual drainage but does not include unsaturated zone characteristics, and the model published in 2006 by Mathias and Butler, which assumes that moisture retention and relative hydraulic conductivity (RHC) in the unsaturated zone are exponential functions of pressure head. Parameters estimated with either model yield good matches between measured and simulated drawdowns in piezometers. Numerical analyses were conducted with two versions of VS2DT: one that uses traditional Brooks and Corey functional relations and one that uses a RHC function introduced in 2001 by Assouline that includes an additional parameter that accounts for soil structure and texture. The analytical model of Mathias and Butler and numerical model of VS2DT with the Assouline model both show that the RHC function must contain a fitting parameter that is different from that used in the moisture retention function. Results show the influence of field-scale heterogeneity and suggest that the RHC at the Borden site declines more rapidly with elevation above the top of the capillary fringe than would be expected if the parameters were to reflect local- or core-scale soil structure and texture.

  5. Analytical and numerical analyses of an unconfined aquifer test considering unsaturated zone characteristics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moench, Allen F.

    2008-06-01

    A 7-d, constant rate aquifer test conducted by University of Waterloo researchers at Canadian Forces Base Borden in Ontario, Canada, is useful for advancing understanding of fluid flow processes in response to pumping from an unconfined aquifer. Measured data include not only drawdown in the saturated zone but also volumetric soil moisture measured at various times and distances from the pumped well. Analytical analyses were conducted with the model published in 2001 by Moench and colleagues, which allows for gradual drainage but does not include unsaturated zone characteristics, and the model published in 2006 by Mathias and Butler, which assumes that moisture retention and relative hydraulic conductivity (RHC) in the unsaturated zone are exponential functions of pressure head. Parameters estimated with either model yield good matches between measured and simulated drawdowns in piezometers. Numerical analyses were conducted with two versions of VS2DT: one that uses traditional Brooks and Corey functional relations and one that uses a RHC function introduced in 2001 by Assouline that includes an additional parameter that accounts for soil structure and texture. The analytical model of Mathias and Butler and numerical model of VS2DT with the Assouline model both show that the RHC function must contain a fitting parameter that is different from that used in the moisture retention function. Results show the influence of field-scale heterogeneity and suggest that the RHC at the Borden site declines more rapidly with elevation above the top of the capillary fringe than would be expected if the parameters were to reflect local- or core-scale soil structure and texture.

  6. Biodegradation of vapor-phase toluene in unsaturated porous media: Column experiments.

    PubMed

    Khan, Ali M; Wick, Lukas Y; Harms, Hauke; Thullner, Martin

    2016-04-01

    Biodegradation of organic chemicals in the vapor phase of soils and vertical flow filters has gained attention as promising approach to clean up volatile organic compounds (VOC). The drivers of VOC biodegradation in unsaturated systems however still remain poorly understood. Here, we analyzed the processes controlling aerobic VOC biodegradation in a laboratory setup mimicking the unsaturated zone above a shallow aquifer. The setup allowed for diffusive vapor-phase transport and biodegradation of three VOC: non-deuterated and deuterated toluene as two compounds of highly differing biodegradability but (nearly) identical physical and chemical properties, and MTBE as (at the applied experimental conditions) non-biodegradable tracer and internal control. Our results showed for toluene an effective microbial degradation within centimeter VOC transport distances despite high gas-phase diffusivity. Degradation rates were controlled by the reactivity of the compounds while oxic conditions were found everywhere in the system. This confirms hypotheses that vadose zone biodegradation rates can be extremely high and are able to prevent the outgassing of VOC to the atmosphere within a centimeter range if compound properties and site conditions allow for sufficiently high degradation rates.

  7. Comparison of three techniques to measure unsaturated-zone air permeability at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Olson, Mira Stone; Tillman, Fred D.; Choi, Jee-Won; Smith, James A.

    2001-12-01

    The purpose of this study is to compare three techniques to measure the air permeability of the unsaturated zone at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ and to examine the effects of moisture content and soil heterogeneity on air permeability. Air permeability was measured in three ways: laboratory experiments on intact soil cores, field-scale air pump tests and calibration of air permeability to air pressures measured in the field under natural air pressure conditions using a numerical airflow model. The results obtained from these three methods were compared and found to be similar. Laboratory experiments performed on intact cores measured air permeability values on the order of 10 -14 to 10 -9 m 2. Low-permeability cores were found between land surface and a depth of 0.6 m. The soil core data were divided into two layers with composite vertical permeability values of 1.3×10 -13 m 2 from land surface to a 0.6-m depth and 3.8×10 -10 m 2 for the lower layer. Analyses of the field-scale pump tests were performed for two scenarios: one in which the entire unsaturated zone was open to the atmosphere and one assuming a cap of low permeability extending 0.6 m below land surface. The vertical air permeability values obtained for the open scenario ranged from 1.2×10 -9 to 1.5×10 -9 m 2, and ranged from 3.6×10 -9 to 6.8×10 -9 m 2 in the lower layer, assuming an upper cap permeability of 6.0×10 -14 m 2. The results from the open scenario are much higher than expected and the possible reasons for this ambiguity are discussed. The results from the capped scenario matched closely with those from the other methods and indicated that it is important to have background information on the study site to correctly analyze the pump test data. The optimized fit of the natural subsurface air pressure was achieved with an intrinsic permeability value of 3.3×10 -14 m 2. When the data were refitted to the model assuming two distinct layers of the unsaturated zone, the optimized fit was achieved

  8. Nitrate behaviors in unsaturated zone under farmlands with different fertilization log at Kumamoto region, Japan.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Okumura, Azusa; Hosono, Takahiro; Shimada, Jun

    2016-04-01

    Excessive application of fertilizer and manure in agricultural activities often caused an increase of nitrate concentration in groundwater. The study area, Kumamoto is also facing this type of problem. Previous studies using nitrogen-oxygen isotope ratios in nitrate, it was shown that accumulation of chemical fertilizer is the major factor of nitrate contamination in the Kumamoto region. However, once it loaded nitrogen component may change its form and isotopic composition during downwards transportation into the aquifer. Especially, in the study area where the groundwater is recharged through a thick unsaturated zone, and therefore, it is important to elucidate the phenomenon happened in the soil zone of this area. However, it has not been. To clarify the behavior of nitrogen and the change of nitrate concentration in the unsaturated zone, we analyzed the nitrogen-oxygen isotope ratios of the extracted soil water of the unsaturated zone soils, sampled in the farmland having different fertilization logs. In addition, we attempted to verify the origin of groundwater contamination by comparing with previous results. The plateaus-like topography of the study area is consists of the pyroclastic flow deposits. Land use is mainly farmland and this area is a major source of nitrogen load and transport route into the aquifer. Nitrate concentration in groundwater at terraces recharge area has been reported about 40 mg/L. Drilling survey carried out in the unsaturated zone soil on 4 farmlands with the different land use logs in such terraces. Drilling point KO and KTO were treated by both slurry and chemical fertilizers, on the other hand, point M1 and M2 were fertilized by only chemical fertilizers. The drilling depth was up to 14-15 m, and soil samples were kept on evacuated condition after sectioning into 10 cm interval. The soil water was extracted using a centrifuge machine. The extracted soil water was measured for the nitrogen-oxygen isotope ratios in nitrate and

  9. The paleohydrology of unsaturated and saturated zones at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, and vicinity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Paces, James B.; Whelan, Joseph F.; Stuckless, John S.

    2012-01-01

    Surface, unsaturated-zone, and saturated-zone hydrologic conditions at Yucca Mountain responded to past climate variations and are at least partly preserved by sediment, fossil, and mineral records. Characterizing past hydrologic conditions in surface and subsurface environments helps to constrain hydrologic responses expected under future climate conditions and improve predictions of repository performance. Furthermore, these records provide a better understanding of hydrologic processes that operate at time scales not readily measured by other means. Pleistocene climates in southern Nevada were predominantly wetter and colder than the current interglacial period. Cyclic episodes of aggradation and incision in Fortymile Wash, which drains the eastern slope of Yucca Mountain, are closely linked to Pleistocene climate cycles. Formation of pedogenic cement is favored under wetter Pleistocene climates, consistent with increased soil moisture and vegetation, higher chemical solubility, and greater evapotranspiration relative to Holocene soil conditions. The distribution and geochemistry of secondary minerals in subsurface fractures and cavities reflect unsaturated-zone hydrologic conditions and the response of the hydrogeologic system to changes in temperature and percolation flux over the last 12.8 m.y. Physical and fluid-inclusion evidence indicates that secondary calcite and opal formed in air-filled cavities from fluids percolating downward through connected fracture pathways in the unsaturated zone. Oxygen, strontium, and carbon isotope data from calcite are consistent with a descending meteoric water source but also indicate that water compositions and temperatures evolved through time. Geochronological data indicate that secondary mineral growth rates are less than 1–5 mm/m.y., and have remained approximately uniform over the last 10 m.y. or longer. These data are interpreted as evidence for hydrological stability despite large differences in surface moisture

  10. Microgravity effects on water flow and distribution in unsaturated porous media: analyses of flight experiments.

    PubMed

    Jones, S B; Or, D

    1999-04-01

    Plants grown in porous media are part of a bioregenerative life support system designed for long-duration space missions. Reduced gravity conditions of orbiting spacecraft (microgravity) alter several aspects of liquid flow and distribution within partially saturated porous media. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the suitability of conventional capillary flow theory in simulating water distribution in porous media measured in a microgravity environment. Data from experiments aboard the Russian space station Mir and a U.S. space shuttle were simulated by elimination of the gravitational term from the Richards equation. Qualitative comparisons with media hydraulic parameters measured on Earth suggest narrower pore size distributions and inactive or nonparticipating large pores in microgravity. Evidence of accentuated hysteresis, altered soil-water characteristic, and reduced unsaturated hydraulic conductivity from microgravity simulations may be attributable to a number of proposed secondary mechanisms. These are likely spawned by enhanced and modified paths of interfacial flows and an altered force ratio of capillary to body forces in microgravity.

  11. Unsaturated zone gas-phase VOC biodegradation: The importance of water potential

    SciTech Connect

    Holden, P.A.; Hunt, J.R.; Firestone, M.K.

    1996-11-01

    Bioremediation of the unsaturated zone using indigenous microorganisms holds promise as a cost-effective and environmentally-compatible cleanup option. Both field and laboratory results indicate that microbial decomposition of hydrocarbon vapors in some subsurface soils may occur and that forced air advection, called bioventing, through such systems increases the overall cleanup rate by enhancing volatilization and gas phase mass transfer to microbial communities. More conclusive evidence of biological removal stems from carbon dioxide isotopic analysis during field studies or from measuring the percent of recovered label in {sup 14}C laboratory studies. Despite the evidence supporting in situ bioremediation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the majority of laboratory and field studies to date can best be described as phenomenalistic. If in situ bioremediation is to be cost-effectively engineered, a firm understanding of related process factors and an ability to control those factors must be gained. Sims et al. proposed five environmental factors that influence microbial activity during bioremediation: (1) available soil water, (2) oxygen, (3) redox potential, (4) pH, (5) nutrients, and (6) temperature. The authors propose that soil water potential is a limiting constraint, and in fact is the unifying determinant of many individual factors deemed important to VOC biodegradation in unsaturated soils. 59 refs., 6 figs., 2 tabs.

  12. Massively parallel computing simulation of fluid flow in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Zhang, Keni; Wu, Yu-Shu; Bodvarsson, G.S.

    2001-08-31

    This paper presents the application of parallel computing techniques to large-scale modeling of fluid flow in the unsaturated zone (UZ) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. In this study, parallel computing techniques, as implemented into the TOUGH2 code, are applied in large-scale numerical simulations on a distributed-memory parallel computer. The modeling study has been conducted using an over-one-million-cell three-dimensional numerical model, which incorporates a wide variety of field data for the highly heterogeneous fractured formation at Yucca Mountain. The objective of this study is to analyze the impact of various surface infiltration scenarios (under current and possible future climates) on flow through the UZ system, using various hydrogeological conceptual models with refined grids. The results indicate that the one-million-cell models produce better resolution results and reveal some flow patterns that cannot be obtained using coarse-grid modeling models.

  13. Simulating the Thermal History of the Unsaturated Zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    B.D. Marshal; J.F. Whelan

    2001-07-23

    Heat transfer within Earth's upper crust is primarily by conduction, and conductive thermal models adequately explain the cooling history of deep, batholith-scale intrusions and surrounding wall rocks, as confirmed by numerous thermochronometric studies. However, caldera magmatic systems require consideration of the small and localized component of hydrothermal convection and numerical models to simulate additional boundary conditions, irregular magma chamber shapes, and complex intrusive histories. At Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the site of a potential high-level nuclear waste repository, simulating the detailed thermal history at any location in the unsaturated zone requires knowledge of the shape of the magma chamber and its proximity to Yucca Mountain (the southern margin of the Timber Mountain caldera complex is approximately 8 km north of the potential repository site), the temporal and spatial extent of hydrothermal convection, the erosional history of the area, and past levels of the water table.

  14. Learning from models: Insights into the behavior of water in unsaturated fractured-porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ireson, A. M.; Butler, A. P.

    2014-12-01

    The way that water is stored within and transmitted through structured porous media can be challenging to infer from available observation techniques, in particular at field scales. Fractured porous media are an example of such structured media, comprising a fracture domain and a matrix domain. Flow processes depend on how water is both stored and transmitted within each domain, and how water exchanges between the domains. In unsaturated conditions the problem is confounded as hydraulic properties (e.g. hydraulic conductivity) in each domain become dynamic, as a function of saturation. One domain may not contribute significantly to the flow, or may not provide significant amounts of storage, depending of the properties of both domains. The two domains may or may not respond in equilibrium with one another, depending on both the properties and on driving boundary conditions (i.e. infiltration intensity). Physically based models can in theory be used to falsify hypotheses about the role of the fractures versus the matrix in transmitting flow, within an inverse modelling framework. However, there are two problems: firstly, even the most detailed and complex physically based model will still be a simplification of reality, unable to resolve heterogeneities that exist; and secondly the observations available may not contain sufficient information to constrain the model. In this study we explore how models and observations have been applied to understand the flow processes in the unsaturated Chalk in field sites in south east England. We look at what can and cannot be inferred from various observations, including the water table response, soil moisture and matric potential, and the power of these observations to constrain models. We look at how models provide a framework through which to interpret the observations, and provide insights into the dominant controls on behavior. In the case of the unsaturated Chalk, we have demonstrated that groundwater recharge is

  15. Modeling tritium transport through a deep unsaturated zone in an arid environment

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mayers, C.J.; Andraski, B.J.; Cooper, C.A.; Wheatcraft, S.W.; Stonestrom, D.A.; Michel, R.L.

    2005-01-01

    Understanding transport of tritium (3H) in unsaturated zones is critical to evaluating options for waste isolation. Tritium typically is a large component of low-level radioactive waste (LLRW). Studies at the U.S. Geological Survey's Amargosa Desert Research Site (ADRS) in Nevada investigate 3H transport from a closed LLRW facility. Two boreholes are 100 and 160 m from the nearest waste trench and extend to the water table at 110 m. Soil-water vapor samples from the deep boreholes show elevated levels of 3H at all depths. The objectives of this study were to (i) test source thermal and gas-advection mechanisms driving 3H transport and (ii) evaluate model sensitivity to these mechanisms and to selected physical and hydraulic properties including porosity, tortuosity, and anisotropy. A two-dimensional numerical model incorporated a non-isothermal, heterogeneous domain of the unsaturated zone and instantaneous isotopic equilibrium. The TOUGH2 code was used; however, it required modification to account for temperature dependence of both the Henry's law equilibrium constant and isotopic fractionation with respect to tritiated water. Increases in source temperature, pressure, and porosity enhanced 3H migration, but failed to match measured 3H distributions. All anisotropic simulations with a source pressure component resembled, in shape, the upper portion of the 3H distribution of the nearest borehole. Isotopic equilibrium limited migration of 3H, while effects of radioactive decay were negligible. A 500 Pa pressure increase above ambient pressure in conjunction with a high degree of anisotropy (1:100) was necessary for simulated 3H transport to reach the nearest borehole.

  16. Observations on preferential flow and horizontal transport of nitrogen fertilizer in the unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wilkison, D.H.; Blevins, D.W.

    1999-01-01

    A study site underlain by a claypan soil was instrumented to examine the transport of fertilizer nitrogen (N) under corn (Zea mays L.) cultivation. The study was designed to examine N transport within the unsaturated zone and in interflow (the saturated flow of water on top of the claypan). A 15N- labeled fertilizer (labeled N), bromide (Br), and chloride (Cl) were used as field tracers. Rapid or prolonged infiltration events allowed water and dissolved solutes to perch on the claypan for brief periods. However, a well- developed network of preferential flow paths quickly diverted water and solutes through the claypan and into the underlying glacial till aquifer. Excess fertilizer N in the unsaturated zone supplied a continuous, but declining input of N to ground water for a period of 15 mo after a single fertilizer application. Calculated solute velocities through the claypan matrix (6.4 x 10-6 cm s-1) were similar to horizontal transport rates along the claypan (3.5 to 7.3 x 10-6 cm s-1) but much slower than infiltration rates determined for preferential flow paths (1.67 x 10-3 cm s-1). These flow paths accounted for 35% of the transport. A seasonally variable, dual mode of transport (matrix and preferential flow) prevented the claypan from being an effective barrier to vertical transport. Simulations of selected field observations, conducted using the variably saturated two- dimensional flow and transport model, VS2DT, confirmed the presence of a dual flow regime in the claypan.

  17. Variations in pesticide leaching related to land use, pesticide properties, and unsaturated zone thickness

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Webb, R.M.T.; Wieczorek, M.E.; Nolan, B.T.; Hancock, T.C.; Sandstrom, M.W.; Barbash, J.E.; Bayless, E.R.; Healy, R.W.; Linard, J.

    2008-01-01

    Pesticide leaching through variably thick soils beneath agricultural fields in Morgan Creek, Maryland was simulated for water years 1995 to 2004 using LEACHM (Leaching Estimation and Chemistry Model). Fifteen individual models were constructed to simulate five depths and three crop rotations with associated pesticide applications. Unsaturated zone thickness averaged 4.7 m but reached a maximum of 18.7 m. Average annual recharge to ground water decreased from 15.9 to 11.1 cm as the unsaturated zone increased in thickness from 1 to 10 m. These point estimates of recharge are at the lower end of previously published values, which used methods that integrate over larger areas capturing focused recharge in the numerous detention ponds in the watershed. The total amount of applied and leached masses for five parent pesticide compounds and seven metabolites were estimated for the 32-km2 Morgan Creek watershed by associating each hectare to the closest one-dimensional model analog of model depth and crop rotation scenario as determined from land-use surveys. LEACHM parameters were set such that branched, serial, first-order decay of pesticides and metabolites was realistically simulated. Leaching is predicted to be greatest for shallow soils and for persistent compounds with low sorptivity. Based on simulation results, percent parent compounds leached within the watershed can be described by a regression model of the form e−depth (a ln t½−b ln KOC) where t 1/2 is the degradation half-life in aerobic soils, K OC is the organic carbon normalized sorption coefficient, and a and b are fitted coefficients (R 2 = 0.86, p value = 7 × 10−9).

  18. Reconnaissance study of the thickness of the unsaturated zone in the western conterminous United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bedinger, M.S.; Langer, William H.

    1990-01-01

    In 1984, the U.S. Geological Survey began a study of the geologic and hydrologic characteristics of the unsaturated zone in the western conterminous United States. The study area extends from the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains westward and includes all or parts of the 12 westernmost conterminous States. The goal of the study is to characterize unsaturated flow systems to aid in identifying environments in the western United States that may merit further study for isolation of hazardous waste, including high- and low-level radioactive waste and other toxic waste.The major physiographic areas discussed in this report (see index map below thickness map) are: (1) Rocky Mountain System consisting of the Southern, Middle, and Northern Rocky Mountains, and the Wyoming Basin; (2) Intermontane Plateaus consisting of the Basin and Range province, and the Colorado and Columbia Plateaus; and (3) Pacific Mountain System (Fenneman, 1946). Two of these areas, the Colorado and Columbia plateaus, exhibit a variety of geohydrologic conditions, and therefore are further subdivided in the discussions that follow.Outstanding features peculiar to the mountainous area of the Rocky Mountain and the Pacific Mountain Systems are the high rugged mountains and steep relief. These mountains receive greater precipitation than do the lower parts of the otherwise dry western United States. Generally moisture-laden air masses move eastward across the continent, and the mountains force them to higher, cooler altitudes. As the air cools, moisture condenses and precipitates. As a result, the Rocky Mountain and Pacific Mountain Systems have annual precipitation in excess of 30 in.The Wyoming Basin of the Rocky Mountain System and the Basin and Range province, Colorado Plateaus, and Columbia Plateaus of the Intermontane Plateaus generally have lower altitudes and less relief than do the mountainous areas. The climate throughout most of these provinces generally is semiarid to arid. Annual

  19. INVESTIGATION OF EPISODIC FLOW EVENTS FROM UNSATURATED SAND MEDIA INTO MACROPORES

    SciTech Connect

    Robert K. Podgorney

    2006-05-01

    Episodic or intermittent flow, under constant influx conditions, has been observed under a number of scenarios in unsaturated flow systems. Flow systems characterized by a porous media underlain by a macropore, as well as discrete fracture networks, have been cited in recent literature as examples of systems that can exhibit episodic outflow behavior. Episodic outflow events are significant because relatively large volumes of water can move rapidly through an unsaturated system, carrying water and possibly contaminants to depth greatly ahead of a diffusive wetting front. In this study, we examine the modeled behavior of water flow through a sand column underlain by a vertical capillary tube in order to assess to potential for rapid vertical water movement, and compare the results to conventional modeling approaches and with experimental data from the literature. Capillary pressure relationships were developed for the macropore domain that capture the complex interrelationships between the porous materials above and control the flow out of the system. Modeling results using the new relative permeability and capillary pressure functions capture the behavior observed in laboratory experiments remarkably well, while simulations using conventional relative permeability and capillary pressure functions fail to capture some of the observed flow dynamics.

  20. Effect of the unsaturated zone thickness on the distribution of water mean transit times in a porous aquifer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schwientek, M.; Maloszewski, P.; Einsiedl, F.

    2009-07-01

    SummaryThe mean transit time of groundwater is commonly expected to increase gradually with increasing depth below water table. The present study provides evidence that the theoretical distribution of transit times may be significantly altered depending on the thickness of the unsaturated zone. An unconfined porous groundwater system formed by Tertiary sediments (Test Field Scheyern close to Munich in southern Germany) is overlain by an unsaturated zone with variable thickness between 4 and 60 m. Between 1992 and 2007 the groundwater system has been repeatedly sampled for tritium contents at different depths using two high-resolved wells. Modelled tritium concentrations by using a lumped parameter approach yielded depth profiles of mean transit times of tracer. In one well the profile was characterized by two local transit time maxima, each of approximately 100 years. A moving particle approach (MPA) developed in this study was used on the streamlines between the recharge zones linked to different sampling depths in the well. This suggested that the observed transit time in the profile was mainly governed by variable travel distances of the tracer through the unsaturated zone at the points of recharge. This finding was confirmed at a second multi-level well of the test site. The lumped parameter modelling of chlorofluorocarbon data yielded lower transit times as compared to those obtained from tritium data. This effect was explained by the different behaviour of tritium and chlorofluorocarbons in the unsaturated zone. The study clearly shows that the impact of a variable thickness of the unsaturated zone may overweigh the effect of local heterogeneities. Such transit time distributions of water in porous aquifers as observed in the present study can only be achieved with the help of environmental tracer data.

  1. Assessment of groundwater quality by unsaturated zone study due to migration of leachate from Abloradjei waste disposal site, Ghana

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Egbi, Courage Davidson; Akiti, Tetteh Thomas; Osae, Shiloh; Dampare, Samuel Boakye; Abass, Gibrilla; Adomako, Dickson

    2015-06-01

    Leachate generated by open solid waste disposal sites contains substances likely to contaminate groundwater. The impact of potential contaminants migrating from leachate on groundwater can be quantified by monitoring their concentration and soil properties at specific points in the unsaturated zone. In this study, physical and chemical analyses were carried out on leachate, soil and water samples within the vicinity of the municipal solid waste disposal site at Abloradjei, a suburb of Accra, Ghana. The area has seen a massive increase in population and the residents depend on groundwater as the main source of water supply. Results obtained indicate alkaline pH for leachate and acidic conditions for unsaturated zone water. High EC values were recorded for leachate and unsaturated zone water. Major ions (Ca2+, Na+, Mg2+, K+, NO3 -, SO4 2-, Cl-, PO4 3- were analysed in leachate, unsaturated zone water, soil solution and groundwater while trace metals (Al, Fe, Cu, Zn, Pb) were analysed in both soil and extracted soil solution. Concentrations of major ions were high in all samples indicating possible anthropogenic origin. Mean % gravel, % sand, % clay, bulk density, volumetric water content and porosity were 28.8, 63.93, 6.6, 1 g cm-3, 35 and 62.7 %, respectively. Distribution of trace elements showed Kd variation of Al > Cu > Fe > Pb > Zn in the order of sequential increasing solubility. It was observed that the quality of groundwater is not suitable for drinking.

  2. Transport of elemental mercury in the unsaturated zone from a waste disposal site in an arid region

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walvoord, M.A.; Andraski, B.J.; Krabbenhoft, D.P.; Striegl, R.G.

    2008-01-01

    Mercury contained in buried landfill waste may be released via upward emission to the atmosphere or downward leaching to groundwater. Data from the US Geological Survey's Amargosa Desert Research Site (ADRS) in arid southwestern Nevada reveal another potential pathway of Hg release: long-distance (102 m) lateral migration of elemental Hg (Hg0) through the unsaturated zone. Gas collected from multiple depths from two instrumented boreholes that sample the entire 110-m unsaturated zone thickness and are located 100 and 160 m away from the closest waste burial trench exhibit gaseous Hg concentrations of up to 33 and 11 ng m-3, respectively. The vertical distribution of gaseous Hg in the borehole closest to the disposal site shows distinct subsurface peaks in concentration at depths of 1.5 and 24 m that cannot be explained by radial diffusive transport through a heterogeneous layered unsaturated zone. The inability of current models to explain gaseous Hg distribution at the ADRS highlights the need to advance the understanding of gas-phase contaminant transport in unsaturated zones to attain a comprehensive model of landfill Hg release.

  3. The fate and transport of nitroglycerin in the unsaturated zone at active and legacy anti-tank firing positions.

    PubMed

    Bordeleau, Geneviève; Martel, Richard; Ampleman, Guy; Thiboutot, Sonia; Poulin, Isabelle

    2012-11-01

    The environmental fate of nitroglycerin (NG) in the unsaturated zone was evaluated in the context of double-base propellant residue deposition at anti-tank training ranges. Fresh propellant residues were collected during live anti-tank training. Surface soils, sub-surface soils and water samples from the unsaturated zone were collected at an active anti-tank range, and at a legacy site where NG-based propellants have been used. Results show that the residues are composed of intact propellant particles, as well as small quantities of NG, dinitroglycerin (DNG) and nitrate which are rapidly dissolved by precipitation, resulting in sporadic pulses of those compounds in water from the unsaturated zone after rain/snow melt events. The dissolved NG and DNG can be progressively degraded in the unsaturated zone, releasing nitrate as an end-product. Over a period of several years, small propellant particles located at the soil surface can be carried downward through the soil pore system by infiltration water, which explains the presence of NG in sub-surface soils at the legacy site, more than 35 years after site closure. NG is no longer leached from these old particles, therefore the detection of NG in sub-surface soils does not signify that groundwater is at risk of contamination by NG.

  4. Distribution of nitrate in the unsaturated zone, Highland-East Highlands area, San Bernardino County, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Klein, John M.; Bradford, Wesley L.

    1980-01-01

    Nitrogen in the unsaturated soil zone in the Highland-East Highlands area of San Bernardino County, Calif., has been suspected as the source of nitrate in water from wells. Plans to recharge the local aquifers with imported surface water would raise the water table and intercept that nitrogen. This study was made to describe the distribution of inorganic nitrogen and other chemical constituents and nitrogen-using bacteria in the unsaturated zone, to relate nitrogen occurrences, in a general way, to present and historical land use, and to attempt to predict nitrogen concentrations in ground water after recharge. Some generalized correlations between nitrogen occurrence and land use were observed. In 11 of 13 test holes, the maximum nitrate-nitrogen (NO3--N) concentrations occurred within 10 feet of the surface, suggesting that the major source of nitrogen is from the surface at these sites. Test holes were ranked according to maximum NO3--N in the top 10 feet, total NO3--N in the top 10 feet, and total NO3--N in the top 40 feet. In all three rankings, the top seven test holes were the same--five in or near present or historical agricultural areas (primarily citrus groves), one in a feedlot, and one adjacent to an abandoned sewage-treatment plant. Two test holes in historically uninhabited areas ranked lowest. The control test hole in an uninhabited area ranked high in geometric mean of ammonium-nitrogen concentration (NH4+-N), suggesting that present in freshly weathered granite. The geometric means of NH4+-N concentrations in six of eight citrus-related test holes were significantly lower than in the control hole, suggesting that irrigation in citrus groves may have created conditions favoring nitrification of the primary NH4+-N. Rank correlation analyses between various measurements in test holes showed that high NO3--N concentrations tend to occur with high specific conductance and chloride concentrations in soil extracts. If recharge is carried out as planned

  5. Lattice Boltzmann Modeling of Gaseous Diffusion in Unsaturated Porous Media under Variable Gravity Conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chau, J. F.; Or, D.; Jones, S.; Sukop, M.

    2004-05-01

    Liquid distribution in unsaturated porous media under different gravitational forces and resulting gaseous diffusion coefficients were investigated to enhance understanding of plant growth conditions in microgravity. Different fluid behavior in plant growth media under microgravity conditions as compared to earth presents a challenge to plant growth in long duration space exploration missions. Our primary objective was to provide qualitative description and quantitative measures of the role of reduced gravity on hydraulic and gaseous transport properties in simulated porous media. We implemented a multi-phase lattice Boltzmann code for equilibrium distribution of liquid in an idealized two-dimensional porous medium under microgravity and "normal" gravity conditions. The information was then used to provide boundary conditions for simulation of gaseous diffusion through the equilibrium domains (considering diffusion through liquid phase negligibly small). The models were tested by comparison with several analytical solutions to the diffusion equation, with excellent results. The relative diffusion coefficient for both series of simulations (with and without gravity) as functions of air-filled porosity was in good agreement with established models of Millington-Quirk. Liquid distribution under earth's gravity featured increased water content at the lower part of the medium relative to the distribution in reduced gravity, which resulted in decreased gas diffusion through a vertically oriented column of a porous medium. Simulation results for larger domains under various orientations will be presented.

  6. Salt Precipitation and Dissolution in an Unsaturated Porous Media Under Non-Isothermal Conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burns, E. R.; Dragila, M. I.; Weisbrod, N.; Guenther, R. B.; Selker, J. S.

    2003-12-01

    Salt precipitation and dissolution in unsaturated porous media is an important process to understand, both for agricultural soils (fertilizer movement) and for its effects in controlling water flux and potential contaminant transport in arid regions (migration of fluids and solutes to fractures and the land surface). Since evaporation is a key process to consider in both scenarios, it is necessary to consider heat and energy flow. A brief discussion/history of the salt precipitation/dissolution problem is given, then using the principles of continuum mechanics and mixture theory, a set of governing equations for salt precipitation and dissolution is developed. The equations are general in the sense that the following are considered: 1) non-isothermal conditions; 2) porosity is a function of solid phase salt concentration; 3) all parameters are functions of the appropriate thermodynamic variables. The equations are limited in that only near-ground surface conditions are considered. This is generally not a serious limitation since this location is likely the most seriously affected by rapid temporal changes in temperature and other boundary conditions. Further simplification of the problem is achieved by considering only "simple" salts (defined here as non-pH buffered salts that dissolve/precipitate only as a function of liquid phase ionic concentration) and flow regimes that do not result in finger flow of liquids. Initial and boundary conditions are developed for the following physically relevant conditions: 1) fertilizer salts introduced to an initially wet (but unsaturated) soil; 2) salt formation on free surfaces in arid climates; 3) water imbibition of fresh water into saline porous media. Work to date on solution of the initial boundary value problems is presented.

  7. Cotransport of viruses and clay particles in water saturated and unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chrysikopoulos, C. V.; Syngouna, V. I.

    2014-12-01

    This experimental study examines the effects of clay colloids on the transport of viruses in variably saturated porous media. All cotransport experiments were conducted in both saturated and partially saturated columns packed with glass beads, using bacteriophages MS2 and ΦΧ174 as model viruses, and kaolinite (KGa-1b) and montmorillonite (STx-1b) as model clay colloids. The various experimental collision efficiencies were determined using the classical colloid filtration theory. The experimental data indicated that the mass recovery of viruses and clay colloids decreased as the water saturation decreased. Temporal moments of the various breakthrough concentrations collected, suggested that the presence of clays significantly influenced virus transport and irreversible deposition onto glass beads. The mass recovery of both viruses, based on total effluent virus concentrations, was shown to reduce in the presence of suspended clay particles. Furthermore, the transport of suspended virus and clay-virus particles was retarded, compared to the conservative tracer. Under unsaturated conditions both clay particles hindered the transport of the two viruses considered in this work. Moreover, the surface properties of viruses, clays and glass beads were employed for the construction of classical DLVO and capillary potential energy profiles, and the results suggested that capillary forces play a significant role on colloid retention. It was estimated that the capillary potential energy of MS2 is lower than that of ΦΧ174, and the capillary potential energy ofKGa-1b is lower than that of STx-1b, assuming that the protrusion distance through the water filmis the same for each pair of particles. Moreover, the capillary potential energy is several orders of magnitude greater than the DLVO energy potential. Figure 1Schematic illustration of the various concentrations involved in the cotransport experiments for: (a) saturated and (b) unsaturated porous media.

  8. Column experiment to study isotope fractionation of volatile organic contaminants in porous media under unsaturated conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jeannottat, Simon; Hunkeler, Daniel; Breider, Florian

    2010-05-01

    Pollution by organic contaminants such as petroleum hydrocarbons and chlorinated solvents is common in industrialized countries. The use of stable isotope analysis is increasingly recognized as a powerful technique for investigating the behaviour of organic or inorganic contaminants. Recently, compound-specific isotope analysis (CSIA) has proven to be an effective tool to confirm and quantify in-situ biodegradation by indigenous microbial populations in groundwater.In contrast, only few studies have investigated the use of CSIA in the unsaturated zone. In the unsaturated zone, the main potential applications of CSIA include the assessment of biodegradation and the fingerprinting of different sources of petroleum hydrocarbon or chlorinated solvents vapours. However, it has to be taken into account that isotope ratios in the unsaturated zone can vary due to diffusion and volatilization in addition to biodegradation. For application of isotope methods in the unsaturated zone, it is crucial to quantify isotopic fractionation resulting from physico-chemical and transport processes. The study is focused on laboratory experiments that investigate the effect of vaporization and diffusion on isotope ratios. The effect of diffusion is carried out using a column experiment setup that can be considered to represent VOC transport from a floating NAPL towards the atmosphere. Furthermore, additional column and batch experiments will be conducted to better understand the effect of biodegradation. Volatilization is studied with an other experimental setup. In addition, a mathematical framework was developed to simulate the isotope evolution in the column study. Since the initial experiments aimed at investigating the effect of vaporization and diffusion only, the column is filled with dry quartz sand in order to avoid perturbations of concentration profiles by humidity or adsorption on organic matter. An activated sand will later be used for the biodegradation experiments. A

  9. Distribution of nitrate and related nitrogen species in the unsaturated zone, Redlands and vicinity, San Bernardino County, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Klein, John M.; Bradford, Wesley L.

    1979-01-01

    Nitrogen in the unsaturated soil zone in the vicinity of Redlands in San Bernardino County, Calif., has been suspected as the source of nitrate in water from wells. Plans have been made to recharge the aquifer with imported surface water. If this occurs, the rising water table will intercept soluble nitrate in the unsaturated zone. This study was made to quantify and delineate the distribution of the nitrate in the unsaturated zone. Thirteen test holes were drilled in areas of various land uses, and samples of the unsaturated-zone materials were obtained with depth. In 10 of the test holes, the maximum nitrate-nitrogen (N03--N) concentrations occurred within 10 feet of land surface suggesting N03--N sources at the surface. Ranking the test holes according to near-surface N03--N concentrations showed that, of the top six, only two are in irrigated citrus areas. One is in an abandoned feedlot. Of the lowest six, four are in irrigated citrus areas and one is in the Santa Ana River channel. The control test hole ranked fourth suggesting that relatively high N03--N concentrations can occur in near-surface soils even in the absence of human habitation. Analysis according to one conceptual model suggests that raising the water-table altitude by aquifer recharge will intercept N03--N now in the unsaturated zone causing increases in N03--N concentrations in water from wells of up to 48 milligrams per liter. The largest increases will occur in the vicinity of irrigated citrus areas. (Woodard-USGS).

  10. USING CHLORIDE TO TRACE WATER MOVEMENT IN THE UNSATURATED ZONE AT YUCCA MOUNTAIN

    SciTech Connect

    Fabryka-Martin, J. T.; Flint, L. E.; Wolfsberg, A. V.; Sweetking, D. S.; Hudson, D.; Roach, J. L.; Winters, S. T.; Wolfsberg, L. E.

    1998-01-08

    The nonwelded Paintbrush Tuff (PTn) hydrogeologic unit is postulated as playing a critical role in the redistribution of moisture in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Fracture-dominated flow in the overlying low-permeability, highly fractured Tiva Canyon welded (TCw) unit is expected to transition to matrix-dominated flow in the high-permeability, comparatively unfractured PTn. The transition process from fracture to matrix flow in the PTn, as well as the transition from low to high matrix storage capacity, is expected to damp out most of the seasonal, decadal, and secular variability in surface infiltration. This process should also result in the homogenization of the variable geochemical and isotopic characteristics of pore water entering the top of the PTn. In contrast, fault zones that provide continuous fracture pathways through the PTn may damp climatic and geochemical variability only slightly and may provide fast paths from the surface to the sampled depths, whether within the PTn or in underlying welded tuffs. Chloride (Cl) content and other geochemical data obtained from PTn pore water samples can be used to independently derive infiltration rates for comparison with surface infiltration estimates, to evaluate the role of structural features as fast paths, and to assess the prevalence and extent to which water may be laterally diverted in the PTn due to contrasting hydrologic properties of its subunits.

  11. Using chloride to trace water movement in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Fabryka-Martin, J.T.; Winters, S.T.; Wolfsberg, A.V.; Wolfsberg, L.E.; Roach, J.L.

    1998-12-31

    The nonwelded Paintbrush Tuff (PTn) hydrogeologic unit is postulated as playing a critical role in the redistribution of moisture in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Fracture-dominated flow in the overlying low-permeability, highly fractured Tiva Canyon welded (TCw) unit is expected to transition to matrix-dominated flow in the high-permeability, comparatively unfractured PTn. The transition process from fracture to matrix flow in the PTn, as well as the transition from low to high matrix storage capacity, is expected to damp out most of the seasonal, decadal, and secular variability in surface infiltration. This process should also result in the homogenization of the variable geochemical and isotopic characteristics of pore water entering the top of the PTn. In contrast, fault zones that provide continuous fracture pathways through the PTn may damp climatic and geochemical variability only slightly and may provide fast paths from the surface to the sampled depths, whether within the PTn or in underlying welded tuffs. Chloride (Cl) content and other geochemical data obtained from PTn pore-water samples can be used to independently derive infiltration rates for comparison with surface infiltration estimates, to evaluate the role of structural features as fast paths, and to assess the prevalence and extent to which water may be laterally diverted in the PTn due to contrasting hydrologic properties of its subunits.

  12. Unsaturated zone carbon dioxide flux, mixing, and isotopic composition at the USGS Amargosa Desert Research Site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Conaway, C. H.; Thordsen, J. J.; Thomas, B.; Haase, K.; Moreo, M. T.; Walvoord, M. A.; Andraski, B. J.; Stonestrom, D. A.

    2015-12-01

    Elevated concentrations of tritium, radiocarbon, and volatile organic compounds at the USGS Amargosa Desert Research Site, adjacent to a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility, have stimulated research on factors affecting transport of these contaminants. This research includes an examination of unsaturated zone carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes, mixing, and isotopic composition, which can help in understanding these factors. In late April 2015 we collected 76 soil-gas samples in multi-layer foil bags from existing 1.5-m deep tubes, both inside and outside the low-level waste area, as well as from two 110-m-deep multilevel gas-sampling boreholes and a distant background site. These samples were analyzed for carbon dioxide concentration and isotopic composition by direct injection into a cavity ring-down spectrometer. Graphical analysis of results indicates mixing of CO2 characteristic of the root zone (δ13C -18 ‰ VPDB), deep soil gas of the capillary fringe (-20‰), and CO2 produced by microbial respiration of organic matter disposed in the waste area trenches (-28‰). Land-surface boundary conditions are being constrained by the application of a novel non-dispersive infrared sensor and traditional concentration and flux measurements, including discrete CO2 flux data using a gas chamber method to complement continuous data from surface- and tower-based CO2 sensors. These results shed light on radionuclide and VOC mobilization and transport mechanisms from this and similar waste disposal facilities.

  13. Stratigraphy of the unsaturated zone at the radioactive waste management complex, Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, Idaho

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anderson, S.R.; Lewis, B.D.

    1989-01-01

    A complex sequence of layered basalt flows, cinders, and sediment underlies the Radioactive Waste Management Complex at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory in southeastern Idaho. Wells drilled to 700 ft penetrate a sequence of 10 basalt-flow groups and 7 major sedimentary interbeds that range in age from about 100,000 to 600,000 years old. The 10 flow groups consist of 22 separate lava flows and flow-units. Each flow group is made up of from one to five petrographically similar flows that erupted from common source areas during periods of less than 200 years. Sedimentary interbeds consist of fluvial, lacustrine, and wind-blown deposits of clay, silt, sand, and gravel that accumulated during periods of volcanic inactivity ranging from thousands to hundreds of thousands of years. Flows and sediment are unsaturated to a depth of about 600 ft. Flows and sediment below a depth of 600 ft are saturated and make up the uppermost part of the Snake River Plain aquifer. The areal extent of flow groups and interbeds was determined from well cuttings, cores, geophysical logs, potassium-argon ages, and geomagnetic properties. Stratigraphical control was provided by four sequential basalt flows near the base of the unsaturated zone that have reversed geomagnetic polarity and high emission of natural gamma radiation compared to other flows. Natural gamma logs were used as a primary correlation tool. Natural-gamma emissions, which are generally uniform in related, petrographically similar flows, increase or decrease between petrographically dissimilar flows of different age and source. (USGS)

  14. Chlorine-36 data at Yucca Mountain: Statistical tests of conceptual models for unsaturated-zone flow

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Campbell, K.; Wolfsberg, A.; Fabryka-Martin, J.; Sweetkind, D.

    2003-01-01

    An extensive set of chlorine-36 (36Cl) data has been collected in the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF), an 8-km-long tunnel at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for the purpose of developing and testing conceptual models of flow and transport in the unsaturated zone (UZ) at this site. At several locations, the measured values of 36Cl/Cl ratios for salts leached from rock samples are high enough to provide strong evidence that at least a small component of bomb-pulse 36Cl, fallout from atmospheric testing of nuclear devices in the 1950s and 1960s, was measured, implying that some fraction of the water traveled from the ground surface through 200-300 m of unsaturated rock to the level of the ESF during the last 50 years. These data are analyzed here using a formal statistical approach based on log-linear models to evaluate alternative conceptual models for the distribution of such fast flow paths. The most significant determinant of the presence of bomb-pulse 36Cl in a sample from the welded Topopah Spring unit (TSw) is the structural setting from which the sample was collected. Our analysis generally supports the conceptual model that a fault that cuts through the nonwelded Paintbrush tuff unit (PTn) that overlies the TSw is required in order for bomb-pulse 36Cl to be transmitted to the sample depth in less than 50 years. Away from PTn-cutting faults, the ages of water samples at the ESF appear to be a strong function of the thickness of the nonwelded tuff between the ground surface and the ESF, due to slow matrix flow in that unit. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

  15. Synopsis of some preliminary computational studies related to unsaturated zone transport at Area G

    SciTech Connect

    Vold, E.

    1998-03-01

    Computational transport models are described with applications in three problem areas related to unsaturated zone moisture movement beneath Area G. These studies may be used to support the ongoing maintenance of the site Performance Assessment. The three areas include: a 1-D transient analysis with average tuff hydraulic properties in the near surface region with computed results compared to field data; the influence on near surface transient moisture percolation due to realistic distributions in hydraulic properties derived statistically from the observed variance in the field data; and the west to east moisture flow in a 2-D steady geometry approximation of the Pajarito Plateau. Results indicate that a simple transient model for transport of moisture volume fraction fits field data well compared to a moisture pulse observed in the active disposal unit, pit 37. Using realistic infiltration boundary conditions for summer showers and for spring snow melt conditions, the computed moisture pulses show significant propagation to less than 10-ft depth. Next, the hydraulic properties were varied on a 2-D grid using statistical distributions based on the field data means and variances for the hydraulic parameters. Near surface transient percolation in these conditions shows a qualitatively realistic percolation with a spatially variable wave front moving into the tuff; however, the flow does not channel into preferred paths and suggests there is no formation of fast paths which could enhance transportation of contaminants. Finally, moisture transport is modeled through an unsaturated 2-D slice representing the upper stratigraphic layers beneath Area G and a west-to-east cut of several miles to examine possible lateral movement from the west where percolation is assumed to be greater than at Area G. Results show some west-to-east moisture flux consistent with the assumed profile for the percolation boundary conditions.

  16. Chlorine-36 data at Yucca Mountain: statistical tests of conceptual models for unsaturated-zone flow

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Campbell, Katherine; Wolfsberg, Andrew; Fabryka-Martin, June; Sweetkind, Donald

    2003-05-01

    An extensive set of chlorine-36 ( 36Cl) data has been collected in the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF), an 8-km-long tunnel at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for the purpose of developing and testing conceptual models of flow and transport in the unsaturated zone (UZ) at this site. At several locations, the measured values of 36Cl/Cl ratios for salts leached from rock samples are high enough to provide strong evidence that at least a small component of bomb-pulse 36Cl, fallout from atmospheric testing of nuclear devices in the 1950s and 1960s, was measured, implying that some fraction of the water traveled from the ground surface through 200-300 m of unsaturated rock to the level of the ESF during the last 50 years. These data are analyzed here using a formal statistical approach based on log-linear models to evaluate alternative conceptual models for the distribution of such fast flow paths. The most significant determinant of the presence of bomb-pulse 36Cl in a sample from the welded Topopah Spring unit (TSw) is the structural setting from which the sample was collected. Our analysis generally supports the conceptual model that a fault that cuts through the nonwelded Paintbrush tuff unit (PTn) that overlies the TSw is required in order for bomb-pulse 36Cl to be transmitted to the sample depth in less than 50 years. Away from PTn-cutting faults, the ages of water samples at the ESF appear to be a strong function of the thickness of the nonwelded tuff between the ground surface and the ESF, due to slow matrix flow in that unit.

  17. Chlorine-36 data at Yucca Mountain: statistical tests of conceptual models for unsaturated-zone flow.

    PubMed

    Campbell, Katherine; Wolfsberg, Andrew; Fabryka-Martin, June; Sweetkind, Donald

    2003-01-01

    An extensive set of chlorine-36 (36Cl) data has been collected in the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF), an 8-km-long tunnel at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for the purpose of developing and testing conceptual models of flow and transport in the unsaturated zone (UZ) at this site. At several locations, the measured values of 36Cl/Cl ratios for salts leached from rock samples are high enough to provide strong evidence that at least a small component of bomb-pulse 36Cl, fallout from atmospheric testing of nuclear devices in the 1950s and 1960s, was measured, implying that some fraction of the water traveled from the ground surface through 200-300 m of unsaturated rock to the level of the ESF during the last 50 years. These data are analyzed here using a formal statistical approach based on log-linear models to evaluate alternative conceptual models for the distribution of such fast flow paths. The most significant determinant of the presence of bomb-pulse 36Cl in a sample from the welded Topopah Spring unit (TSw) is the structural setting from which the sample was collected. Our analysis generally supports the conceptual model that a fault that cuts through the nonwelded Paintbrush tuff unit (PTn) that overlies the TSw is required in order for bomb-pulse 36Cl to be transmitted to the sample depth in less than 50 years. Away from PTn-cutting faults, the ages of water samples at the ESF appear to be a strong function of the thickness of the nonwelded tuff between the ground surface and the ESF, due to slow matrix flow in that unit.

  18. Characterization of liquid-water percolation in tuffs in the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Kume, J.; Rousseau, J.P.

    1989-12-31

    A surface-based borehole investigation currently (1989) is being done to characterize liquid-water percolation in tuffs of Miocene age in the unsaturated zone beneath Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada Active in-situ testing and passive in-situ monitoring will be used in this investigation to estimate the present-day liquid-water percolation (flux). The unsaturated zone consists of a gently dipping sequence of fine-grained, densely fractured, and mostly welded ash-flow tuffs that are interbedded with fine-grained, slightly fractured, non-welded ash-flow and ash-fall tuffs that are partly vitric and zeolitized near the water table. Primary study objectives are to define the water potential field within the unsaturated zone and to determine the in-situ bulk permeability and bulk hydrologic properties of the unsaturated tuffs. Borehole testing will be done to determine the magnitude and spatial distribution of physical and hydrologic properties of the geohydrologic units, and of their water potential fields. The study area of this investigation is restricted to that part of Yucca Mountain that immediately overlies and is within the boundaries of the perimeter drift of a US Department of Energy proposed mined, geologic, high-level radioactive-waste repository. Vertically, the study area extends from near the surface of Yucca Mountain to the underlying water table, about 500 to 750 meters below the ground surface. The average distance between the proposed repository and the underlying water table is about 205 meters.

  19. Methodology, results, and significance of an unsaturated-zone tracer test at an artificial-recharge facility, Tucson, Arizona

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Graham, D.D.

    1989-01-01

    A tracer test conducted in 1987 at an artificial-recharge facility in Tucson, Arizona, indicates that solute movement through the poorly sorted stratified alluvial sediments in the unsaturated zone beneath a recharge basin takes place along preferential-flow paths. Movement of a tracer-laced pulse of reclaimed wastewater was monitored using pressure-vacuum lysimeters installed at depths that range from 11 to 45 ft below the bottom of the recharge basin. Tracer-breakthrough curves do not indicate a consistent relation between maximum tracer concentration and depth or between time of tracer breakthrough and depth. Apparent dispersion, as indicated by the slope of the rising leg of the tracer-breakthrough curve, shows no apparent relation with depth. In some cases, the tracer arrived earlier at deep sampling locations than at shallow ones. Velocity of solute flow ranged from 1.9 to 9.0 ft/day. Less interaction between recharge water and solid-phase materials in the unsaturated zone occurs under preferential-flow conditions than if flow occurred as a uniform wetting front. Flow of water through the unsaturated zone is concentrated into fingers or channels under preferential-flow conditions, and the renovating capability of soil is reduced because of the reduced surface area and reduced contact time in the biologically active part of the unsaturated profile. Chemical substances that normally would be decomposed by microbial activity or sorbed by sediment particles can move through the unsaturated zone and cause groundwater contamination under preferential-flow conditions. (USGS)

  20. Influence of the Gas-Water Interface on Transport of Microorganisms through Unsaturated Porous Media

    PubMed Central

    Wan, Jiamin; Wilson, John L.; Kieft, Thomas L.

    1994-01-01

    In this article, a new mechanism influencing the transport of microorganisms through unsaturated porous media is examined, and a new method for directly visualizing bacterial behavior within a porous medium under controlled chemical and flow conditions is introduced. Resting cells of hydrophilic and relatively hydrophobic bacterial strains isolated from groundwater were used as model microorganisms. The degree of hydrophobicity was determined by contact-angle measurements. Glass micromodels allowed the direct observation of bacterial behavior on a pore scale, and three types of sand columns with different gas saturations provided quantitative measurements of the observed phenomena on a porous medium scale. The reproducibility of each break-through curve was established in three to five repeated experiments. The data collected from the column experiments can be explained by phenomena directly observed in the micromodel experiments. The retention rate of bacteria is proportional to the gas saturation in porous media because of the preferential sorption of bacteria onto the gas-water interface over the solid-water interface. The degree of sorption is controlled mainly by cell surface hydrophobicity under the simulated groundwater conditions because of hydrophobic forces between the organisms and the interfaces. The sorption onto the gas-water interface is essentially irreversible because of capillary forces. This preferential and irreversible sorption at the gas-water interface strongly influences the movement and spatial distribution of microorganisms. Images PMID:16349180

  1. Complex Unsaturated Zone Flow and Thermohydrologic Processes in a Regulatory Environment: A Perspective on Uncertainty

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fedors, R. W.; Manepally, C.; Justus, P. S.; Basagaoglu, H.; Pensado, O.; Dubreuilh, P.

    2007-12-01

    An important part of a risk-informed, performance-based regulatory review of a potential license application for disposal of high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is the consideration of alternative interpretations and models of risk significant physical processes. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) expects that simplified models will be abstracted from complex process-level models to conduct total-system performance assessments. There are several phases or steps to developing an abstracted model and its supporting basis from more detailed and complicated models for each area of the total system. For complex ambient and thermally perturbed flow in fractured tuffs of the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, these steps c,an be summarized as (i) site characterization and observation, (ii) field and laboratory tests, (iii) conceptual model development, (iv) process-level numerical modeling, and (v) abstraction development. Each step is affected by uncertainty in (i) assessing parameters for models and (ii) conceptualization and understanding of governing processes. Because of the complexity and uncertainty, alternative interpretations and models become important aspects in the regulatory environment. NRC staff gain confidence in performance assessment model results through understanding the uncertainty in the various models. An example of a complex process in the unsaturated zone is seepage into drifts, which leads to liquid water potentially contacting waste packages. Seepage is a risk-important process for the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain because of its potential effect on waste package integrity and trainsport of potentially released radionuclides. Complexities for seepage include (i) characterization of fractures that carry flow, (ii) effect of small to intermediate scale structural features on flow, (iii) consideration of the diverse flow regimes (rivulets, film flow, capillarity) in fractures, (iv) effect of vapor transport associated

  2. Comparison of three techniques to measure unsaturated-zone air permeability at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ.

    PubMed

    Olson, M S; Tillman, F D; Choi, J W; Smith, J A

    2001-12-01

    The purpose of this study is to compare three techniques to measure the air permeability of the unsaturated zone at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ and to examine the effects of moisture content and soil heterogeneity on air permeability. Air permeability was measured in three ways: laboratory experiments on intact soil cores, field-scale air pump tests and calibration of air permeability to air pressures measured in the field under natural air pressure conditions using a numerical airflow model. The results obtained from these three methods were compared and found to be similar. Laboratory experiments performed on intact cores measured air permeability values on the order of 10(-14) to 10(-9) m2. Low-permeability cores were found between land surface and a depth of 0.6 m. The soil core data were divided into two layers with composite vertical permeability values of 1.3 x 10(-13) m2 from land surface to a 0.6-m depth and 3.8 x 10(-10) m2 for the lower layer. Analyses of the field-scale pump tests were performed for two scenarios: one in which the entire unsaturated zone was open to the atmosphere and one assuming a cap of low permeability extending 0.6 m below land surface. The vertical air permeability values obtained for the open scenario ranged from 1.2 x 10(-9) to 1.5 x 10(-9) m2, and ranged from 3.6 x 10(-9) to 6.8 x 10(-9) m2 in the lower layer, assuming an upper cap permeability of 6.0 x 10(-14) m2. The results from the open scenario are much higher than expected and the possible reasons for this ambiguity are discussed. The results from the capped scenario matched closely with those from the other methods and indicated that it is important to have background information on the study site to correctly analyze the pump test data. The optimized fit of the natural subsurface air pressure was achieved with an intrinsic permeability value of 3.3 x 10(-14) m2. When the data were refitted to the model assuming two distinct layers of the unsaturated zone, the optimized fit

  3. Evaluating Ecosystem Services for Reducing Groundwater Nitrate Contamination: Nitrate Attenuation in the Unsaturated and Saturated Zones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, J.

    2013-12-01

    Nitrates are the most common type of groundwater contamination in agricultural regions. Environmental policies targeting nitrates have focused on input control (e.g., restricted fertilizer application), intermediate loads control (e.g., reduce nitrate leached from crop fields), and final loads control (e.g., reduce catchment nitrate loads). Nitrate loads can be affected by hydrological processes in both unsaturated and saturated zones. Although many of these processes have been extensively investigated in literature, they are commonly modeled as exogenous to farm management. A couple of recent studies by scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory show that in some situations nitrate attenuation processes in the unsaturated/saturated zone, particularly denitrification, can be intensified by certain management practices to mitigate nitrate loads. Therefore, these nitrate attenuation processes can be regarded as a set of ecosystem services that farmers can take advantage of to reduce their cost of complying with environmental policies. In this paper, a representative California dairy farm is used as a case study to show how such ecosystem attenuation services can be framed within the farm owner's decision-making framework as an option for reducing groundwater nitrate contamination. I develop an integrated dynamic model, where the farmer maximizes discounted net farm profit over multiple periods subject to environmental regulations. The model consists of three submodels: animal-waste-crop, hydrologic, and economic model. In addition to common choice variables such as irrigation, fertilization, and waste disposal options, the farmer can also endogenously choose from three water sources: surface water, deep groundwater (old groundwater in the deep aquifer that is not affected by farm effluent in the short term), and shallow groundwater (drainage water that can be recycled via capture wells at the downstream end of the farm). The capture wells not only

  4. One Century of Unsaturated Zone Hydrology: Then and Now, But What Next?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Genuchten, M. T.

    2006-12-01

    Buckingham's 1907 paper on the movement of soil moisture is viewed by many as the foundation of unsaturated zone hydrology. Buckingham's work came at a time when most studies in soil physics focused on field soil water status, water retention, evaporation and especially the physical environment of plants. Theoretical studies of water, heat and solute movement in soils slowly matured subsequently, eventually leading to the formulation and use of partial differential equations for subsurface flow and transport, exemplified by the Richards equation in 1931. Analytical and numerical studies slowly followed also, with the work increasingly focusing on environmental and hydrological applications, in addition to agriculture. In this presentation we briefly reflect upon some of the initial developments in vadose zone hydrology, and on the explosion of information during especially the past 20 years or so, but then offer a very speculative look at what may be next. Continued areas of research will likely focus (or should focus) on better integration of physical and biogeochemical processes, coupling surface and subsurface flow processes, increased pore-scale modeling with applications to larger-scale problems, the environmental fate of emerging contaminants, continued struggles with subsurface heterogeneity and preferential flow, and more ingenious integration of geophysical and computational tools with direct measurements and inverse methods. While the current state of vadose zone hydrology was likely unimaginable 100 years ago, so are the environmental problems we now are facing on this Earth. This makes it also important to narrow the increasingly larger gap between the state- of-the-art and state-of-the-practice.

  5. Surfactant-Induced Flow in Unsaturated Porous Media: Implications for Air-Water Interfacial Area Determination

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Costanza-Robinson, M. S.; Zheng, Z.; Estabrook, B.; Henry, E. J.; Littlefield, M. H.

    2011-12-01

    Air-water interfacial area (AI) in porous media is an important factor governing equilibrium contaminant retention, as well as the kinetics of interphase mass transfer. Interfacial-partitioning tracer (IPT) tests are a common technique for measuring AI at a given moisture saturation (SW), where AI is calculated based on the ratio of arrival times of a surfactant and a non-reactive tracer. At surfactant concentrations often used, the aqueous surface tension of the interfacial tracer solution is ~30% lower than that of the resident porewater in the system, creating transient surface tension gradients during the IPT measurement. Because surface tension gradients create capillary pressure gradients, surfactant-induced unsaturated flow may occur during IPT tests, a process that would violate fundamental assumptions of constant SW, of steady-state flow, and of nonreactive and surfactant tracers experiencing the same transport conditions. To examine the occurrence and magnitude of surfactant-induced flow, we conducted IPT tests for unsaturated systems at ~84% initial SW using surfactant input concentrations that bracket concentrations commonly used. Despite constant boundary conditions (constant inlet flux and outlet pressure), the introduction of the surfactant solution induced considerable transience in column effluent flowrate and SW. Real-time system mass measurements revealed drainage of 20-40% SW, with the amount of drainage and the maximum rate of drainage proportional to the influent surfactant concentration, as would be expected. Because AI is inversely related to SW, the use of higher surfactant concentrations should yield larger AI estimates. Measured AI values, however, showed no clear relationship to surfactant concentration or the time-averaged SW of the system. These findings cast doubt on the reliability of IPT for AI determination.

  6. Physicochemical controls on absorbed water film thickness in unsaturated geological media

    SciTech Connect

    Tokunaga, T.

    2011-06-14

    Adsorbed water films commonly coat mineral surfaces in unsaturated soils and rocks, reducing flow and transport rates. Therefore, it is important to understand how adsorbed film thickness depends on matric potential, surface chemistry, and solution chemistry. Here, the problem of adsorbed water film thickness is examined through combining capillary scaling with the Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (DLVO) theory. Novel aspects of this analysis include determining capillary influences on film thicknesses, and incorporating solution chemistry-dependent electrostatic potential at air-water interfaces. Capillary analysis of monodisperse packings of spherical grains provided estimated ranges of matric potentials where adsorbed films are stable, and showed that pendular rings within drained porous media retain most of the 'residual' water except under very low matric potentials. Within drained pores, capillary contributions to thinning of adsorbed films on spherical grains are shown to be small, such that DLVO calculations for flat surfaces are suitable approximations. Hamaker constants of common soil minerals were obtained to determine ranges of the dispersion component to matric potential-dependent film thickness. The pressure component associated with electrical double layer forces was estimated using the compression and linear superposition approximations. The pH-dependent electrical double layer pressure component is the dominant contribution to film thicknesses at intermediate values of matric potential, especially in lower ionic strength solutions (< 10 mol m{sup -3}) on surfaces with higher magnitude electrostatic potentials (more negative than - 50 mV). Adsorbed water films are predicted to usually range in thickness from 1 to 20 nm in drained pores and fractures of unsaturated environments.

  7. Design of a three-dimensional site scale model for the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Wittwer, C.S.; Bodvarsson, G.S.; Chornack, M.P.; Flint, A.L.; Lewis, B.D.; Spengler, R.W.; Flint, L.E.; Rautman, C.A.

    1992-10-01

    This paper discusses a three-dimensional model of moisture flow within the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain which is being developed. The site-scale model covers an area of about 30 km{sup 2} and is bounded by major faults to the east and west. A detailed numerical grid has been developed based on locations of boreholes, different infiltration zones, hydrogeological units and their outcrops, major faults, and water level data. Different maps, such as contour maps and isopachs maps, are presented for the different infiltration zones, and for the base of the Tiva Canyon, the Paintbrush, and the Topopah Spring hydrogeological units.

  8. Design of a three-dimensional site-scale model for the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Wittwer, C.S.; Bodvarsson, G.S.; Chornack, M.P.; Flint, A.L.; Lewis, B.D.; Spengler, R.W.; Flint, L.E.; Rautman, C.A.

    1992-01-01

    A three-dimensional model of moisture flow within the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain is being developed. This site-scale model covers an area of about 30 km{sup 2} and is bounded by major faults to the east and west. A detailed numerical grid has been developed based on location of boreholes, different infiltration zones, hydrogeological units and their outcrops, major faults, and water level data. Different maps, such as contour maps and isopachs maps, are presented for the different infiltration zones, and for the base of the Tiva Canyon, the Paintbrush, and the Topopah Spring hydrogeological units.

  9. Chlorine and carbon isotopes fractionation during volatilization and diffusive transport of trichloroethene in the unsaturated zone.

    PubMed

    Jeannottat, Simon; Hunkeler, Daniel

    2012-03-20

    To apply compound-specific isotope methods to the evaluation of the origin and fate of organic contaminants in the unsaturated subsurface, the effect of physicochemical processes on isotope ratios needs to be known. The main objective of this study is to quantify chlorine and carbon isotope fractionation during NAPL-vapor equilibration, air-water partitioning, and diffusion of trichloroethene (TCE) and combinations of these effects during vaporization in porous media. Isotope fractionation is larger during NAPL-vapor equilibration than air-water partitioning. During NAPL-vapor equilibration, carbon, and chlorine isotope ratios evolve in opposite directions although both elements are present in the same bond, with a normal isotope effect for chlorine (ε(Cl) = -0.39 ± 0.03‰) and an inverse effect for carbon (ε(C) = +0.75 ± 0.04‰). During diffusion-controlled vaporization in a sand column, no significant carbon isotope fractionation is observed (ε(C) = +0.10 ± 0.05‰), whereas fairly strong chlorine isotope fractionation occurs (ε(Cl) = -1.39 ± 0.06‰) considering the molecular weight of TCE. In case of carbon, the inverse isotope fractionation associated with NAPL-vapor equilibration and normal diffusion isotope fractionation cancel, whereas for chlorine both processes are accompanied by normal isotope fractionation and hence they cumulate. A source of contamination that aged might thus show a shift toward heavier chlorine isotope ratios.

  10. Decomposition of groundwater level fluctuations using transfer modelling in an area with shallow to deep unsaturated zones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gehrels, J. C.; van Geer, F. C.; de Vries, J. J.

    1994-05-01

    Time series analysis of the fluctuations in shallow groundwater levels in the Netherlands lowlands have revealed a large-scale decline in head during recent decades as a result of an increase in land drainage and groundwater withdrawal. The situation is more ambiguous in large groundwater bodies located in the eastern part of the country, where the unsaturated zone increases from near zero along the edges to about 40 m in the centre of the area. As depth of the unsaturated zone increases, groundwater level reacts with an increasing delay to fluctuations in climate and influences of human activities. The aim of the present paper is to model groundwater level fluctuations in these areas using a linear stochastic transfer function model, relating groundwater levels to estimated precipitation excess, and to separate artificial components from the natural groundwater regime. In this way, the impact of groundwater withdrawal and the reclamation of a 1000 km 2 polder area on the groundwater levels in the adjoining higher ground could be assessed. It became evident that the linearity assumption of the transfer functions becomes a serious drawback in areas with the deepest groundwater levels, because of non-linear processes in the deep unsaturated zone and the non-synchronous arrival of recharge in the saturated zone. Comparison of the results from modelling the influence of reclamation with an analytical solution showed that the lowering of groundwater level is partly compensated by reduced discharge and therefore is less than expected.

  11. UNSATURATED ZONE CALCITE 813C EVIDENCE OF SOUTHERN NEVADA CLIMATES DURING THE PAST 9 MILLION YEARS

    SciTech Connect

    JOSEPH F. WHELAN AND RICHARD J. MOSCATI

    1998-01-26

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is presently the object of intense study as a potential permanent repository for the Nation's high-level radioactive wastes. The mountain consists of a thick sequence of volcanic tuffs in which the depth to the water table ranges from 500 to 700 meters below the land surface. This thick unsaturated zone (UZ), which would host the projected repository, coupled with the present-day arid to semi-arid environment, is considered a positive argument for the site. Evaluation of the site includes defining the relationship between climate variability, as the input function or driver of site- and regional-scale ground-water flow, and the possible transport and release of radionuclides. Secondary calcite and opal have been deposited in the UZ by meteoric waters that infiltrated through overlying soils and percolated through the tuffs. The oxygen isotopic composition ({delta}{sup 18}O values) of these minerals reflect contemporaneous meteoric waters and the {delta}{sup 13}C values reflect soil organic matter, and hence the resident plant community, at the time of infiltration (Whelan et al., 1994). Recent U/Pb age determinations of opal in these occurrences allows the {delta}{sup 13}C values of associated calcite to be used to reconstruct general climate variations during the past 9 M.y.

  12. Movement of moisture in the unsaturated zone in a loess-mantled area, southwestern Kansas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Prill, Robert C.

    1977-01-01

    A study of moisture movement associated with ponding near Garden City, Kansas, indicates that loess-manted areas have excellent potential for artificial recharge by water spreading. Infiltration stabilized at rates ranging from 0.7 to 2.2 feet (0.2 to 0.7 meter) per day reflecting changes in hydraulic conductivity of soil horizons. Results of the study indicate that the underlying loess has the capacity to temporarily store about 1 cubic foot (0.03 cubic meter) of water for each 6 cubic feet (0.17 cubic meter) of material. Owing to relatively high hydraulic conductivities of the loess and alluvium, however, moisture continues to move through the unsaturated zone. After application of 21 feet (6 meters) of water, mounding at the water table had a maximum thickness of 2 feet (0.6 meter) at the edge of the pond. Although the boundary of mounding spread rapidly, the applied water moved slowly by lateral displacement. (Woodard-USGS)

  13. Calibration of Yucca Mountain unsaturated zone flow and transport model using porewater chloride data

    SciTech Connect

    Liu, Jianchun; Sonnenthal, Eric L.; Bodvarsson, Gudmundur S.

    2002-09-01

    In this study, porewater chloride data from Yucca Mountain, Nevada, are analyzed and modeled by 3-D chemical transport simulations and analytical methods. The simulation modeling approach is based on a continuum formulation of coupled multiphase fluid flow and tracer transport processes through fractured porous rock, using a dual-continuum concept. Infiltration-rate calibrations were using the pore water chloride data. Model results of chloride distributions were improved in matching the observed data with the calibrated infiltration rates. Statistical analyses of the frequency distribution for overall percolation fluxes and chloride concentration in the unsaturated zone system demonstrate that the use of the calibrated infiltration rates had insignificant effect on the distribution of simulated percolation fluxes but significantly changed the predicated distribution of simulated chloride concentrations. An analytical method was also applied to model transient chloride transport. The method was verified by 3-D simulation results as able to capture major chemical transient behavior and trends. Effects of lateral flow in the Paintbrush nonwelded unit on percolation fluxes and chloride distribution were studied by 3-D simulations with increased horizontal permeability. The combined results from these model calibrations furnish important information for the UZ model studies, contributing to performance assessment of the potential repository.

  14. Distribution of fast hydrologic paths in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Fabryka-Martin, J.T.; Wolfsberg, A.V.; Levy, S.S.; Roach, J.L.; Winters, S.T.; Wolfsberg, L.E.; Elmore, D.; Sharma, P.

    1998-12-31

    Development and testing of conceptual flow and transport models for hydrologic systems are strengthened when natural environmental tracers are incorporated into the process. One such tracer is chlorine-36 ({sup 36}Cl, half-life, 301,000 years), a radioactive isotope produced in the atmosphere and carried underground with percolating groundwater. High concentrations of this isotope were also added to meteoric water during a period of global fallout from atmospheric testing of nuclear devices, primarily in the 1950s. This bomb-pulse signal has been used to test for the presence of fast transport paths in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain and to provide the basis for a conceptual model for their distribution. Yucca Mountain is under investigation by the US Department of Energy as a potential site at which to host an underground high-level radioactive waste repository. Under wetter climatic conditions, fast-flow pathways will respond quickly to increases in infiltration and have the potential to become seeps in the tunnel drifts. The {sup 36}Cl data are also being used in numerical flow and transport models to establish lower bounds on infiltration rates, estimate ground water ages, and establish bounding values for hydrologic flow parameters governing fracture transport.

  15. Assessment of unsaturated zone radionuclide contamination in the 200 areas of the Hanford site, Washington

    SciTech Connect

    Brodeur, J.R.; Wittreich, C.D.

    1993-03-01

    The 200 East and 200 West Areas at the Department of Energy`s Hanford site in southeastern Washington, contain chemical and nuclear fuel processing facilities that disposed of large volumes of chemical and radionuclide effluents to the ground via various structures such as ponds, cribs and ditches. A geophysical logging investigation was implemented in 1992 to assess the nature and extent of contamination beneath select liquid disposal sites in the 200 Areas. The borehole geophysical logging was accomplished with a recently developed spectral gamma-ray logging system called the Radionuclide Logging System (RLS). This system has a high-resolution, intrinsic germanium detector mounted in a downhole probe and is calibrated and operated specifically for use in a borehole environment. It provides a means to develop in-situ, gamma-emitting radioelement concentration profiles. Approximately 50 boreholes were logged in this study. The RLS log data provided information about the migration and deposition patterns of specific radionuclides in the unsaturated zone and their impacts on the groundwater. Approximately 10 radionuclide species were detected and quantified. Results of the field investigation are being used to refine site specific conceptual models, support Hanford Site remediation decisions and focus future characterization activities.

  16. Three-Dimensional Radionuclide Transport Through the Unsaturated Zone of the Yucca Mountain Site 3 Colloids

    SciTech Connect

    G. J. Moridis; Y. Seol

    2007-01-26

    The authors investigated colloid transport in the unsaturated fractured zone by means of three-dimensional site-scale numerical model under present-day climate infiltration, considering varying colloid diameters, kinetic declogging, and filtration. The radionuclide transport model was used to simulate continuous release of colloids into fractures throughout the proposed repository, in which any components of engineered barrier system such as waste package or drip shield were not considered. the results of the study indicate the importance of subsurface geology and site hydrology, i.e., the presence of faults (they dominate and control transport), fractures (the main migration pathways), and the relative distribution of zeolitic and vitric tuffs. The simulations indicate that (1) colloid transport is not significantly affected by varying the filtration parameters, (2) travel time to the water table decreases with the colloid size, (3) larger colloids show little retardation whereas very small ones are retarded significantly, and (4) fracture filtration can have an impact on transport. Because of uncertainties in the fundamentals of colloid transport and an extremely conservative approach (based on an improbably adverse worst-case scenario), caution should be exercised in the analysis and interpretation of the 3-D simulation results. The results discussed here should be viewed as an attempt to identify and evaluate the mechanisms, processes, and geological features that control colloidal transport.

  17. Evidence for an unsaturated-zone origin of secondary minerals in Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Whelan, Joseph F.; Roedder, Edwin; Paces, James B.

    2001-04-29

    The unsaturated zone (UZ) in Miocene-age welded tuffs at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is under consideration as a potential site for the construction of a high-level radioactive waste repository. Secondary calcite and silica minerals deposited on fractures and in cavities in the UZ tuffs are texturally, isotopically, and geochemically consistent with UZ deposition from meteoric water infiltrating at the surface and percolating through the UZ along fractures. Nonetheless, two-phase fluid inclusions with small and consistent vapor to liquid (V:L) ratios that yield consistent temperatures within samples and which range from about 35 to about 80 C between samples have led some to attribute these deposits to formation from upwelling hydrothermal waters. Geochronologic studies have shown that calcite and silica minerals began forming at least 10 Ma and continued to form into the Holocene. If their deposition were really from upwelling water flooding the UZ, it would draw into question the suitability of the site as a waste repository.

  18. Percolation and particle transport in the unsaturated zone of a karst aquifer.

    PubMed

    Pronk, Michiel; Goldscheider, Nico; Zopfi, Jakob; Zwahlen, Francxois

    2009-01-01

    Recharge and contamination of karst aquifers often occur via the unsaturated zone, but the functioning of this zone has not yet been fully understood. Therefore, irrigation and tracer experiments, along with monitoring of rainfall events, were used to examine water percolation and the transport of solutes, particles, and fecal bacteria between the land surface and a water outlet into a shallow cave. Monitored parameters included discharge, electrical conductivity, temperature, organic carbon, turbidity, particle-size distribution (PSD), fecal indicator bacteria, chloride, bromide, and uranine. Percolation following rainfall or irrigation can be subdivided into a lag phase (no response at the outlet), a piston-flow phase (release of epikarst storage water by pressure transfer), and a mixed-flow phase (increasing contribution of freshly infiltrated water), starting between 20 min and a few hours after the start of recharge event. Concerning particle and bacteria transport, results demonstrate that (1) a first turbidity signal occurs during increasing discharge due to remobilization of particles from fractures (pulse-through turbidity); (2) a second turbidity signal is caused by direct particle transfer from the soil (flow-through turbidity), often accompanied by high levels of fecal indicator bacteria, up to 17,000 Escherichia coli/100 mL; and (3) PSD allows differentiation between the two types of turbidity. A relative increase of fine particles (0.9 to 1.5 microm) coincides with microbial contamination. These findings help quantify water storage and percolation in the epikarst and better understand contaminant transport and attenuation. The use of PSD as "early-warning parameter" for microbial contamination in karst water is confirmed.

  19. Hydrogeophysical characterization and 3D modeling of heterogeneous unsaturated zone of a sandstone quarry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Winiarski, T.; Angulo-Jaramillo, R.; Goutaland, D.; Bievre, G.; Thevenin, L.; Sevestre, J.; Lassabatère, L.; Perrodin, Y.

    2008-12-01

    The potentially polluted sediments of the French ports, obtained by dredging maintenance operations, have to be disposed by filling-up open quarries why discontinuities can potentially lead to preferential flow. Indeed, flow anisotropy can be created either by: the original quarry structural discontinuities (faults, joints), the material sedimentary bedding or some anthropogenic effect (i.e., cracking induced by the operation of the quarry). The objective of the study is to estimate the role of the quarry heterogeneity on the unsaturated- zone water flow. A conceptual model based on the 3D structural recognition is proposed to study water flow. It is based on the recognition of the 3D geometric structure by using: (1) sedimentary structural geology principles, (2) geophysical measurements (Ground-Penetrating Radar and seismic refraction) performed on a limited but representative zone of the quarry and (3) in-situ Beerkan infiltration tests for soil hydraulic characterization. This new approach has been tested on a small volume (45m x 30m x 8m) of a Cenomanian sandstone quarry on southern France. The hydrogeophysical approach makes it possible to account for stratigraphic discontinuity non visible from the soil surface. GPR resolution is appropriate to resolve the sedimentary structure (direction, dip and bedding density). The seismic refraction completes the analysis by the water table localization. Both capillary retention and hydraulic conductivity curves have been obtained for uniform geometric elements using the BEST algorithm (Beerkan estimation of soil transfer parameters). The resolution of the Richards equation with 3D COMSOL Multiphysics software seems to emphasize the fractures role according to the sandstone initial conditions. Coupling geophysical and hydrodynamic approaches makes it possible to obtain a 3D in-situ realistic block representative of the studied site. Flow modeling on this block makes it possible to evaluate the risk at the quarry scale.

  20. Estimating N Budget in a Deep Alluvial Unsaturated Zone: Potential for Nitrate Leaching to Groundwater

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Onsoy, Y.; Harter, T.; Ginn, T. R.

    2002-12-01

    Intensive use of agrochemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides for obtaining high agricultural productivity is recognized as a major source of surface and ground water deterioration, and associated ecological problems. Among agrochemicals that pose danger to the environment, nitrate in the subsurface is of particular interest due to its extensive use, high mobility and persistence in the environment. Nitrate monitoring tends to be limited to upper soil layers (root zone) due to difficulties in sampling soil at great depths over sufficiently long time and space. Scientifically, there are critical gaps in understanding nitrate fate and transport processes between near surface horizons and the water table and in turn, quantification of nitrate transport to aquifers. As part of an overall study of the role of alluvial unsaturated zone in controlling the long term impact of California Central Valley agricultural practices on groundwater quality, we here report on quantitative analysis of the subsurface nitrate budget in a 15 m thick vadose zone. Analyses are done utilizing data obtained from a 12 year fertilizer experiment (1982-1995) using multiple application rates conducted at Kearney Research Site in Fresno, California. Three alternative N management practices with an annual fertilizer rate of 0, 100 and 325 lbs N/ac are compared to estimate the risk of nitrate loss from the root zone. Two methods are employed to estimate field scale N budget. The first method includes approximate quantification of annual N fluxes due to dominant processes and the corresponding annual balance of N. To accomplish our goal, dominant N cycle processes are identified from field trial data and literature reference values, where needed. In the second method, kriging interpolation is used to estimate nitrate mass distribution at the three management sites based on 800 samples collected in 60 boreholes to 15 m depth. Since nitrate is measured on a dry soil basis, proper estimation of

  1. Water movement in the unsaturated zone at a low-level radioactive-waste burial site near Barnwell, South Carolina

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dennehy, K.F.; McMahon, P.B.

    1987-01-01

    Four unsaturated zone monitoring sites and a meteorologic station were installed at the low level radioactive waste burial site near Barnwell, South Carolina, to investigate the geohydrologic and climatologic factors affecting water movement in the unsaturated zone. The study site is located in the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The unsaturated zone consists of a few centimeters to > 1 m of surface sand, underlain by up to 15 m of clayey sand. Two monitoring sites were installed in experimental trenches and two were installed in radioactive waste trenches. Two different trench designs were evaluated at the monitoring sites. A meteorologic station was used to measure precipitation and to calculate actual evapotranspiration using the Bowen ratio method. Soil-moisture tensiometers, soil-moisture conductance probes, and temperature sensors were used to monitor soil-water movement in and adjacent to the trenches. Tracer tests using sodium chloride were conducted at each monitoring site. Data collection at the monitoring sites began in January 1982 and continued until early May 1984. Tensiometer data show that the unsaturated materials had their highest percent saturations in the winter and spring. Saturations in the backfill sand varied from 20 to 100%. They varied from about 75 to 100% in the adjacent undisturbed and overlying compacted clayey sand. Additionally, because tensiometer data indicate negligible water storage changes in the unsaturated zone, it is estimated that approximately 43 cm of recharge reached the water table. During 1984, the rise and fall of ponded water in an experimental trench was continuously monitored with a digital recorder. A cross-sectional finite element model of variably saturated flow was used to test the conceptual model of water movement in the unsaturated zone and to illustrate the effect of trench design on water movement into the experimental trenches. Monitoring and model results show that precipitation on trenches infiltrated the trench

  2. Hydrogeology of the unsaturated zone, North Ramp area of the Exploratory Studies Facility, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rousseau, Joseph P.; Kwicklis, Edward M.; Gillies, Daniel C.; Rousseau, Joseph P.; Kwicklis, Edward M.; Gillies, Daniel C.

    1999-01-01

    Yucca Mountain, in southern Nevada, is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Energy as a potential site for a repository for high-level radioactive waste. This report documents the results of surface-based geologic, pneumatic, hydrologic, and geochemical studies conducted during 1992 to 1996 by the U.S. Geological Survey in the vicinity of the North Ramp of the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) that are pertinent to understanding multiphase fluid flow within the deep unsaturated zone. Detailed stratigraphic and structural characteristics of the study area provided the hydrogeologic framework for these investigations. Multiple lines of evidence indicate that gas flow and liquid flow within the welded tuffs of the unsaturated zone occur primarily through fractures. Fracture densities are highest in the Tiva Canyon welded (TCw) and Topopah Spring welded (TSw) hydrogeologic units. Although fracture density is much lower in the intervening nonwelded and bedded tuffs of the Paintbrush nonwelded hydrogeologic unit (PTn), pneumatic and aqueous-phase isotopic evidence indicates that substantial secondary permeability is present locally in the PTn, especially in the vicinity of faults. Borehole air-injection tests indicate that bulk air-permeability ranges from 3.5x10-14 to 5.4x10-11 square meters for the welded tuffs and from 1.2x10-13 to 3.0x10-12 square meters for the non welded and bedded tuffs of the PTn. Analyses of in-situ pneumatic-pressure data from monitored boreholes produced estimates of bulk permeability that were comparable to those determined from the air-injection tests. In many cases, both sets of estimates are two to three orders of magnitude larger than estimates based on laboratory analyses of unfractured core samples. The in-situ pneumatic-pressure records also indicate that the unsaturated-zone pneumatic system consists of four subsystems that coincide with the four major hydrogeologic units of the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. In

  3. Unsaturated zone waters from the Nopal I natural analog, Chihuahua, Mexico -- Implications for radionuclide mobility at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Pickett, D.A.; Murphy, W.M.

    1999-07-01

    Chemical and U-Th isotopic data on unsaturated zone waters from the Nopal I natural analog reveal effects of water-rock interaction and help constrain models of radionuclide release and transport at the site and, by analogy, at the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Geochemical reaction-path modeling indicates that, under oxidizing conditions, dissolution of uraninite (spent fuel analog) by these waters will lead to eventual schoepite precipitation regardless of initial silica concentration provided that groundwater is not continuously replenished. Thus, less soluble uranyl silicates may not dominate the initial alteration assemblage and keep dissolved U concentrations low. Uranium-series activity ratios are consistent with models of U transport at the site and display varying degrees of leaching versus recoil mobilization. Thorium concentrations may reflect the importance of colloidal transport of low-solubility radionuclides in the unsaturated zone.

  4. Direct current resistivity profiling to study distribution of water in the unsaturated zone near the Amargosa Desert Research Site, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Abraham, Jared D.; Lucius, Jeffrey E.

    2004-01-01

    In order to study the distribution of water in the unsaturated zone and potential for ground-water recharge near the Amargosa Desert Research Site south of Beatty, Nevada, the U.S. Geological Survey collected direct-current resistivity measurements along three profiles in May 2003 using an eight-channel resistivity imaging system. Resistivity data were collected along profiles across the ADRS, across a poorly incised (distributary) channel system of the Amargosa River southwest of the ADRS, and across a well-incised flood plain of the Amargosa River northwest of the ADRS. This report describes results of an initial investigation to estimate the distribution of water in the unsaturated zone and to evaluate the shallow subsurface stratigraphy near the ADRS. The geophysical method of dc resistivity was employed by using automated data collection with numerous electrodes. 'Cross sections' of resistivity, produced by using an inversion algorithm on the field data, at the three field sites are presented and interpreted.

  5. Residence time, mineralization processes and groundwater origin within a carbonate coastal aquifer with a thick unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Santoni, S.; Huneau, F.; Garel, E.; Vergnaud-Ayraud, V.; Labasque, T.; Aquilina, L.; Jaunat, J.; Celle-Jeanton, H.

    2016-09-01

    This study aims at establishing groundwater residence times, identifying mineralization processes and determining groundwater origins within a carbonate coastal aquifer with thick unsaturated zone and lying on a granitic depression. A multi-tracer approach (major ions, SiO2, Br-, Ba+, Sr2+, 18O, 2H, 13C, 3H, Ne, Ar) combined with a groundwater residence time determination using CFCs and SF6 allows defining the global setting of the study site. A typical mineralization conditioned by the sea sprays and the carbonate matrix helped to validate the groundwater weighted residence times from using a binary mixing model. Terrigenic SF6 excesses have been detected and quantified, which permits to identify a groundwater flow from the surrounding fractured granites towards the lower aquifer principally. The use of CFCs and SF6 as a first hydrogeological investigation tool is possible and very relevant despite the thick unsaturated zone and the hydraulic connexion with a granitic environment.

  6. Transport of barrel and spherical shaped colloids in unsaturated porous media.

    PubMed

    Knappenberger, Thorsten; Aramrak, Surachet; Flury, Markus

    2015-09-01

    Model colloids are usually spherical, but natural colloids have irregular geometries. Transport experiments of spherical colloids may not reflect the transport characteristics of natural colloids in porous media. We investigated saturated and unsaturated transport of colloids with spherical and angular shapes under steady-state, flow conditions. A pulse of negatively-charged colloids was introduced into a silica sand column at three different effective water saturations (Se = 0.31, 0.45, and 1.0). Colloids were introduced under high ionic strength of [106]mM to cause attachment to the secondary energy minimum and later released by changing the pore water to low ionic strength. After the experiment, sand was sampled from different depths (0, -4, and -11 cm) for scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis and colloid extraction. Water saturation affected colloid transport with more retention under low than under high saturation. Colloids were retained and released from a secondary energy minimum with more angular-shaped colloids being retained and released. Colloids extracted from the sand revealed highest colloid deposition in the top layer and decreasing deposition with depth. Pore straining and grain-grain wedging dominated colloid retention.

  7. Transport of barrel and spherical shaped colloids in unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Knappenberger, Thorsten; Aramrak, Surachet; Flury, Markus

    2015-09-01

    Model colloids are usually spherical, but natural colloids have irregular geometries. Transport experiments of spherical colloids may not reflect the transport characteristics of natural colloids in porous media. We investigated saturated and unsaturated transport of colloids with spherical and angular shapes under steady-state, flow conditions. A pulse of negatively-charged colloids was introduced into a silica sand column at three different effective water saturations (Se = 0.31, 0.45, and 1.0). Colloids were introduced under high ionic strength of [106]mM to cause attachment to the secondary energy minimum and later released by changing the pore water to low ionic strength. After the experiment, sand was sampled from different depths (0, -4, and -11 cm) for scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis and colloid extraction. Water saturation affected colloid transport with more retention under low than under high saturation. Colloids were retained and released from a secondary energy minimum with more angular-shaped colloids being retained and released. Colloids extracted from the sand revealed highest colloid deposition in the top layer and decreasing deposition with depth. Pore straining and grain-grain wedging dominated colloid retention.

  8. Effects of carbon dioxide variations in the unsaturated zone on water chemistry in a glacial-outwash aquifer

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lee, R.W.

    1997-01-01

    The research site at Otis Air Base, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, has been developed for hydrogeological and geochemical studies of sewage-effluent contaminated groundwater since 1982. Research of hydrologic properties, transport, and chemical and biological processes is ongoing, but the origin of background water chemistry has not been determined. The principal geochemical process giving rise to the observed background water chemistry is CO2-controlled hydrolysis of Na feldspar. Geochemical modeling demonstrated that CO2 sources could vary over the project area. Analyses of unsaturated zone gases showed variations in CO2 which were dependent on land use and vegetative cover in the area of groundwater recharge. Measurements of CO2 in unsaturated-zone gases showed that concentrations of total inorganic C in recharge water should range from about 0.035 to 1.0 mmoles/L in the vicinity of Otis Air Base. Flux of CO2 from the unsaturated zone varied for a principal land uses, ranging from 86 gC/m2/yr for low vegetated areas to 1630 gC/m2/yr for a golf course. Carbon dioxide flux from woodlands was 220 gC/m2/yr, lower than reported fluxes of 500 to 600 gC/m2/yr for woodlands in a similar climate. Carbon dioxide flux from grassy areas was 540 gC/m2/yr, higher than reported fluxes of 230 to 490 gC/m2/yr for grasslands in a similar climate.

  9. Subtsve A~é­ An In-situ Remediation Method For The Saturated and Unsaturated Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koschitzky, H.-P.; Troetschler, O.; Weber, K.

    two different industrial sites, the ratio is about 1 until the steam hits the unsaturated zone. The remediation efficiency for a site-specific multi-component contamination in the groundwater fluctuation zone was investigated in 2-D experiments comparing the 1 steam injection into the groundwater with the steam injection into the capillary fringe. A slightly higher effectiveness with a recovery rate of more than 97% was measured for the steam injection into the groundwater. A significant difference between both methods was obtained in the kind of removal of the contaminants. SubTSVE yields to a higher mass removal by phase extraction from the groundwater table as a free organic phase. To reduce the risk of mobilisation as a free product the injection of a steam-air mixture into the groundwater is proposed in order to evaporate the contaminants. The effects of steam-air injection will be investigated in VEGAS large container (l = 6 m, w = 3 m, h = 4.5 m) filled with soil from an industrial site and compared with those of steam injection within the same container. References ITAMURA &UDELL (1993): Experimental Cleanup of a Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liqid in the Unsaturated Zone of a Porous Medium Using Steam Injection, Multiphase Transport in Porous Media, ASME, HTD-Vol. 265, 57-62 FÄRBER, A. (1997): Wärmetransport in der ungesättigten Bodenzone: Entwicklung einer thermischen In-situ-Sanierungstechnologie, Mitteilungen Institut für Wasserbau, Universität Stuttgart, Heft 96 UDELL et al. (1994): NAS Lemoore JP-5 cleanup demonstration, Berkeley Environ- mental Restoration Center, University of California, Berkeley NEWMARK &AINES (1995): Summary of the LLNL Gasoline Spill Demonstration Dynamic Underground Stripping Project, Lawrence Livermore Natl. Lab., UCRL-ID- 120416 SCHMIDT et al. (1999): Pilothafte Sanierung eines BTEX Schadens an einem ehema- ligen Gaswerksstandort mit der thermisch unterstützten Bodenluftabsaugung (TUBA) durch Dampfinjektion, Wiss. Bericht WB 99

  10. Tritium plume dynamics in the shallow unsaturated zone in an arid environment

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Maples, S.R.; Andraski, B.J.; Stonestrom, D.A.; Cooper, C.A.; Pohll, G.; Michel, R.L.

    2014-01-01

    The spatiotemporal variability of a tritium plume in the shallow unsaturated zone and the mechanisms controlling its transport were evaluated during a 10-yr study. Plume movement was minimal and its mass declined by 68%. Upward-directed diffusive-vapor tritium fluxes and radioactive decay accounted for most of the observed plume-mass declines. Effective isolation of tritium (3H) and other contaminants at waste-burial facilities requires improved understanding of transport processes and pathways. Previous studies documented an anomalously widespread (i.e., theoretically unexpected) distribution of 3H (>400 m from burial trenches) in a dry, sub-root-zone gravelly layer (1–2-m depth) adjacent to a low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) burial facility in the Amargosa Desert, Nevada, that closed in 1992. The objectives of this study were to: (i) characterize long-term, spatiotemporal variability of 3H plumes; and (ii) quantify the processes controlling 3H behavior in the sub-root-zone gravelly layer beneath native vegetation adjacent to the facility. Geostatistical methods, spatial moment analyses, and mass flux calculations were applied to a spatiotemporally comprehensive, 10-yr data set (2001–2011). Results showed minimal bulk-plume advancement during the study period and limited Fickian spreading of mass. Observed spreading rates were generally consistent with theoretical vapor-phase dispersion. The plume mass diminished more rapidly than would be expected from radioactive decay alone, indicating net efflux from the plume. Estimates of upward 3H efflux via diffusive-vapor movement were >10× greater than by dispersive-vapor or total-liquid movement. Total vertical fluxes were >20× greater than lateral diffusive-vapor fluxes, highlighting the importance of upward migration toward the land surface. Mass-balance calculations showed that radioactive decay and upward diffusive-vapor fluxes contributed the majority of plume loss. Results indicate that plume losses

  11. Water movement in the unsaturated zone at a low-level radioactive-waste burial site near Barnwell, South Carolina

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dennehy, Kevin F.; McMahon, Peter B.

    1989-01-01

    Four unsaturated-zone monitoring sites and a meteorologic station were installed at the low-level radioactive-waste burial site near Barnwell, S.C., to investigate the geohydrologic and climatologic factors affecting water movement in the unsaturated zone. The study site is located in the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The unsaturated zone consists of a few centimeters to more than 1 meter of surface sand, underlain by up to 15 meters of clayey sand. Two monitoring sites were installed in experimental trenches, and two were installed in radioactive-waste trenches. Two different trench designs were evaluated at the monitoring sites. A meteorologic station was used to measure precipitation and to calculate actual evapotranspiration using the Bowen ratio method. Soil-moisture tensiometers, soil-moisture conductance probes, and temperature sensors were used to monitor soil-water movement in and adjacent to the trenches. Tracer tests using sodium chloride were conducted at each monitoring site. Hydrologic properties of unsaturated-zone materials were also determined. Data collection at the monitoring sites began in January 1982 and continued until early May 1984. Tensiometer data show that the unsaturated materials had their highest percent saturations in winter and spring. Saturations in the backfill sand varied from 20 to 100 percent, and in the adjacent undisturbed and overlying compacted clayey sand, from about 75 to 100 percent. The same pattern generally was observed at all four monitoring sites. The tracer-test data indicate that water movement occurred mainly during the recharge period, winter and spring. The tracer-test results enabled computation of rates of unsaturated flow in the compacted clayey-sand cap, the compacted clayey-sand barrier, and the backfill sand. A micro-scale hydrologic budget was determined for an undisturbed part of the site from July 1983 through June 1984.Total precipitation was 144 centimeters, and actual evapotranspiration was 101

  12. Modeling a thick unsaturated zone at San Gorgonio Pass, California: lessons learned after five years of artificial recharge

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Flint, Alan L.; Ellett, Kevin M.; Christensen, Allen H.; Martin, Peter

    2012-01-01

    The information flow among the tasks of framework assessment, numerical modeling, model forecasting and hind casting, and system-performance monitoring is illustrated. Results provide an understanding of artificial recharge in high-altitude desert settings where large vertical distances may separate application ponds from their target aquifers. Approximately 3.8 million cubic meters of surface water was applied to spreading ponds from 2003–2007 to artificially recharge the underlying aquifer through a 200-meter thick unsaturated zone in the San Gorgonio Pass area in southern California. A study was conducted between 1997 and 2003, and a numerical model was developed to help determine the suitability of the site for artificial recharge. Ongoing monitoring results indicated that the existing model needed to be modified and recalibrated to more accurately predict artificial recharge at the site. The objective of this work was to recalibrate the model by using observation of the application rates, the rise and fall of the water level above a perching layer, and the approximate arrival time to the water table during the 5-yr monitoring period following initiation of long-term artificial recharge. Continuous monitoring of soil-matric potential, temperature, and water levels beneath the site indicated that artificial recharge reached the underlying water table between 3.75 and 4.5 yr after the initial application of the recharge water. The model was modified to allow the simulation to more adequately match the perching layer dynamics and the time of arrival at the water table. The instrumentation also showed that the lag time between changes in application of water at the surface and the response at the perching layer decreased from about 4 mo to less than 1 mo due to the wet-up of the unsaturated zone and the increase in relative permeability. The results of this study demonstrate the importance of iteratively monitoring and modeling the unsaturated zone in layered

  13. Herbicide Transport and Transformations in the Unsaturated Zone of Three Small Agricultural Basins with Corn and Soybean Row Crops

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hancock, T. C.; Vogel, J. R.; Sandstrom, M. W.; Capel, P. D.; Bayless, R. E.; Webb, R. M.

    2006-05-01

    In the United States, herbicides are among the most significant nonpoint-source pollutants and were applied to 95% of all fields in corn production and 97% of all fields in soybean production in 2003 and 2004. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has conducted a study on select herbicides in the unsaturated zone under corn and soybean fields in three predominantly agricultural basins: Morgan Creek (Maryland), Leary Weber Ditch within Sugar Creek (Indiana), and Maple Creek (Nebraska). In 2004, the Morgan Creek and Leary Weber Ditch fields were in soybeans and the Maple Creek fields were in corn. The Maple Creek fields were irrigated, whereas those in Morgan Creek and Leary Weber Ditch were not. Similarities and differences in agricultural management practices, climatic conditions, and natural features, such as soil types and geology, were evaluated as part of the study. In general, the amounts of herbicides entering the unsaturated zone from rain in these basins were minor (1%) compared to amounts commonly applied to the land surface during agricultural practices. Few herbicides were detected on solid core samples from the unsaturated zones of these basins. An exception was found at a Morgan Creek site in an upland recharge area with sandier soils. Here, atrazine concentrations were highest in the near surface solids and decreased with depth. In the unsaturated-zone porewater of the Morgan Creek Basin, parent triazine and acetanilide herbicides were detected and only at the site in the upland recharge area at relatively low concentrations at depths greater than 4 meters, probably because these compounds had not been applied for several years. At the Morgan Creek and Leary Weber Ditch sites, acetanilide metabolites were frequently detected in the unsaturated-zone porewater. In general, the fraction of metolachlor ethane sulfonic acid (ESA) relative to the total mass of parent and metabolites increased with depth overall and at several individual sampling

  14. Archaeology and public perception of a trans-scientific problem; disposal of toxic wastes in the unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Winograd, Isaac Judah

    1986-01-01

    Predicting the effects of toxic-waste disposal on the environment over periods of millenia to hundreds of millenia is a transscientific problem; that is, one not fully addressed by quantitative scientific and engineering endeavors. Archaeology is a pertinent adjunct to such predictions in several ways. First, and foremost, archaeological records demonstrate that delicate, as well as durable, objects buried in thick unsaturated zones of arid and semiarid environments may survive intact for millenia to tens of millenia. This successful preservation of Late Paleolithic to Iron Age artifacts provides independent support for the tentative favorable conclusions of earth scientists regarding the general utility of thick unsaturated zones for toxic-waste isolation. By analogy with the archaeological record, solidified toxic wastes of low solubility that are buried in arid unsaturated zones should remain isolated from the environment indefinitely; modern man presumably should be able to improve upon the techniques used by his ancestors to isolate and preserve their sacred and utilitarian objects. Second, archaeological evidence pertinent to the fate of objects buried in unsaturated zones-although qualitative in nature and subject to the limitations of arguments by analogy-is meaningful to the public and to the courts who, with some scientists and engineers, are reluctant to rely exclusively on computer-generated predictions of the effects of buried toxic wastes on the environment. Third, the archaeological record issues a warning that our descendants may intrude into our waste disposal sites and that we must therefore take special measures to minimize such entry and, if it occurs, to warn of the dangers by a variety of symbols. And fourth, archaeology provides a record of durable natural and manmade materials that may prove to be suitable for encapsulation of our wastes and from which we can construct warning markers that will last for millenia. For these four reasons

  15. Relative importance of gas-phase diffusive and advective tichloroethene (TCE) fluxes in the unsaturated zone under natural conditions.

    PubMed

    Choi, Jee-Won; Tillman, Fred D; Smith, James A

    2002-07-15

    It was hypothesized that atmospheric pressure changes can induce gas flow in the unsaturated zone to such an extent that the advective flux of organic vapors in unsaturated-zone soil gas can be significant relative to the gas-phase diffusion flux of these organic vapors. To test this hypothesis, a series of field measurements and computer simulations were conducted to simulate and compare diffusion and advection fluxes at a trichloroethene-contaminated field site at Picatinny Arsenal in north-central New Jersey. Moisture content temperature, and soil-gas pressure were measured at multiple depths (including at land surface) and times for three distinct sampling events in August 1996, October 1996, and August 1998. Gas pressures in the unsaturated zone changed significantly over time and followed changes measured in the atmosphere. Gas permeability of the unsaturated zone was estimated using data from a variety of sources, including laboratory gas permeability measurements made on intact soil cores from the site, a field air pump test, and calibration of a gas-flow model to the transient, one-dimensional gas pressure data. The final gas-flow model reproduced small pressure gradients as observed in the field during the three distinct sampling events. The velocities calculated from the gas-flow model were used in transient, one-dimensional transport simulations to quantify advective and diffusive fluxes of TCE vapor from the subsurface to the atmosphere as a function of time for each sampling event. Effective diffusion coefficients used for these simulations were determined from independent laboratory measurements made on intact soil cores collected from the field site. For two of the three sampling events (August 1996 and August 1998), the TCE gas-phase diffusion flux at land surface was significantly greater than the advection flux over the entire sampling period. For the second sampling event (October 1996), the advection flux was frequently larger than the

  16. Simulation of three-dimensional flow of immiscible fluids within and below the unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Faust, Charles R.; Guswa, John H.; Mercer, James W.

    1989-12-01

    This paper presents a two-phase flow model based on a three-dimensional, finite-difference formulation. As three-dimensional simulations can require substantial computer effort, a numerical technique that takes advantage of vector and parallel processing computer architecture is developed. The model is posed in terms of water saturation and nonwetting fluid pressure. It uses three-phase capillary pressure and relative permeability relationships to permit simulation within or below the unsaturated zone. A modified formulation of slice successive overtaxation (an iterative matrix solution technique) is introduced. This technique is designed to use parallel processing capabilities of new computers. The model is applied to immiscible fluid flow at two chemical waste landfills near Niagara Falls, New York. At both sites, denser than water, nonaqueous liquids (NAPLs) are present in the groundwater regimes in relatively large quantities. The model applications address several technical concerns at the two sites, including the effectiveness of clay as a geologic barrier to NAPL migration owing to capillary pressure forces, the three-dimensional aspects of dense NAPL flow, and the sensitivity of NAPL recovery in pumping wells due to various hydrogeologic and fluid properties. The results of the applications show that (1) even under a downward hydraulic gradient, natural differences in capillary pressure relationships for different lithologies can prevent downward migration of NAPL, (2) without any lithologic-capillary barrier, an upward hydraulic gradient induced by a de watering system can prevent downward migration of NAPL, (3) NAPL recovery at wells is sensitive to relative permeability, a relationship that requires field calibration in many settings, and (4) the three-dimensional aspects of two-phase flow and hydrogeologic heterogeneity require explicit treatment in many settings.

  17. Constraining the inferred paleohydrologic evolution of a deep unsaturated zone in the Amargosa Desert

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walvoord, Michelle A.; Stonestrom, David A.; Andraski, Brian J.; Striegl, Robert G.

    2004-01-01

    Natural flow regimes in deep unsaturated zones of arid interfluvial environments are rarely in hydraulic equilibrium with near-surface boundary conditions imposed by present-day plant–soil–atmosphere dynamics. Nevertheless, assessments of water resources and contaminant transport require realistic estimates of gas, water, and solute fluxes under past, present, and projected conditions. Multimillennial transients that are captured in current hydraulic, chemical, and isotopic profiles can be interpreted to constrain alternative scenarios of paleohydrologic evolution following climatic and vegetational shifts from pluvial to arid conditions. However, interpreting profile data with numerical models presents formidable challenges in that boundary conditions must be prescribed throughout the entire Holocene, when we have at most a few decades of actual records. Models of profile development at the Amargosa Desert Research Site include substantial uncertainties from imperfectly known initial and boundary conditions when simulating flow and solute transport over millennial timescales. We show how multiple types of profile data, including matric potentials and porewater concentrations of Cl−, δD, δ18O, can be used in multiphase heat, flow, and transport models to expose and reduce uncertainty in paleohydrologic reconstructions. Results indicate that a dramatic shift in the near-surface water balance occurred approximately 16000 yr ago, but that transitions in precipitation, temperature, and vegetation were not necessarily synchronous. The timing of the hydraulic transition imparts the largest uncertainty to model-predicted contemporary fluxes. In contrast, the uncertainties associated with initial (late Pleistocene) conditions and boundary conditions during the Holocene impart only small uncertainties to model-predicted contemporaneous fluxes.

  18. Effect of surface modification on single-walled carbon nanotube retention and transport in saturated and unsaturated porous media.

    PubMed

    Tian, Yuan; Gao, Bin; Morales, Verónica L; Wang, Yu; Wu, Lei

    2012-11-15

    This work investigated the effect of different surface modification methods, including oxidization, surfactant coating, and humic acid coating, on single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) stability and their mobility in granular porous media under various conditions. Characterization and stability studies demonstrated that the three surface modification methods were all effective in solubilizing and stabilizing the SWNTs in aqueous solutions. Packed sand column experiments showed that although the three surface medication methods showed different effect on the retention and transport of SWNTs in the columns, all the modified SWNTs were highly mobile. Compared with the other two surface modification methods, the humic acid coating method introduced the highest mobility to the SWNTs. While reductions in moisture content in the porous media could promote the retention of the surface modified SWNTs in some sand columns, results from bubble column experiment suggested that only oxidized SWNTs were retention in unsaturated porous media through attachment on air-water interfaces. Other mechanisms such as grain surface attachment and thin-water film straining could also be responsible for the retention of the SWNTs in unsaturated porous media. An advection-dispersion model was successfully applied to simulate the experimental data of surface modified SWNT retention and transport in porous media.

  19. Geostatistical and Stochastic Study of Flow and Transport in the Unsaturated Zone at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Ye, Ming; Pan, Feng; Hu, Xiaolong; Zhu, Jianting

    2007-08-14

    Yucca Mountain has been proposed by the U.S. Department of Energy as the nation’s long-term, permanent geologic repository for spent nuclear fuel or high-level radioactive waste. The potential repository would be located in Yucca Mountain’s unsaturated zone (UZ), which acts as a critical natural barrier delaying arrival of radionuclides to the water table. Since radionuclide transport in groundwater can pose serious threats to human health and the environment, it is important to understand how much and how fast water and radionuclides travel through the UZ to groundwater. The UZ system consists of multiple hydrogeologic units whose hydraulic and geochemical properties exhibit systematic and random spatial variation, or heterogeneity, at multiple scales. Predictions of radionuclide transport under such complicated conditions are uncertain, and the uncertainty complicates decision making and risk analysis. This project aims at using geostatistical and stochastic methods to assess uncertainty of unsaturated flow and radionuclide transport in the UZ at Yucca Mountain. Focus of this study is parameter uncertainty of hydraulic and transport properties of the UZ. The parametric uncertainty arises since limited parameter measurements are unable to deterministically describe spatial variability of the parameters. In this project, matrix porosity, permeability and sorption coefficient of the reactive tracer (neptunium) of the UZ are treated as random variables. Corresponding propagation of parametric uncertainty is quantitatively measured using mean, variance, 5th and 95th percentiles of simulated state variables (e.g., saturation, capillary pressure, percolation flux, and travel time). These statistics are evaluated using a Monte Carlo method, in which a three-dimensional flow and transport model implemented using the TOUGH2 code is executed with multiple parameter realizations of the random model parameters. The project specifically studies uncertainty of unsaturated

  20. Balancing practicality and hydrologic realism: a parsimonious approach for simulating rapid groundwater recharge via unsaturated-zone preferential flow

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mirus, Benjamin B.; Nimmo, J.R.

    2013-01-01

    The impact of preferential flow on recharge and contaminant transport poses a considerable challenge to water-resources management. Typical hydrologic models require extensive site characterization, but can underestimate fluxes when preferential flow is significant. A recently developed source-responsive model incorporates film-flow theory with conservation of mass to estimate unsaturated-zone preferential fluxes with readily available data. The term source-responsive describes the sensitivity of preferential flow in response to water availability at the source of input. We present the first rigorous tests of a parsimonious formulation for simulating water table fluctuations using two case studies, both in arid regions with thick unsaturated zones of fractured volcanic rock. Diffuse flow theory cannot adequately capture the observed water table responses at both sites; the source-responsive model is a viable alternative. We treat the active area fraction of preferential flow paths as a scaled function of water inputs at the land surface then calibrate the macropore density to fit observed water table rises. Unlike previous applications, we allow the characteristic film-flow velocity to vary, reflecting the lag time between source and deep water table responses. Analysis of model performance and parameter sensitivity for the two case studies underscores the importance of identifying thresholds for initiation of film flow in unsaturated rocks, and suggests that this parsimonious approach is potentially of great practical value.

  1. Balancing practicality and hydrologic realism: A parsimonious approach for simulating rapid groundwater recharge via unsaturated-zone preferential flow

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mirus, Benjamin B.; Nimmo, John R.

    2013-03-01

    The impact of preferential flow on recharge and contaminant transport poses a considerable challenge to water-resources management. Typical hydrologic models require extensive site characterization, but can underestimate fluxes when preferential flow is significant. A recently developed source-responsive model incorporates film-flow theory with conservation of mass to estimate unsaturated-zone preferential fluxes with readily available data. The term source-responsive describes the sensitivity of preferential flow in response to water availability at the source of input. We present the first rigorous tests of a parsimonious formulation for simulating water table fluctuations using two case studies, both in arid regions with thick unsaturated zones of fractured volcanic rock. Diffuse flow theory cannot adequately capture the observed water table responses at both sites; the source-responsive model is a viable alternative. We treat the active area fraction of preferential flow paths as a scaled function of water inputs at the land surface then calibrate the macropore density to fit observed water table rises. Unlike previous applications, we allow the characteristic film-flow velocity to vary, reflecting the lag time between source and deep water table responses. Analysis of model performance and parameter sensitivity for the two case studies underscores the importance of identifying thresholds for initiation of film flow in unsaturated rocks, and suggests that this parsimonious approach is potentially of great practical value.

  2. Distribution of gases in the unsaturated zone at a low-level radioactive-waste disposal site near Sheffield, Illinois

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Striegl, Robert G.

    1988-01-01

    The unsaturated zone is a medium that provides pneumatic communication for the movement of gases from wastes buried in landfills to the atmosphere, biota, and groundwater. Gases in unsaturated glacial and eolian deposits near a waste-disposal trench at the low-level radioactive-waste disposal site near Sheffield, Bureau County, Illinois, were identified, and the spatial and temporal distributions of the partial pressures of those gases were determined for the period January 1984 through January 1986. Methods for the collection and analyses of the gases are described, as are geologic and hydrologic characteristics of the unsaturated zone that affect gas transport. The identified gases, which are of natural and of waste origin, include nitrogen, oxygen, and argon, carbon dioxide, methane, propane, butane, tritiated water vapor, 14carbon dioxide, and 222 radon. Concentrations of methane and 14carbon dioxide originated at the waste, as shown by partial-pressure gradients of the gases; 14carbon dioxide partial pressures exceeded natural background partial pressures by factors greater than 1 million at some locations. Variations in partial pressures of oxygen and carbon dioxide were seasonal among piezometers because of increased root and soil-microbe respiration during summer. Variations in methane and 14carbon dioxide partial pressures were apparently related to discrete releases from waste sources at unpredictable intervals of time. No greater than background partial pressures for tritiated water vapor or 222 radon were measured. (USGS)

  3. Radionuclide Coefficients for the BNL Site: For the Saturated and Unsaturated Zones

    SciTech Connect

    Fuhrmann,M.

    1999-02-01

    The partition coefficient (K{sub d}) is defined as the concentration of a species of interest on the solid phase divided by the concentration of that species in the liquid phase, at steady-state. Therefore the lower the K{sub d}, the less sorption takes place. It is a parameter that is readily incorporated in chemical transport models. The K{sub d} approach to the partitioning of contaminants between soil and water in groundwater flow systems, is based on the assumption that sorption reactions are in equilibrium and are reversible. As a contaminant plume advances along flow paths, the movement of the front is retarded (relative to the movement of the groundwater) as a result of transfer of part of the contamination mass to the solid phase. If the input of contaminant mass to the system is discontinued, contaminants will be transferred back to the liquid phase as lower-concentration water flushes through the previously contaminated zone. Several sets of soil/water partition coefficients (K{sub d}) have been measured using BNL site specific soils and groundwater (with tracers added). They were all reported earlier through internal memos or reports. The K{sub d}s obtained for various radionuclides are determined experimentally with soils taken from different locations and depths around site. In each experiment the site specific soil and water taken from that same geoprobe boring were used. Generally tracer radionuclides were used. However, for samples from the BGRR area, water taken from the sump was used for Cs-137 and Sr-90 Kd experiments. Values of K{sub d} in the saturated zone are summarized in Table 1, as ranges and an average. Soil sample identifications, locations, and descriptions are provided in Table 2 and Figure 1. Other experiments, specific to the unsaturated zone at the BGRR, are discussed below. In addition, each data source, including methods, is reproduced in Appendix A, including figures documenting isotherm experiments for the various soil samples

  4. Geohydrology, water quality, and nitrogen geochemistry in the saturated and unsaturated zones beneath various land uses, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, California, 1991-93

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rees, Terry F.; Bright, D.J.; Fay, R.G.; Christensen, A.H.; Anders, R.B.; Baharie, B.S.; Land, M.T.

    1995-01-01

    The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Eastern Municipal Water District, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and the Orange County Water District, has completed a derailed study of the Hemet groundwater basin. The quantity of ground water stored in the basin in August 1992 is estimated to be 327,000 acre-feet. Dissolved-solids concentration ranged from 380 to 700 mg/L (milligrams per liter), except in small areas where the concentration exceeded 1,000 mg/L. Nitrate concentrations exc__*'ded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 10 mg/L nitrate (its nitrogen) in the southeastern part of the basin, in the Domenigoni Valley area, and beneath a dairy in the Diamond Valley area. Seven sites representing selected land uses-residential, tuff grass irrigated with reclaimed water, citrus grove, irrigated farm, poultry farm, and dairy (two sites)--were selected for detailed study of nitrogen geochemistry in the unsaturated zone. For all land uses, nitrate was the dominant nitrogen species in the unsaturated zone. Although nitrate was seasonally present in the shallow unsaturated zone beneath the residential site, it was absent at moderate depths, suggesting negligible migration of nitrate from the surface at this time. Microbial denitrification probably is occurring in the shallow unsaturated zone. High nitrate concentrations in the deep unsaturated zone (greater than 100 ft) suggest either significantly higher nitrate loading at some time in the past, or lateral movement of nitrate at depth. Nitrate also is seasonally present in the shallow unsaturated zone beneath the reclaimed-water site, and (in contrast with the residential site), nitrate is perennially present in the deeper unsaturated zone. Mictobial identification in the unsaturated zone and in the capillary fringe above the water table decreases, the concentrations of nitrate in pore water to below the MCL before reaching the water table. Pore

  5. A study on unsaturated zone characterization and feasibility of soil vapor extraction at a DNAPL-contaminated site in Korea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Man Na Mi; Yeo, In Wook

    2013-04-01

    Groundwater contamination by Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids (DNAPLs), such as trichloroethylene (TCE), have been found in many industrial complexes, which is one of the most pressing problems in contaminant hydrology. As DNAPL is denser than water, it migrates downward through the overlying sediments and water table, and there, it forms a long term source of contamination due to its low solubility in water. DNAPL research site, located in Wonju, Republic of Korea, is contaminated with TCE (trichloroethylene), which was used as solvent from 1988 to 1997, and contaminated top soil dug out up to 3 m deep in 2004 to 2005. However, a high concentration (15 mg/L) of TCE in groundwater exceeding drinking water standard (0.03 mg/L in Korea) is still detected in the source zone area. Recent studies showed that the rise in water table led to an increase in TCE concentration, indicating that TCE sources existed in unsaturated zone above/around the water table. Therefore, the purpose of this study aims to characterize unsaturated zone in terms of air permeability and flow connectivity between the boreholes penetrating unsaturated zone, which will consequently be used for the design of pilot scale soil vapor extraction (SVE) system. Five boreholes with three multi-level screens at the depth of 3.0 to 4.5 m, 5.5 to 7.0, and 8.0 to 12.0 m were installed at the source zone for field tests. Pneumatic tests were performed to determine the air permeability. The average air permeability was measured to be 2.18×10-6 cm2. Pressure-drawdown curve well matched leaky aquifer type, indicating that air leaks through the ground surface. Air flow tests were also carried out to investigate air flow connectivity between multi-level wells. When injecting air through the upper level of the well, vertical air flow toward the surface mainly took place with horizontal flow limited. On the other hand, when injecting air to the lower part, the horizontal air flow was well made through unsaturated

  6. Influence of soil structure on water potential and fluxes in the upper part of the unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuhlmann, A.; Neuweiler, I.; van der Zee, S. E. A. T. M.

    2009-04-01

    As the unsaturated zone is the interface between the subsurface and the atmosphere, it plays an important role in climate modeling. The water budget and fluxes of the unsaturated zone are determined by infiltration, evaporation, redistribution of water and transpiration by plants. The exchange of water with the atmosphere and the uptake of water by plants are highly dynamic processes. To gain a more detailed understanding of the soil water dynamics is of great importance behind the background of climate change which leads to more frequent and extreme weather events. In general unsaturated flow is calculated according to the Richards equation and the exchange of water with the atmosphere is captured by the boundary conditions. Heterogeneity is supposed to have a large impact on the interactions of soil water budget, root uptake and atmosphere. A challenge is that predictions of the water budget are needed for large scales but soil is highly heterogeneous on small scales, which cannot be resolved. Modeling of water fluxes with the resolution of soil heterogeneity would be computationally too demanding and would require knowledge about the soil parameter distribution, which is usually not available. It is a major goal to gain a general understanding of the relationship of heterogeneous structure of soil parameters and large-scale flow processes in the soil. One problem when dealing with heterogeneity is the scarcity of measurements and a corresponding uncertainty about the detailed distribution of soil parameters. Therefore a stochastic approach is often used in which heterogeneity of soil is described by a parameter field with multi-Gaussian distribution. As nature is not Gaussian it is important to look at fields with more realistic structure, such as structures with connected pathways of extreme parameter values. A comparison of flow processes in multi-Gaussian fields with processes in fields with more realistic structure could improve our understanding of the

  7. Use of borehole neutron logs to estimate moisture content in the unsaturated zone of an alluvial aquifer

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Quinones-Aponte, Vicente; Carrasquillo, Ramon A.; Quinones, Ferdinand; Sanchez, A.V.; Smith, H.

    1986-01-01

    he neutron borehole logging tool was calibrated for the determination of moisture content in theunsaturated zone of an alluvial aquifer. A continuous core sample was collected to a depth of 15 ft from the unsaturated zone.Moisture content and other soil properties were determined by standard soil-laboratory techniques. The neutron logs profile was correlated to moisture content. The first correlation included all the data points within the unsaturated zone. A correlation coefficient of 0.72 was obtained. An inspection of the plotted data showed that points at the upper extreme of the fitted line departed significantly. A second correlation was tried eliminating data points 1, 3, and 5 which fell too low in the first trial. An almost perfect correlation coefficient of 0.99 was obtained for the data points that were included in the second trial. The criteria used to select the data points for the second correlation trial was that all these points also fell on the left most limit of the neutronprofile. The neutron logs profile, which is like a type of harmonic curve seems to be affected by an undefined factor. Analyzing the shape of the neutron profile it is inferred that hysteresis is the most probable phenomena that is affecting this moisture content profile. Although correlating neutron logs to moisture content is not a straight forward procedure, with an appropriate analysis, calibrated neutron logging tools can be used to determine the moisture content within the unsaturated zone of aquifers. Moisture content should be determined for calibration purposes at least at every foot of depth. Measurements of other elements or factors which may produce the harmonic curve effect might be included in further studies. 

  8. Transport study in unsaturated porous media by tracer experiment in a dichromatic X-ray experimental device

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Latrille, C.; Néel, M. C.

    2013-05-01

    Estimating contaminant migration in the context of waste disposal and/or environmental remediation of polluted soils requires a complete understanding of the underlying transport processes. In unsaturated porous media, water content is one of the most determining parameters to describe solute migration because it impacts directly on solute pore velocity. However, numerous studies are satisfied with only a global or a partial spatial distribution of water content within the studied porous media. Therefore, distribution of water content in porous media must be precisely achieved to optimize transport processes modeling. Tracer experiments with downward flow were performed on the BEETI experimental device equipped with a sand column. Water content and concentration profiles of tracer (KI) were measured along the column during experiment. The relative dispersion of water content, calculated along the column, gives an idea of influence of this parameter on transport properties. A relationship between pore velocity, Darcy flow velocity and water content is proposed.

  9. HYDROBIOGEOCHEM: A coupled model of HYDROlogic transport and mixed BIOGEOCHEMical kinetic/equilibrium reactions in saturated-unsaturated media

    SciTech Connect

    Yeh, G.T.; Salvage, K.M.; Gwo, J.P.; Zachara, J.M.; Szecsody, J.E.

    1998-07-01

    The computer program HYDROBIOGEOCHEM is a coupled model of HYDROlogic transport and BIOGEOCHEMical kinetic and/or equilibrium reactions in saturated/unsaturated media. HYDROBIOGEOCHEM iteratively solves the two-dimensional transport equations and the ordinary differential and algebraic equations of mixed biogeochemical reactions. The transport equations are solved for all aqueous chemical components and kinetically controlled aqueous species. HYDROBIOGEOCHEM is designed for generic application to reactive transport problems affected by both microbiological and geochemical reactions in subsurface media. Input to the program includes the geometry of the system, the spatial distribution of finite elements and nodes, the properties of the media, the potential chemical and microbial reactions, and the initial and boundary conditions. Output includes the spatial distribution of chemical and microbial concentrations as a function of time and space, and the chemical speciation at user-specified nodes.

  10. Comparisons of diffusive and advective fluxes of gas phase volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in unsaturated zones under natural conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    You, Kehua; Zhan, Hongbin

    2013-02-01

    Diffusive flux is traditionally treated as the dominant mechanism of gas transport in unsaturated zones under natural conditions, and advective flux is usually neglected. However, some researchers have found that pressure-driven and density-driven advective flux may also be significant under certain conditions. This article compares the diffusive, pressure-driven and density-driven advective fluxes of gas phase volatile organic compound (VOCs) in unsaturated zones under various natural conditions. The presence of a less or more permeable layer at ground surface in a layered unsaturated zone is investigated for its impact on the net contribution of advective and diffusive fluxes. Results show although the transient advective flux can be greater than the diffusive flux, under most of the field conditions the net contribution of the advective flux is one to three orders of magnitude less than the diffusive flux, and the influence of the density-driven flux is undetectable. The advective flux contributes comparably with the diffusive flux only when the gas-filled porosity is less than 0.05. The presence of a less permeable layer at ground surface slightly increases the total flux in the underlying layer, while the presence of a more permeable layer at ground surface significantly increases the total flux in it. When the magnitude of water table fluctuation is less than 1 cm, and the period is greater than 0.5 day, the fluctuation of the water table can be simulated by fixing the water table position and setting a fluctuating moving velocity at the water table.

  11. Vinasse application to sugar cane fields. Effect on the unsaturated zone and groundwater at Valle del Cauca (Colombia).

    PubMed

    Ortegón, Gloria Páez; Arboleda, Fernando Muñoz; Candela, Lucila; Tamoh, Karim; Valdes-Abellan, Javier

    2016-01-01

    Extensive application of vinasse, a subproduct from sugar cane plantations for bioethanol production, is currently taking place as a source of nutrients that forms part of agricultural management in different agroclimatic regions. Liquid vinasse composition is characterised by high variability of organic compounds and major ions, acid pH (4.7), high TDS concentration (117,416-599,400mgL(-1)) and elevated EC (14,350-64,099μScm(-1)). A large-scale sugar cane field application is taking place in Valle del Cauca (Colombia), where monitoring of soil, unsaturated zone and the aquifer underneath has been made since 2006 to evaluate possible impacts on three experimental plots. For this assessment, monitoring wells and piezometers were installed to determine groundwater flow and water samples were collected for chemical analysis. In the unsaturated zone, tensiometers were installed at different depths to determine flow patterns, while suction lysimeters were used for water sample chemical determinations. The findings show that in the sandy loam plot (Hacienda Real), the unsaturated zone is characterised by low water retention, showing a high transport capacity, while the other two plots of silty composition presented temporal saturation due to La Niña event (2010-2011). The strong La Niña effect on aquifer recharge which would dilute the infiltrated water during the monitoring period and, on the other hand dissolution of possible precipitated salts bringing them back into solution may occur. A slight increase in the concentration of major ions was observed in groundwater (~5% of TDS), which can be attributed to a combination of factors: vinasse dilution produced by water input and hydrochemical processes along with nutrient removal produced by sugar cane uptake. This fact may make the aquifer vulnerable to contamination.

  12. Stratigraphy of the unsaturated zone and the Snake River Plain aquifer at and near the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, Idaho

    SciTech Connect

    Anderson, S.R.; Liszewski, M.J.

    1997-08-01

    The unsaturated zone and the Snake River Plain aquifer at and near the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) are made up of at least 178 basalt-flow groups, 103 sedimentary interbeds, 6 andesite-flow groups, and 4 rhyolite domes. Stratigraphic units identified in 333 wells in this 890-mile{sup 2} area include 121 basalt-flow groups, 102 sedimentary interbeds, 6 andesite-flow groups, and 1 rhyolite dome. Stratigraphic units were identified and correlated using the data from numerous outcrops and 26 continuous cores and 328 natural-gamma logs available in December 1993. Basalt flows make up about 85% of the volume of deposits underlying the area.

  13. Modeling unsaturated-zone flow at Rainier Mesa as a possible analog for a future Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Gauthier, J.H.

    1998-01-01

    Rainier Mesa is structurally similar to Yucca Mountain, and receives precipitation similar to the estimated long-term average for Yucca Mountain. Tunnels through the unsaturated zone at Rainier Mesa have encountered perched water and, after the perched water was drained, flow in fractures and faults. Although flow observations have been primarily qualitative, Rainier Mesa hydrology is a potential analog for Yucca Mountain hydrology in a wetter climate. In this paper, a groundwater flow model that has been used in the performance assessment of Yucca Mountain--the weeps model--is applied to Rainier Mesa. The intent is to gain insight in both Rainier Mesa and the weeps flow model.

  14. Investigation of groundwater recharge in arid environments through continuous monitoring of water fluxes within the unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kallioras, A.; Reshid, M.; Dietrich, P.; Rausch, R.; Al-Saud, M.; Schuth, C.

    2012-04-01

    For groundwater resources management in arid environments the rate of aquifer replenishment due to groundwater recharge is one of the most important factors and unfortunately also one of the most difficult to derive with sufficient accuracy. In general, the potential evaporation by far exceeds the precipitation limiting groundwater recharge. Unsaturated zone processes play a key role in groundwater recharge as the thickness of the unsaturated zone in arid areas may reach several thenth of meters, compared to millimeters or centimeters of assumed groundwater recharge per year. This indicates the complexity of the problem. Overcoming the field capacity along the infiltration path to initiate downward movement on such a long distance to the groundwater table would require the recharge of tenths or even hundreds of years. Also, precipitation is highly variable in space, time, and intensity and may be followed by hot and dry conditions leading to an alternation of downward and upward movement of water. For this study, field sites in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (located app. 200km SW of Riyadh) were selected that represent typical settings for potential groundwater recharge in arid regions, i.e. sand dune areas and wadi beds. In the field campaign vibro-coring techniques applying direct-push technologies (Geoprobe 7720DT) were used to retrieve undisturbed soil sampling down to depths of about 15 m in the unsaturated zone. The drilled boreholes were consequently used for the installation of specially designed flat cable TDR sensors that provide continuous monitoring of the soil moisture content in high vertical resolution. In addition, temperature sensors were installed to monitor temperature fluctuations in the unsaturated zone. We present data on the analyses of soil samples as well as on the measured water content evolution over time as determined by the TDR flat band cables. Results show, that significant changes in water content occurred within the observation time

  15. Sensitivity Analysis Of Hydrological Parameters In Modeling FlowAnd Transport In The Unsaturated Zone Of Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Zhang, Keni; Wu, Yu-Shu; Houseworth, James E

    2006-02-01

    The unsaturated fractured volcanic deposits at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, USA, have been intensively investigated as a possible repository site for storing high-level radioactive waste. Field studies at the site have revealed that there exist large variabilities in hydrological parameters over the spatial domain of the mountain. Systematic analyses of hydrological parameters using a site-scale three-dimensional unsaturated zone (UZ) flow model have been undertaken. The main objective of the sensitivity analyses was to evaluate the effects of uncertainties in hydrologic parameters on modeled UZ flow and contaminant transport results. Sensitivity analyses were carried out relative to fracture and matrix permeability and capillary strength (van Genuchten {alpha}) through variation of these parameter values by one standard deviation from the base-case values. The parameter variation resulted in eight parameter sets. Modeling results for the eight UZ flow sensitivity cases have been compared with field observed data and simulation results from the base-case model. The effects of parameter uncertainties on the flow fields were evaluated through comparison of results for flow and transport. In general, this study shows that uncertainties in matrix parameters cause larger uncertainty in simulated moisture flux than corresponding uncertainties in fracture properties for unsaturated flow through heterogeneous fractured rock.

  16. Experimental and modeling of the unsaturated transports of S-metolachlor and its metabolites in glaciofluvial vadose zone solids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sidoli, Pauline; Lassabatere, Laurent; Angulo-Jaramillo, Rafael; Baran, Nicole

    2016-07-01

    The transport of pesticides to groundwater is assumed to be impacted by flow processes and geochemical interactions occurring in the vadose zone. In this study, the transport of S-metolachlor (SMOC) and its two metabolites ESA-metolachlor (MESA) and OXA-metolachlor (MOXA) in vadose zone materials of a glaciofluvial aquifer is studied at laboratory scale. Column experiments are used to study the leaching of a conservative tracer (bromide) and SMOC, MESA and MOXA under unsaturated conditions in two lithofacies, a bimodal gravel (Gcm,b) and a sand (S-x). Tracer experiments showed water fractionation into mobile and immobile compartments more pronounced in bimodal gravel columns. In both lithofacies columns, SMOC outflow is delayed (retardation factor > 2) and mass balance reveals depletion (mass balance of 0.59 and 0.77 in bimodal gravel and sand, respectively). However, complete mass elution associated with retardation factors close to unity shows that there is no adsorption of MESA and MOXA in either lithofacies. SMOC transport is characterized by non-equilibrium sorption and sink term in both bimodal gravel and sand columns. Batch experiments carried out using agitation times consistent with column water residence times confirmed a time-dependence of SMOC sorption and high adsorption rates (> 80%) of applied concentrations. Desorption experiments confirm the irreversibility of a major part of the SMOC adsorption onto particles, corresponding to the sink term in columns. In the bimodal gravel column, SMOC adsorption occurs mainly on reactive particles in contact with mobile water because of flow regionalization whereas in the sand column, there is pesticide diffusion to the immobile water. Such results clearly show that sorption mechanisms in the vadose zone solids below the soil are both solute and contact-time-dependent and are impacted by hydrodynamic conditions. The more rapid transport of MESA and MOXA to the aquifer would be controlled mainly by water flow

  17. A fractal Richards’ equation to capture the non-Boltzmann scaling of water transport in unsaturated media

    PubMed Central

    Sun, HongGuang; Meerschaert, Mark M.; Zhang, Yong; Zhu, Jianting; Chen, Wen

    2013-01-01

    The traditional Richards’ equation implies that the wetting front in unsaturated soil follows Boltzmann scaling, with travel distance growing as the square root of time. This study proposes a fractal Richards’ equation (FRE), replacing the integer-order time derivative of water content by a fractal derivative, using a power law ruler in time. FRE solutions exhibit anomalous non-Boltzmann scaling, attributed to the fractal nature of heterogeneous media. Several applications are presented, fitting the FRE to water content curves from previous literature. PMID:23794783

  18. Determination of Transport Parameters in Unsaturated Zone by Tracer Experiment in the Porous Aquifer located at Ljubljana, Slovenia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vidmar, S.; Cencur Curk, B.

    2009-04-01

    The gravel sandy aquifer of Ljubljansko polje is the source of drinking water for nearly 300.000 inhabitants of the Ljubljana city and vicinity. There are two main waterworks: Kleče and Hrastje. The plain area of Ljubljansko polje is a tectonic sink and consists of river sediments that can reach in thickness more than 100 m in the deepest part. The bedrock is the impermeable permocarbonic clayey shale, mudstones and sandstones. The hydraulic conductivity of Ljubljansko polje sediments is very good, from 10-2 m/s in the central part to 3.7•10-3 m/s on the borders of the plain. The average groundwater level is 20 m below surface. A numerical groundwater flow model was established for the wider area of the Ljubljansko polje aquifer. The fore mentioned model was not calibrated on solute transport parameters but only on water levels and this lead to unreliability in the transport model and its predictions of pollution scenarios. The transport model needs to calculate reliable scenarios of pollution dispersion, which can only be achieved with the application of real transport parameters. Human activities in the area of the Hrastje waterworks of Ljubljana threaten to degrade groundwater quality. For this reason several tracer experiments were carried out in the past. Despite a great risk, the experiments were performed on the catchment area of the Hrastje waterworks, inside the second water protection zone. During the experiments the water from Hrastje waterworks was still in use for drinking water supply. The tracer experiments were carried out in order to determine the solute transport parameters such as advection, dispersion and sorption. The research proved that the tracers could be used safely on sensitive area and that the researchers are capable and qualified to carry it out with a highest level of security. Since none of the past tracer experiments, carried out in the same area, gave us any detailed information on pollutant spreading in unsaturated zone a new

  19. Potential for ground-water contamination from movement of wastewater through the unsaturated zone, upper Mojave River Basin, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Umari, A.M.; Martin, P.M.; Schroeder, R.A.; Duell, L.F.; Fay, R.G.

    1993-01-01

    Septic-tank wastewater disposed in 30-foot-deep seepage pits (dry wells) at 46,000 residences is estimated to equal 18 percent of the natural recharge to the sole-source aquifer in the rapidly developing upper Mojave River Basin (Victor Valley) in the high desert northeast of Los Angeles. Vertical rates of movement of the wastewater wetting front through the unsaturated zone at three newly occupied residences ranged from 0.07 to 1.0 foot per day. These rates translate to traveltimes of several months to several years for the wastewater wetting front to reach the water table and imply that wastewater from many disposal systems already has reached the water table, which averages about 150 feet below land surface in the Victor Valley. As wastewater percolates from seepage pits into the adjacent unsaturated zone, the nitrogen present in reduced form is rapidly converted to nitrate. Analyses on soil-core extracts and soil moisturefrom suction lysimeters installed beneath the seepage pits at eight residences showed that nitrate concentrations and nitrate/ chloride ratios generally become lower with increasing depth. The intervals of greatest decline seemed to coincide with finer soil texture or were near the water table. Nitrate-reducing bacteria were tested for and found to be present in soil cores from two residences. Sparse nitrogen-15 data from suction lysimeters at one of these residences, where thenitrate concentration decreased by about one-half at a depth of 200 feet, indicate that the nitrate decline was accompanied by nitrogen-15 enrichment in the residual nitrate with an isotope-separation factor of about -10 permil. Despite the potential input of abundant nitrogen with the domestic wastewater recharge, nitrate concentrations in the area's ground water are generally low. The absence of high nitrate concentrations in the ground water is consistent with the existence of denitrification, a microbial nitrogen-removal mechanism, as wastewater moves through the

  20. Methyl tert-butyl ether degradation in the unsaturated zone and the relation between MTBE in the atmosphere and shallow groundwater

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Baehr, A.L.; Charles, E.G.; Baker, R.J.

    2001-01-01

    Atmospheric methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) concentrations in southern New Jersey generally exceeded concentrations in samples taken from the unsaturated zone. A simple unsaturated zone transport model indicates that MTBE degradation can explain the attenuation with half-lives from a few months to a couple of years. Tert-butyl alcohol (TBA), a possible degradation product of MTBE, was detected in unsaturated-zone samples at concentrations exceeding atmospheric levels at some sites, suggesting the possible conversion of MTBE to TBA. At sites where MTBE was detected in shallow groundwater, the concentration was typically higher than the overlying unsaturated-zone concentration. This observation is consistent with outgassing from the aquifer and combined with the unsaturated-zone attenuation suggests some of the MTBE detections in shallow groundwater are nonatmospheric in origin, coming from leaking tanks, road runoff, or other sources. The identification of sources of MTBE in groundwater and attenuation mechanisms through the hydrologic cycle is critical in developing an understanding of the long-term effect of MTBE releases.

  1. Preliminary 3-D site-scale studies of radioactive colloid transortin the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Moridis, G.J.; Hu, Q.; Wu, Y.-S.; Bodvarsson, G.S.

    2001-09-01

    The U.S: Department of Energy is actively investigating the technical feasibility of permanent disposal of high-level nuclear waste in a repository to be situated in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. In this study we investigate, by means of numerical simulation, the transport of radioactive colloids under ambient conditions from the potential repository horizon to the water table. The site hydrology and the effects of the spatial distribution of hydraulic and transport properties in the Yucca Mountain subsurface are considered. The study of migration and retardation of colloids accounts for the complex processes in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, and includes advection, diffusion, hydrodynamic dispersion, kinetic colloid filtration, colloid straining, and radioactive decay. The results of the study indicate that the most important factors affecting colloid transport are the subsurface geology and site hydrology, i.e., the presence of faults (they dominate and control transport), fractures (the main migration pathways), and the relative distribution of zeolitic and vitric tuffs. The transport of colloids is strongly influenced by their size (as it affects diffusion into the matrix, straining at hydrogeologic unit interfaces, and transport velocity) and by the parameters of the kinetic-filtration model used for the simulations. Arrival times at the water table decrease with an increasing colloid size because of smaller diffusion, increased straining, and higher transport velocities. The importance of diffusion as a retardation mechanism increases with a decreasing colloid size, but appears to be minimal in large colloids.

  2. Hydrologic evaluation methodology for estimating water movement through the unsaturated zone at commercial low-level radioactive waste disposal sites

    SciTech Connect

    Meyer, P.D.; Rockhold, M.L.; Nichols, W.E.; Gee, G.W.

    1996-01-01

    This report identifies key technical issues related to hydrologic assessment of water flow in the unsaturated zone at low-level radioactive waste (LLW) disposal facilities. In addition, a methodology for incorporating these issues in the performance assessment of proposed LLW disposal facilities is identified and evaluated. The issues discussed fall into four areas: estimating the water balance at a site (i.e., infiltration, runoff, water storage, evapotranspiration, and recharge); analyzing the hydrologic performance of engineered components of a facility; evaluating the application of models to the prediction of facility performance; and estimating the uncertainty in predicted facility performance. To illustrate the application of the methodology, two examples are presented. The first example is of a below ground vault located in a humid environment. The second example looks at a shallow land burial facility located in an arid environment. The examples utilize actual site-specific data and realistic facility designs. The two examples illustrate the issues unique to humid and arid sites as well as the issues common to all LLW sites. Strategies for addressing the analytical difficulties arising in any complex hydrologic evaluation of the unsaturated zone are demonstrated.

  3. Origin of caves and other solution openings in the unsaturated ( vadose) zone of carbonate rocks: a model for CO2 generation.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wood, W.W.

    1985-01-01

    The enigma that caves and other solution openings form in carbonate rocks at great depths below land surface rather than forming from the surface downward can be explained by the generation of CO2 within the aquifer system. In the proposed model, CO2 is generated by the oxidation of particulate and/or dissolved organic carbon that is transported from the land surface deep into the unsaturated zone by recharging ground water. The organic material is oxidized to CO2 by aerobic bacteria utilizing oxygen that diffuses in from the atmosphere. Because gas transport in the unsaturated zone is controlled largely by diffusion, steady-state generation of even minute amounts of CO2 deep in the unsaturated zone results in the creation of large concentrations of CO2 at depth as it establishes a concentration gradient to the surface or other sink. -from Author

  4. Geologic and hydrologic controls on the movement of water through a thick, heterogeneous unsaturated zone underlying an intermittent stream in the western Mojave Desert, southern California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Izbicki, John A.

    2002-03-01

    A two-dimensional, axially symmetric, unsaturated flow model was developed to test hypotheses about geologic and hydrologic controls on the movement of water through the thick, heterogeneous, unsaturated zone underlying Oro Grande Wash in the Mojave Desert, California. Heterogeneity within the unsaturated zone was simulated with multiple realizations of subsurface geology estimated on the basis of transition probability/Markov chain statistics. Model results show lateral spreading of water away from the wash was best approximated by realizations that include thin, horizontally extensive clay layers that impede the downward movement of water. There was a wide range in model responses for these realizations, and the movement of water through unsaturated zones containing thin, horizontally extensive clay layers may be more difficult to predict than water movement through unsaturated zones where clay layers are less extensive. For realizations having less extensive clay layers, the range of model responses decreased with time, and model results became increasingly similar as water encountered larger volumes of material.

  5. Geohydrology of the unsaturated zone at the burial site for low-level radioactive waste near Beatty, Nye County, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nichols, W.D.

    1986-01-01

    Low-level radioactive solid waste has been buried in trenches at a site near Beatty, Nevada, since 1962. In 1976, as part of a national program, the U.S. Geological Survey began a study of the geohydrology of the waste burial site to provide a basis for estimating the potential for radionuclide migration in the unsaturated zone beneath the waste burial trenches. Data collected include meteorological information for calibration of a long-term water budget analysis, soil moisture profiles, soil water potentials, and hydraulic properties of representative unsaturated sediment samples to a depth of about 10 m. The waste burial facility is in the northern Amargosa Desert about 170 km northwest of Las Vegas, NV. The region is arid; mean annual precipitation at Lathrop Wells, 30 km south of the site, is only 7.4 cm. The mean daily maximum temperature at Lathrop Wells in July, the hottest month, is 37 C. The site is underlain by poorly stratified deposits of gravelly or silty sand and sandy gravel, and thick beds of clayey sediments. The total thickness of valley fill deposits beneath the site is about 175 m; the unsaturated zone is about 85 m thick. Volumetric soil moisture to depths of 4 m ranges from 4% to 10%, but commonly is in the range from 6% to 8%. Soil water potential, measured to depths of 3 to 10 m, ranged from -10 to -70 bars. Unsaturated hydraulic conductivity computed from laboratory analyses of representative samples ranges from 10 to the -13th power to 10 to the -4th power cm/day. Evaporation studies over a 2-yr period were used to calibrate a numerical procedure for analyzing long-term precipitation data and estimating annual water budgets during the 15-yr period 1962-76. This analysis (1) demonstrated that a potential exists for deep percolation (> 2 m), despite high annual evaporation demands, and (2) provided predictions of the time of yr and the antecedent conditions which enhance the probability of deep percolation. Soil moisture profiles obtained

  6. Influences of the unsaturated, saturated, and riparian zones on the transport of nitrate near the Merced River, California, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Domagalski, Joseph L.; Phillips, Steven P.; Bayless, E. Randall; Zamora, Celia; Kendall, Carol; Wildman, Richard A.; Hering, Janet G.

    2008-06-01

    Transport and transformation of nitrate was evaluated along a 1-km groundwater transect from an almond orchard to the Merced River, California, USA, within an irrigated agricultural setting. As indicated by measurements of pore-water nitrate and modeling using the root zone water quality model, about 63% of the applied nitrogen was transported through a 6.5-m unsaturated zone. Transport times from recharge locations to the edge of a riparian zone ranged from approximately 6 months to greater than 100 years. This allowed for partial denitrification in horizons having mildly reducing conditions, and essentially no denitrification in horizons with oxidizing conditions. Transport times across a 50-100-m-wide riparian zone of less than a year to over 6 years and more strongly reducing conditions resulted in greater rates of denitrification. Isotopic measurements and concentrations of excess N2 in water were indicative of denitrification with the highest rates below the Merced River. Discharge of water and nitrate into the river was dependent on gradients driven by irrigation or river stage. The results suggest that the assimilative capacity for nitrate of the groundwater system, and particularly the riverbed, is limiting the nitrate load to the Merced River in the study area.

  7. Influences of the unsaturated, saturated, and riparian zones on the transport of nitrate near the Merced River, California, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Domagalski, J.L.; Phillips, S.P.; Bayless, E.R.; Zamora, C.; Kendall, C.; Wildman, R.A.; Hering, J.G.

    2008-01-01

    Transport and transformation of nitrate was evaluated along a 1-km groundwater transect from an almond orchard to the Merced River, California, USA, within an irrigated agricultural setting. As indicated by measurements of pore-water nitrate and modeling using the root zone water quality model, about 63% of the applied nitrogen was transported through a 6.5-m unsaturated zone. Transport times from recharge locations to the edge of a riparian zone ranged from approximately 6 months to greater than 100 years. This allowed for partial denitrification in horizons having mildly reducing conditions, and essentially no denitrification in horizons with oxidizing conditions. Transport times across a 50-100-m-wide riparian zone of less than a year to over 6 years and more strongly reducing conditions resulted in greater rates of denitrification. Isotopic measurements and concentrations of excess N2 in water were indicative of denitrification with the highest rates below the Merced River. Discharge of water and nitrate into the river was dependent on gradients driven by irrigation or river stage. The results suggest that the assimilative capacity for nitrate of the groundwater system, and particularly the riverbed, is limiting the nitrate load to the Merced River in the study area. ?? Springer-Verlag 2007.

  8. Colloid transport and retention in unsaturated porous media: effect of colloid input concentration.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Wei; Morales, Verónica L; Cakmak, M Ekrem; Salvucci, Anthony E; Geohring, Larry D; Hay, Anthony G; Parlange, Jean-Yves; Steenhuis, Tammo S

    2010-07-01

    Colloids play an important role in facilitating transport of adsorbed contaminants in soils. Recent studies showed that under saturated conditions colloid retention was a function of its concentration. It is unknown if this is the case under unsaturated conditions. In this study, the effect of colloid concentration on colloid retention was investigated in unsaturated columns by increasing concentrations of colloid influents with varying ionic strength. Colloid retention was observed in situ by bright field microscopy and quantified by measuring colloid breakthrough curves. In our unsaturated experiments, greater input concentrations resulted in increased colloid retention at ionic strength above 0.1 mM, but not in deionized water (i.e., 0 mM ionic strength). Bright field microscope images showed that colloid retention mainly occurred at the solid-water interface and wedge-shaped air-water-solid interfaces, whereas the retention at the grain-grain contacts was minor. Some colloids at the air-water-solid interfaces were rotating and oscillating and thus trapped. Computational hydrodynamic simulation confirmed that the wedge-shaped air-water-solid interface could form a "hydrodynamic trap" by retaining colloids in its low velocity vortices. Direct visualization also revealed that colloids once retained acted as new retention sites for other suspended colloids at ionic strength greater than 0.1 mM and thereby could explain the greater retention with increased input concentrations. Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (DLVO) energy calculations support this concept. Finally, the results of unsaturated experiments were in agreement with limited saturated experiments under otherwise the same conditions.

  9. Effectiveness of geoelectrical resistivity monitoring for estimation of moisture changes in the unsaturated zone of an embankment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Takakura, S.; Yoshioka, M.; Ishizawa, T.; Sakai, N.; Uchida, Y.

    2012-12-01

    For prevention of disastrous slope failures, it is important to be able to monitor changes in water content within a slope in both time and space, because permeating water reduces the strength of the foundation of the slope and increases the likelihood of landslides and rock collapses. Geoelectrical monitoring using the DC resistivity method is considered to be applicable to estimating moisture changes in the unsaturated zone of a slope. In order to confirm it, we conducted the experiment of geoelectrical monitoring within the slope of an experimental embankment. Thirty-seven electrodes were placed at 0.5 m intervals along an 18-m long monitoring line that crosses the 12-m long slope. The volumetric water content and temperature have been measured at two depths of 0.2 and 0.5 m at two places along the slope. The meteorological observation by the Japan Meteorological Agency has performed at the place about 8 km away from the embankment, and our original meteorological observation has been carried out at the embankment since December 2011. Using dipole-dipole and Wenner electrode arrays, resistivity data have been collected nearly every month since February 2011. The results clearly show seasonal changes in the resistivity structure of the embankment, with resistivity becoming low in the summer wet season and high in the winter dry season. This seasonal resistivity change corresponds mainly to changes in temperature. The change in temperature-compensated resistivity is inversely proportional to the change in volumetric water content. This means that changes in water content in the embankment can be monitored by geoelectrical monitoring in conjunction with temperature correction. We also conducted continuous geoelectrical measurements for a two-week period that included an episode of heavy rain. A sudden change of the volumetric water content near the surface of the slope accompanying the rain can be detected by the resistivity change. It seems that the geoelectrical

  10. Balancing practicality and hydrologic realism: Insights from applications of a parsimonious model of unsaturated-zone preferential flow

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mirus, B. B.; Perkins, K. S.; Nimmo, J. R.

    2011-12-01

    Simple assessments are often needed to inform local land-management decisions. Preferential flow, a crucial process in many land-management decisions, presents a considerable challenge to the parameterization and evaluation of commonly used hydrologic models. Traditional unsaturated flow theory (i.e., Richards equation) does not accurately represent the physics of preferential flow and often underestimates the arrival time and magnitude of fluxes when applied in situations where preferential flow is important. Another shortcoming of traditional modeling approaches is the considerable data required to characterize the distribution of subsurface hydraulic properties. A source-responsive model has been developed based on film-flow theory to provide more realistic approximations of unsaturated-zone preferential flow when limited data and site characterization are available. The term source-responsive is used to describe the sensitivity of preferential flow to changing conditions at the source of water input, which are typically better quantified than hydraulic properties. We present applications of this parsimonious model for sites in Idaho and Nevada with heterogeneous vadose zones (40 m and 1000 m in thickness, respectively) where radionuclide contamination poses a threat to groundwater quality. Despite differences in input data for each application, results from both applications provide reasonable flux estimates, which are useful for characterizing worst-case scenarios for advective transport of conservative contaminants. We contrast the results for the two applications in terms of the data employed for each and discuss the advantages of the model parameterization, which relies heavily on the quantity and timing of net infiltration. There are several opportunities for improvements in model performance, but these involve greater model complexity with a corresponding increase in free parameters and data requirements. The tradeoff between hydrologic realism and

  11. Occurrence of Agricultural Chemicals in Shallow Ground Water and the Unsaturated Zone, Northeast Nebraska Glacial Till, 2002-04

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stanton, Jennifer S.; Steele, Gregory V.; Vogel, Jason R.

    2007-01-01

    Agricultural chemicals applied at the land surface in northeast Nebraska can move downward, past the crop root zone, to ground water. Because agricultural chemicals applied at the land surface are more likely to be observed in the shallowest part of an aquifer, an assessment of shallow ground-water and unsaturated zone quality in the northeast Nebraska glacial till was completed between 2002 and 2004. Ground-water samples were collected at the first occurrence of ground water or just below the water table at 32 sites located in areas likely affected by agriculture. Four of the 32 sites were situated along a ground-water flow path with its downgradient end next to Maple Creek. Twenty-eight sites were installed immediately adjacent to agricultural fields throughout the glacial-till area. In addition to those 32 sites, two sites were installed in pastures to represent ground-water conditions in a non-cropland setting. Ground-water samples were analyzed for physical properties and concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus compounds, selected pesticides and pesticide degradates, dissolved solids, major ions, trace elements, and dissolved organic carbon. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) concentrations were analyzed at about 70 percent of the monitoring wells to estimate the residence time of ground water. Borehole-core samples were collected from 28 of the well boreholes. Sediment in the unsaturated zone was analyzed for nitrate, chloride, and ammonia concentrations. Analytical results indicated that the agricultural chemicals most often detected during this study were nitrates and herbicides. Nitrate as nitrogen (nitrate-N) concentrations (2003 median 9.53 milligrams per liter) indicated that human activity has affected the water quality of recently recharged ground water in approximately two-thirds of the wells near corn and soybean fields. The principal pesticide compounds that were detected reflect the most-used pesticides in the area and

  12. Colloid Transport in Unsaturated Porous Media: 3D Visualization Using Synchrotron X-Ray Microtomography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brueck, C. L.; Meisenheimer, D.; Wildenschild, D.

    2015-12-01

    Understanding the mechanisms controlling colloid transport and deposition in the vadose zone is an important step in protecting our water resources. Not only may these particles themselves be undesirable contaminants, but they can also aid in the transport of smaller, molecular-scale contaminants by chemical attachment. In this research, we examined the influence that air-water interfaces (AWI) and air-water-solid contact lines (AWS) have on colloid deposition and mobilization in three-dimensional systems. We used x-ray microtomography to visualize the transport of hydrophobic colloids as they move through a partially saturated glass bead pack. Drainage and imbibition experiments were conducted using syringe pumps to control the flow of a colloid suspension through the porous media at 0.6 mL/hr. The high ionic strength fluid was adjusted to a pH of 9.5 and a concentration of 1.0 mol/L KI. During the drainage and imbibition, the flow was periodically halted and allowed to equilibrate before collecting the microtomography scans. Dopants were used to enhance the contrast between the four phases (water, air, beads, and colloids), including potassium iodide dissolved in the fluid, and an outer layer of silver coating the colloids. We hypothesized that AWIs and AWSs will scour and mobilize a significant percentage of colloids, and therefore reduce the concentration of colloids along the vertical profile of the column. The concentration of potassium iodide, and thus the ionic strength, necessary for adequate image segmentation was also explored in separate experiments so that the influence of ionic strength on colloid deposition and mobilization can be studied.

  13. Water movement through a thick unsaturated zone underlying an intermittent stream in the western Mojave Desert, southern California, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Izbicki, J.A.; Radyk, J.; Michel, R.L.

    2000-01-01

    Previous studies indicated that small amounts of recharge occur as infiltration of intermittent streamflow in washes in the upper Mojave River basin, in the western Mojave Desert, near Victorville, California. These washes flow only a few days each year after large storms. To reach the water table, water must pass through an unsaturated zone that is more than 130 m thick. Results of this study, done in 1994-1998, showy that infiltration to depths below the root zone did not occur at control sites away from the wash. At these sites, volumetric water contents were as low as 0.01 and water potentials (measured as the combination of solute and matric potentials using a water activity meter) were as negative as -14,000 kPa. Water-vapor movement was controlled by highly negative solute potentials associated with the accumulation of soluble salts in the unsaturated zone. Highly negative matric potentials above and below the zone of maximum solute accumulation result from movement of water vapor toward the highly negative solute potentials at that depth. The ??18O and ??D (delta oxygen-18 and delta deuterium) isotopic composition of water in coarse-grained deposits plots along a Rayleigh distillation line consistent with removal of water in coarse-grained layers by vapor transport. Beneath Oro Grande Wash, water moved to depths below the root zone and, presumably, to the water table about 130 m below land surface. Underneath Oro Grande Wash, volumetric water contents were as high as 0.27 and water potentials (measured as matric potential using tensiometers) were between -1.8 and -50 kPa. On the basis of tritium data, water requires at least 180-260 years to infiltrate to the water table. Clay layers impede the downward movement of water. Seasonal changes in water vapor composition underneath the wash are consistent with the rapid infiltration of a small quantity of water to great depths and subsequent equilibration of vapor with water in the surrounding material. It may be

  14. Unsaturated zone characterization of the Area 5 Radioactive Waste Management Site

    SciTech Connect

    Daffern, D.D.; Ebeling, L.L.; Cox, W.B.

    1990-11-01

    Six undisturbed soil samples of near-surface sediments were collected from the Nevada Test Site (NTS) Radioactive Waste Management Site (RWMS) for physical and hydrologic characterization in the laboratory. Of these samples, three were obtained from the wall of Pit No. 3 and three from the floor. Physical properties measured on all samples were dry bulk density ({rho}{sub b}) and solid particle density ({rho}{sub s}). Average dry bulk densities for the wall and floor samples were 1.47 g/cm{sup 3} and 1.45 g/cm{sup 3}, while solid particle densities were 2.34 g/cc and 2.53 g/cc, respectively. Based on these values, the average porosity for the wall samples was computed to be 0.372 and for the floor samples, 0.427. Moisture content-pressure head relations for each sample were determined using the pressure plate method. The moisture characteristic curves generated from these data have shapes similar to those of a silty sand, with volumetric moisture contents of less than 7% at 33.4 bars. Unsaturated hydraulic conductivity was estimated using the computer model of van Genuchten (1978), which is based on the theoretical developments of Mualem (1976). Results indicate that at near-surface in situ moisture contents, the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity for both wall and floor samples is less than 10{sup {minus}8} cm/sec. 15 refs., 12 figs., 4 tabs.

  15. Effect of Hydrofracking Fluid on Colloid Transport in the Unsaturated Zone

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Hydraulic fracturing is expanding rapidly in the US to meet increasing energy demand and requires high volumes of hydrofracking fluid to displace natural gas from shale. Accidental spills and deliberate land application of hydrofracking fluids, which return to the surface during hydrofracking, are common causes of environmental contamination. Since the chemistry of hydrofracking fluids favors transport of colloids and mineral particles through rock cracks, it may also facilitate transport of in situ colloids and associated pollutants in unsaturated soils. We investigated this by subsequently injecting deionized water and flowback fluid at increasing flow rates into unsaturated sand columns containing colloids. Colloid retention and mobilization was measured in the column effluent and visualized in situ with bright field microscopy. While <5% of initial colloids were released by flushing with deionized water, 32–36% were released by flushing with flowback fluid in two distinct breakthrough peaks. These peaks resulted from 1) surface tension reduction and steric repulsion and 2) slow kinetic disaggregation of colloid flocs. Increasing the flow rate of the flowback fluid mobilized an additional 36% of colloids, due to the expansion of water filled pore space. This study suggests that hydrofracking fluid may also indirectly contaminate groundwater by remobilizing existing colloidal pollutants. PMID:24905470

  16. Effect of hydrofracking fluid on colloid transport in the unsaturated zone.

    PubMed

    Sang, Wenjing; Stoof, Cathelijne R; Zhang, Wei; Morales, Verónica L; Gao, Bin; Kay, Robert W; Liu, Lin; Zhang, Yalei; Steenhuis, Tammo S

    2014-07-15

    Hydraulic fracturing is expanding rapidly in the US to meet increasing energy demand and requires high volumes of hydrofracking fluid to displace natural gas from shale. Accidental spills and deliberate land application of hydrofracking fluids, which return to the surface during hydrofracking, are common causes of environmental contamination. Since the chemistry of hydrofracking fluids favors transport of colloids and mineral particles through rock cracks, it may also facilitate transport of in situ colloids and associated pollutants in unsaturated soils. We investigated this by subsequently injecting deionized water and flowback fluid at increasing flow rates into unsaturated sand columns containing colloids. Colloid retention and mobilization was measured in the column effluent and visualized in situ with bright field microscopy. While <5% of initial colloids were released by flushing with deionized water, 32-36% were released by flushing with flowback fluid in two distinct breakthrough peaks. These peaks resulted from 1) surface tension reduction and steric repulsion and 2) slow kinetic disaggregation of colloid flocs. Increasing the flow rate of the flowback fluid mobilized an additional 36% of colloids, due to the expansion of water filled pore space. This study suggests that hydrofracking fluid may also indirectly contaminate groundwater by remobilizing existing colloidal pollutants.

  17. Using Local Second Gradient Model and Shear Strain Localisation to Model the Excavation Damaged Zone in Unsaturated Claystone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pardoen, Benoît; Levasseur, Séverine; Collin, Frédéric

    2015-03-01

    The drilling of galleries induces damage propagation in the surrounding medium and creates, around them, the excavation damaged zone (EDZ). The prediction of the extension and fracture structure of this zone remains a major issue, especially in the context of underground nuclear waste storage. Experimental studies on geomaterials indicate that localised deformation in shear band mode usually appears prior to fractures. Thus, the excavation damaged zone can be modelled by considering the development of shear strain localisation bands. In the classical finite element framework, strain localisation suffers a mesh-dependency problem. Therefore, an enhanced model with a regularisation method is required to correctly model the strain localisation behaviour. Among the existing methods, we choose the coupled local second gradient model. We extend it to unsaturated conditions and we include the solid grain compressibility. Furthermore, air ventilation inside underground galleries engenders a rock-atmosphere interaction that could influence the damaged zone. This interaction has to be investigated in order to predict the damaged zone behaviour. Finally, a hydro-mechanical modelling of a gallery excavation in claystone is presented and leads to a fairly good representation of the EDZ. The main objectives of this study are to model the fractures by considering shear strain localisation bands, and to investigate if an isotropic model accurately reproduces the in situ measurements. The numerical results provide information about the damaged zone extension, structure and behaviour that are in very good agreement with in situ measurements and observations. For instance, the strain localisation bands that develop in chevron pattern during the excavation and rock desaturation, due to air ventilation, are observed close to the gallery.

  18. Field-scale sulfur hexafluoride tracer experiment to understand long distance gas transport in the deep unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walvoord, Michelle Ann; Andraski, Brian; Green, Christopher T.; Stonestrom, David A.; Striegl, Robert G.

    2014-01-01

    A natural gradient SF6 tracer experiment provided an unprecedented evaluation of long distance gas transport in the deep unsaturated zone (UZ) under controlled (known) conditions. The field-scale gas tracer test in the 110-m-thick UZ was conducted at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Amargosa Desert Research Site (ADRS) in southwestern Nevada. A history of anomalous (theoretically unexpected) contaminant gas transport observed at the ADRS, next to the first commercial low-level radioactive waste disposal facility in the United States, provided motivation for the SF6 tracer study. Tracer was injected into a deep UZ borehole at depths of 15 and 48 m, and plume migration was observed in a monitoring borehole 9 m away at various depths (0.5–109 m) over the course of 1 yr. Tracer results yielded useful information about gas transport as applicable to the spatial scales of interest for off-site contaminant transport in arid unsaturated zones. Modeling gas diffusion with standard empirical expressions reasonably explained SF6 plume migration, but tended to underpredict peak concentrations for the field-scale experiment given previously determined porosity information. Despite some discrepancies between observations and model results, rapid SF6 gas transport commensurate with previous contaminant migration was not observed. The results provide ancillary support for the concept that apparent anomalies in historic transport behavior at the ADRS are the result of factors other than nonreactive gas transport properties or processes currently in effect in the undisturbed UZ.

  19. Unsaturated-zone fast-path flow calculations for Yucca Mountain groundwater travel time analyses (GWTT-94)

    SciTech Connect

    Arnold, B.W.; Altman, S.J.; Robey, T.H.

    1995-08-01

    Evaluation of groundwater travel time (GWTT) is required as part of the investigation of the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a potential high-level nuclear-waste repository site. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission`s GWTT regulation is considered to be a measure of the intrinsic ability of the site to contain radionuclide releases from the repository. The work reported here is the first step in a program to provide an estimate of GWTT at the Yucca Mountain site in support of the DOE`s Technical Site Suitability and as a component of a license application. Preliminary estimation of the GWTT distribution in the unsaturated zone was accomplished using a numerical model of the physical processes of groundwater flow in the fractured, porous medium of the bedrock. Based on prior investigations of groundwater flow at the site, fractures are thought to provide the fastest paths for groundwater flow; conditions that lead to flow in fractures were investigated and simulated. Uncertainty in the geologic interpretation of Yucca Mountain was incorporated through the use of geostatistical simulations, while variability of hydrogeologic parameters within each unit was accounted for by the random sampling of parameter probability density functions. The composite-porosity formulation of groundwater flow was employed to simulate flow in both the matrix and fracture domains. In this conceptualization, the occurrence of locally saturated conditions within the unsaturated zone is responsible for the initiation of fast-path flow through fractures. The results of the GWTT-94 study show that heterogeneity in the hydraulic properties of the model domain is an important factor in simulating local regions of high groundwater saturation. Capillary-pressure conditions at the surface boundary influence the extent of the local saturation simulated.

  20. Characterization of unsaturated zone hydrogeologic units using matrix properties and depositional history in a complex volcanic environment

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Flint, L.E.; Buesch, D.C.; Flint, A.L.

    2006-01-01

    Characterization of the physical and unsaturated hydrologic properties of subsurface materials is necessary to calculate flow and transport for land use practices and to evaluate subsurface processes such as perched water or lateral diversion of water, which are influenced by features such as faults, fractures, and abrupt changes in lithology. Input for numerical flow models typically includes parameters that describe hydrologic properties and the initial and boundary conditions for all materials in the unsaturated zone, such as bulk density, porosity, and particle density, saturated hydraulic conductivity, moisture-retention characteristics, and field water content. We describe an approach for systematically evaluating the site features that contribute to water flow, using physical and hydraulic data collected at the laboratory scale, to provide a representative set of physical and hydraulic parameters for numerically calculating flow of water through the materials at a site. An example case study from analyses done for the heterogeneous, layered, volcanic rocks at Yucca Mountain is presented, but the general approach for parameterization could be applied at any site where depositional processes follow deterministic patterns. Hydrogeologic units at this site were defined using (i) a database developed from 5320 rock samples collected from the coring of 23 shallow (<100 m) and 10 deep (500-1000 m) boreholes, (ii) lithostratigraphic boundaries and corresponding relations to porosity, (iii) transition zones with pronounced changes in properties over short vertical distances, (iv) characterization of the influence of mineral alteration on hydrologic properties such as permeability and moisture-retention characteristics, and (v) a statistical analysis to evaluate where boundaries should be adjusted to minimize the variance within layers. Model parameters developed in this study, and the relation of flow properties to porosity, can be used to produce detailed and

  1. Evaluation of a horizontal permeable reactive barrier for preventing upward diffusion of volatile organic compounds through the unsaturated zone.

    PubMed

    Mahmoodlu, Mojtaba G; Hassanizadeh, S Majid; Hartog, Niels; Raoof, Amir; van Genuchten, Martinus Th

    2015-11-01

    Permeable reactive barriers are commonly used to treat contaminant plumes in the saturated zone. However, no known applications of horizontal permeable reactive barriers (HPRBs) exist for oxidizing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the unsaturated zone. In this study, laboratory column experiments were carried out to investigate the ability of a HPRB containing solid potassium permanganate, to oxidize the vapors of trichloroethylene (TCE), toluene, and ethanol migrating upward from a contaminated saturated zone. Results revealed that an increase in initial water saturation and HPRB thickness strongly affected the removal efficiency of the HPRB. Installing the HPRB relatively close to the water table was more effective due to the high background water content and enhanced diffusion of protons and/or hydroxides away from the HPRB. Inserting the HPRB far above the water table caused rapid changes in pH within the HPRB, leading to lower oxidation rates. The pH effects were included in a reactive transport model, which successfully simulated the TCE and toluene experimental observations. Simulations for ethanol were not affected by pH due to condensation of water during ethanol oxidation, which caused some dilution in the HRPB.

  2. A mathematically continuous model for describing the hydraulic properties of unsaturated porous media over the entire range of matric suctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Yunquan; Ma, Jinzhu; Guan, Huade

    2016-10-01

    Recent studies suggest that water flow in unsaturated porous media extends beyond the commonly known capillary-driven regime into the film regime. There is a need to develop the unsaturated hydraulic properties over the entire range of matric suctions to capture both flow regimes. In this study, Fredlund and Xing model is modified to represent the soil water retention curve from saturation to oven dryness. The new function is mathematically differentiable. The hydraulic conductivity function is composed of the capillary-driven term and film associated term, which is easy to apply. The new model has capacity to represent the bimodal hydraulic properties that are often present in structured and aggregated soils. Testing with the published data of sixteen soils shows good performance for both the water retention curve and the hydraulic conductivity function. For most soils, the new model results in a better agreement with observations than a published model. The result also indicates a possibility to improve the previously published film-associated hydraulic conductivity function.

  3. Limits of applicability of the Richards equation from scaling capillary, gravity and viscous forces in unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Or, D.

    2006-12-01

    Interplay between capillary, gravity and viscous forces in unsaturated porous media gives rise to a range of complex flow phenomena that affect wetting front morphology, stability and dynamics (intermittency) of drainage. Different fluid distributions for similar average phase content may affect macroscopic transport properties of the unsaturated medium. Several unifying concepts emerge from scaling behavior in which gravitational force in excess of capillary pinning force scales linearly with the viscous force. The result is recast as a dimensionless generalized Bond number (difference between capillary and Bond number) that provides excellent predictive capabilities of wetting and drying front morphology. Evidence supports the generality of such scaling relationships for a wide range of flow regimes and drainage front morphologies. Based on limited experimental observations, the scaling relationships may define conditions for onset of unstable flows leading to enhanced liquid and gas entrapment, and provide a basis for delineation of the limits of applicability of the Richards equation for a certain range of generalized Bond number where capillary, gravity and viscous forces exert similar influences.

  4. Annual report on monitoring of the unsaturated zone and recharge areas at INEL to the state of Idaho INEL Oversight Committee

    SciTech Connect

    King, B.; Bloomsburg, G.; Horn, D.; Liou, J.; Finnie, J.

    1992-12-31

    During the early years of the INEL, the USGS conducted extensive studies (sitewide drilling program) of the geology and hydrology of the area collecting varied data over the years. The unsaturated zone has not received much attention until recently. The studies that have been done are a result of problems or concerns arising from liquid radioactive waste disposal. The TRA facility has the most information published about its waste disposal activities. The ICPP has less data about the unsaturated zone due to the fact that most waste water disposal has been to a well. Little is known about the effect of waste water disposal at the NRF on the unsaturated zone. Essentially no information was found about waste disposal activities at other facilities, primarily because there does not appear to be any reported problems associated with waste water disposal at these locations. The RWMC has received much attention in the last few years as the result of being priority No. 1 in the superfund clean up of the INEL. A considerable amount of data are available describing the unsaturated zone at the RWMC. These data have been collected to field calibrate a radionuclide migration model for the RWMC.

  5. Annual report on monitoring of the unsaturated zone and recharge areas at INEL to the state of Idaho INEL Oversight Committee

    SciTech Connect

    King, B.; Bloomsburg, G.; Horn, D.; Liou, J.; Finnie, J.

    1992-01-01

    During the early years of the INEL, the USGS conducted extensive studies (sitewide drilling program) of the geology and hydrology of the area collecting varied data over the years. The unsaturated zone has not received much attention until recently. The studies that have been done are a result of problems or concerns arising from liquid radioactive waste disposal. The TRA facility has the most information published about its waste disposal activities. The ICPP has less data about the unsaturated zone due to the fact that most waste water disposal has been to a well. Little is known about the effect of waste water disposal at the NRF on the unsaturated zone. Essentially no information was found about waste disposal activities at other facilities, primarily because there does not appear to be any reported problems associated with waste water disposal at these locations. The RWMC has received much attention in the last few years as the result of being priority No. 1 in the superfund clean up of the INEL. A considerable amount of data are available describing the unsaturated zone at the RWMC. These data have been collected to field calibrate a radionuclide migration model for the RWMC.

  6. PRZM-3, A MODEL FOR PREDICTING PESTICIDE AND NITROGEN FATE IN THE CROP ROOT AND UNSATURATED SOIL ZONES: USER'S MANUAL FOR RELEASE 3.12.2

    EPA Science Inventory

    This publication contains documentation for the PRZM-3 model. PRZM-3 is the most recent version of a modeling system that links two subordinate models, PRZM and VADOFT, in order to predict pesticide transport and transformation down through the crop root and unsaturated soil zone...

  7. Field tracer investigation of unsaturated zone flow paths and mechanisms in agricultural soils of northwestern Mississippi, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Perkins, K.S.; Nimmo, J.R.; Rose, C.E.; Coupe, R.H.

    2011-01-01

    In many farmed areas, intensive application of agricultural chemicals and withdrawal of groundwater for irrigation have led to water quality and supply issues. Unsaturated-zone processes, including preferential flow, play a major role in these effects but are not well understood. In the Bogue Phalia basin, an intensely agricultural area in the Delta region of northwestern Mississippi, the fine-textured soils often exhibit surface ponding and runoff after irrigation and rainfall as well as extensive surface cracking during prolonged dry periods. Fields are typically land-formed to promote surface flow into drainage ditches and streams that feed into larger river ecosystems. Downward flow of water below the root zone is considered minimal; regional groundwater models predict only 5% or less of precipitation recharges the heavily used alluvial aquifer. In this study transport mechanisms within and below the root zone of a fallow soybean field were assessed by performing a 2-m ring infiltration test with tracers and subsurface monitoring instruments. Seven months after tracer application, 48 continuous cores were collected for tracer extraction to define the extent of water movement and quantify preferential flow using a mass-balance approach. Vertical water movement was rapid below the pond indicating the importance of vertical preferential flow paths in the shallow unsaturated zone, especially to depths where agricultural disturbance occurs. Lateral flow of water at shallow depths was extensive and spatially non-uniform, reaching up to 10. m from the pond within 2. months. Within 1. month, the wetting front reached a textural boundary at 4-5. m between the fine-textured soil and sandy alluvium, now a potential capillary barrier which, prior to extensive irrigation withdrawals, was below the water table. Within 10. weeks, tracer was detectable at the water table which is presently about 12. m below land surface. Results indicate that 43% of percolation may be through

  8. Design of an intermediate-scale experiment to validate unsaturated- zone transport models

    SciTech Connect

    Siegel, M.D.; Hopkins, P.L.; Glass, R.J.; Ward, D.B.

    1991-12-18

    An intermediate-scale experiment is being carried out to evaluate instrumentation and models that might be used for transport-model validation for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project. The experimental test bed is a 6-m high {times} 3-m diameter caisson filled with quartz sand with a sorbing layer at an intermediate depth. The experiment involves the detection and prediction of the migration of fluid and tracers through an unsaturated porous medium. Pre-test design requires estimation of physical properties of the porous medium such as the relative permeability, saturation/pressure relations, porosity, and saturated hydraulic conductivity as well as geochemical properties such as surface complexation constants and empircial K{sub d}`S. The pre-test characterization data will be used as input to several computer codes to predict the fluid flow and tracer migration. These include a coupled chemical-reaction/transport model, a stochastic model, and a deterministic model using retardation factors. The calculations will be completed prior to elution of the tracers, providing a basis for validation by comparing the predictions to observed moisture and tracer behavior.

  9. Coordinatively Unsaturated Lanthanide(III) Helicates: Luminescence Sensors for Adenosine Monophosphate in Aqueous Media.

    PubMed

    Sahoo, Jashobanta; Arunachalam, Rajendran; Subramanian, Palani S; Suresh, Eringathodi; Valkonen, Arto; Rissanen, Kari; Albrecht, Markus

    2016-08-08

    Coordinatively unsaturated double-stranded helicates [(H2 L)2 Eu2 (NO3 )2 (H2 O)4 ](NO3 )4 , [(H2 L)2 Tb2 (H2 O)6 ](NO3 )6 , and [(H2 L)2 Tb2 (H2 O)6 ]Cl6 (H2 L=butanedioicacid-1,4-bis[2-(2-pyridinylmethylene)hydrazide]) are easily obtained by self-assembly from the ligand and the corresponding lanthanide(III) salts. The complexes are characterized by X-ray crystallography showing the helical arrangement of the ligands. Co-ligands at the metal ions can be easily substituted by appropriate anions. A specific luminescence response of AMP in presence of ADP, ATP, and other anions is observed. Specificity is assigned to the perfect size match of AMP to bridge the two metal centers and to replace quenching co-ligands in the coordination sphere.

  10. Geohydrology of the unsaturated zone at the burial site for low-level radioactive waste near Beatty, Nye County, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nichols, William D.

    1987-01-01

    Low-level radioactive solid waste has been buried in trenches at a site near Beatty, Nev., since 1962. In 1976, as part of a national program, the U.S. Geological Survey began a study of the geohydrology of the waste-burial site to provide a basis for estimating the potential for radionuclide migration in the unsaturated zone beneath the waste-burial trenches. Data collected include meteorological information for calibration of a long-term water-budget analysis, soil-moisture profiles, soil-water potentials, and hydraulic properties of representative unsaturated sediment samples to a depth of about 10 meters (m). The waste-burial facility is in the northern Amargosa Desert about 170 kilometers (km) northwest of Las Vegas, Nevo The region is arid; mean annual precipitation at Lathrop Wells, 30 km south of the site, is only 7.4 centimeters (cm). The mean daily maximum temperature at Lathrop Wells in July, the hottest month, is 37 ?C. The site is underlain by poorly stratified deposits of gravelly or silty sand and sandy gravel, and thick beds of clayey sediments. The total thickness of valley-fill deposits beneath the site is about 175 m; the unsaturated zone is about 85 m thick. Volumetric soil moisture to depths of 4 m ranges from 4 to 10 percent but commonly is in the range of 6 to 8 percent. Soil-water potential, measured to depths of 3 to 10 m, ranged from -10 to -70 bars. Unsaturated hydraulic conductivity computed from laboratory analyses of representative samples ranges from 10 -13 to 10 -14 centimeters per day (cm/d). Evaporation studies over a 2-year (yr) period were used to calibrate a numerical procedure for analyzing long-term precipitation data and estimating annual water budgets during the 15-yr period 1962-76. This analysis (1) demonstrated that a potential exists for deep percolation (greater than 2 m), despite high annual evaporation demands, and (2) provided predictions of the time of year and the antecedent conditions that enhance the probability

  11. Accounting for parameter correlation in the stochastic estimation of unsaturated zone hydrological properties from ground-penetrating radar data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scholer, Marie; Irving, James; Holliger, Klaus

    2010-05-01

    Geophysical methods such as ground-penetrating radar (GPR), when collected in a time-lapse fashion during an infiltration experiment, can provide valuable information on the hydrological properties of the unsaturated zone. In particular, the stochastic inversion of such data has been shown in a number of studies to provide a significant reduction in uncertainty regarding the van Genuchten parameters describing soil water retention characteristics. In all previous work on this topic, the van Genuchten parameters were assumed a priori to be uncorrelated in the inversion procedure. However, a wide body of evidence indicates that (i) these parameters are in reality strongly correlated, and (ii) parameter covariances can be effectively estimated using pedotransfer function databases. Here, we investigate the effect of including realistic prior knowledge regarding parameter correlation on the stochastic inversion of time-lapse GPR travel time data collected during an infiltration test. We first conduct two sensitivity investigations using the Fourier amplitude sensitivity test (FAST) methodology, one assuming that the van Genuchten model parameters are uncorrelated and the other accounting for realistic correlations based on the USDA Rosetta soil database. Unsaturated flow is simulated using the Hydrus 1D software package, whereas GPR travel time data are modeled from the resulting water content distribution using a finite-difference solution of the eikonal equation. In both cases, we observe that the GPR travel time data are most sensitive to the van Genuchten shape parameter n. More importantly, the difference between the sensitivity indices for all parameters in the two cases clearly points to the importance of accounting for parameter correlation. Next, we perform a Bayesian Markov-chain-Monte-Carlo inversion for the van Genuchten parameters from the GPR travel time data using both uncorrelated and correlated priors. The corresponding results do indeed indicate that

  12. Hydro-geophysical observations integration in numerical model: case study in Mediterranean karstic unsaturated zone (Larzac, france)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Champollion, Cédric; Fores, Benjamin; Le Moigne, Nicolas; Chéry, Jean

    2016-04-01

    Karstic hydro-systems are highly non-linear and heterogeneous but one of the main water resource in the Mediterranean area. Neither local measurements in boreholes or analysis at the spring can take into account the variability of the water storage. Since a few years, ground-based geophysical measurements (such as gravity, electrical resistivity or seismological data) allows following water storage in heterogeneous hydrosystems at an intermediate scale between boreholes and basin. Behind classical rigorous monitoring, the integration of geophysical data in hydrological numerical models in needed for both processes interpretation and quantification. Since a few years, a karstic geophysical observatory (GEK: Géodésie de l'Environnement Karstique, OSU OREME, SNO H+) has been setup in the Mediterranean area in the south of France. The observatory is surrounding more than 250m karstified dolomite, with an unsaturated zone of ~150m thickness. At the observatory water level in boreholes, evapotranspiration and rainfall are classical hydro-meteorological observations completed by continuous gravity, resistivity and seismological measurements. The main objective of the study is the modelling of the whole observation dataset by explicit unsaturated numerical model in one dimension. Hydrus software is used for the explicit modelling of the water storage and transfer and links the different observations (geophysics, water level, evapotranspiration) with the water saturation. Unknown hydrological parameters (permeability, porosity) are retrieved from stochastic inversions. The scale of investigation of the different observations are discussed thank to the modelling results. A sensibility study of the measurements against the model is done and key hydro-geological processes of the site are presented.

  13. The multiplicity of flow and transport models in unsaturated zone – curse or blessing

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Many conceptually different models have been developed to simulate flow and transport in vadose zone. For practical purposes, parameters in these models are often estimated from readily available data using pedotransfer functions. Many pedotransfer functions have been developed, and it is not known ...

  14. Transport and degradation of propyleneglycol and potassium acetate in the unsaturated zone.

    PubMed

    French, H K; Van der Zee, S E; Leijnse, A

    2001-05-01

    De-icing chemicals used during the winter season are potential pollutants for the groundwater underneath the new main airport of Norway. Several field experiments examining the transport and degradation of propyleneglycol (PG), potassium acetate (KAc) and non-reactive tracers were performed in a lysimeter trench under natural snowmelting conditions. Chemicals were applied underneath the snow cover and the transport in a heterogeneous coarse sandy soil was examined by extracting soil water from 30 or 40 suction cups placed at five depths between 0.4 and 2.4 m depth. Transport and degradation was analysed by spatial moment calculations. The de-icing chemicals showed the same basic displacement as chemically inactive tracers, an initial fast transport during the melting period followed by a period of stagnation throughout the summer season. PG seemed to be displaced to greater depths compared to non-reactive tracer after the first application. However, computer simulations of transport and degradation in a heterogeneous unsaturated soil showed that decreasing degradation constants with depth can generate a downward movement of the centre of mass without any flow occurring in the system. Potassium acetate showed some adsorption, with calculated retardation factors of approximately 1.3 and 1.2. The degradation rate constant for PG was calculated to be 0.015 day-1 in 1994 and increased to 0.047 day-1 in the second application made in 1995. The degradation rate constant for acetate was estimated to be 0.02 day-1. Increased manganese concentrations seem to be a good indicator of degradation of PG and Ac.

  15. Transport and degradation of propyleneglycol and potassium acetate in the unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    French, H. K.; Van der Zee, S. E. A. T. M.; Leijnse, A.

    2001-05-01

    De-icing chemicals used during the winter season are potential pollutants for the groundwater underneath the new main airport of Norway. Several field experiments examining the transport and degradation of propyleneglycol (PG), potassium acetate (KAc) and non-reactive tracers were performed in a lysimeter trench under natural snowmelting conditions. Chemicals were applied underneath the snow cover and the transport in a heterogeneous coarse sandy soil was examined by extracting soil water from 30 or 40 suction cups placed at five depths between 0.4 and 2.4 m depth. Transport and degradation was analysed by spatial moment calculations. The de-icing chemicals showed the same basic displacement as chemically inactive tracers, an initial fast transport during the melting period followed by a period of stagnation throughout the summer season. PG seemed to be displaced to greater depths compared to non-reactive tracer after the first application. However, computer simulations of transport and degradation in a heterogeneous unsaturated soil showed that decreasing degradation constants with depth can generate a downward movement of the centre of mass without any flow occurring in the system. Potassium acetate showed some adsorption, with calculated retardation factors of approximately 1.3 and 1.2. The degradation rate constant for PG was calculated to be 0.015 day -1 in 1994 and increased to 0.047 day -1 in the second application made in 1995. The degradation rate constant for acetate was estimated to be 0.02 day -1. Increased manganese concentrations seem to be a good indicator of degradation of PG and Ac.

  16. 1DFEMWATER: A one-dimensional finite element model of WATER flow through saturated-unsaturated media

    SciTech Connect

    Yeh, G.T.

    1988-08-01

    This report presents the development and verification of a one- dimensional finite element model of water flow through saturated- unsaturated media. 1DFEMWATER is very flexible and capable of modeling a wide range of real-world problems. The model is designed to (1) treat heterogeneous media consisting of many geologic formations; (2) consider distributed and point sources/sinks that are spatially and temporally variable; (3) accept prescribed initial conditions or obtain them from steady state simulations; (4) deal with transient heads distributed over the Dirichlet boundary; (5) handle time-dependent fluxes caused by pressure gradient on the Neumann boundary; (6) treat time-dependent total fluxes (i.e., the sum of gravitational fluxes and pressure-gradient fluxes) on the Cauchy boundary; (7) automatically determine variable boundary conditions of evaporation, infiltration, or seepage on the soil-air interface; (8) provide two options for treating the mass matrix (consistent and lumping); (9) provide three alternatives for approximating the time derivative term (Crank-Nicolson central difference, backward difference, and mid-difference); (10) give three options (exact relaxation, underrelaxation, and overrelaxation) for estimating the nonlinear matrix; (11) automatically reset the time step size when boundary conditions or source/sinks change abruptly; and (12) check mass balance over the entire region for every time step. The model is verified with analytical solutions and other numerical models for three examples.

  17. Compilation of an integrated 3D soil and agrogeological database for the hydrophysical characterization of the unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bakacsi, Zsófia; Kuti, László; Pásztor, László; Vatai, József; Szabó, József; Müller, Tamás.

    2010-05-01

    Describing the water movement in the unsaturated zone, numerous soil hydraulic data as input parameter are required concerning the water retention curve and the hydraulic conductivity function as the main hydraulic properties. The direct measurements of the hydraulic parameters are quite difficult and time-consuming; the estimation of them can be an alternative especially for large areas. The most commonly used basis of the estimation is the particle-size distribution (PSD) data or texture class. The aim of our work was to compile an integrated and harmonized 3D pedo- and agrogeological database with the physical properties and stratification of the formations to the depth of the permanent groundwater level, which describes the unsaturated zone in a 690 km2 pilot area. Since the existing pedo- and agrogeological databases are not able to serve separately these 3D model requirements, their integration was necessary. Due to its appropriate spatial and thematic resolution and data processing status, the Digital Kreybig Soil Information System (DKSIS) was chosen as pedological data source of the 3D model. The DKSIS has been compiled in the Research Institute for Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, based on the 1:25,000 scale, national soil mapping program in Hungary. The survey sheets indicate the location of the observation sites. Due to the lack of measured PSD data, the field estimation of the textural classes, and the so-called "capillary rise of water" were used for the definition of the texture classes. The measured water uptake is supposed to have good relation with the textural class of the sample. During the data processing the inconsistent fields vs. capillary data pairs were excluded. In the DKSIS 649 polygons cover the pilot area, 484 soil profiles are occurring and characteristically each profile has two or three horizons. The agrogeological dataset is maintained by the Hungarian Geological Institute and derives

  18. Field-scale gas tracing experiment in unsaturated fractured media: from deep injection to surface monitoring

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guillon, S.; Pili, E.; Sabroux, J.; Sestier-Carlin, R.; Adler, P. M.

    2011-12-01

    For CO2 sequestration as for other applications, it is important to understand transfer mechanisms of gases in unsaturated fractured rocks from experiment and to develop modeling capabilities. We carried out a field-scale tracing experiment using SF6 with the aim to serve for a forthcoming experiment using CO2. The experimental site was well characterized (mineralogy and fracturation). Transport parameters were estimated from the field, especially permeability and dilution factor. We also evaluated methods to monitor tracer breakthrough at the surface. At the Roselend Natural Laboratory (French Alps), a tunnel provides access to the heart of unsaturated fractured crystalline rocks, at 55 m depth below ground surface. This underground research facility allows studying gas exchange between a 60 m3 chamber isolated at the dead-end of the tunnel and the surface. At the topographic surface, ten 10 meter-long vertical boreholes and one 60 meter-long subhorizontal borehole were used to monitor tracer breakthrough. Stereological analysis of fractures in the tunnel previously led to permeability estimation. Similar analysis of drilled cores (density and orientation of fractures) gave additional permeability estimates in the subsurface. Gas permeability was also determined from pneumatic injection tests in both the injection chamber and subsurface boreholes. Steady-state and transient experiments were analyzed by modeling in real geometry. Long-term continuous pressure monitoring in the isolated chamber and the packed-off boreholes were also used for permeability estimation. We found equivalent air permeability of the order of 10-12 m2 which compares well with previous estimations. Following baseline determination, SF6 was injected at 1000 ppmV in the isolated chamber that was then pressurized to 150 mbar above atmospheric pressure during 2 hours. During all the experiment SF6 concentration was continuously monitored inside the isolated chamber and in front of the isolation

  19. Pyrite oxidation in saturated and Unsaturated Porous Media Flow: AComparison of alternative mathematical modeling approaches

    SciTech Connect

    Xu, Tianfu; White, Stephen P.; Pruess, Karsten

    1998-02-15

    Pyrite (FeS{sub 2}) is one of the most common naturally occurring minerals that is present in many subsurface environments. It plays an important role in the genesis of enriched ore deposits through weathering reactions, is the most abundant sulfide mineral in many mine tailings, and is the primary source of acid drainage from mines and waste rock piles. The pyrite oxidation reaction serves as a prototype for oxidative weathering processes with broad significance for geoscientific, engineering, and environmental applications. Mathematical modeling of these processes is extremely challenging because aqueous concentrations of key species vary over an enormous range, oxygen inventory and supply are typically small in comparison to pyrite inventory, and chemical reactions are complex, involving kinetic control and microbial catalysis. We present the mathematical formulation of a general multi-phase advective-diffusive reactive transport model for redox processes. Two alternative implementations were made in the TOUGHREACT and TOUGH2-CHEM simulation codes which use sequential iteration and simultaneous solution, respectively. The simulators are applied to reactive consumption of pyrite in (1) saturated flow of oxidizing water, and (2) saturated-unsaturated flow in which oxygen transport occurs in both aqueous and gas phases. Geochemical evolutions predicted from different process models are compared, and issues of numerical accuracy and efficiency are discussed.

  20. The Role of EPS in Microhydrology and Transport Processes Affecting Microbial Activity in Unsaturated Porous Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Or, D.; Phutane, S.

    2005-12-01

    Extra-cellular Polymeric Substances (EPS) refers to biopolymers excreted and surrounding soil bacterial cells (and other biota) forming the scaffolding for colonies and serving a wide array of transport, nutrient entrapment, and mechanical functions. In essence, EPS is a porous matrix through which aqueous, gaseous and nutrient fluxes flow to supply the embedded bacterial cells. The large water holding capacity and retarded water loss rates of EPS dampens rapid fluctuations in hydration status of host porous medium which sustain higher diffusion fluxes than in surrounding porous medium, and shelters microbial cells from effect of rapid desiccation or rewetting. The morphology of EPS changes from an open well-hydrated bioweb to dense and highly cross-linked structure under dry conditions. Such morphological changes are accompanied by enhanced mechanical strength and retardation of water loss that provide additional time for physiological adaptation to desiccation. Additional capacitance results from the disparity in dynamic hydrological properties between EPS and soil that promotes water entrapment in EPS during rapid drainage. EPS may also trap dissolved nutrients that may be unevenly distributed and irregularly supplied in unsaturated environments, thereby increasing nutrient availability in the microhabitat and offsetting decreased supply by diffusion during drying. The remarkable transport and mechanical properties of EPS makes it an important stabilizing agent for soil aggregation and even minute amounts of EPS may significantly alter macroscopic hydrological properties of host porous medium.

  1. Nanoparticle transport in water-unsaturated porous media: effects of solution ionic strength and flow rate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prédélus, Dieuseul; Lassabatere, Laurent; Louis, Cédric; Gehan, Hélène; Brichart, Thomas; Winiarski, Thierry; Angulo-Jaramillo, Rafael

    2017-03-01

    This paper presents the influence of ionic strength and flow on nanoparticle (NP) retention rate in an unsaturated calcareous medium, originating from a heterogeneous glaciofluvial deposit of the region of Lyon (France). Laboratory columns 10 cm in diameter and 30 cm in length were used. Silica nanoparticles (Au-SiO2-FluoNPs), with hydrodynamic diameter ranging from 50 to 60 nm and labeled with fluorescein derivatives, were used to simulate particle transport, and bromide was used to characterize flow. Three flow rates and five different ionic strengths were tested. The transfer model based on fractionation of water into mobile and immobile fractions was coupled with the attachment/detachment model to fit NPs breakthrough curves. The results show that increasing flow velocity induces a decrease in nanoparticle retention, probably as the result of several physical but also geochemical factors. The results show that NPs retention increases with ionic strength. However, an inversion of retention occurs for ionic strength >5.10-2 M, which has been scarcely observed in previous studies. The measure of zeta potential and DLVO calculations show that NPs may sorb on both solid-water and air-water interfaces. NPs size distribution shows the potential for nanoparticle agglomeration mostly at low pH, leading to entrapment in the soil pores. These mechanisms are highly sensitive to both hydrodynamic and geochemical conditions, which explains their high sensitivity to flow rates and ionic strength.

  2. Low-frequency dilatational wave propagation through unsaturated porous media containing two immiscible fluids

    SciTech Connect

    Lo, W.-C.; Sposito, G.; Majer, E.

    2007-02-01

    An analytical theory is presented for the low-frequency behavior of dilatational waves propagating through a homogeneous elastic porous medium containing two immiscible fluids. The theory is based on the Berryman-Thigpen-Chin (BTC) model, in which capillary pressure effects are neglected. We show that the BTC model equations in the frequency domain can be transformed, at sufficiently low frequencies, into a dissipative wave equation (telegraph equation) and a propagating wave equation in the time domain. These partial differential equations describe two independent modes of dilatational wave motion that are analogous to the Biot fast and slow compressional waves in a single-fluid system. The equations can be solved analytically under a variety of initial and boundary conditions. The stipulation of 'low frequency' underlying the derivation of our equations in the time domain is shown to require that the excitation frequency of wave motions be much smaller than a critical frequency. This frequency is shown to be the inverse of an intrinsic time scale that depends on an effective kinematic shear viscosity of the interstitial fluids and the intrinsic permeability of the porous medium. Numerical calculations indicate that the critical frequency in both unconsolidated and consolidated materials containing water and a nonaqueous phase liquid ranges typically from kHz to MHz. Thus engineering problems involving the dynamic response of an unsaturated porous medium to low excitation frequencies (e.g. seismic wave stimulation) should be accurately modeled by our equations after suitable initial and boundary conditions are imposed.

  3. Water composition in the unsaturated zone at Sete Cidades central volcano (S. Miguel, Azores, Portugal)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cruz, J.; Silva, M.; Mendonça, J.; Dias, I.; Prudêncio, I.

    2009-04-01

    A field study was developed at Sete Cidades, the westernmost of the three active composite volcanoes that dominate the geology of São Miguel, the largest of the nine islands from the Azores archipelago. Research methodology comprehends the characterization of soil-water composition at several depths, sampled by means of ceramic suction cups. Previously to their installation, cups were all submitted to several stages of washing, first in the laboratory with supra pure water, until aliquot conductivity stabilizes, and after in the field. This study was planned in order to study the water pollution due to agriculture, one of the main economic activities in the Azores, as shown by the gross value added to regional product. The negative effects of groundwater pollution due to agriculture have been reported in the majority of the nine islands, reflected by high contents of nitrogen species, derived from the inadequate use of synthetic and organic fertilizers, as well as from animal wastes leaching, or also by microbiology parameters. The relation between water pollution and agriculture results in some cases in the failure to comply regarding EU and national water quality regulations, through quality deterioration and compromising groundwater as strategic natural resource in the Azores. The studied area corresponds to Sete Cidades volcano caldera, a 5 km-diameter circular shaped depression, contoured by steep walls from 30 m high up to 400 m. In order to characterize unsaturated water composition in the caldera floor, five pasture locations were selected and monitored, as well as one site with the same physical conditions, but without agricultural activity. From the 5 pasture lands we discuss further results obtained in the so-called Pavão I (Pa I), which corresponds to the most extensive data set. On this site, 6 suction cups were installed, at depths 0.35 m, 0.7 m, 1 m, 1.3 m, 1.6 m and 1.9 m. In the site without agricultural activity, in the vicinity of Sete Cidades

  4. Nevada test site low-level and mixed waste repository design in the unsaturated zone

    SciTech Connect

    Kawamura, T.A.; Warren, D.M.; USDOE Nevada Operations Office, Las Vegas, NV )

    1989-01-01

    The Area 5 Radioactive Waste Management Site (RWMS) at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) is used for shallow land disposal of Low-Level Radioactive (LLW) and for retrievable disposal of Mixed Wastes (MW) from various Department of Energy (DOE) facilities. The site is situated in southern Nevada, one of the most arid regions of the United States. Design considerations include vadose zone monitoring in lieu of groundwater monitoring, stringent waste acceptance and packaging criteria, a waste examination and real-time radiography facility, and trench design. 4 refs.

  5. Methodology for assessment of contamination of the unsaturated zone by leaking underground storage tanks

    SciTech Connect

    DiGiano, F.A.; Miller, C.T.; Roche, A.C.; Wallingford, E.D.

    1988-01-01

    Three methods of measuring contamination of the partially saturated zone by leaking underground fuel tanks were investigated. Two of the methods relied upon obtaining a soil core from the field. These differed in the method of extraction: (1) by nitrogen purge of the entire core, followed by adsorption-solvent extraction and gas chromatographic (GC) analysis, and (2) by sonication of a small sub-sample from the core, followed by solvent extraction and GC analysis. The third method focused on saturation zone. This required use of a driveable ground probe (DGP) and activated carbon trap, followed by solvent extraction and GC analysis. The soil core procedures required construction of a sampling tube that proved successful in the system upon return to the laboratory. Recoveries approaching 100% were achieved in the nitrogen purge procedure by: heating the soil core to 100 C; trapping water exiting the soil core prior to the adsorption step; and using activated carbon instead of Tenax as the adsorbent. Vapor phase measurements provided a convenient way to map the extent of contamination from a leaking underground gasoline storage tank at the Camp Lejeune site. Concentrations of target compounds ranged from 10,000 micrograms/L (ug/L) to < 10 ug/L of vapor phase. The highest concentrations were found above the non-aqueous-phase liquid (NAPL). However, the method was able to show that contamination exists well beyond the NAPL, although the concentrations drop off precipitously. 36 refs., 29 figs., 11 tabs.

  6. Predicting release and transport of pesticides from a granular formulation during unsaturated diffusion in porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paradelo, Marcos; Soto-Gómez, Diego; Pérez-Rodríguez, Paula; Pose-Juan, Eva; López-Periago, J. Eugenio

    2014-03-01

    The release and transport of active ingredients (AIs) from controlled-release formulations (CRFs) have potential to reduce groundwater pesticide pollution. These formulations have a major effect on the release rate and subsequent transport to groundwater. Therefore the influence of CRFs should be included in modeling non-point source pollution by pesticides. We propose a simplified approach that uses a phase transition equation coupled to the diffusion equation that describes the release rate of AIs from commercial CRFs in porous media; the parameters are as follows: a release coefficient, the solubility of the AI, and diffusion transport with decay. The model gives acceptable predictions of the pesticides release from commercial CRFs in diffusion cells filled with quartz sand. This approach can be used to study the dynamics of the CRF-porous media interaction. It also could be implemented in fate of agricultural chemical models to include the effect of CRFs.

  7. FEMWASTE: a Finite-Element Model of Waste transport through porous saturated-unsaturated media

    SciTech Connect

    Yeh, G.T.; Ward, D.S.

    1981-04-01

    A two-dimensional transient model for the transport of dissolved constituents through porous media originally developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has been expanded and modified. Transport mechanisms include: convection, hydrodynamic dispersion, chemical sorption, and first-order decay. Implementation of quadrilateral iso-parametric finite elements, bilinear spatial interpolation, asymmetric weighting functions, several time-marching techniques, and Gaussian elimination are employed in the numerical formulation. A comparative example is included to demonstrate the difference between the new and original models. Results from 12 alternative numerical schemes of the new model are compared. The waste transport model is compatible with the water flow model developed at ORNL for predicting convective Darcy velocities in porous media which may be partially saturated.

  8. Microbial Growth, Water Flow, and Solute Transport in Unsaturated Porous Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yarwood, R. R.; Rockhold, M. L.; Niemet, M. R.; Bottomley, P. J.; Selker, J. S.

    2004-05-01

    We present an investigation that studied interactions between microbial growth, water flow, and solute transport in variably saturated porous media. The experimental system provided for continuous, noninvasive observation of microbial activity, while simultaneously monitoring water content and solute flow paths in a two-dimensional porous matrix. The spatial and temporal development of microbial colonization by a Pseudomonas fluorescens bacterium was monitored by induction of a bioluminescent phenotype. A model was developed that allowed quantification of population density from bioluminescence measurements. Liquid saturation was quantified from the transmission of light through the system, and solute flow paths were determined with a dye tracer. Dramatic changes in microbial colonization were observed, including upward migration against flow. This migration was particularly interesting because it cannot be explained by passive transport. Bacterial growth and accumulation significantly impacted the hydrologic properties of the media, including apparent desaturation within the colonized region, diversion of flow around the colonized region, and lowering of the capillary fringe height.

  9. Modeling study of solute transport in the unsaturated zone: Workshop proceedings

    SciTech Connect

    Springer, E.P.; Fuentes, H.R.

    1987-04-01

    Issues addressed were the adequacy of the data for the various models, effectiveness of the models to represent the data, particular information provided by the models, the role of caisson experiments in providing fundamental knowledge of porous-media water flow and solute transport, and the importance of geochemistry to the transport of nonconservative tracers. These proceedings include the presentations made by each of the modelers; the summary document written by the panel; and a transcript of the discussions, both the discussions that followed individual presentations and the general discussion held on the second day. This publication completes the series on the workshop. Volume I in the series (NUREG/CR-4615, Vol. I) contains background information and the data sets provided each modeler.

  10. The role of porous matrix in water flow regulation within a karst unsaturated zone: an integrated hydrogeophysical approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carrière, Simon D.; Chalikakis, Konstantinos; Danquigny, Charles; Davi, Hendrik; Mazzilli, Naomi; Ollivier, Chloé; Emblanch, Christophe

    2016-11-01

    Some portions of the porous rock matrix in the karst unsaturated zone (UZ) can contain large volumes of water and play a major role in water flow regulation. The essential results are presented of a local-scale study conducted in 2011 and 2012 above the Low Noise Underground Laboratory (LSBB - Laboratoire Souterrain à Bas Bruit) at Rustrel, southeastern France. Previous research revealed the geological structure and water-related features of the study site and illustrated the feasibility of specific hydrogeophysical measurements. In this study, the focus is on hydrodynamics at the seasonal and event timescales. Magnetic resonance sounding (MRS) measured a high water content (more than 10 %) in a large volume of rock. This large volume of water cannot be stored in fractures and conduits within the UZ. MRS was also used to measure the seasonal variation of water stored in the karst UZ. A process-based model was developed to simulate the effect of vegetation on groundwater recharge dynamics. In addition, electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) monitoring was used to assess preferential water pathways during a rain event. This study demonstrates the major influence of water flow within the porous rock matrix on the UZ hydrogeological functioning at both the local (LSBB) and regional (Fontaine de Vaucluse) scales. By taking into account the role of the porous matrix in water flow regulation, these findings may significantly improve karst groundwater hydrodynamic modelling, exploitation, and sustainable management.

  11. Tritium and 36Cl as constraints on fast fracture flow and percolation flux in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain.

    PubMed

    Guerin, M

    2001-10-01

    An analysis of tritium and 36Cl data collected at Yucca Mountain, Nevada suggests that fracture flow may occur at high velocities through the thick unsaturated zone. The mechanisms and extent of this "fast flow" in fractures at Yucca Mountain are investigated with data analysis, mixing models and several one-dimensional modeling scenarios. The model results and data analysis provide evidence substantiating the weeps model [Gauthier, J.H., Wilson, M.L., Lauffer, F.C., 1992. Proceedings of the Third Annual International High-level Radioactive Waste Management Conference, vol. 1, Las Vegas, NV. American Nuclear Society, La Grange Park, IL, pp. 891-989] and suggest that fast flow in fractures with minimal fracture-matrix interaction may comprise a substantial proportion of the total infiltration through Yucca Mountain. Mixing calculations suggest that bomb-pulse tritium measurements, in general, represent the tail end of travel times for thermonuclear-test-era (bomb-pulse) infiltration. The data analysis shows that bomb-pulse tritium and 36Cl measurements are correlated with discrete features such as horizontal fractures and areas where lateral flow may occur. The results presented here imply that fast flow in fractures may be ubiquitous at Yucca Mountain, occurring when transient infiltration (storms) generates flow in the connected fracture network.

  12. Rolling of unsaturated porous materials: Evolution of a fully saturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Velten, K.; Best, W.

    2000-09-01

    When a roll moves over a partially fluid filled porous layer, the degree of saturation in the porous layer will change in an a priori unknown area which is affected by the roll. In this work, a mathematical model is developed that describes the saturation dynamics in the porous layer for moderate rolling velocities. The model is based on two-phase flow equations in one dimension. It can be expressed as a nonlinear second order convection-diffusion equation that can be solved by standard (upwind) finite volume techniques. The size of the area affected by the roll, and within this area the degree of saturation, fluid pressures, and fluid velocities, can be predicted. An example is studied where a fully saturated zone evolves between the rolls when the rolling velocity is increased beyond some critical value.

  13. Storage and transit time of chemicals in thick unsaturated zones under rangeland and irrigated cropland, High Plains, United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McMahon, P.B.; Dennehy, K.F.; Bruce, B.W.; Böhlke, J.K.; Michel, R.L.; Gurdak, J.J.; Hurlbut, D.B.

    2006-01-01

    In 2000-2002, three rangeland and six irrigated sites were instrumented to assess the storage and transit time of chemicals in thick (15 to 50 m) unsaturated zones (UZ) in the High Plains. These processes are likely to influence relations between land use and groundwater quality, yet they have not been documented systematically in the High Plains. Land use and climate were important controls on the size of subsoil chloride, nitrate, and pesticide compound reservoirs. The reservoirs under irrigated cropland generally were larger than those under rangeland because more chemicals were applied to cropland than to rangeland. In some cases, chloride and nitrate reservoirs under rangeland were larger than those under cropland, presumably because of long-term evaporative concentration near the base of the root zone. Natural salts mobilized by irrigation return flow accounted for as much as 60 and 80% of the nitrate and chloride reservoirs, respectively, under some cropland, as indicated by detailed chemical profiles and isotopic tracers (15N, 18O in nitrate and 2H, 3H, 18O in water). Advective chemical transit times in the UZ under cropland ranged from about 50 to 375 years, longer than any of the instrumented fields had been irrigated, yet agrichemicals were detected at the water table at four of the six sites. The data provide evidence for the existence of slow and fast paths for water movement in the UZ, with larger subsoil chemical reservoirs occurring in areas dominated by slow paths. Implications of these findings with respect to water quality in the aquifer are significant because they indicate that the amount of chemical mass reaching the aquifer could increase with time as chemicals that still reside under irrigated fields reach the water table. Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.

  14. Tritium Plume Dynamics in the Shallow Unsaturated Zone Adjacent to an Arid Waste Disposal Facility

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maples, S.; Andraski, B. J.; Stonestrom, D. A.; Cooper, C. A.; Michel, R. L.; Pohll, G. M.

    2012-12-01

    Previous studies at the U.S. Geological Survey's Amargosa Desert Research Site (ADRS) in southern Nevada have documented two plumes of tritiated water-vapor (3HHOg) adjacent to a closed, commercial low-level radioactive waste disposal facility. Wastes were disposed on-site from 1962-92. Tritium has moved long distances (> 400 m) through a shallow (1-2-m depth) dry gravelly layer—orders of magnitude further than anticipated by standard transport models. Geostatistical methods, spatial moment analyses and tritium flux calculations were applied to assess shallow plume dynamics. A grid-based plant-water sampling method was utilized to infer detailed, field-scale 3HHOg concentrations at 5-yr intervals during 2001-11. Results indicate that gravel-layer 3HHOg mass diminished faster than would be expected from radioactive decay (~70% in 10 yr). Both plumes exhibited center-of-mass stability, suggesting that bulk-plume movement is minimal during the period of study. Nonetheless, evidence of localized lateral advancement along some margins, combined with increases in the spatial covariance of concentration distribution, indicates intra-plume mass redistribution is ongoing. Previous studies have recognized that vertical movement of tritiated water from sub-root-zone gravel into the root-zone contributes to atmospheric release via evapotranspiration. Estimates of lateral and vertical tritium fluxes during the study period indicate (1) vertical tritiated water fluxes were dominated by diffusive-vapor fluxes (> 90%), and (2) vertical diffusive-vapor fluxes were roughly an order of magnitude greater than lateral diffusive-vapor fluxes. This behavior highlights the importance of the atmosphere as a tritium sink. Estimates of cumulative vertical diffusive-vapor flux and radioactive decay with time were comparable to observed declines in total shallow plume mass with time. This suggests observed changes in plume mass may (1) be attributed, in considerable part, to these removal

  15. A systematic approach to designing a multiphase unsaturated zone monitoring network

    SciTech Connect

    Cullen, S.J.; Kramer, J.H.; Luellen, J.R.

    1995-10-01

    A systematic approach is presented for the design of a multiphase vadose zone monitoring system recognizing that, as in ground water monitoring system design, complete subsurface coverage is not practical. The approach includes identification and prioritization of vulnerable areas; selection of cost-effective indirect monitoring methods that will provide early warning of contaminant migration; selection of direct monitoring methods for diagnostic confirmation; identification of background monitoring locations; and identification of an appropriate temporal monitoring plan. An example of a monitoring system designed for a solid waste landfill is presented and utilized to illustrate the approach and provide details of system implementation. The example design described incorporates the use of neutron moisture probes deployed in both vertical and horizontal access tubes beneath the leachate recovery collection system of the landfill. Early warning of gaseous phase contaminant migration is monitored utilizing whole-air active soil gas sampling points deployed in gravel-filled trenches beneath the subgrade. Diagnostic confirmation of contaminant migration is provided utilizing pore-liquid samplers. Conservative tracers can be used to distinguish between chemical species released by a landfill from those attributable to other (e.g., off-site) sources of present naturally in the subsurface. A discussion of background monitoring point location is also presented.

  16. Evaluation of Unsaturated-Zone Solute-Transport Models for Studies of Agricultural Chemicals

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2005-01-01

    zone VS2DT – Variably Saturated Two Dimen- sional Transport vi Contents Abstract …………………………………………………………………………………… 1 Introduction...10 VS2DT ……………………………………………………………………………… 11 Simple models …………………………………………………………………………… 11 CALF ……………………………………………………………………………… 11 GLEAMS...water flux algorithm. The complex models, HYDRUS2D, LEACHP, RZWQM, and VS2DT , use Richards’ equation to simulate water flux and are well suited to

  17. An Approach Using Gas Monitoring to Find the Residual TCE Location in the Unsaturated Zone of Woosan Industrial Complex (WIC), Korea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koh, Y.; Lee, S.; Yang, J.; Lee, K.

    2012-12-01

    An area accommodating various industrial facilities has fairly high probability of groundwater contamination with multiple chlorinated solvents such as trichloroethene (TCE), carbon tetrachloride (CT), and chloroform (CF). Source tracing of chlorinated solvents in the unsaturated zone is an essential procedure for the management and remediation of contaminated area. From the previous study on seasonal variations in hydrological stresses and spatial variations in geologic conditions on a TCE plume, the existence of residual DNAPLs at or above the water table has proved. Since TCE is one of the frequently detected VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) in groundwater, residual TCE can be detected by gas monitoring. Therefore, monitoring of temporal and spatial variations in the gas phase TCE contaminant at an industrial complex in Wonju, Korea, were used to find the residual TCE locations. As pilot tests, TCE gas samples collected in the unsaturated zone at 4 different wells were analyzed using SPME (Solid Phase MicroExtraction) fiber and Gas Chromatography (GC). The results indicated that detecting TCE in gas phase was successful from these wells and TCE analysis on gas samples, collected from the unsaturated zone, will be useful for source area characterization. However, some values were too high to doubt the accuracy of the current method, which needs a preliminary lab test with known concentrations. The modified experiment setups using packer at different depths are in process to find residual TCE locations in the unsaturated zone. Meanwhile, several PVD (polyethylene-membrane Passive Vapor Diffusion) samplers were placed under water table to detect VOCs by equilibrium between air in the vial and VOCs in pore water.

  18. Colloid transport in unsaturated porous media: the role of water content and ionic strength on particle straining.

    PubMed

    Torkzaban, Saeed; Bradford, Scott A; van Genuchten, Martinus Th; Walker, Sharon L

    2008-02-19

    Packed column and mathematical modeling studies were conducted to explore the influence of water saturation, pore-water ionic strength, and grain size on the transport of latex microspheres (1.1 microm) in porous media. Experiments were carried out under chemically unfavorable conditions for colloid attachment to both solid-water interfaces (SWI) and air-water interfaces (AWI) using negatively charged and hydrophilic colloids and modifying the solution chemistry with a bicarbonate buffer to pH 10. Interaction energy calculations and complementary batch experiments were conducted and demonstrated that partitioning of colloids to the SWI and AWI was insignificant across the range of the ionic strengths considered. The breakthrough curve and final deposition profile were measured in each experiment indicating colloid retention was highly dependent on the suspension ionic strength, water content, and sand grain size. In contrast to conventional filtration theory, most colloids were found deposited close to the column inlet, and hyper-exponential deposition profiles were observed. A mathematical model, accounting for time- and depth-dependent straining, produced a reasonably good fit for both the breakthrough curves and final deposition profiles. Experimental and modeling results suggest that straining--the retention of colloids in low velocity regions of porous media such as grain junctions--was the primary mechanism of colloid retention under both saturated and unsaturated conditions. The extent of stagnant regions of flow within the pore structure is enhanced with decreasing water content, leading to a greater amount of retention. Ionic strength also contributes to straining, because the number of colloids that are held in the secondary energy minimum increases with ionic strength. These weakly associated colloids are prone to be translated to stagnation regions formed at grain-grain junctions, the solid-water-air triple point, and dead-end pores and then becoming

  19. New Conceptual Model for Soil Treatment Units: Formation of Multiple Hydraulic Zones during Unsaturated Wastewater Infiltration.

    PubMed

    Geza, Mengistu; Lowe, Kathryn S; Huntzinger, Deborah N; McCray, John E

    2013-07-01

    Onsite wastewater treatment systems are commonly used in the United States to reclaim domestic wastewater. A distinct biomat forms at the infiltrative surface, causing resistance to flow and decreasing soil moisture below the biomat. To simulate these conditions, previous modeling studies have used a two-layer approach: a thin biomat layer (1-5 cm thick) and the native soil layer below the biomat. However, the effect of wastewater application extends below the biomat layer. We used numerical modeling supported by experimental data to justify a new conceptual model that includes an intermediate zone (IZ) below the biomat. The conceptual model was set up using Hydrus 2D and calibrated against soil moisture and water flux measurements. The estimated hydraulic conductivity value for the IZ was between biomat and the native soil. The IZ has important implications for wastewater treatment. When the IZ was not considered, a loading rate of 5 cm d resulted in an 8.5-cm ponding. With the IZ, the same loading rate resulted in a 9.5-cm ponding. Without the IZ, up to 3.1 cm d of wastewater could be applied without ponding; with the IZ, only up to 2.8 cm d could be applied without ponding. The IZ also plays a significant role in soil moisture distribution. Without the IZ, near-saturation conditions were observed only within the biomat, whereas near-saturation conditions extended below the biomat with the IZ. Accurate prediction of ponding is important to prevent surfacing of wastewater. The degree of water and air saturation influences pollutant treatment efficiency through residence time, volatility, and biochemical reactions.

  20. WTAQ version 2-A computer program for analysis of aquifer tests in confined and water-table aquifers with alternative representations of drainage from the unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Barlow, Paul M.; Moench, Allen F.

    2011-01-01

    The computer program WTAQ simulates axial-symmetric flow to a well pumping from a confined or unconfined (water-table) aquifer. WTAQ calculates dimensionless or dimensional drawdowns that can be used with measured drawdown data from aquifer tests to estimate aquifer hydraulic properties. Version 2 of the program, which is described in this report, provides an alternative analytical representation of drainage to water-table aquifers from the unsaturated zone than that which was available in the initial versions of the code. The revised drainage model explicitly accounts for hydraulic characteristics of the unsaturated zone, specifically, the moisture retention and relative hydraulic conductivity of the soil. The revised program also retains the original conceptualizations of drainage from the unsaturated zone that were available with version 1 of the program to provide alternative approaches to simulate the drainage process. Version 2 of the program includes all other simulation capabilities of the first versions, including partial penetration of the pumped well and of observation wells and piezometers, well-bore storage and skin effects at the pumped well, and delayed drawdown response of observation wells and piezometers.

  1. User`s Guide: Database of literature pertaining to the unsaturated zone and surface water-ground water interactions at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory

    SciTech Connect

    Hall, L.F.

    1993-05-01

    Since its beginnings in 1949, hydrogeologic investigations at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) have resulted in an extensive collection of technical publications providing information concerning ground water hydraulics and contaminant transport within the unsaturated zone. Funding has been provided by the Department of Energy through the Department of Energy Idaho Field Office in a grant to compile an INEL-wide summary of unsaturated zone studies based on a literature search. University of Idaho researchers are conducting a review of technical documents produced at or pertaining to the INEL, which present or discuss processes in the unsaturated zone and surface water-ground water interactions. Results of this review are being compiled as an electronic database. Fields are available in this database for document title and associated identification number, author, source, abstract, and summary of information (including types of data and parameters). AskSam{reg_sign}, a text-based database system, was chosen. WordPerfect 5.1{copyright} is being used as a text-editor to input data records into askSam.

  2. Evaluation of soil, unsaturated, and saturated zone parameter uncertainty using GSFlow and PEST in an agricultural watershed

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zuidema, S.; Davis, J. M.

    2011-12-01

    summer and fall of 2011, including improved resolution streamflow data from a recently installed Parshall flume on the small stream draining the majority of the farm. The relative contribution of the three measurement types to the overall model objective function, and parameter uncertainty from the PRMS soil zone, and MODFLOW saturated and unsaturated zones are used to assess data needed to improve the validity of water balance estimates, and suggest which model components may be least determined in similar coupled models.

  3. Consequences of using different soil texture determination methodologies for soil physical quality and unsaturated zone time lag estimates.

    PubMed

    Fenton, O; Vero, S; Ibrahim, T G; Murphy, P N C; Sherriff, S C; Ó hUallacháin, D

    2015-11-01

    Elucidation of when the loss of pollutants, below the rooting zone in agricultural landscapes, affects water quality is important when assessing the efficacy of mitigation measures. Investigation of this inherent time lag (t(T)) is divided into unsaturated (t(u)) and saturated (t(s)) components. The duration of these components relative to each other differs depending on soil characteristics and the landscape position. The present field study focuses on tu estimation in a scenario where the saturated zone is likely to constitute a higher proportion of t(T). In such instances, or where only initial breakthrough (IBT) or centre of mass (COM) is of interest, utilisation of site and depth specific "simple" textural class or actual sand-silt-clay percentages to generate soil water characteristic curves with associated soil hydraulic parameters is acceptable. With the same data it is also possible to estimate a soil physical quality (S) parameter for each soil layer which can be used to infer many other physical, chemical and biological quality indicators. In this study, hand texturing in the field was used to determine textural classes of a soil profile. Laboratory methods, including hydrometer, pipette and laser diffraction methods were used to determine actual sand-silt-clay percentages of sections of the same soil profile. Results showed that in terms of S, hand texturing resulted in a lower index value (inferring a degraded soil) than that of pipette, hydrometer and laser equivalents. There was no difference between S index values determined using the pipette, hydrometer and laser diffraction methods. The difference between the three laboratory methods on both the IBT and COM stages of t(u) were negligible, and in this instance were unlikely to affect either groundwater monitoring decisions, or to be of consequence from a policy perspective. When t(u) estimates are made over the full depth of the vadose zone, which may extend to several metres, errors resulting from

  4. Consequences of using different soil texture determination methodologies for soil physical quality and unsaturated zone time lag estimates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fenton, O.; Vero, S.; Ibrahim, T. G.; Murphy, P. N. C.; Sherriff, S. C.; Ó hUallacháin, D.

    2015-11-01

    Elucidation of when the loss of pollutants, below the rooting zone in agricultural landscapes, affects water quality is important when assessing the efficacy of mitigation measures. Investigation of this inherent time lag (tT) is divided into unsaturated (tu) and saturated (ts) components. The duration of these components relative to each other differs depending on soil characteristics and the landscape position. The present field study focuses on tu estimation in a scenario where the saturated zone is likely to constitute a higher proportion of tT. In such instances, or where only initial breakthrough (IBT) or centre of mass (COM) is of interest, utilisation of site and depth specific "simple" textural class or actual sand-silt-clay percentages to generate soil water characteristic curves with associated soil hydraulic parameters is acceptable. With the same data it is also possible to estimate a soil physical quality (S) parameter for each soil layer which can be used to infer many other physical, chemical and biological quality indicators. In this study, hand texturing in the field was used to determine textural classes of a soil profile. Laboratory methods, including hydrometer, pipette and laser diffraction methods were used to determine actual sand-silt-clay percentages of sections of the same soil profile. Results showed that in terms of S, hand texturing resulted in a lower index value (inferring a degraded soil) than that of pipette, hydrometer and laser equivalents. There was no difference between S index values determined using the pipette, hydrometer and laser diffraction methods. The difference between the three laboratory methods on both the IBT and COM stages of tu were negligible, and in this instance were unlikely to affect either groundwater monitoring decisions, or to be of consequence from a policy perspective. When tu estimates are made over the full depth of the vadose zone, which may extend to several metres, errors resulting from the use of

  5. Atrazine adsorption and colloid-facilitated transport through the unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sprague, L.A.; Herman, J.S.; Hornberger, G.M.; Mills, A.L.

    2000-01-01

    One explanation for unexpectedly widespread ground water contamination from atrazine (2-chloro-4-ethylamino-6-isopropylamino-s-triazine) may be the occurence of colloid-facilitated transport, whereby the dissolved herbicide becomes adsorbed to mobile colloids that migrate through preferential flow-paths in the soil zone and into the ground water. The objectives of this study were to determine the extent of adsorpton of atrazine to bulk soil and to soil colloids and to determine the extent of colloid-facilitated transport of atrazine at a field site in Virginia during simulated rainfall events. Equilibrium batch adsorption experiments were performed over a concentration range of 0.05 to 10.0 mg atrazine L-1 on bulk soil samples and on colloidal suspensions of 75 mg L-1, a concentration comparable with those observed at the field site. Linear partition coefficients ranged from 0.496 to 2.48 L kg-1 for the bulk soil and from 70.8 to 832 L kg-1 for the soil colloids. In the field, gravity lysimeters were insured at a depth of 25 cm below the surface of six 0.25-m2 undisturbed plots. Mass recovery of surface-applied atrazine in the lysimeters was not significantly affected by rainfall rate and was, on average, 2.7% for plots receiving 25 mm h-1 simulated rainfall and 3.6% for plots receiving 50 mm h-1 simulated rainfall. Of the total atrazine collected in the lysimeters, the fraction that was colloid-associated ranged from 4.9 to 30% (mean of 15%), indicating that a measurable portion of mobile atrazine is transported via association with colloids.One explanation for unexpectedly widespread ground water contamination from atrazine (2-chloro-4-ethylamino-6-isopropylamino-s-triazine) may be the occurrence of colloid-facilitated transport, whereby the dissolved herbicide becomes adsorbed to mobile colloids that migrate through preferential flow-paths in the soil zone and into the ground water. The objectives of this study were to determine the extent of adsorption of

  6. A Film Depositional Model of Permeability for Mineral Reactions in Unsaturated Media.

    SciTech Connect

    Freedman, Vicky L.; Saripalli, Prasad; Bacon, Diana H.; Meyer, Philip D.

    2004-11-15

    A new modeling approach based on the biofilm models of Taylor et al. (1990, Water Resources Research, 26, 2153-2159) has been developed for modeling changes in porosity and permeability in saturated porous media and implemented in an inorganic reactive transport code. Application of the film depositional models to mineral precipitation and dissolution reactions requires that calculations of mineral films be dynamically changing as a function of time dependent reaction processes. Since calculations of film thicknesses do not consider mineral density, results show that the film porosity model does not adequately describe volumetric changes in the porous medium. These effects can be included in permeability calculations by coupling the film permeability models (Mualem and Childs and Collis-George) to a volumetric model that incorporates both mineral density and reactive surface area. Model simulations demonstrate that an important difference between the biofilm and mineral film models is in the translation of changes in mineral radii to changes in pore space. Including the effect of tortuosity on pore radii changes improves the performance of the Mualem permeability model for both precipitation and dissolution. Results from simulation of simultaneous dissolution and secondary mineral precipitation provides reasonable estimates of porosity and permeability. Moreover, a comparison of experimental and simulated data show that the model yields qualitatively reasonable results for permeability changes due to solid-aqueous phase reactions.

  7. Experimental investigation of viruses and clay particles cotransport in unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Syngouna, Vasiliki I.; Chrysikopoulos, Constantinos V.

    2014-05-01

    Suspended clay particles in groundwater can play a significant role as carriers of viruses, because, depending on the physicochemical conditions, clay particles may facilitate or hinder the mobility of viruses. This study examines the effects of clay colloids on the transport of viruses in variably saturated porous media. All cotransport experiments were conducted in partially saturated columns packed with glass beads, using bacteriophages MS2 and ΦX174 as model viruses, and kaolinite (KGa-1b) and montmorillonite (STx-1b) as model clay colloids. The various experimental collision efficiencies were determined using the classical colloid ?ltration theory. The experimental data indicated that the mass recovery of viruses and clay colloids decreased as the water saturation decreased. Temporal moments of the various breakthrough concentrations collected, suggested that the presence of clays significantly influenced virus transport and irreversible deposition onto glass beads. The mass recovery of both viruses, based on total effluent virus concentrations, was shown to reduce in the presence of suspended clay particles. Furthermore, the transport of both suspended and attached onto suspended clay-particles viruses was retarded, compared to the conservative tracer.

  8. Impacts of land use change on nitrogen cycling archived in semiarid unsaturated zone nitrate profiles, southern High Plains, Texas.

    PubMed

    Scanlon, Bridget R; Reedy, Robert C; Bronson, Kevin F

    2008-10-15

    Nitrate (NO3) profiles in semiarid unsaturated zones archive land use change (LUC) impacts on nitrogen (N) cycling with implications for agricultural N management and groundwater quality. This study quantified LUC impacts on NO3 inventories and fluxes by measuring NO3 profiles beneath natural and rainfed (nonirrigated) agricultural ecosystems in the southern High Plains (SHP). Inventories of NO3-N under natural ecosystems in the SHP normalized by profile depth are extremely low (2-10 kg NO3-N/ha/m), in contrast to those in many semiarid regions in the southwestern U.S. Many profiles beneath cropland (9 of 19 profiles) have inventories at depth that range from 28-580 kg NO3--N/ha/m (median 135 kg/ha/m) that correspond to initial cultivation, dated using soil water Cl. These inventories represent 74% (median) of the total inventories in these profiles. This NO3 most likely originated from cultivation causing mineralization and nitrification of soil organic nitrogen (SON) in old soil water (precultivation) and is attributed to enhanced microbial activity caused by increased soil wetness beneath cropland (median matric potential -42 m) relative to that beneath natural ecosystems (median -211 m). The SON source is supported by isotopes of NO3 (delta15N: +5.3 to +11.6; delta18O: +3.6 to +12.1). Limited data in South Australia suggest similar processes beneath cropland. Mobilization of the total inventories in these profiles caused by increased drainage/ recharge related to cultivation in the SHP could increase current NO3-N levels in the underlying Ogallala aquifer by an additional 2-26 mg/L (median 17 mg/L).

  9. Isotope Geochemistry of Calcite Coatings and the Thermal History of the Unsaturated Zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    B.D. Marshall; J.F. Whelan

    2000-07-27

    Calcite and opal coatings found on fracture footwalls and lithophysal cavity bottoms in the volcanic section at Yucca Mountain (exposed in a tunnel) contain a record of gradual chemical and isotopic changes that have occurred in the unsaturated zone. The thin (less than 6 cm) coatings are composed primarily of calcite, opal, chalcedony, and quartz. Fluid inclusions in calcite that homogenize at greater than ambient temperatures provide impetus for geochronologic studies in order to determine the thermal history. In the welded Topopah Spring Tuff (12.7 Ma), U-Pb ages of opal and chalcedony layers provide evidence of a long history of deposition throughout the past 10 m.y. However, these ages can constrain the ages of associated calcite layers only in samples with an easily interpretable microstratigraphy. Strontium isotope ratios in calcite increase with microstratigraphic position from the base up to the outermost surface of the coatings. The strontium incorporated in these coatings records the systematic change in pore-water isotopic composition due to water-rock interaction primarily in the overlying nonwelded tuffs. A one-dimensional advection-reaction model simulates strontium isotope ratios measured in pore water extracted from core in three vertical boreholes adjacent to the tunnel. By calculating the strontium isotope compositions of the rocks at various past times, the model predicts a history of the strontium isotope ratios in the water that matches the record in the calcite and therefore provides approximate ages. Oxygen isotope ratios measured in calcite gradually increase with decreasing model strontium age. Assuming that the oxygen isotope ratio of the percolating water was relatively constant, this trend indicates a gradual cooling of the rocks over millions of years, in agreement with thermal modeling of magma beneath the 12-Ma Timber Mountain caldera just north of Yucca Mountain. This model predicts that temperatures significantly exceeding current

  10. A physically based hydrological connectivity algorithm for describing spatial patterns of soil moisture in the unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Jonggun; Mohanty, Binayak P.

    2017-02-01

    Hydrologic connectivity has been proposed as an important concept for understanding local processes in the context of catchment hydrology. It can be useful for characterizing the soil moisture variability in complex heterogeneous landscapes. The current land surface models (e.g., Community Land Model, CLM) could not completely account for flow path continuity and connected patterns of subsurface properties in the unsaturated zone. In this study, we developed a physically based hydrologic connectivity algorithm based on dominant physical controls (e.g., topography, soil texture, and vegetation) to better understand the spatially distributed subsurface flow and improve the parameterization of soil hydraulic properties in hydrological modeling. We investigated the effects of mixed physical controls on soil moisture spatial variability and developed hydrologic connectivity using various thresholds. The connectivity was used for identifying the soil moisture variability and applied in a distributed land surface model (CLM) for calibrating soil hydraulic properties and improving model performance for estimating spatially distributed soil moisture. The proposed concept was tested in two watersheds (Little Washita in Oklahoma and Upper South Skunk in Iowa) comparing estimated soil moisture with the airborne remote sensing data (Electronically Scanning Thinned Array Radiometer and Polarimetric Scanning Radiometer). Our finding demonstrated that the spatial variations of soil moisture could be described well using physically based hydrologic connectivity, and the land surface model performance was improved by using the calibrated (distributed) soil hydraulic parameters. In addition, we found that the calibrated soil hydraulic parameters significantly affect model outputs not only on the water cycle but also on surface energy budgets.

  11. On the use of cross-borehole GPR in integrated geophysical-hydrological investigations of the unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nielsen, L.; Looms, M. C.; Hansen, T. M.; Cordua, K. S.; Jensen, K. H.; Binley, A.

    2006-12-01

    Cross-borehole GPR data are used in integrated geophysical-hydrogeological studies of the upper ca. 10 m of the unsaturated zone in sandy environments. Tomographic algorithms are used for estimating the radar wave velocities between the boreholes, and the estimated velocity values are converted to values of water saturation. The results obtained from the inversion of picked radar wave travel times are strongly influenced by the assumptions that are made regarding model and data error correlation. We analyse and quantify key characteristics of model and data error correlation using different independent sources of information, and we account for these characteristics during inversion. We use normal-incidence reflected radar data sections acquired along profile lines on the surface to constrain dip and spatial correlation lengths of the geological structures. Functions describing the correlation properties of the radar wave velocity fluctuations of the subsurface are estimated based on these observations. These properties are used as a priori information in the tomographic inversion process. Thereby, models capturing realistic heterogeneity of the subsurface are estimated. Good knowledge of fine-scale heterogeneity is critical when estimating water content and flow characteristics. Different sources of correlated data errors exist: Incorrect positioning of the receiver and/or the transmitter antenna during data acquisition; cavities around the borehole walls; unknown anomalies close to the borehole walls; time jumps due to mis-calibration of the transmitted pulse; accidental picking of undesired refracted arrivals which have not followed a straight ray path between the source and the receiver. If not accounted for, such data errors may give rise to significant artefacts in the tomographic images. The correlated data errors are accounted for by specification of data error covariance matrices which are included in the inverse operator used for obtaining the velocity

  12. Measuring Total Flux of Organic Vapors From the Unsaturated Zone Under Natural Conditions: Design, Laboratory and Field Testing of a Flux Chamber Device

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tillman, F. D.; Choi, J.; Smith, J. A.

    2002-05-01

    A simple, easy-to-use, and inexpensive device for measuring VOC flux under natural conditions was designed and tested both in a controlled laboratory environment and in a natural field setting. The chamber consists of a stainless-steel right circular cylinder open on one end with a flexible, impermeable membrane allowing for chamber expansion and contraction. Air is pumped from inside the chamber through activated carbon traps and returned to the chamber maintaining a net zero pressure gradient from the inside to the outside of the chamber. The traps are analyzed using thermal desorption/GC-FID and the mass of contaminant is divided by the product of the sampled area and sample time to give VOC flux measured by the chamber. Design parameters for the chamber were selected using continuously stirred tank reactor (CSTR)-equation based modeling under step, sinusoidal and transport-model simulation flux inputs. Laboratory testing of the flux chamber under both diffusion and advection dominated conditions was performed in a device constructed to simulate unsaturated zone transport. Aqueous trichloroethene (TCE) solution was pumped through the bottom of a steel drum inside which 50-cm of fine sand was suspended. For diffusion-dominated transport experiments, the chamber was installed in the sand at the top of the simulator and operated in the same manner as would occur in the field. The flux measurement of the chamber was then compared to flux prediction based on measured linear concentration data from the simulator and Fick's law. Advective transport is initiated in the vadose zone simulator by flowing humidified, pressurized air into an input port in the bottom of the simulator below the suspended porous media. Soil-gas velocity is calculated by dividing the airflow input by the surface area of the simulator. Flux was measured with the chamber and compared to flux predicted using airflow and concentration data from the simulator. Results from both the diffusion-only and

  13. Modeling the fate of radionuclides in the unsaturated zone at the Nevada Test Site: Examples from Yucca Flat and Rainier Mesa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kwicklis, E. M.; Dash, Z. V.; Viswanathan, H. S.; Levitt, D. G.; Lu, Z.; Dai, Z.; Zyvoloski, G.; Gable, C. W.; Miller, T. A.

    2010-12-01

    The Nevada Test Site (NTS), located 105 km northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada, hosted 828 underground nuclear explosions between 1951 and 1992, leaving an estimated 1.3e+08 curies of tritium, fission products, activation products and unspent fuel in the subsurface when the nuclear test moratorium was adopted in September, 1992. In two former testing areas of the NTS - Yucca Flat and Rainier Mesa- a significant fraction of the initial radionuclide inventory was introduced from nuclear tests with working points in the unsaturated zone. In Yucca Flat, an arid, low-elevation alluvium-filled basin where most tests were conducted in vertical shafts, unsaturated flow and transport models indicate that radionuclide migration to the water table is most likely where overlying subsidence craters receive significant infiltration from overland flow during infrequent runoff events. At Rainier Mesa, a wetter, high-elevation remnant of a once more extensive volcanic plateau, most tests were conducted at the ends of horizontal drifts in the vicinity of local perched water zones. Unsaturated flow and transport models of one of the larger tunnel complexes (N-tunnel) indicate that despite relatively high infiltration rates on the mesa, radionuclide diffusion from the flowing fractures to the porous matrix may significantly attenuate radionuclide movement to the water table.

  14. Quantification of Colloid Retention in Unsaturated Porous Media Using Microscopic Image Analysis Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dathe, A.; Zevi, Y.; Gao, B.; Richards, B. K.; Steenhuis, T. S.

    2006-05-01

    The movement of contaminants via colloidal transport mechanisms through the vadose zone to groundwater is of growing concern. Normally-immobile contaminants can enter an aquifer via colloid-facilitated transport, and pathogens themselves (e.g. Cryptosporidium parvum) are colloidal in scale. Little is known about the complex pore-scale mechanisms of transport and retention of colloids in soils. Measurements of colloid and microbial transport have been typically limited to the evaluation of breakthrough curves from column experiments (which yield only an integrated signal of all retention processes in the column) or to the visualization in micromodels with limited applicability to realistic conditions. The objective of the work discussed here is to observe and model colloid transport and retention on the pore scale. Flow experiments were run in a horizontal flow chamber containing clean quartz sand as the porous medium. Synthetic fluorescent microspheres were used as easily-detected colloid surrogates. A syringe inlet pump and peristaltic outlet pump controlled the chamber moisture content and flow rate. The chamber was mounted under a Laser Scanning Confocal Microscope (Leica TCS SP2, 10x 0.40 UV objective) which allowed the acquisition of time series images and 3D reconstruction of pore-scale images. Three spectral channels were used to detect: 1) fluorescent microsphere emissions (500 to 540 nm) excited at 488 nm by an argon laser; 2) water phase emissions (555 to 650 nm) due to Rhodamine B stain excited at 543 nm by a green HeNe laser; and 3) reflectance of laser light at the grain surfaces. Three 8-bit images were detected simultaneously for every time step. The system is also capable of obtaining image stacks in the z-direction, which allow the determination of the position of attached colloids relative to the interface between air, water menisci, and solid grains. The 3D z-axis stacks reveal that the colloids are attaching at the air/water meniscus/solid (AWm

  15. Busted Butte Unsaturated Zone Transport Test: Fiscal Year 1998 Status Report Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Program Deliverable SPU85M4

    SciTech Connect

    Bussod, G.Y.; Turin, H.J.; Lowry, W.E.

    1999-11-01

    This report describes the status of the Busted Butte Unsaturated Zone Transport Test (UZTT) and documents the progress of construction activities and site and laboratory characterization activities undertaken in fiscal year 1998. Also presented are predictive flow-and-transport simulations for Test Phases 1 and 2 of testing and the preliminary results and status of these test phases. Future anticipated results obtained from unsaturated-zone (UZ) transport testing in the Calico Hills Formation at Busted Butte are also discussed in view of their importance to performance assessment (PA) needs to build confidence in and reduce the uncertainty of site-scale flow-and-transport models and their abstractions for performance for license application. The principal objectives of the test are to address uncertainties associated with flow and transport in the UZ site-process models for Yucca Mountain, as identified by the PA working group in February 1997. These include but are not restricted to: (1) The effect of heterogeneities on flow and transport in unsaturated and partially saturated conditions in the Calico Hills Formation. In particular, the test aims to address issues relevant to fracture-matrix interactions and permeability contrast boundaries; (2) The migration behavior of colloids in fractured and unfractured Calico Hills rocks; (3) The validation through field testing of laboratory sorption experiments in unsaturated Calico Hills rocks; (4) The evaluation of the 3-D site-scale flow-and-transport process model (i.e., equivalent-continuum/dual-permeability/discrete-fracture-fault representations of flow and transport) used in the PA abstractions for license application; and (5) The effect of scaling from lab scale to field scale and site scale.

  16. A Mixing-Cell Model for Assessment of Contaminant Transport in the Unsaturated Zone Under Steady-State and Transient Flow Conditions

    SciTech Connect

    Arthur S. Rood

    2004-11-01

    A one-dimensional model for water flow and solute transport in the unsaturated zone under steady-state or transient flow conditions was developed from the principles of the mixing-cell model. The unsaturated zone is discretized into a series of independent mixing cells. Each cell may have unique hydrologic, lithologic, and sorptive properties. Ordinary differential equations (ODE) describe the material (water and solute) balance within each cell. Water flow equations are derived from the continuity equation assuming that unit-gradient conditions exist at all times in each cell. Pressure gradients are considered implicitly through model discretization. Unsaturated hydraulic conductivity and moisture contents are determined by the material-specific moisture characteristic curves. Solute transport processes included explicit treatment of advective processes, first-order chain decay, and linear sorption reactions. Dispersion is addressed through implicit and explicit dispersion. Implicit dispersion is an inherent feature of all mixing cell models and originates from the formulation of the problem in terms of mass balance around fully mixed volume elements. Expressions are provided that relate implicit dispersion to the physical dispersion of the system. The system of ODEs was solved using a forth-order Runge-Kutta algorithm coupled with adaptive step size control. Computer run times for transient flow and solute transport were typically several seconds on a 2-GHz Intel Pentium IV® desktop computer. The model was benchmarked against analytical solutions and finite-element approximations to the partial differential equations (PDE) describing unsaturated flow and transport. Differences between the maximum solute flux estimated by the mixing-cell model and the PDE models were typically less than 2%.

  17. Effects of low-level radioactive-waste disposal on water chemistry in the unsaturated zone at a site near Sheffield, Illinois, 1982-84

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Peters, C.A.; Striegl, R.G.; Mills, P.C.; Healy, R.W.

    1992-01-01

    A 1982-84 field study defined the chemistry of water collected from the unsaturated zone at a low-level radioactive-waste disposal site near Sheffield, Bureau County, Illinois. Chemical data were evaluated to determine the principal naturally occurring geochemical reactions in the unsaturated zone and to evaluate waste-induced effects on pore-water chemistry. Samples of precipitation, unsaturated-zone pore water, and saturated-zone water were analyzed for specific conductance, pH, alkalinity, major cations and anions, dissolved organic carbon, gross alpha and beta radiation, and tritium. Little change in concentration of most major constituents in the unsaturated-zone water was observed with respect to depth or distance from disposal trenches. Tritium and dissolved organic carbon concentrations were, however, dependent on proximity to trenches. The primary reactions, both on- site and off-site, were carbonate and clay dissolution, cation exchange, and the oxidation of pyrite. The major difference between on-site and off-site inorganic water chemistry resulted from the removal of the Roxana Silt and the Radnor Till Member of the Glasford Formation from on-site. Off-site, the Roxana Silt contributed substantial quantities of sodium to solution from montmorillonite dissolution and associated cation-exchange reactions. The Radnor Till Member provided exchange surfaces for magnesium. Precipitation at the site had an ionic composition of calcium zinc sulfate and an average pH of 4.6. Within 0.3 meter of the land surface, infiltrating rain water or snowmelt changed to an ionic canposition of calcium sulfate off-site and calcium bicarbonate on-site and had an average pH of 7.9; below that depth, pH averaged 7.5 and the ionic composition generally was calcium magnesium bicarbonate. Alkalinity and specific conductance differed primarily according to composition of geologic materials. Tritium concentrations ranged from 0.2 (detection limit) to 1,380 nanocuries per liter. The

  18. Effects of low-level radioactive-waste disposal on water chemistry in the unsaturated zone at a site near Sheffield, Illinois, 1982-84

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Peters, C.A.; Striegl, R.G.; Mills, P.C.; Healy, R.W.

    1992-01-01

    A 1982-84 field study defined the chemistry of water collected from the unsaturated zone at a low-level radioactive-waste disposal site near Sheffield, Bureau County, Ill. Chemical data were evaluated to determine the principal, naturally occurring geochemical reactions in the unsaturated zone and to evaluate waste-induced effects on pore-water chemistry. Samples of precipitation, unsaturated-zone pore water, and saturated-zone water were analyzed for specific conductance, pH, alkalinity, major cations and anions, dissolved organic carbon, gross alpha and beta radiation, and tritium. Little change in concentration of most major constituents in the unsaturated-zone water was observed with respect to depth or distance from disposal trenches. Tritium and dissolved organic carbon concentrations were, however, dependent on proximity to trenches. The primary reactions, both on-site and off-site, were carbonate and clay dissolution, cation exchange, and the oxidation of pyrite. The major difference between on-site and off-site inorganic water chemistry resulted from the removal of the Roxana Silt and the Radnor Till Member of the Glasford Formation from on-site. Off-site, the Roxana Silt contributed substantial quantities of sodium to solution from montmorillonite dissolution and associated cation-exchange reactions. The Radnor Till Member provided exchange surfaces for magnesium. Precipitation at the site had an ionic composition of calcium zinc sulfate and an average pH of 4.6. Within 0.3 meter of the land surface, infiltrating rainwater or snowmelt changed to an ionic composition of calcium sulfate off-site and calcium bicarbonate on-site and had an average pH of 7.9; below that depth, pH averaged 7.5 and the ionic composition generally was calcium magnesium bicarbonate. Alkalinity and specific conductance differed primarily according to composition of geologic materials. Tritium concentrations ranged from 0.2 (detection limit) to 1,380 nanocuries per liter. The

  19. Physical and stable-isotope evidence for formation of secondary calcite and silica in the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Whelan, J.F.; Paces, J.B.; Peterman, Z.E.

    2002-01-01

    Calcite and silica form coatings on fracture footwalls and cavity floors in the welded tuffs at Yucca Mountain, the potential site of a high-level radioactive waste repository. These secondary mineral deposits are heterogeneously distributed in the unsaturated zone (UZ) with fewer than 10% of possible depositional sites mineralized. The paragenetic sequence, compiled from deposits throughout the UZ, consists of an early-stage assemblage of calcite??fluorite??zeolites that is frequently capped by chalcedony??quartz. Intermediate- and late-stage deposits consist largely of calcite, commonly with opal on buried growth layers or outermost crystal faces of the calcite. Coatings on steep-dipping fractures usually are thin (??? 3 mm) with low-relief outer surfaces whereas shallow-dipping fractures and lithophysal cavities typically contain thicker, more coarsely crystalline deposits characterized by unusual thin, tabular calcite blades up to several cms in length. These blades may be capped with knobby or corniced overgrowths of late-stage calcite intergrown with opal. The observed textures in the fracture and cavity deposits are consistent with deposition from films of water fingering down fracture footwalls or drawn up faces of growing crystals by surface tension and evaporated at the crystal tips. Fluid inclusion studies have shown that most early-stage and some intermediate-stage calcite formed at temperatures of 35 to 85??C. Calcite deposition during the past several million years appears to have been at temperatures < 30??C. The elevated temperatures indicated by the fluid inclusions are consistent with temperatures estimated from calcite ??18O values. Although others have interpreted the elevated temperatures as evidence of hydrothermal activity and flooding of the tuffs of the potential repository, the authors conclude that the temperatures and fluid-inclusion assemblages are consistent with deposition in a UZ environment that experienced prolonged heat input from

  20. Chemical, isotopic, and microbiological evidence for denitrification during transport of domestic wastewater through a thick unsaturated zone in the Mojave Desert, San Bernardino County, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schroeder, R.A.; Martin, P.M.; Böhlke, J.K.

    1993-01-01

    Nitrogen in downward-infiltrating wastewater discharged from seepage pits (dry wells) at residences in the upper Mojave River Basin, California represents a significant potential source of nitrate contamination to the underlying ground water. However, increases in nitrate concentration in the ground water have not yet been observed. The low nitrate concentration in the ground water may be the result of lateral dispersion in the unsaturated zone, dilution below the water table, or denitrification of wastewater nitrate in the unsaturated zone. Measured vertical rates indicate that some wastewater has reached the water table beneath communities that are older than 5 to 10 years. As wastewater percolates from seepage pits into the unsaturated zone, reduced nitrogen is converted rapidly to nitrate at shallow depths and the nitrate concentrations commonly decrease with depth. The largest nitrate decreases seem to coincide with increased content of fine-grained sediments or with proximity to the water table. Between lysimeters at 160 and 199 feet at one residence, the decrease in nitrate concentration coincided with a large increase in sulfate, decrease in alkalinity, and increase in 815N in nitrate. Those data are consistent with denitrification by oxidation of iron sulfide to produce ferric oxides; but if such a reaction occurs, it must be in domains that are small in comparison with the sampled volumes because the waters also contain substantial quantities of dissolved oxygen. The predominantly low nitrate concentrations in the area's ground water are consistent with the operation of a nitrogen-removal mechanism, possibly denitrification; however, the reducing capacity of the sediments to maintain denitrification is not known.

  1. Tritium in unsaturated zone gases and air at the Amargosa Desert Research Site, and in spring and river water, near Beatty, Nevada, May 1997

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Striegl, R.G.; Healy, R.W.; Michel, R.L.; Prudic, D.E.

    1998-01-01

    Elevated tritium concentrations in the unsaturated zone at the Amargosa Desert Research Site (ADRS), immediately south and west of the low-level radioactive-waste burial site south of Beatty, Nevada, have stimulated research of processes that control the transport of tritium in arid unsaturated zones. In May 1997, 58 samples were collected from 1.5 m (meters) depth within a 250 m by 250 m grid at the ADRS. Measured concentrations ranged from 16 ? 9 to 36,900 ? 300 tritium units (TU), decreasing from northeast to southwest, possibly along an ancestral Amargosa River channel. The 10 air ports at test hole UZB-2 also were sampled, including ports at 57.6, 106.4, and 108.8 m depths that had not been sampled since 1994. Of the remaining seven ports, five were sampled in 1994, 1995, and 1996, and two were sampled in 1994 and 1996. Tritium concentrations at the four ports deeper than 50 m ranged from 791 ? 15 to 1765 ? 29 TU, having increased since they were last sampled. Tritium concentrations at the six ports shallower than 50 m ranged from 367 ? 11 to 1283 ? 20 TU, and appear to have stabilized since 1996. Tritium concentration in water vapor collected from air within the creosote bush canopy was 75 ? 9 TU near test hole UZB-2 and 9 ? 6 TU near the uncontaminated Fischer test hole, 3.2 km to the south. Elevated tritium concentration in air near test hole UZB-2 was attributed to plant transpiration removing water from the unsaturated zone. Nearby surface water tritium concentrations were 6.3 ? 0.4 TU at Specie Spring, 0.0 ? 0.3 TU at Lower Indian Springs and at Upper Indian Springs, and 0.8 ? 0.6 TU in Amargosa River water.

  2. Hydrological and meteorological data for an unsaturated-zone study area near the Radioactive Waste Management Complex, Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, Idaho, 1988 and 1989

    SciTech Connect

    Pittman, J.R.

    1995-01-01

    Trenches and pits at the Radioactive Waste Management Complex (RWMC) at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory have been used for burial of radioactive waste since 1952. In 1985, the US Geological Survey, in cooperation with the US Department of Energy, began a multi-phase study of the geohydrology of the RWMC to provide a basis for estimating the extent of and the potential for migration of radionuclides in the unsaturated zone beneath the waste trenches and pits. This phase of the study is being conducted to provide hydrological and meteorological data for an area adjacent to the northern boundary of the RWMC.

  3. Spatio-temporal groundwater recharge assessment using a lumped-parameter distributed model of the unsaturated zone (pyEARTH-2D)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Francés, Alain Pascal; Berhe, Ermias; Lubczynski, Maciek

    2010-05-01

    Numerical flow models are nowadays a powerful and widely used tool for groundwater management. Their reliability requires both an accurate physical representation of an aquifer system and appropriate boundary conditions. While the hydraulic parameters like hydraulic conductivity (K) and storativity (S) are spatially dependent and time invariant, groundwater fluxes such as recharge (R), evapotranspiration from groundwater (ETg) and groundwater inflow/outflow (Qgw) can vary in both space and time. Multiplicity of combinations between parameters and fluxes leads to a non-uniqueness of model solutions which limits their reliability and forecasting capability. We propose to constrain groundwater models at the catchment scale by the spatio-temporal assessment of fluxes in the unsaturated zone. Although the physically based models that involve the Darcy's law and the conservation of mass through the Richard's equation constitute the most appropriate tools for fluxes assessment in the unsaturated zone, they are computationally demanding and require a complex parameterization and boundary condition definition, which restricts their application to large and regional scales. We have thus chosen to develop and apply a lumped-parameter unsaturated zone model because it uses simplified representations of the physical processes and limits the number of parameters. We present in this study the development and application of a spatio-temporal recharge model (pyEARTH-2D) coupled with the numerical flow model MODFLOW at the catchment scale. pyEARTH-2D is a lumped-parameter distributed (grid-based) model that shares the same spatial discretization of the MODFLOW model for coupling purpose. pyEARTH-2D solves the water balance in the topsoil layer using linear relations between fluxes and soil moisture on a daily basis. The partitioning of rainfall is done by taking into consideration interception, evapotranspiration, percolation, soil moisture storage and surface storage and runoff

  4. Flow and Radionuclide Transport Models of the Unsaturated Zone at the Nevada National Security Site: Examples from Yucca Flat and Rainier Mesa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kwicklis, E. M.; Viswanathan, H. S.; Levitt, D. G.; Dash, Z.; Gable, C. W.; Lu, Z.; Dai, Z.; Zyvoloski, G.; Miller, T. A.

    2011-12-01

    The former Nevada Test Site (now the Nevada National Security Site) hosted 828 underground nuclear explosions between 1951 and 1992, leaving an estimated 1.3e+08 curies of tritium, fission products, activation products and unspent fuel in the subsurface when the nuclear test moratorium was adopted in September, 1992. In two former testing areas of the Nevada National Security Site - Yucca Flat and Rainier Mesa- a significant fraction of the initial radionuclide inventory was introduced from nuclear tests with working points in the unsaturated zone. In Yucca Flat, an arid, low-elevation alluvium-filled basin where most tests were conducted in vertical shafts, unsaturated flow and transport models indicate that radionuclide migration to the water table is most likely where overlying subsidence craters receive significant infiltration from overland flow during infrequent runoff events. These craters tend to be located along the perimeter of the basin and have large contributing watersheds in the surrounding hills. At Rainier Mesa, a wetter, high-elevation remnant of a once more extensive volcanic plateau, most tests were conducted at the ends of horizontal drifts in the vicinity of local perched water zones. Unsaturated flow and transport models of one of the larger tunnel complexes (N-tunnel) indicate that despite relatively high infiltration rates on the mesa, radionuclide diffusion from the flowing fractures to the porous matrix may significantly attenuate radionuclide movement to the water table, depending on the assumed fracture attributes. Simulations show that the tunnel itself may be an important hydraulic feature that connects radionuclide sources to sub-vertical faults that are assumed to extend to the water table.

  5. U-Pb Ages of Secondary Silica at Yucca Mountain, Nevada: Implications for the Paleohydrology of the Unsaturated Zone

    SciTech Connect

    L.A. Neymark; Y. Amelin; J.B. Paces; Z.E. Peterman

    2001-08-20

    U, Th, and Pb isotopes were analyzed in layers of opal and chalcedony from individual millimeter- to centimeter-thick calcite and silica coatings at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA, a site that is being evaluated for a potential high-level nuclear waste repository. These calcite and silica coatings on fractures and in lithophysal cavities in Miocene-age tuffs in the unsaturated zone (UZ) precipitated from descending water and record a long history of percolation through the UZ. Opal and chalcedony have high concentrations of U (10 to 780 ppm) and low concentrations of common Pb as indicated by large values of {sup 206}Pb/{sup 204}Pb (up to 53,806), thus making them suitable for U-Pb age determinations. Interpretations of U-Pb isotopes in opal samples at Yucca Mountain are complicated by the incorporation of excess {sup 234}U at the time of mineral formation, resulting in reverse discordance of U-Pb ages. However, the {sup 207}Pb/{sup 235}U ages are much less affected by deviation from initial secular equilibrium and provide reliable ages of most silica deposits between 0.6 and 9.8 Ma. For chalcedony subsamples showing normal age discordance, these ages may represent minimum times of deposition. Typically, {sup 207}Pb/{sup 235}U ages are consistent with the microstratigraphy in the mineral coating samples, such that the youngest ages are for subsamples from outer layers, intermediate ages are from inner layers, and oldest ages are from innermost layers. {sup 234}U and {sup 230}Th in most silica layers deeper in the coatings are in secular equilibrium with {sup 238}U, which is consistent with their old age and closed system behavior during the past 0.5 m.y. U-Pb ages for subsamples of silica layers from different microstratigraphic positions in individual calcite and silica coating samples collected from lithophysal cavities in the welded part of the Topopah Spring Tuff yield slow long-term average depositional rates of 1 to 5 mm/m.y. These data imply that the deeper

  6. Tritium Fluxes through the Shallow Unsaturated Zone adjacent to a Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility in an Arid Environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maples, S.; Andraski, B. J.; Stonestrom, D. A.; Cooper, C. A.; Pohll, G.

    2011-12-01

    Studies at the U.S. Geological Survey's Amargosa Desert Research Site (ADRS) in southern Nevada have documented long-distance (>400-m) tritium (3H) transport adjacent to a commercial, low-level radioactive waste disposal facility. Transport at this scale is orders of magnitude greater than anticipated; however, lateral 3H fluxes through the shallow unsaturated zone (UZ) have not been investigated in detail. The objective of this study is to estimate and compare lateral and vertical tritiated water-vapor (3HHOg) fluxes in the shallow UZ and their relation to the observed plume migration. Previous studies have recognized two distinct plumes of 3H emanating from the facility. Shallow (0.5 and 1.5-m depth) soil-water vapor samples were collected yearly along 400-m long transects through both plumes from 2003-09. Within the south plume, 3H concentrations at 1.5-m depth have decreased by 44 ± 0.3% during this period, and plume advancement there has effectively ceased (i.e., rate of advance equals rate of decay). During the same period, the west plume showed a net decrease in concentration of 34 ± 0.9% within 100-m of the facility; however, plume advancement is observed at the leading edge of the plume, and concentrations 200-300-m from the facility show an increase in 3H concentration of 64 ± 28.4%. Lateral and vertical diffusive fluxes within both plumes were calculated using 3HHOg concentrations from 2006. Lateral 3HHOg diffusive fluxes within both plumes have been estimated 25-300-m from the facility at 1.5-m depth. Mean lateral 3HHOg diffusive fluxes are 10-14 g m-2 yr-1 within the south plume, and 10-13 g m-2 yr-1 within the west plume. Mean lateral fluxes in the south plume are an order of magnitude lower than in the west plume. This behavior corresponds with the observed relative immobility of the south plume, while the elevated west plume fluxes agree with the plume advancement seen there. Shallow, upward directed, mean vertical 3HHOg fluxes 25-300-m from the

  7. U-Pb ages of secondary silica at Yucca Mountain, Nevada: Implications for the paleohydrology of the unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Neymark, L.A.; Amelin, Y.; Paces, J.B.; Peterman, Z.E.

    2002-01-01

    Uranium, Th and Pb isotopes were analyzed in layers of opal and chalcedony from individual mm- to cm-thick calcite and silica coatings at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA, a site that is being evaluated for a potential high-level nuclear waste repository. These calcite and silica coatings on fractures and in lithophysal cavities in Miocene-age tuffs in the unsaturated zone (UZ) precipitated from descending water and record a long history of percolation through the UZ. Opal and chalcedony have high concentrations of U (10 to 780 ppm) and low concentrations of common Pb as indicated by large values of 206Pb/204Pb (up to 53,806), thus making them suitable for U-Pb age determinations. Interpretations of U-Pb isotope systems in opal samples at Yucca Mountain are complicated by the incorporation of excess 234U at the time of mineral formation, resulting in reverse discordance of U-Pb ages. However, the 207PB/235U ages are much less affected by deviation from initial secular equilibrium and provide reliable ages of most silica deposits between 0.6 and 9.8 Ma. For chalcedony subsamples showing normal age discordance, these ages may represent minimum times of deposition. Typically, 207Pb/235U ages are consistent with the microstratigraphy in the mineral coating samples, such that the youngest ages are for subsamples from outer layers, intermediate ages are from inner layers, and oldest ages are from innermost layers. 234U and 230Th in most silica layers deeper in the coatings are in secular equilibrium with 238U, which is consistent with their old age and closed system behavior during the past -0.5 Ma. The ages for subsamples of silica layers from different microstratigraphic positions in individual calcite and silica coating samples collected from lithophysal cavities in the welded part of the Topopah Spring Tuff yield slow long-term average growth rates of 1 to 5 mm/Ma. These data imply that the deeper parts of the UZ at Yucca Mountain maintained long-term hydrologic stability

  8. A deuterium-based labeling technique for the investigation of rooting depths, water uptake dynamics and unsaturated zone water transport in semiarid environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beyer, M.; Koeniger, P.; Gaj, M.; Hamutoko, J. T.; Wanke, H.; Himmelsbach, T.

    2016-02-01

    Non- or minimum-invasive methods for the quantification of rooting depths of plants are rare, in particular in (semi-)arid regions; yet, this information is crucial for the parameterization of SVAT (Soil-Vegetation-Atmosphere Transfer) models and understanding of processes within the hydrological cycle. We present a technique utilizing the stable isotope deuterium (2H) applied as artificial tracer to investigate the vertical extent of the root zone, characterize water uptake dynamics of trees and shrubs at different depths and monitor transport of water through the unsaturated zone of dry environments. One liter of 35% deuterated water (2H2O) was punctually applied at several depths (0.5 m, 1 m, 2 m, 2.5 m and 4 m) at six different plots at a natural forested site in the Cuvelai-Etosha Basin (CEB), Namibia/Angola. Subsequently, uptake of the tracer was monitored by collecting plant samples (xylem and transpired water) up to seven days after tracer injection. Soil profiles at the plots were taken after the campaign and again after six months in order to evaluate the transport and distribution of 2H within the unsaturated zone. Of 162 plant samples taken, 31 samples showed clear signals of artificially introduced 2H, of which all originate from the plots labeled up to 2 m depth. No artificially injected 2H was found in plants when tracer application occurred deeper than 2 m. Results further indicate a sharing of water resources between the investigated shrubs and trees in the upper 1 m whilst tree roots seem to have better access to deeper layers of the unsaturated zone. The soil profiles taken after six months reveal elevated 2H-concentrations from depths as great as 4 m up to 1 m below surface indicating upward transport of water vapor. Purely diffuse transport towards the soil surface yielded an estimated 0.4 mm over the dry season. Results are of particular significance for a more precise parameterization of SVAT models and the formulation of water balances in

  9. Determination of water fluxes in the unsaturated zone and submarine groundwater discharge in Mediterranean river basin environments through pilot observational techniques.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kallioras, A.; Schubert, M.; Dietrich, P.; Schuth, C.; Papadoulakis, V.; Karalemas, N.; Alexopoulos, A.; Kyrousis, I.; Charou, E.; Kallergis, G.

    2012-04-01

    Mediterranean basin is considered as being highly susceptible to climate changes, especially as arid and semi-arid climate conditions as well as periodic draughts have caused a series of water-related rising problems. This issue becomes more pronounced in coastal river basins, which usually suffer major anthropogenic pressures such as growing water demands for drinking and irrigation purposes. Until today, our capability to observe crucial components of these hydrological sensitive systems -hence accurately estimating the water budget within the catchment- is still poor. Precise measurements of the: (i) downward movement of precipitation through the unsaturated zone, (ii) return flow of moisture from the land to the atmosphere via evaporation, and (iii) submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) have always been challenging in-situ observational techniques. The presented strategy is focused on the localization and quantification of SGD in order to identify either freshwater losses to the ocean or land- sea contamination pathways and on monitoring water fluxes within the unsaturated zone. Evrotas River, which is located in S. Greece and is topographically well defined by the surrounding mountainous zones of Sparta, will serve as a reference site, representing a typical Mediterranean coastal catchment. Monitoring of the evaporation processes, direct infiltration from precipitation and moisture content fluctuations within the vadoze zone, can be achieved by the installation of specially developed TDR waveguides -installed with the aim of direct push vibro-coring methods- in significant depths within the unsaturated zone. The identification and measurement of the SGD is planned to be achieved through a combination of different aqueous tracers such as stable isotopes, naturally occurring radioisotopes as well as physical water parameters. The research will be supported and complemented by a land-side modeling approach based on topographical relief analysis through digital

  10. Design and laboratory testing of a chamber device to measure total flux of volatile organic compounds from the unsaturated zone under natural conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tillman, Fred D.; Smith, James A.

    2004-11-01

    To determine if an aquifer contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has potential for natural remediation, all natural processes affecting the fate and transport of VOCs in the subsurface must be identified and quantified. This research addresses the quantification of air-phase volatile organic compounds (VOCs) leaving the unsaturated zone soil gas and entering the atmosphere—including the additional flux provided by advective soil-gas movement induced by barometric pumping. A simple and easy-to-use device for measuring VOC flux under natural conditions is presented. The vertical flux chamber (VFC) was designed using numerical simulations and evaluated in the laboratory. Mass-balance numerical simulations based on continuously stirred tank reactor equations (CSTR) provided information on flux measurement performance of several sampling configurations with the final chamber configuration measuring greater than 96% of model-simulated fluxes. A laboratory device was constructed to evaluate the flux chamber under both diffusion-only and advection-plus-diffusion transport conditions. The flux chamber measured an average of 82% of 15 diffusion-only fluxes and an average of 95% of 15 additional advection-plus-diffusion flux experiments. The vertical flux chamber has the capability of providing reliable measurement of VOC flux from the unsaturated zone under both diffusion and advection transport conditions.

  11. Occurrence of soluble salts and moisture in the unsaturated zone and groundwater hydrochemistry along the middle and lower reaches of the Heihe River in northwest China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhou, Xun; Fang, Bin; Wan, Li; Cao, Wenbing; Wu, Shengjun; Feng, Weidong

    2006-08-01

    Deforestation, over-development of water resources and population growth have contributed to degeneration of vegetation in the Heihe River Basin in northwest China. Salts and water contents are the most important factors affecting the growth of vegetation in this arid area. This study was conducted to determine soluble salt levels of soils in the unsaturated zone and the hydrochemistry of groundwater at 14 sites in this region. Concentrations of soluble ions in the soils deceased with depth. Soil ion contents increased at depths below the root system of native plants. Sulfate was the dominant anion in both the unsaturated zone and the groundwater. Total dissolved solids (TDS) in groundwater ranged from less than 1 g/L in the middle reaches of the watershed to about 10 g/L in the arid lower reaches. In the middle and upper reaches of the watershed, salinity in soil and groundwater decreased. Groundwater was highly variable in hydrochemistry. The lower reaches was predominated by SO4-Na•Mg and SO4-Mg•Na type water, whereas in the middle reaches groundwater is characterized by lower TDS and HCO3-dominated type water. Evapotranspiration is responsible for occurrence of the soluble salts in the soil profiles. Dissolution is the dominant chemical process in the middle reaches, whereas evapotranspiration prevails in the lower reaches of the Heihe River.

  12. Recent Improvements to the Unsaturated and Saturated Zone Flow and Transport Models for the Performance Assessment of the Yucca Mountain Repository in Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhu, M.; Stein, J.; Houseworth, J.; Robinson, B.; Arnold, B.; Smistad, E.; Coleman, D.

    2008-12-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy has submitted a license application (LA) to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) seeking authorization to construct the nation's first repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. A key technical basis for the LA is the total system performance assessment model (TSPA) that estimates long-term behavior of both the natural system and the engineered system using a probabilistic approach. To support the TSPA for the LA, conceptual and numerical models for infiltration, unsaturated zone (UZ) flow, UZ transport, and saturated zone (SZ) flow and transport have been updated using new data and updated software. The most recent improvements in these model areas include: 1) a replacement of the infiltration model using the MASSIF (Mass Accounting System for Soil Infiltration and Flow) model; 2) the recalibration of the unsaturated flow model using new infiltration estimates, including the development of a methodology to integrate between the infiltration model and the UZ flow model through the weighting of the probability for different infiltration scenarios using the Generalized Likelihood Uncertainty Estimation method; 3) a recalculation of the UZ radionuclide transport breakthrough curves using updated UZ flow fields; and 4) a revised hydrogeologic framework (HFM2006) model based on new borehole data from the Nye County Early Warning Drilling Program, and the incorporation of HFM2006 into the SZ flow and transport models. This presentation will discuss the salient elements of these model updates and their incorporation into the TSPA-LA.

  13. A steady state solution for ditch drainage problem with special reference to seepage face and unsaturated zone flow contribution: Derivation of a new drainage spacing eqaution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yousfi, Ammar; Mechergui, Mohammed

    2016-04-01

    The seepage face is an important feature of the drainage process when recharge occurs to a permeable region with lateral outlets. Examples of the formation of a seepage face above the downstream water level include agricultural land drained by ditches. Flow problem to these drains has been investigated extensively by many researchers (e.g. Rubin, 1968; Hornberger et al. 1969; Verma and Brutsaert, 1970; Gureghian and Youngs, 1975; Vauclin et al., 1975; Skaggs and Tang, 1976; Youngs, 1990; Gureghian, 1981; Dere, 2000; Rushton and Youngs, 2010; Youngs, 2012; Castro-Orgaz et al., 2012) and may be tackled either using variably saturated flow models, or the complete 2-D solution of Laplace equation, or using the Dupuit-Forchheimer approximation; the most widely accepted methods to obtain analytical solutions for unconfined drainage problems. However, the investigation reported by Clement et al. (1996) suggest that accounting for the seepage face alone, as in the fully saturated flow model, does not improve the discharge estimate because of disregarding flow the unsaturated zone flow contribution. This assumption can induce errors in the location of the water table surface and results in an underestimation of the seepage face and the net discharge (e.g. Skaggs and Tang, 1976; Vauclin et al., 1979; Clement et al., 1996). The importance of the flow in the unsaturated zone has been highlighted by many authors on the basis of laboratory experiments and/or numerical experimentations (e.g. Rubin, 1968; Verma and Brutsaert, 1970; Todsen, 1973; Vauclin et al., 1979; Ahmad et al., 1993; Anguela, 2004; Luthin and Day, 1955; Shamsai and Narasimhan, 1991; Wise et al., 1994; Clement et al., 1996; Boufadel et al., 1999; Romano et al., 1999; Kao et al., 2001; Kao, 2002). These studies demonstrate the failure of fully saturated flow models and suggested that the error made when using these models not only depends on soil properties but also on the infiltration rate as reported by Kao et

  14. Mixing Cell Model: A One-Dimensional Numerical Model for Assessment of Water Flow and Contaminant Transport in the Unsaturated Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Arthur S. Rood

    2005-03-30

    This report describes the Mixing Cell Model code, a one-dimensional model for water flow and solute transport in the unsaturated zone under steady-state or transient flow conditions. The model is based on the principles and assumptions underlying mixing cell model formulations. The unsaturated zone is discretized into a series of independent mixing cells. Each cell may have unique hydrologic, lithologic, and sorptive properties. Ordinary differential equations describe the material (water and solute) balance within each cell. Water flow equations are derived from the continuity equation assuming that unit-gradient conditions exist at all times in each cell. Pressure gradients are considered implicitly through model discretization. Unsaturated hydraulic conductivity and moisture contents are determined by the material-specific moisture characteristic curves. Solute transport processes include explicit treatment of advective processes, first-order chain decay, and linear sorption reactions. Dispersion is addressed through implicit and explicit dispersion. Implicit dispersion is an inherent feature of all mixing cell models and originates from the formulation of the problem in terms of mass balance around fully mixed volume elements. Expressions are provided that relate implicit dispersion to the physical dispersion of the system. Two FORTRAN codes were developed to solve the water flow and solute transport equations: (1) the Mixing-Cell Model for Flow (MCMF) solves transient water flow problems and (2) the Mixing Cell Model for Transport (MCMT) solves the solute transport problem. The transient water flow problem is typically solved first by estimating the water flux through each cell in the model domain as a function of time using the MCMF code. These data are stored in either ASCII or binary files that are later read by the solute transport code (MCMT). Code output includes solute pore water concentrations, water and solute inventories in each cell and at each

  15. Mixing Cell Model: A One-Dimensional Numerical Model for Assessment of Water Flow and Contaminant Transport in the Unsaturated Zone

    SciTech Connect

    A. S. Rood

    2009-04-01

    This report describes the Mixing Cell Model code, a one-dimensional model for water flow and solute transport in the unsaturated zone under steady-state or transient flow conditions. The model is based on the principles and assumptions underlying mixing cell model formulations. The unsaturated zone is discretized into a series of independent mixing cells. Each cell may have unique hydrologic, lithologic, and sorptive properties. Ordinary differential equations describe the material (water and solute) balance within each cell. Water flow equations are derived from the continuity equation assuming that unit-gradient conditions exist at all times in each cell. Pressure gradients are considered implicitly through model discretization. Unsaturated hydraulic conductivity and moisture contents are determined by the material-specific moisture characteristic curves. Solute transport processes include explicit treatment of advective processes, first-order chain decay, and linear sorption reactions. Dispersion is addressed through implicit and explicit dispersion. Implicit dispersion is an inherent feature of all mixing cell models and originates from the formulation of the problem in terms of mass balance around fully mixed volume elements. Expressions are provided that relate implicit dispersion to the physical dispersion of the system. Two FORTRAN codes were developed to solve the water flow and solute transport equations: (1) the Mixing-Cell Model for Flow (MCMF) solves transient water flow problems and (2) the Mixing Cell Model for Transport (MCMT) solves the solute transport problem. The transient water flow problem is typically solved first by estimating the water flux through each cell in the model domain as a function of time using the MCMF code. These data are stored in either ASCII or binary files that are later read by the solute transport code (MCMT). Code output includes solute pore water concentrations, water and solute inventories in each cell and at each

  16. Mixing Cell Model: A One-Dimensional Numerical Model for Assessment of Water Flow and Contaminant Transport in the Unsaturated Zone

    SciTech Connect

    A. S. Rood

    2010-10-01

    This report describes the Mixing Cell Model code, a one-dimensional model for water flow and solute transport in the unsaturated zone under steady-state or transient flow conditions. The model is based on the principles and assumptions underlying mixing cell model formulations. The unsaturated zone is discretized into a series of independent mixing cells. Each cell may have unique hydrologic, lithologic, and sorptive properties. Ordinary differential equations describe the material (water and solute) balance within each cell. Water flow equations are derived from the continuity equation assuming that unit-gradient conditions exist at all times in each cell. Pressure gradients are considered implicitly through model discretization. Unsaturated hydraulic conductivity and moisture contents are determined by the material-specific moisture characteristic curves. Solute transport processes include explicit treatment of advective processes, first-order chain decay, and linear sorption reactions. Dispersion is addressed through implicit and explicit dispersion. Implicit dispersion is an inherent feature of all mixing cell models and originates from the formulation of the problem in terms of mass balance around fully mixed volume elements. Expressions are provided that relate implicit dispersion to the physical dispersion of the system. Two FORTRAN codes were developed to solve the water flow and solute transport equations: (1) the Mixing-Cell Model for Flow (MCMF) solves transient water flow problems and (2) the Mixing Cell Model for Transport (MCMT) solves the solute transport problem. The transient water flow problem is typically solved first by estimating the water flux through each cell in the model domain as a function of time using the MCMF code. These data are stored in either ASCII or binary files that are later read by the solute transport code (MCMT). Code output includes solute pore water concentrations, water and solute inventories in each cell and at each

  17. Mixing Cell Model: A One-Dimensional Numerical Model for Assessment of Water Flow and Contaminant Transport in the Unsaturated Zone

    SciTech Connect

    A. S. Rood

    2005-03-01

    This report describes the Mixing Cell Model code, a one-dimensional model for water flow and solute transport in the unsaturated zone under steady-state or transient flow conditions. The model is based on the principles and assumptions underlying mixing cell model formulations. The unsaturated zone is discretized into a series of independent mixing cells. Each cell may have unique hydrologic, lithologic, and sorptive properties. Ordinary differential equations describe the material (water and solute) balance within each cell. Water flow equations are derived from the continuity equation assuming that unit-gradient conditions exist at all times in each cell. Pressure gradients are considered implicitly through model discretization. Unsaturated hydraulic conductivity and moisture contents are determined by the material-specific moisture characteristic curves. Solute transport processes include explicit treatment of advective processes, first-order chain decay, and linear sorption reactions. Dispersion is addressed through implicit and explicit dispersion. Implicit dispersion is an inherent feature of all mixing cell models and originates from the formulation of the problem in terms of mass balance around fully mixed volume elements. Expressions are provided that relate implicit dispersion to the physical dispersion of the system. Two FORTRAN codes were developed to solve the water flow and solute transport equations: (1) the Mixing-Cell Model for Flow (MCMF) solves transient water flow problems and (2) the Mixing Cell Model for Transport (MCMT) solves the solute transport problem. The transient water flow problem is typically solved first by estimating the water flux through each cell in the model domain as a function of time using the MCMF code. These data are stored in either ASCII or binary files that are later read by the solute transport code (MCMT). Code output includes solute pore water concentrations, water and solute inventories in each cell and at each

  18. Media Environment as a Zone of Personal and Social Risk

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Medvedeva, Tatyana; Kazantseva, Galina; Karpukova, Albina; Serova, Olga; Sizova, Olga; Bikteeva, Lolita

    2016-01-01

    The paper considers elements of modern media environment taking more and more space in day-to-day life of people. The modern media environment enriched with various informational and technological resources, information transfer speed and availability of all kinds of content in unlimited quantities, requires careful examination--first of all,…

  19. Spatial and temporal variability of nitrate and nitrous oxide concentrations in the unsaturated zone at a corn field in the US Midwest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gopalakrishnan, G.; Negri, C.

    2011-12-01

    There has been a significant increase in reactive nitrogen in the environment as a result of human activity. Reactive nitrogen of anthropogenic origin now equals that derived from natural terrestrial nitrogen fixation and is expected to exceed it by the end of the decade. Nitrogen is applied to crops as fertilizer and impacts the environment through water quality impairments (mostly as nitrate) and as greenhouse gas emissions (as nitrous oxide). Research on environmental impacts resulting from nitrogen application in the form of fertilizers has focused disproportionately on the degradation of water quality from agricultural non-point sources. The impacts of this degradation are registered both locally, with runoff and percolation of agrochemicals into local surface water and groundwater, and on a larger scale, such as the increase in the anoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico attributed to nitrate from the Mississippi River. Impacts to the global climate from increased production of nitrous oxide as a result of increased fertilization are equally significant. Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas with a warming potential that is approximately 300 times greater than carbon dioxide. Direct emissions of nitrous oxide from the soil have been expressed as 1% of the applied nitrogen. Indirect emissions due to runoff, leaching and volatilization of the nitrogen from the field have been expressed as 0.75% of the applied nitrogen. Many studies have focused on processes governing nitrogen fluxes in the soil, surface water and groundwater systems. However, research on the biogeochemical processes regulating nitrogen fluxes in the unsaturated zone and consequent impacts on nitrate and nitrous oxide concentrations in groundwater are lacking. Our study explores the spatial and temporal variability of nitrate and nitrous oxide concentrations in the vadose zone at a 15 acre corn field in the US Midwest and links it to the concentrations found in the groundwater at the field site. Results

  20. Using Concentrations and Isotopic Compositions of CO2 to Distinguish Microbial Production of CO2 in Unsaturated Zone Sediments in Hydrogeochemical Models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Conrad, M. E.; Arora, B.; Williams, K. H.; Bill, M.; Spycher, N.; Steefel, C. I.; Tokunaga, T. K.; Hubbard, S. S.

    2014-12-01

    Quantifying levels of microbial activity in unsaturated subsurface environments is an important factor for understanding exchange of greenhouse gases (e.g., CO2, CH4, N2O) with the atmosphere. For CO2, this is problematic due the variety of processes affecting its sources, fate and transport in the vadose zone (e.g., root respiration, carbonate dissolution and precipitation, exchange with pore water/groundwater and microbial production and consumption). To determine the impacts of all these processes and dependence on variables including temperature, moisture content and pH requires coupled numerical models supported by robust, long-term data sets. We are attempting to do this for a small (~90,000 m2) floodplain adjacent to the Colorado River in the town of Rifle, Colorado. The geology of the site consists of 6-8 m of Quaternary alluvium composed of quartz and feldspar sands with silts, clays, pebbles, and cobbles overlying the less permeable Tertiary Wasatch Formation. The unsaturated zone is 3-4 m thick overlying a perched aquifer above the alluvium-Wasatch contact. Depth-distributed gas samplers and suction lysimeters for pore water sampling were installed at three locations across the site in March of 2013. From April 2013 to present, soil gas samples have been collected on a bi-weekly to monthly interval and analyzed for gas concentrations and isotopic compositions. Through the first year, several significant spatial and temporal trends have emerged from the data including higher soil gas CO2 (up to 6% near the water table) with higher δ13C values during the warmer summer months, possibly signifying higher levels of microbial activity. In the shallower soils, CO2 concentrations are lower (atmospheric to 2%) with more variable δ13C values (ranging from -18‰ in the summer to -24‰ in the winter) likely due to slower exchange with the atmosphere during the winter when surface soils are more saturated due to snow cover and melting. Extensive data has also

  1. Measurements of HFC-134a and HCFC-22 in groundwater and unsaturated-zone air: implications for HFCs and HCFCs as dating tracers

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Haase, Karl B.; Busenberg, Eurybiades; Plummer, L. Niel; Casile, Gerolamo; Sanford, Ward E.

    2014-01-01

    A new analytical method using gas chromatography with an atomic emission detector (GC–AED) was developed for measurement of ambient concentrations of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in soil, air, and groundwater, with the goal of determining their utility as groundwater age tracers. The analytical detection limits of HCFC-22 (difluorochloromethane, CHClF2) and HFC-134a (1,2,2,2-tetrafluoroethane, C2H2F4) in 1 L groundwater samples are 4.3 × 10− 1 and 2.1 × 10− 1 pmol kg− 1, respectively, corresponding to equilibrium gas-phase mixing ratios of approximately 5–6 parts per trillion by volume (pptv). Under optimal conditions, post-1960 (HCFC-22) and post-1995 (HFC-134a) recharge could be identified using these tracers in stable, unmixed groundwater samples. Ambient concentrations of HCFC-22 and HFC-134a were measured in 50 groundwater samples from 27 locations in northern and western parts of Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina (USA), and 3 unsaturated-zone profiles were collected in northern Virginia. Mixing ratios of both HCFC-22 and HFC-134a decrease with depth in unsaturated-zone gas profiles with an accompanying increase in CO2 and loss of O2. Apparently, ambient concentrations of HCFC-22 and HFC-134a are readily consumed by methanotrophic bacteria under aerobic conditions in the unsaturated zone. The results of this study indicate that soils are a sink for these two greenhouse gases. These observations contradict the previously reported results from microcosm experiments that found that degradation was limited above-ambient HFC-134a. The groundwater HFC and HCFC concentrations were compared with concentrations of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs, CFC-11, CFC-12, CFC-113) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). Nearly all samples had measured HCFC-22 or HFC-134a that were below concentrations predicted by the CFCs and SF6, with many samples showing a complete loss of HCFC-22 and HFC-134a. This study indicates that HCFC-22 and HFC-134

  2. How spatial variations of chalk groundwater geochemistry are related to superficial formations and infiltration processes of unsaturated zone (quarry of Saint Martin le Noeud, France)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barhoum, Sarah; Valdès-Lao, Danièle; Guérin, Roger; Gombert, Philippe

    2013-04-01

    Chalk is complex because of its dual porosity and because of superficial layers more or less thick and more or less permeable. Furthermore there is few knowledge in understanding of groundwater infiltration and dissolution processes in the chalk unsaturated zone (UZ). The role of superficial formations has to be studied especially. The experimental site is an ancient underground quarry of chalk which extends over 1200 m long and 150 m wide (30 m depth) in Saint Martin le Noeud, south of Beauvais, France. This quarry is particularly interesting to study infiltration and dissolution processes indeed this site allows to access to the interface between the unsaturated zone and the saturated zone. Water percolates from the top of the quarry more or less depending on the season. Water table outcrops in the cave and makes about 20 underground lakes. Above the quarry chalk is covered clay-with-flints (CWF) and loess, in surface there are cultivated crops fields. On the first year of the study, physicochemical parameters: temperature, depth, pH, conductivity were recorded in seven lakes with high frequency (every hour). During the same period we sampled the 20 lakes water every month to measure major ions. During this sampling period, percolation was not sufficient to collect percolated water. Results of underground GPS, electric resistivity tomography and observations of three borehole showed that thickness unsaturated zone and that the thicknesses of the superficial formations vary a lot spatially. Three interesting points (separated by less than 1 km) are presented: the above the Pedro lake (25 m of UZ, a few cm of CWF), above the Stalactites lake (30 m of UZ, more than 2.40 m of CWF); above the Blue lake (35 m depth, 60 cm of CWF). First results of chemistry showed that the temporal variation is very low during the first year but there spatial variation is very important at quarry scale. The geochemistry of the lakes are very different: HCO3- varies from 100 to 250mg

  3. Movements of water, solutes, and stable isotopes in the unsaturated zones of two sand plains in the Upper Midwest

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Komor, Stephen C.; Emerson, Douglas G.

    1994-01-01

    Four month-long field experiments investigated movements of water and solutes through unsaturated sand plains near Princeton, Minnesota, and Oakes, North Dakota. Atrazine and bromide were applied to bare soils and soils planted with corn. The field plots were irrigated according to local farming practices. At the end of each experiment, unsaturated soils were analyzed for atrazine and bromide concentrations and oxygen and hydrogen isotope compositions of soil water. Most soil water was affected by evaporation but groundwater beneath the plots had no evaporative isotopic signature. Therefore most recharge consisted of water that was unaffected by evaporation. Sources of such water may have included snowmelt, prolonged or high-intensity rainfalls that were not interrupted by periods of drying, and water that moved through preferential flow paths. Preferential flow also was suggested by the detection of atrazine, deethylatrazine, and bromide in groundwater shortly after each application of irrigation water at Princeton and by isolated concentrations of atrazine and bromide in soil well below the main masses of chemicals at Oakes.

  4. DLVO, hydrophobic, capillary and hydrodynamic forces acting on bacteria at solid-air-water interfaces: Their relative impact on bacteria deposition mechanisms in unsaturated porous media.

    PubMed

    Bai, Hongjuan; Cochet, Nelly; Pauss, André; Lamy, Edvina

    2017-02-01

    Experimental and modeling studies were performed to investigate bacteria deposition behavior in unsaturated porous media. The coupled effect of different forces, acting on bacteria at solid-air-water interfaces and their relative importance on bacteria deposition mechanisms was explored by calculating Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (DLVO) and non-DLVO interactions such as hydrophobic, capillary and hydrodynamic forces. Negatively charged non-motile bacteria and quartz sands were used in packed column experiments. The breakthrough curves and retention profiles of bacteria were simulated using the modified Mobile-IMmobile (MIM) model, to identify physico-chemical attachment or physical straining mechanisms involved in bacteria retention. These results indicated that both mechanisms might occur in both sand. However, the attachment was found to be a reversible process, because attachment coefficients were similar to those of detachment. DLVO calculations supported these results: the primary minimum did not exist, suggesting no permanent retention of bacteria to solid-water and air-water interfaces. Calculated hydrodynamic and resisting torques predicted that bacteria detachment in the secondary minimum might occur. The capillary potential energy was greater than DLVO, hydrophobic and hydrodynamic potential energies, suggesting that film straining by capillary forces might largely govern bacteria deposition under unsaturated conditions.

  5. Inventories and mobilization of unsaturated zone sulfate, fluoride, and chloride related to land use change in semiarid regions, southwestern United States and Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scanlon, Bridget R.; Stonestrom, David A.; Reedy, Robert C.; Leaney, Fred W.; Gates, John; Cresswell, Richard G.

    2009-07-01

    Unsaturated zone salt reservoirs are potentially mobilized by increased groundwater recharge as semiarid lands are cultivated. This study explores the amounts of pore water sulfate and fluoride relative to chloride in unsaturated zone profiles, evaluates their sources, estimates mobilization due to past land use change, and assesses the impacts on groundwater quality. Inventories of water-extractable chloride, sulfate, and fluoride were determined from borehole samples of soils and sediments collected beneath natural ecosystems (N = 4), nonirrigated ("rain-fed") croplands (N = 18), and irrigated croplands (N = 6) in the southwestern United States and in the Murray Basin, Australia. Natural ecosystems contain generally large sulfate inventories (7800-120,000 kg/ha) and lower fluoride inventories (630-3900 kg/ha) relative to chloride inventories (6600-41,000 kg/ha). Order-of-magnitude higher chloride concentrations in precipitation and generally longer accumulation times result in much larger chloride inventories in the Murray Basin than in the southwestern United States. Atmospheric deposition during the current dry interglacial climatic regime accounts for most of the measured sulfate in both U.S. and Australian regions. Fluoride inventories are greater than can be accounted for by atmospheric deposition in most cases, suggesting that fluoride may accumulate across glacial/interglacial climatic cycles. Chemical modeling indicates that fluorite controls fluoride mobility and suggests that water-extractable fluoride may include some fluoride from mineral dissolution. Increased groundwater drainage/recharge following land use change readily mobilized chloride. Sulfate displacement fronts matched or lagged chloride fronts by up to 4 m. In contrast, fluoride mobilization was minimal in all regions. Understanding linkages between salt inventories, increased recharge, and groundwater quality is important for quantifying impacts of anthropogenic activities on groundwater

  6. Inventories and mobilization of unsaturated zone sulfate, fluoride, and chloride related to land use change in semiarid regions, southwestern United States and Australia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Scanlon, B.R.; Stonestrom, D.A.; Reedy, R.C.; Leaney, F.W.; Gates, J.; Cresswell, R.G.

    2009-01-01

    Unsaturated zone salt reservoirs are potentially mobilized by increased groundwater recharge as semiarid lands are cultivated. This study explores the amounts of pore water sulfate and fluoride relative to chloride in unsaturated zone profiles, evaluates their sources, estimates mobilization due to past land use change, and assesses the impacts on groundwater quality. Inventories of water-extractable chloride, sulfate, and fluoride were determined from borehole samples of soils and sediments collected beneath natural ecosystems (N = 4), nonirrigated ("rain-fed") croplands (N = 18), and irrigated croplands (N = 6) in the southwestern United States and in the Murray Basin, Australia. Natural ecosystems contain generally large sulfate inventories (7800-120,000 kg/ha) and lower fluoride inventories (630-3900 kg/ha) relative to chloride inventories (6600-41,000 kg/ha). Order-of-magnitude higher chloride concentrations in precipitation and generally longer accumulation times result in much larger chloride inventories in the Murray Basin than in the southwestern United States. Atmospheric deposition during the current dry interglacial climatic regime accounts for most of the measured sulfate in both U.S. and Australian regions. Fluoride inventories are greater than can be accounted for by atmospheric deposition in most cases, suggesting that fluoride may accumulate across glacial/ interglacial climatic cycles. Chemical modeling indicates that fluorite controls fluoride mobility and suggests that water-extractable fluoride may include some fluoride from mineral dissolution. Increased groundwater drainage/recharge following land use change readily mobilized chloride. Sulfate displacement fronts matched or lagged chloride fronts by up to 4 m. In contrast, fluoride mobilization was minimal in all regions. Understanding linkages between salt inventories, increased recharge, and groundwater quality is important for quantifying impacts of anthropogenic activities on groundwater

  7. Annual report on monitoring of the unsaturated zone and recharge areas at INEL to the state of Idaho INLEL Oversight COmmittee. Draft

    SciTech Connect

    Horn, D.; Liou, J.; Finnie, J.

    1993-03-01

    This project, begun in March 1991, was originally structured as two separate research efforts: An investigation of the recharge phenomenon and surface water-ground water interactions at the INEL; and a study of water and contaminant movement through the unsaturated zone, including a review of computer models used to described this process. During the initial months of work, it became obvious to those involved in these studies that the two topic areas were intimately related, and work since that time has proceeded with no firm boundaries between the two efforts. Much of the Phase I work (March 1991--March 1992) consisted of a detailed review of available literature pertinent to the two research topics and to the INEL site. This Annual Report summarizes the other project activities during Phase III, and is organized into three sections: Section I -- an overview of the ongoing efforts related to computer model algorithms and data requirements for modeling the transport process in the unsaturated zone (Dr. Jim Liou). Section H -- a review of ongoing work to predict the growth and decay of the ground water mound beneath the INEL spreading basins, using the computer model UNSAT-2 (Dr. John Finnie). Section M -- a final report of the completed study effort examining the recharge rates associated with stream flow in the Big Lost River, and the effects of this recharge on ground water levels at the INEL site (Dr. Dennis Horn). Phase M of the project has now begun, and will conclude in December 1993 with two final reports documenting the work that has been briefly described in Sections I and H of this report.

  8. Annual report on monitoring of the unsaturated zone and recharge areas at INEL to the state of Idaho INLEL Oversight COmmittee

    SciTech Connect

    Horn, D.; Liou, J.; Finnie, J.

    1993-03-01

    This project, begun in March 1991, was originally structured as two separate research efforts: An investigation of the recharge phenomenon and surface water-ground water interactions at the INEL; and a study of water and contaminant movement through the unsaturated zone, including a review of computer models used to described this process. During the initial months of work, it became obvious to those involved in these studies that the two topic areas were intimately related, and work since that time has proceeded with no firm boundaries between the two efforts. Much of the Phase I work (March 1991--March 1992) consisted of a detailed review of available literature pertinent to the two research topics and to the INEL site. This Annual Report summarizes the other project activities during Phase III, and is organized into three sections: Section I -- an overview of the ongoing efforts related to computer model algorithms and data requirements for modeling the transport process in the unsaturated zone (Dr. Jim Liou). Section H -- a review of ongoing work to predict the growth and decay of the ground water mound beneath the INEL spreading basins, using the computer model UNSAT-2 (Dr. John Finnie). Section M -- a final report of the completed study effort examining the recharge rates associated with stream flow in the Big Lost River, and the effects of this recharge on ground water levels at the INEL site (Dr. Dennis Horn). Phase M of the project has now begun, and will conclude in December 1993 with two final reports documenting the work that has been briefly described in Sections I and H of this report.

  9. Movement of water through the thick unsaturated zone underlying Oro Grande and Sheep Creek Washes in the western Mojave Desert, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Izbicki, J.A.; Radyk, J.; Michel, R.L.

    2002-01-01

    Previous studies indicate that a small quantity of recharge occurs from infiltration of streamflow in intermittent streams in the upper Mojave River basin, in the western Mojave Desert, near Victorville, California. Chloride, tritium, and stable isotope data collected in the unsaturated zone between 1994 and 1998 from boreholes drilled in Oro Grande and Sheep Creek Washes indicate that infiltration of streamflow occurs to depths below the root zone, and presumably to the water table, along much of Oro Grande Wash and near the mountain front along Sheep Creek Wash. Differences in infiltration at sites along each wash are the result of hydrologic variables such as proximity to the mountain front, quantity of streamflow, and texture of the subsurface deposits. Differences in infiltration between the washes are the result of large-scale geomorphic processes. For example, Oro Grande wash is incised into the Victorville fan and infiltration has occurred at approximately the same location over recent geologic time. In contrast, Sheep Creek Wash overlies an active alluvial fan and the stream channel can move across the fan surface through time. Infiltration does not occur to depths below the root zone at control sites outside of the washes.

  10. Movement of water through the thick unsaturated zone underlying Oro Grande and Sheep Creek Washes in the western Mojave Desert, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Izbicki, John A.; Radyk, John; Michel, Robert L.

    2002-06-01

    Previous studies indicate that a small quantity of recharge occurs from infiltration of streamflow in intermittent streams in the upper Mojave River basin, in the western Mojave Desert, near Victorville, California. Chloride, tritium, and stable isotope data collected in the unsaturated zone between 1994 and 1998 from boreholes drilled in Oro Grande and Sheep Creek Washes indicate that infiltration of streamflow occurs to depths below the root zone, and presumably to the water table, along much of Oro Grande Wash and near the mountain front along Sheep Creek Wash. Differences in infiltration at sites along each wash are the result of hydrologic variables such as proximity to the mountain front, quantity of streamflow, and texture of the subsurface deposits. Differences in infiltration between the washes are the result of large-scale geomorphic processes. For example, Oro Grande wash is incised into the Victorville fan and infiltration has occurred at approximately the same location over recent geologic time. In contrast, Sheep Creek Wash overlies an active alluvial fan and the stream channel can move across the fan surface through time. Infiltration does not occur to depths below the root zone at control sites outside of the washes.

  11. Linear thermal expansion data for tuffs from the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada; Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project

    SciTech Connect

    Schwartz, B.M.; Chocas, C.S.

    1992-07-01

    Experiment results are presented for linear thermal expansion measurements on tuffaceous rocks from the unsaturated

  12. Methodology to evaluate the effect of sorption in the unsaturated zone on the storage of nitrate and other ions and their transport across the water table, southern New Jersey

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reilly, Timothy J.; Baehr, Arthur L.

    2006-01-01

    A new field-based approach for determining sorption in the unsaturated zone and its effect on the storage of ions and their transport in recharge to ground water has been demonstrated for a small agricultural watershed in the Coastal Plain of southern New Jersey. Moisture-content and chemical-concentration data obtained from unsaturated-zone-core and shallow-ground-water samples were used to estimate the mass flux of chemical constituents across the water table, as well as sorption coefficients (Kd). The selectivity order of the Kd values for cations is consistent with the expected selectivity order: for example, Na+ > Mg++ > Ca++ for sands. Although calculated sorption coefficients, as expected, were greater for cations than for anions, sorption had a substantial effect on the transport of anions through the unsaturated zone; in particular, average Kd values for NO3- were 0.22 liters per milligram for sands and 0.62 liters per milligram for finer grained sediments. The unsaturated zone in the study area is a large reservoir for nitrogen. Models that do not account for sorption are likely to result in unrealistic predictions of contaminant transport rate and provide overly optimistic expectations for natural cleansing in this watershed and those in other similar hydrogeologic settings.

  13. Combining steam injection with hydraulic fracturing for the in situ remediation of the unsaturated zone of a fractured soil polluted by jet fuel.

    PubMed

    Nilsson, Bertel; Tzovolou, Dimitra; Jeczalik, Maciej; Kasela, Tomasz; Slack, William; Klint, Knud E; Haeseler, Frank; Tsakiroglou, Christos D

    2011-03-01

    A steam injection pilot-scale experiment was performed on the unsaturated zone of a strongly heterogeneous fractured soil contaminated by jet fuel. Before the treatment, the soil was stimulated by creating sub-horizontal sand-filled hydraulic fractures at three depths. The steam was injected through one hydraulic fracture and gas/water/non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) was extracted from the remaining fractures by applying a vacuum to extraction wells. The injection strategy was designed to maximize the heat delivery over the entire cell (10 m × 10 m × 5 m). The soil temperature profile, the recovered NAPL, the extracted water, and the concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the gas phase were monitored during the field test. GC-MS chemical analyses of pre- and post-treatment soil samples allowed for the quantitative assessment of the remediation efficiency. The growth of the heat front followed the configuration of hydraulic fractures. The average concentration of total hydrocarbons (g/kg of soil) was reduced by ∼ 43% in the upper target zone (depth = 1.5-3.9 m) and by ∼ 72% over the entire zone (depth = 1.5-5.5 m). The total NAPL mass removal based on gas and liquid stream measurements and the free-NAPL product were almost 30% and 2%, respectively, of those estimated from chemical analyses of pre- and post-treatment soil samples. The dominant mechanisms of soil remediation was the vaporization of jet fuel compounds at temperatures lower than their normal boiling points (steam distillation) enhanced by the ventilation of porous matrix due to the forced convective flow of air. In addition, the significant reduction of the NAPL mass in the less-heated deeper zone may be attributed to the counter-current imbibition of condensed water from natural fractures into the porous matrix and the gravity drainage associated with seasonal fluctuations of the water table.

  14. Characterization of crushed tuff for the evaluation of the fate of tracers in transport studies in the unsaturated zone

    SciTech Connect

    Polzer, W.L.; Fuentes, H.R.; Raymond, R.; Bish, D.L.; Gladney, E.S.; Lopez, E.A.

    1987-03-01

    Results of field-scale (caisson) transport studies under unsaturated moisture and steady and nonsteady flow conditions indicate variability and a lack of conservation of mass in solute transport. The tuff materials used in that study were analyzed for the presence of tracers and of freshly precipitated material to help explain the variability and lack of conservation of mass. Selected tuff samples were characterized by neutron activation analysis for tracer identification, by x-ray diffraction for mineral identification, by petrographic analysis for identification of freshly precipitated material, and by x-ray fluorescence analysis for identification of major and trace elements. The results of these analyses indicate no obvious presence of freshly precipitated material that would retard tracer movement. The presence of the nonsorbing tracers (bromide and iodide) suggest the retention of these tracers in immobile water. The presence of the nonsorbing tracers (bromide and iodide) suggest the retention of these tracers in immobile water. The presence of sorbing and nonsorbing tracers on the tuff at some locations (even cesium at the 415-cm depth) and not at others suggests variability in transport. 15 refs., 14 figs., 9 tabs.

  15. Stratigraphy of the unsaturated zone and uppermost part of the Snake River Plain aquifer at test area north, Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, Idaho

    SciTech Connect

    Anderson, S.R.; Bowers, B.

    1995-06-01

    A complex sequence of basalt flows and sedimentary interbeds underlies Test Area North (TAN) at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory in eastern Idaho. Wells drilled to depths of at least 500 feet penetrate 10 basalt-flow groups and 5 to 10 sedimentary interbeds that range in age from about 940,000 to 1.4 million years. Each basalt-flow group consists of one or more basalt flows from a brief, single or compound eruption. All basalt flows of each group erupted from the same vent, and have similar ages, paleomagnetic properties, potassium contents, and natural-gamma emissions. Sedimentary interbeds consist of fluvial, lacustrine, and eolian deposits of clay, silt, sand, and gravel that accumulated for hundreds to hundreds of thousands of years during periods of volcanic quiescence. Basalt and sediment are elevated by hundreds of feet with respect to rocks of equivalent age south and cast of the area, a relation that is attributed to past uplift at TAN. Basalt and sediment are unsaturated to a depth of about 200 feet below land surface. Rocks below this depth are saturated and make up the Snake River Plain aquifer. The effective base of the aquifer is at a depth of 885 feet below land surface. Detailed stratigraphic relations for the lowermost part of the aquifer in the depth interval from 500 to 885 feet were not determined because of insufficient data. The stratigraphy of basalt-flow groups and sedimentary interbeds in the upper 500 feet of the unsaturated zone and aquifer was determined from natural-gamma logs, lithologic logs, and well cores. Basalt cores were evaluated for potassium-argon ages, paleomagnetic properties, petrographic characteristics, and chemical composition. Stratigraphic control was provided by differences in ages, paleomagnetic properties, potassium content, and natural-gamma emissions of basalt-flow groups and sedimentary interbeds.

  16. Hydrogeologic setting and simulation of pesticide fate and transport in the unsaturated zone of a regolith-mantled, carbonate-rock terrain near Newville, Pennsylvania

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hippe, D.J.; Hall, D.W.

    1996-01-01

    Physical and chemical data were collected from May 1991 through April 1993 at a 4.5 hectare field site in Cumberland County, Pa., about 5 kilometers southeast of Newville. These data were used to define the hydrogeologic setting of a field site representative of the intensively farmed carbonate valleys of southeastern and south-central Pennsylvania. The environmental processing of commonly used pesticides (herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides) in the unsaturated zone was simulated with a process- oriented digital model to evaluate the environmental fate and transport of pesticides to ground water. Site data and modelling results provide a basis for a discussion of water-quality implications of agricultural best-management practices. The carbonate valleys of Pennsylvania comprise regolith-mantled carbonate-rock terrains that consist of broad undulating upland areas dissected by mostly dry valleys and widely spaced spring-fed creeks. The upland areas are farmed and exhibit possess a doline karst topography with many closed depressions, sinkholes, and bedrock outcrops. Unsaturated materials at the field site consist of an almost continuous soil cover composed of fine-grained residuum underlain by an intermediate vadose zone composed of karstified limestone. Soils are absent on scattered bedrock outcrops and are more than 12 meters thick in other areas of the site. The soil profile stores appreciable quantities of water with a volumetric average of about 36 percent water at field capacity. Organic carbon content of soil materials is about 1.7 percent in the Ap-horizon and from 0.1 to 0.3 percent throughout the full thickness of the B- and C-horizons. Atrazine, metolachlor, simazine, and the atrazine soil metabolites deethylatrazine and deisopropylatrazine were detected at concentrations above 0.05 mg/L in just the upper 0.6 meters of soil materials. However, detectable concentrations of atrazine, simazine, and atrazine soil metabolites were measured in water

  17. Users` manual for LEHGC: A Lagrangian-Eulerian Finite-Element Model of Hydrogeochemical Transport Through Saturated-Unsaturated Media. Version 1.1

    SciTech Connect

    Yeh, Gour-Tsyh; Carpenter, S.L.; Hopkins, P.L.; Siegel, M.D.

    1995-11-01

    The computer program LEHGC is a Hybrid Lagrangian-Eulerian Finite-Element Model of HydroGeo-Chemical (LEHGC) Transport Through Saturated-Unsaturated Media. LEHGC iteratively solves two-dimensional transport and geochemical equilibrium equations and is a descendant of HYDROGEOCHEM, a strictly Eulerian finite-element reactive transport code. The hybrid Lagrangian-Eulerian scheme improves on the Eulerian scheme by allowing larger time steps to be used in the advection-dominant transport calculations. This causes less numerical dispersion and alleviates the problem of calculated negative concentrations at sharp concentration fronts. The code also is more computationally efficient than the strictly Eulerian version. LEHGC is designed for generic application to reactive transport problems associated with contaminant transport in subsurface media. Input to the program includes the geometry of the system, the spatial distribution of finite elements and nodes, the properties of the media, the potential chemical reactions, and the initial and boundary conditions. Output includes the spatial distribution of chemical element concentrations as a function of time and space and the chemical speciation at user-specified nodes. LEHGC Version 1.1 is a modification of LEHGC Version 1.0. The modification includes: (1) devising a tracking algorithm with the computational effort proportional to N where N is the number of computational grid nodes rather than N{sup 2} as in LEHGC Version 1.0, (2) including multiple adsorbing sites and multiple ion-exchange sites, (3) using four preconditioned conjugate gradient methods for the solution of matrix equations, and (4) providing a model for some features of solute transport by colloids.

  18. [Effect of soil texture in unsaturated zone on soil nitrate accumulation and groundwater nitrate contamination in a marginal oasis in the middle of Heihe River basin].

    PubMed

    Su, Yong-Zhong; Yang, Xiao; Yang, Rong

    2014-10-01

    In irrigated agricultural ecosystems, the accumulation, distribution and transfer of nitrate nitrogen (NO(3-)-N) in soil profile and groundwater nitrate pollution were influenced by irrigation and fertilization, and were closely related to soil textural characteristics. In this study, a monitoring section with 10 groundwater observation wells along Heihe River flood land-old oasis croplands-newly cultivated sandy croplands-fixed sandy land outside oasis was established in Pingchuan desert-oasis in Linze county in the middle of Heihe river basin, and groundwater NO(3-)-N concentration was continuously monitored. Soil texture and NO(3-)-N concentration in the unsaturated zone at different landscape locations were determined. The NO(3-)-N transfer change in soil profile, nitrate leaching of soils with different texture and fertility levels in the 0-100 cm layer were analyzed. The results indicated that the vertical distribution of soil texture was sandy loam in the 0-130 cm depth, loam in the 130-190 cm and clay loam in the 190-300 cm for the old oasis croplands. For newly cultivated sandy croplands, sand content was more than 80% in each soil layer of the 0-300 cm profile, although a thin clay layer occurred in the 140-160 cm depth. The clay layer occurred 160 cm below the sand-fixing zone outside oasis. There were significant correlations between soil NO(3-)-N concentration and silt + clay content, and the order of significant degree was the natural soils of sandy lands > the newly cultivated sandy croplands > the old oasis croplands. The loss of N leaching was closely correlated to the silt + caly content in the 0-100 cm soil depth. The groundwater NO(3-)-N concentration varied from 1.01 to 5.17 mg · L(-1), with a mean value of 2.65 mg · L(-1) and from 6.6 to 29.5 mg · L(-1), with an average of 20.8 mg · L(-1) in the area of old oasis croplands and the newly cultivated croplands, respectively. The averaged groundwater NO(3-)-N concentration in the area of newly

  19. Water and tritium movement through the unsaturated zone at a low-level radioactive-waste disposal site near Sheffield, Illinois, 1981-85

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mills, Patrick C.; Healy, R.W.

    1991-01-01

    The movement of water and tritium through the unsaturated zone was studied at a low-level radioactive-waste disposal site near Sheffield, Bureau County, Illinois, from 1981 to 1985. Water and tritium movement occurred in an annual, seasonally timed cycle; recharge to the saturated zone generally occurred in the spring and early summer. Mean annual precipitation (1982-85) was 871 millimeters; mean annual recharge to the disposal trenches (July 1982 through June 1984) was estimated to be 107 millimeters. Average annual tritium flux below the study trenches was estimated to be 3.4 millicuries per year. Site geology, climate, and waste-disposal practices influenced the spatial and temporal variability of water and tritium movement. Of the components of the water budget, evapotranspiration contributed most to the temporal variability of water and tritium movement. Disposal trenches are constructed in complexly layered glacial and postglacial deposits that average 17 meters in thickness and overlie a thick sequence of Pennsylvanian shale. The horizontal saturated hydraulic conductivity of the clayey-silt to sand-sized glacial and postglacial deposits ranges from 4.8x10^-1 to 3.4x10^4 millimeters per day. A 120-meter-long horizontal tunnel provided access for hydrologic measurements and collection of sediment and water samples from the unsaturated and saturated geologic deposits below four disposal trenches. Trench-cover and subtrench deposits were monitored with soil-moisture tensiometers, vacuum and gravity lysimeters, piezometers, and a nuclear soil-moisture gage. A cross-sectional, numerical ground-water-flow model was used to simulate water movement in the variably saturated geologic deposits in the tunnel area. Concurrent studies at the site provided water-budget data for estimating recharge to the disposal trenches. Vertical water movement directly above the trenches was impeded by a zone of compaction within the clayey-silt trench covers. Water entered the

  20. Water and tritium movement through the unsaturated zone at a low-level radioactive-waste disposal site near Sheffield, Illinois, 1981-85

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mills, Patrick C.; Healy, Richard W.

    1993-01-01

    The movement of water and tritium through the unsaturated zone was studied at a low-level radioactive-waste disposal site near Sheffield, Bureau County, Illinois, from 1981 to 1985. Water and tritium movement occurred in an annual, seasonally timed cycle; recharge to the saturated zone generally occurred in the spring and early summer. Mean annual precipitation (1982-85) was 871 mm (millimeters); mean annual recharge to the disposal trenches (July 1982 through June 1984) was estimated to be 107 mm. Average annual tritium flux below the study trenches was estimated to be 3.4 mCi/yr (millicuries per year). Site geology, climate, and waste-disposal practices influenced the spatial and temporal variability of water and tritium movement. Of the components of the water budget, evapotranspiration contributed most to the temporal variability of water and tritium movement. Disposal trenches are constructed in complexly layered glacial and postglacial deposits that average 17 m (meters) in thickness and overlie a thick sequence of Pennsylvanian shale. The horizontal saturated hydraulic conductivity of the clayey-silt to sand-sized glacial and postglacial deposits ranges from 4.8x10 -1 to 3.4x10 4 mm/d (millimeters per day). A 120-m-long horizontal tunnel provided access for hydrologic measurements and collection of sediment and water samples from the unsaturated and saturated geologic deposits below four disposal trenches. Trench-cover and subtrench deposits were monitored with soil-moisture tensiometers, vacuum and gravity lysimeters, piezometers, and a nuclear soil-moisture gage. A cross-sectional, numerical ground-water-flow model was used to simulate water movement in the variably saturated geologic deposits in the tunnel area. Concurrent studies at the site provided water-budget data for estimating recharge to the disposal trenches. Vertical water movement directly above the trenches was impeded by a zone of compaction within the clayey-silt trench covers. Water entered

  1. Coupling between geochemical reactions and multicomponent gas and solute transport in unsaturated media: A reactive transport modeling study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Molins, S.; Mayer, K. U.

    2007-05-01

    The two-way coupling that exists between biogeochemical reactions and vadose zone transport processes, in particular gas phase transport, determines the composition of soil gas. To explore these feedback processes quantitatively, multicomponent gas diffusion and advection are implemented into an existing reactive transport model that includes a full suite of geochemical reactions. Multicomponent gas diffusion is described on the basis of the dusty gas model, which accounts for all relevant gas diffusion mechanisms. The simulation of gas attenuation in partially saturated landfill soil covers, methane production, and oxidation in aquifers contaminated by organic compounds (e.g., an oil spill site) and pyrite oxidation in mine tailings demonstrate that both diffusive and advective gas transport can be affected by geochemical reactions. Methane oxidation in landfill covers reduces the existing upward pressure gradient, thereby decreasing the contribution of advective methane emissions to the atmosphere and enhancing the net flux of atmospheric oxygen into the soil column. At an oil spill site, methane oxidation causes a reversal in the direction of gas advection, which results in advective transport toward the zone of oxidation both from the ground surface and the deeper zone of methane production. Both diffusion and advection contribute to supply atmospheric oxygen into the subsurface, and methane emissions to the atmosphere are averted. During pyrite oxidation in mine tailings, pressure reduction in the reaction zone drives advective gas flow into the sediment column, enhancing the oxidation process. In carbonate-rich mine tailings, calcite dissolution releases carbon dioxide, which partly offsets the pressure reduction caused by O2 consumption.

  2. Coupling between geochemical reactions and multicomponent gas and solute transport in unsaturated media: A reactive transport modeling study

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Molins, S.; Mayer, K.U.

    2007-01-01

    The two-way coupling that exists between biogeochemical reactions and vadose zone transport processes, in particular gas phase transport, determines the composition of soil gas. To explore these feedback processes quantitatively, multicomponent gas diffusion and advection are implemented into an existing reactive transport model that includes a full suite of geochemical reactions. Multicomponent gas diffusion is described on the basis of the dusty gas model, which accounts for all relevant gas diffusion mechanisms. The simulation of gas attenuation in partially saturated landfill soil covers, methane production, and oxidation in aquifers contaminated by organic compounds (e.g., an oil spill site) and pyrite oxidation in mine tailings demonstrate that both diffusive and advective gas transport can be affected by geochemical reactions. Methane oxidation in landfill covers reduces the existing upward pressure gradient, thereby decreasing the contribution of advective methane emissions to the atmosphere and enhancing the net flux of atmospheric oxygen into the soil column. At an oil spill site, methane oxidation causes a reversal in the direction of gas advection, which results in advective transport toward the zone of oxidation both from the ground surface and the deeper zone of methane production. Both diffusion and advection contribute to supply atmospheric oxygen into the subsurface, and methane emissions to the atmosphere are averted. During pyrite oxidation in mine tailings, pressure reduction in the reaction zone drives advective gas flow into the sediment column, enhancing the oxidation process. In carbonate-rich mine tailings, calcite dissolution releases carbon dioxide, which partly offsets the pressure reduction caused by O2 consumption.

  3. Determination of water movement in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain using chloride, bromide, and chlorine isotopes as environmental tracers. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    1994-07-31

    This report, prepared by Hydro Geo Chem staff for Los Alamos National Laboratory, summarizes work conducted by the company under Subcontract 9-XG1-N3993-1. The ultimate objective of this work is to characterize the movement of subsurface water in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Data produced under this contract is to be used by the US Department of Energy in its Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project (YMP) to help determine hydrologic flows that may affect the performance of a potential nuclear waste repository. The data may be used in the licensing proceedings, and certain quality assurance procedures have thus been required. The work has focussed on measuring the distribution of environmental tracers-chlorine-36, chlorine, and bromine-and on evaluating the depth to which these conservative solutes have percolated in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. The following discussion summarizes progress made on the tasks outlined in the original Scope of Work. Details of this work and all data acquired by Hydro Geo Chem for this subcontract have been systematically organized in logbooks and laboratory notebooks. These documents have been structured to make it easy to trace the analytical history of a sample, from time of receipt to the final analytical results.

  4. Concepts and data-collection techniques used in a study of the unsaturated zone at a low-level radioactive-waste disposal site near Sheffield, Illinois

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Healy, R.W.; DeVries, M.P.; Striegl, R.G.

    1986-01-01

    A study of water and radionuclide movement through the unsaturated zone is being conducted at the low level radioactive waste disposal site near Sheffield, Illinois. Included in the study are detailed investigations of evapotranspiration, movement of water through waste trench covers, and movement of water and radionuclides (dissolved and gaseous) from the trenches. An energy balance/Bowen ratio approach is used to determine evapotranspiration. Precipitation, net radiation, soil-heat flux, air temperature and water vapor content gradients, wind speed, and wind direction are measured. Soil water tension is measured with tensiometers which are connected to pressure transducers. Meteorological sensors and tensiometers which are connected to pressure transducers. Meteorological sensors and tensiometers are monitored with automatic data loggers. Soil moisture contents are measured through small-diameter access tubes with neutron and gamma-ray attenuation gages. Data beneath the trenches are obtained through a 130-meter-long tunnel which extends under four of the trenches. Water samples are obtained with suction lysimeters, and samples of the geologic material are obtained with core tubes. These samples are analyzed for radiometric and inorganic chemistry. Gas samples are obtained from gas piezometers and analyzed for partial pressures of major constituents, Radon-222, tritiated water vapor, and carbon-14 dioxide. (USGS)

  5. Comparison of the stable-isotopic composition of soil water collected from suction lysimeters, wick samplers, and cores in a sandy unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Landon, M. K.; Delin, G. N.; Komor, S. C.; Regan, C. P.

    1999-10-01

    Soil water collected from suction lysimeters and wick samplers buried in the unsaturated zone of a sand and gravel aquifer and extracted from soil cores were analyzed for stable oxygen and hydrogen isotope values. Soil water isotopic values differed among the three sampling methods in most cases. However, because each sampling method collected different fractions of the total soil-water reservoir, the isotopic differences indicated that the soil water at a given depth and time was isotopically heterogeneous. This heterogeneity reflects the presence of relatively more and less mobile components of soil water. Isotopic results from three field tests indicated that 95-100% of the water collected from wick samplers was mobile soil water while samples from suction lysimeters and cores were mixtures of more and less mobile soil water. Suction lysimeter samples contained a higher proportion of more mobile water (15-95%) than samples from cores (5-80%) at the same depth. The results of this study indicate that, during infiltration events, soil water collected with wick samplers is more representative of the mobile soil water that is likely to recharge ground water during or soon after the event than soil water from suction lysimeters or cores.

  6. Semiarid unsaturated zone chloride profiles: Archives of past land use change impacts on water resources in the southern High Plains, United States

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scanlon, Bridget R.; Reedy, Robert C.; Tachovsky, J. Andrew

    2007-06-01

    Unsaturated zone chloride profiles in semiarid regions provide a decadal- to century-scale record of past environmental changes, similar to climate change records provided by tree rings and ice cores. Impacts of conversions from natural ecosystems to rain-fed agriculture on water resources are recorded in chloride profiles in semiarid regions, as typified by the southern High Plains (SHP), Texas, southwestern United States. Large chloride accumulations beneath natural grassland and shrubland ecosystems (3 profiles) reflect evapotranspirative enrichment of atmospherically derived chloride during the Holocene, indicating no recharge in interdrainage areas. Conversion to rain-fed agriculture is recorded by downward displacement (9 profiles) or complete flushing (10 profiles) of chloride bulges, indicating increased recharge. Increased recharge associated with cultivation (median 24 mm/yr, 5% of precipitation, 19 profiles) was quantified using chloride mass balance calculations. The timing of land use change was estimated using chloride data, and results (43-89 years) are consistent with aerial photo records and landowner surveys. New equilibrium volumetric recharge rates beneath rain-fed agriculture in the SHP (0.63 km3/yr) will require decades to establish and represent one to eight times recharge rates for baseline precultivated conditions that are focused beneath ephemeral lake or playa drainages (0.08-0.83 km3/yr). These chloride profiles generally represent decadal-scale monitoring of subsurface response to land use change.

  7. Abstracts and parameter index database for reports pertaining to the unsaturated zone and surface water-ground water interactions at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory

    SciTech Connect

    Bloomsburg, G.; Finnie, J.; Horn, D.; King, B.; Liou, J.

    1993-05-01

    This report is a product generated by faculty at the University of Idaho in support of research and development projects on Unsaturated Zone Contamination and Transport Processes, and on Surface Water-Groundwater Interactions and Regional Groundwater Flow at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. These projects are managed by the State of Idaho`s INEL Oversight Program under a grant from the US Department of Energy. In particular, this report meets project objectives to produce a site-wide summary of hydrological information based on a literature search and review of field, laboratory and modeling studies at INEL, including a cross-referenced index to site-specific physical, chemical, mineralogic, geologic and hydrologic parameters determined from these studies. This report includes abstracts of 149 reports with hydrological information. For reports which focus on hydrological issues, the abstracts are taken directly from those reports; for reports dealing with a variety of issues beside hydrology, the abstracts were generated by the University of Idaho authors concentrating on hydrology-related issues. Each abstract is followed by a ``Data`` section which identifies types of technical information included in a given report, such as information on parameters or chemistry, mineralogy, stream flows, water levels. The ``Data`` section does not include actual values or data.

  8. Impact of material heterogeneity on solute transport behavior in the unsaturated zone of the Calcaire de Beauce aquifer (France)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Viel, Emelie; Coquet, Yves

    2016-04-01

    Since a few decades, the Calcaire de Beauce aquifer is contaminated with nitrate. The nitrate dynamics in the aquifer and in the surface soil are quite well understood, but its transport through the vadose zone remains largely unknown. When models fail to simulate nitrate concentrations in wells, preferential flow or physical non-equilibrium transport in soil and in the vadose zone is usually put forward to explain this failure. To study transport processes in the vadose zone of the Calcaire de Beauce aquifer, undisturbed cores (30 cm length and 20 cm diameter) have been taken below the deepest soil horizon. At the field scale, the vadose zone is composed of powdery limestone spatially very heterogeneous, and including a variable amount of coarse elements. Two columns were selected: column "6" is made of very fine homogeneous limestone whereas column "8" is very heterogeneous with a large proportion of coarse elements. Elution experiments have been performed on both columns. A tracer (Br- or DFBA) in a solution of 5 mM CaCl2 was spread as a pulse on the top of the column with a rainfall simulator. Input flow rate was kept constant for steady state cases, or suddenly closed for flux interruption cases. Outflow was collected as a function of time for tracer concentration measurement. The collected fractions were analyzed by HPLC (High-performance liquid chromatography) with a UV detector. Three types of experiments took place: • For steady state experiments, three rainfall rates, respectively 4, 8, and 16 mm/h, have been used to study the occurrence of immobile water in the columns. The tracer was injected during 120 min followed by CaCl2 tracer-free solution at same flow rate. • For flux-interruption experiments, only the 4 and 8 mm/h rainfall rates were used. The tracer was injected during 120 min, input and output fluxes were then stopped and restarted seven days later with the same flow rate. • For drainage experiments, only the 4 and 8 mm/h rainfall rates

  9. Determining the stable isotope composition of pore water from saturated and unsaturated zone core: improvements to the direct vapor equilibration laser spectroscopy method

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hendry, M. J.; Schmeling, E.; Wassenaar, L. I.; Barbour, S. L.; Pratt, D.

    2015-06-01

    A method to measure the δ2H and δ18O composition of pore waters in saturated and unsaturated geologic core samples using direct vapor equilibration and laser spectroscopy (DVE-LS) was first described in 2008, and has since been widely adopted by others. Here, we describe a number of important methodological improvements and limitations encountered in routine application of DVE-LS over several years. Generally, good comparative agreement and accuracy is obtained between core pore water isotopic data obtained using DVE-LS and that measured on water squeezed from the same core. In complex hydrogeologic settings, high-resolution DVE-LS depth profiles provide greater spatial resolution of isotopic profiles compared to long-screened or nested piezometers. When fluid is used during drilling and coring (e.g., water rotary or wet sonic drill methods), spiking the drill fluid with 2H can be conducted to identify core contamination. DVE-LS analyses yield accurate formational isotopic data for fine-textured core (e.g., clay, shale) samples, but are less effective for cores obtained from saturated permeable (e.g., sand, gravels) geologic media or on chip samples that are easily contaminated by wet rotary drilling fluid. Data obtained from DVE-LS analyses of core samples collected using wet (contamination by drill water) and dry sonic (water loss by heating) methods were also problematic. Accurate DVE-LS results can be obtained on core samples with gravimetric water contents < 5 % by increasing the sample size tested. Inexpensive Ziploc™ gas sampling bags were determined to be as good as, if not better, than other, more expensive bags. Sample storage in gas tight sample bags provides acceptable results for up to 10 days of storage; however, measureable water loss and evaporitic isotopic enrichment occurs for samples stored for up to 6 months. With appropriate care taken during sample collection and storage, the DVE-LS approach for obtaining high resolution pore water

  10. Determining the stable isotope composition of pore water from saturated and unsaturated zone core: improvements to the direct vapour equilibration laser spectrometry method

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hendry, M. J.; Schmeling, E.; Wassenaar, L. I.; Barbour, S. L.; Pratt, D.

    2015-11-01

    A method to measure the δ2H and δ18O composition of pore waters in saturated and unsaturated geologic core samples using direct vapour equilibration and laser spectrometry (DVE-LS) was first described in 2008, and has since been rapidly adopted. Here, we describe a number of important methodological improvements and limitations encountered in routine application of DVE-LS over several years. Generally, good comparative agreement, as well as accuracy, is obtained between core pore water isotopic data obtained using DVE-LS and that measured on water squeezed from the same core. In complex hydrogeologic settings, high-resolution DVE-LS depth profiles provide greater spatial resolution of isotopic profiles compared to long-screened or nested piezometers. When fluid is used during drilling and coring (e.g. water rotary or wet sonic drill methods), spiking the drill fluid with 2H can be conducted to identify core contamination. DVE-LS analyses yield accurate formational isotopic data for fine-textured core (e.g. clay, shale) samples, but are less effective for cores obtained from saturated permeable (e.g. sand, gravels) geologic media or on chip samples that are easily contaminated by wet rotary drilling fluid. Data obtained from DVE-LS analyses of core samples collected using wet (contamination by drill water) and dry sonic (water loss by heating) methods were also problematic. Accurate DVE-LS results can be obtained on core samples with gravimetric water contents > 5 % by increasing the sample size tested. Inexpensive Ziploc™ gas-sampling bags were determined to be as good as, if not better than, other, more expensive specialty bags. Sample storage in sample bags provides acceptable results for up to 10 days of storage; however, measurable water loss, as well as evaporitic isotopic enrichment, occurs for samples stored for up to 6 months. With appropriate care taken during sample collection and storage, the DVE-LS approach for obtaining high-resolution pore water

  11. Occurrence and spatial distribution of emerging contaminants in the unsaturated zone. case study: Guadalete River basin (Cadiz, Spain).

    PubMed

    Corada-Fernández, Carmen; Jiménez-Martínez, Joaquín; Candela, Lucila; González-Mazo, Eduardo; Lara-Martín, Pablo A

    2015-01-01

    Irrigation with reclaimed water is becoming a common practice in arid- and semi-arid regions as a consequence of structural water resource scarcity. This practice can lead to contamination of the vadose zone if sewage-derived contaminants are not removed properly. In the current work, we have characterized soils from the Guadalete River basin (SW Spain), which are often irrigated with reclaimed water from a nearby wastewater treatment plant and amended using sludge. Physico-chemical, mineralogical and hydraulic properties were measured in soil samples from this area (from surface up to 2 m depth). Emerging contaminants (synthetic surfactants and pharmaceutically active compounds, or PhACs) were also determined. Synthetic surfactants, widely used in personal care products (PCPs), were found in a wide range of concentrations: 73-1300 μg kg(-1) for linear alkylbenzene sulfonates (LAS), 120-496 μg kg(-1) for alkyl ethoxysulfates (AES), 19-1090 μg kg(-1) for alcohol polyethoxylates (AEOs), and 155-280 μg kg(-1) for nonylphenol polyethoxylates (NPEOs). The presence of surfactant homologues with longer alkyl chains was predominant due to their sorption capacity. A positive correlation was found between LAS and AEOs and soil organic carbon and clay content, respectively. Out of 64 PhACs analyzed, only 7 were detected occasionally (diclofenac, metoprolol, fenofibrate, carbamazepine, clarithromycin, famotidine and hydrochlorothiazide), always at very low concentrations (from 0.1 to 1.3 μg kg(-1)).

  12. Determination of nitroaromatic explosives and their degradation products in unsaturated-zone water samples by high-performance liquid chromatography with photodiode-array, mass spectrometric, and tandem mass spectrometric detection

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gates, Paul M.; Furlong, E.T.; Dorsey, T.F.; Burkhardt, M.R.

    1996-01-01

    Mass spectrometry and tandem mass spectrometry, coupled by a thermospray interface to a high-performance liguid chromatography system and equipped with a photodiode array detector, were used to determine the presence of nitroaromatic explosives and their degradation products in USA unsaturated-zone water samples. Using this approach, the lower limits of quantitation for explosives determined by mass spectrometry in this study typically ranged from 10 to 100 ng/l.

  13. Groundwater recharge processes in the Nasia sub-catchment of the White Volta Basin: Analysis of porewater characteristics in the unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Addai, Millicent Obeng; Yidana, Sandow Mark; Chegbeleh, Larry-Pax; Adomako, Dickson; Banoeng-Yakubo, Bruce

    2016-10-01

    Vertical infiltration of precipitation has been examined in this study for the purpose of evaluating groundwater recharge processes in parts of the Nasia sub-catchment of the White Volta Basin. As recharge is an essential component in the detailed assessment of groundwater resources potential in a basin, evaluating its processes is vital in determining the spatial and temporal variability of the resource. Stable isotope data of precipitation, groundwater, surface water and porewater in the area suggest that the local precipitation is largely enriched compared to global meteoric water. This is consistent with the prevailing local conditions in the region and ties in with observations in other parts of the sub-region. The groundwater and porewater data indicate that prior to, and in the process of infiltration and final percolation into the saturated zone, rainwater undergoes evaporative enrichment such that the finally recharged water plots along an evaporation line with a much shallower gradient and intercept compared to the global meteoric water line and the local meteoric water line. The isotope data further suggest that through the shallow unsaturated zone, a significant fraction of the initial precipitation would have been evaporated by a depth of 3.0 m. Evaporation rates in the range of 38-49% have been estimated for the depth range of 0-3.0 m based on the porewater stable isotope data. Details of the procedures and implications of high evaporation rates within such shallower depths are presented and discussed. Groundwater recharge rates estimated from the chloride mass balance technique report values in the range of 73.26 mm/yr (390 Mm3/yr)-109.89 mm/yr (585.27 Mm3/yr), with an average of 94 mm/yr (500.6 Mm3/yr). These translate into 6.6-10.9% of annual precipitation. Based on the current population trends and per capita water demand of 50 L per capita per day, this study finds that the estimated recharge rates exceed the demand 59 times. This suggests

  14. 3DFEMWATER: A three-dimensional finite element model of water flow through saturated-unsaturated media

    SciTech Connect

    Yeh, G.T.

    1987-08-01

    The 3DFEMWATER model is designed to treat heterogeneous and anisotropic media consisting of as many geologic formations as desired, consider both distributed and point sources/sinks that are spatially and temporally dependent, accept the prescribed initial conditions or obtain them by simulating a steady state version of the system under consideration, deal with a transient head distributed over the Dirichlet boundary, handle time-dependent fluxes due to pressure gradient varying along the Neumann boundary, treat time-dependent total fluxes distributed over the Cauchy boundary, automatically determine variable boundary conditions of evaporation, infiltration, or seepage on the soil-air interface, include the off-diagonal hydraulic conductivity components in the modified Richards equation for dealing with cases when the coordinate system does not coincide with the principal directions of the hydraulic conductivity tensor, give three options for estimating the nonlinear matrix, include two options (successive subregion block iterations and successive point interactions) for solving the linearized matrix equations, automatically reset time step size when boundary conditions or source/sinks change abruptly, and check the mass balance computation over the entire region for every time step. The model is verified with analytical solutions or other numerical models for three examples.

  15. Drilling and coring methods that minimize the disturbance of cuttings, core, and rock formation in the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Hammermeister, D.P.; Blout, D.O.; McDaniel, J.C.

    1985-12-31

    A drilling-and-casing method (Odex 115 system) utilizing air as a drilling fluid was used successfully to drill through various rock types within the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. This paper describes this method and the equipment used to rapidly penetrate bouldery alluvial-colluvial deposits, poorly consolidated bedded and nonwelded tuff, and fractured, densely welded tuff to depths of about 130 meters. A comparison of water-content and water-potential data from drill cuttings with similar measurements on rock cores indicates that drill cuttings were only slightly disturbed for several of the rock types penetrated. Coring, sampling, and handling methods were devised to obtain minimally disturbed drive core from bouldery alluvial-colluvial deposits. Bulk-density values obtained from bulk samples dug from nearby trenches were compared to bulk-density values obtained from drive core to determine the effects of drive coring on the porosity of the core. Rotary coring methods utilizing a triple-tube core barrel and air as the drilling fluid were used to obtain core from welded and nonwelded tuff. Results indicate that the disturbance of the water content of the core was minimal. Water-content distributions in alluvium-colluvium were determined before drilling occurred by drive-core methods. After drilling, water-content distributions were determined by nuclear-logging methods. A comparison of the water-content distributions made before and after drilling indicates that Odex 115 drilling minimally disturbs the water content of the formation rock. 10 refs., 12 figs., 4 tabs.

  16. The impact of immobile zones on the transport and retention of nanoparticles in porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Molnar, Ian L.; Gerhard, Jason I.; Willson, Clinton S.; O'Carroll, Denis M.

    2015-11-01

    Nanoparticle transport and retention within porous media is treated by conceptualizing the porous media as a series of independent collectors (e.g., Colloid Filtration Theory). This conceptualization assumes that flow phenomena near grain-grain contacts, such as immobile zones (areas of low flow), exert a negligible influence on nanoparticle transport and assumes that retention and release of particles depends only on surface chemistry. This study investigated the impact of immobile zones on nanoparticle transport and retention by employing synchrotron X-ray computed microtomography (SXCMT) to examine pore-scale silver nanoparticle distributions during transport through three sand columns: uniform iron oxide, uniform quartz, and well-graded quartz. Extended tailing was observed during the elution phase of all experiments suggesting that hydraulic retention in immobile zones, not detachment from grains, was the source of tailing. A numerical simulation of fluid flow through an SXCMT data set predicted the presence of immobile zones near grain-grain contacts. SXCMT-determined silver nanoparticle concentrations observed that significantly lower nanoparticle concentrations existed near grain-grain contacts throughout the duration of all experiments. In addition, the SXCMT-determined pore-scale concentration gradients were found to be independent of surface chemistry and grain size distribution, suggesting that immobile zones limit the diffusive transport of nanoparticles toward the collectors. These results suggest that the well-known overprediction of nanoparticle retention by traditional CFT may be due to ignoring the influences of grain-grain contacts and immobile zones. As such, accurate prediction of nanoparticle transport requires consideration of immobile zones and their influence on both hydraulic and surface retention.

  17. Ground-penetrating radar images of a dye tracer test within the unsaturated zone at the Susquehanna-Shale Hills CZO

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pitman, Lacey M.

    Dye tracer and time-lapse ground-penetrating radar (GPR) were used to image preferential flow paths in the shallow, unsaturated zone on hillslopes in two adjacent watersheds within the Susquehanna-Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory (CZO). At each site we injected about 50 L of water mixed with brilliant blue dye (4 g/L) into a trench cut perpendicular to the slope (˜1.0 m long by ˜0.20 m wide by ˜0.20 m deep) to create a line of infiltration. GPR (800 MHz antennae with constant offset) was used to monitor the movement of the dye tracer downslope on a 1.0 m x 2.0 m grid with a 0.05 m line spacing. The site was then excavated and the stained pathways photographed to document the dye movement. We saw a considerable difference in the pattern of shallow preferential flow between the two sites despite similar soil characteristics and slope position. Both sites showed dye penetrating down to saprolite (˜0.40 m); however, lateral flow migration between the two sites was different. At the Missed Grouse field site, the lateral migration was ˜0.55 m as an evenly dispersed plume, but at distance of 0.70 m a finger of dye was observed. At the Shale Hills field site, the total lateral flow was ˜0.40 m, dye was barely visible until the excavation reached ˜0.10 m, and there was more evidence of distinct fingering in the vertical direction. Based on laboratory and field experiments as well as processing of the radargrams, the following conclusions were drawn: 1) time-lapse GPR successfully delineated the extent of lateral flow, but the GPR resolution was insufficient to detect small fingers of dye; 2) there was not a distinct GPR reflection at the regolith-saprock boundary, but this interface could be estimated from the extent of signal attenuation; 3) the preliminary soil moisture conditions may explain differences in the extent of infiltration at the two sites; 4) rapid infiltration into the underlying saprock limited the extent of shallow lateral flow at both sites and

  18. Data from a Thick Unsaturated Zone Underlying Two Artificial Recharge Sites along Oro Grande Wash in the Western Part of the Mojave Desert, near Victorville, San Bernardino County, California, 2001-2006

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Clark, Dennis A.; Izbicki, John A.; Johnson, Russell D.; Land, Michael

    2009-01-01

    This report presents data on the physical and hydraulic properties of unsaturated alluvial deposits and on the chemical and isotopic composition of water collected at two recharge sites in the western part of the Mojave Desert, near Victorville, California, from 2001 to 2006. Unsaturated-zone monitoring sites were installed adjacent to the two recharge ponds using the ODEX air-hammer and air rotary method to depths of about 460 feet and 269 feet below land surface. Each of the two unsaturated-zone monitoring sites included a water-table well, matric-potential sensors, and suction-cup lysimeters installed in a single bore hole. Drilling procedures, lithologic and geophysical data, and site construction and instrumentation are described. Core material was analyzed for water content, bulk density, water potential, particle size, and water retention. The chemical composition of leachate from almost 400 samples of cores and cuttings was determined. Water from suction-cup lysimeters also was analyzed for chemical and isotopic composition. In addition, data on the chemical and isotopic composition of groundwater from the two water-table wells are reported along with chemical and isotopic composition of the surface water in the recharge ponds.

  19. Determination of degradation rates of organic substances in the unsaturated soil zone depending on the grain size fractions of various soil types

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fichtner, Thomas; Stefan, Catalin; Goersmeyer, Nora

    2015-04-01

    Rate and extent of the biological degradation of organic substances during transport through the unsaturated soil zone is decisively influenced by the chemical and physical properties of the pollutants such as water solubility, toxicity and molecular structure. Furthermore microbial degradation processes are also influenced by soil-specific properties. An important parameter is the soil grain size distribution on which the pore volume and the pore size depends. Changes lead to changes in air and water circulation as well as preferred flow paths. Transport capacity of water inclusive nutrients is lower in existing bad-drainable fine pores in soils with small grain size fractions than in well-drainable coarse pores in a soil with bigger grain size fractions. Because fine pores are saturated with water for a longer time than the coarse pores and oxygen diffusion in water is ten thousand times slower than in air, oxygen is replenished much slower in soils with small grain size fractions. As a result life and growth conditions of the microorganisms are negatively affected. This leads to less biological activity, restricted degradation/mineralization of pollutants or altered microbial processes. The aim of conducted laboratory column experiments was to study the correlation between the grain size fractions respectively pore sizes, the oxygen content and the biodegradation rate of infiltrated organic substances. Therefore two columns (active + sterile control) were filled with different grain size fractions (0,063-0,125 mm, 0,2-0,63 mm and 1-2 mm) of soils. The sterile soil was inoculated with a defined amount of a special bacteria culture (sphingobium yanoikuae). A solution with organic substances glucose, oxalic acid, sinaphylic alcohol and nutrients was infiltrated from the top in intervals. The degradation of organic substances was controlled by the measurement of dissolved organic carbon in the in- and outflow of the column. The control of different pore volumes

  20. Constraints on the hydrology of the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, NV from three-dimensional models of chloride and strontium geochemistry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sonnenthal, Eric L.; Bodvarsson, Gudmundur S.

    1999-05-01

    Three-dimensional (3-D) simulations of the spatial and temporal variations in chloride and strontium concentrations in porewaters were performed to constrain infiltration rates, flow paths, and mixing processes in the unsaturated zone (UZ) at Yucca Mountain, NV. Chloride concentrations in infiltrating water were calculated from aerial distributions of precipitation and infiltration rates for the current climatic conditions and for the last glacial maximum, combined with effective chloride concentrations in precipitation. Modeled concentrations are roughly similar to measured porewater chloride concentrations from the Paintbrush nonwelded tuffs in the Exploratory Studies Facility (ESF) tunnel and in boreholes suggesting that the mean infiltration rate over the site is unlikely to be higher than the calculated mean infiltration rate for the modern climate (˜5 mm/year; [Flint, A.L., Hevesi, J.A., Flint, L.E., 1996. Conceptual and Numerical Model of Infiltration for the Yucca Mountain Area, Nevada. Milestone 3GU1623M. U.S. Geol. Surv. Water Res. Invest. Rep. U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO]). Porewaters from the late Pleistocene (>10 ka) could be present in the Paintbrush bedded tuffs and in the underlying Topopah Spring welded tuffs (TSw), predominately under regions of thick alluvium having little infiltration. However, porewaters at the potential repository level may have a higher proportion of Holocene recharge due to the higher calculated infiltration rate in this region. Dual-permeability simulations show that in low infiltration regions chemical disequilibrium can exist between fracture and matrix porewaters, as a result of the climate change 10,000 years ago. Below the potential repository level, simulations show significant mixing due to lateral flow on top of the low permeability basal vitrophyre in the Topopah Spring unit and on zeolitized tuffs in the Calico Hills unit. Perched water chloride concentrations are closely matched using the calculated

  1. VIRTUS, a model of virus transport in unsaturated soils.

    PubMed Central

    Yates, M V; Ouyang, Y

    1992-01-01

    As a result of the recently proposed mandatory groundwater disinfection requirements to inactivate viruses in potable water supplies, there has been increasing interest in virus fate and transport in the subsurface. Several models have been developed to predict the fate of viruses in groundwater, but few include transport in the unsaturated zone and all require a constant virus inactivation rate. These are serious limitations in the models, as it has been well documented that considerable virus removal occurs in the unsaturated zone and that the inactivation rate of viruses is dependent on environmental conditions. The purpose of this research was to develop a predictive model of virus fate and transport in unsaturated soils that allows the virus inactivation rate to vary on the basis of changes in soil temperature. The model was developed on the basis of the law of mass conservation of a contaminant in porous media and couples the flows of water, viruses, and heat through the soil. Model predictions were compared with measured data of virus transport in laboratory column studies and, with the exception of one point, were within the 95% confidence limits of the measured concentrations. The model should be a useful tool for anyone wishing to estimate the number of viruses entering groundwater after traveling through the soil from a contamination source. In addition, model simulations were performed to identify parameters that have a large effect on the results. This information can be used to help design experiments so that important variables are measured accurately. PMID:1622230

  2. Estimation of unsaturated zone liquid water flux at boreholes UZ No. 4, UZ No. 5, UZ No. 7, and UZ No. 13, Yucca Mountain, Nevada, from saturation and water potential profiles

    SciTech Connect

    Kwicklis, E.M.; Healy, R.W.; Flint, A.L.

    1993-12-31

    The unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is being investigated as a potential location for a high-level nuclear waste repository. Characterization of the liquid water flux and its spatial distribution under natural conditions provides estimates of the amount of water that could potentially contact the waste canisters and transport soluble radionuclides to the accessible environment. Estimates of ambient water flux may affect design requirements by indicating the degree to which reliance must be placed on engineered barriers or the waste-generated heat to keep the waste canisters dry.

  3. Formation of Zones with Maximum Supersonic Cavitation Intensity in Single-Component and Multicomponent Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bakhtin, B. I.; Ivashov, A. I.; Kuznetsov, A. V.; Skorokhodov, A. S.

    2016-05-01

    Experimental studies have been made on the formation of highly active cavitation zones in fluid media at high pressures (up to 6.5 MPa) and temperatures (up to 150°C) with the use of a high-power ultrasonic installation. It has been shown that attempts to increase the cavitation intensity in single-component and multicomponent media by increasing the power of the ultrasonic installation to above a certain limit lead to a strong degradation of the cavitation processes. This is due to the appearance of hydrodynamical flows generated by longitudinal vibrations of the installation radiator waveguide. Eliminating or weakening such flows makes it possible to increase markedly the efficiency of cavitation treatment by increasing the medium pressure (in the range of 0.5-1.5 MPa) and choosing the optimum ratio between the temperature of the medium and the power of the ultrasonic installation (specific acoustic power of the radiator). We recommend to use for the cavitation intensity index the acoustic activity of the cavitation zone (acoustic noise amplitude in the frequency range of 200 kHz-10 MHz), as well as its physical activity determined by the destruction rate of thin-layer indicators.

  4. Recirculation zones induce non-Fickian transport in three-dimensional periodic porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crevacore, Eleonora; Tosco, Tiziana; Sethi, Rajandrea; Boccardo, Gianluca; Marchisio, Daniele L.

    2016-11-01

    In this work, the influence of pore space geometry on solute transport in porous media is investigated performing computational fluid dynamics pore-scale simulations of fluid flow and solute transport. The three-dimensional periodic domains are obtained from three different pore structure configurations, namely, face-centered-cubic (fcc), body-centered-cubic (bcc), and sphere-in-cube (sic) arrangements of spherical grains. Although transport simulations are performed with media having the same grain size and the same porosity (in fcc and bcc configurations), the resulting breakthrough curves present noteworthy differences, such as enhanced tailing. The cause of such differences is ascribed to the presence of recirculation zones, even at low Reynolds numbers. Various methods to readily identify recirculation zones and quantify their magnitude using pore-scale data are proposed. The information gained from this analysis is then used to define macroscale models able to provide an appropriate description of the observed anomalous transport. A mass transfer model is applied to estimate relevant macroscale parameters (hydrodynamic dispersion above all) and their spatial variation in the medium; a functional relation describing the spatial variation of such macroscale parameters is then proposed.

  5. Recirculation zones induce non-Fickian transport in three-dimensional periodic porous media.

    PubMed

    Crevacore, Eleonora; Tosco, Tiziana; Sethi, Rajandrea; Boccardo, Gianluca; Marchisio, Daniele L

    2016-11-01

    In this work, the influence of pore space geometry on solute transport in porous media is investigated performing computational fluid dynamics pore-scale simulations of fluid flow and solute transport. The three-dimensional periodic domains are obtained from three different pore structure configurations, namely, face-centered-cubic (fcc), body-centered-cubic (bcc), and sphere-in-cube (sic) arrangements of spherical grains. Although transport simulations are performed with media having the same grain size and the same porosity (in fcc and bcc configurations), the resulting breakthrough curves present noteworthy differences, such as enhanced tailing. The cause of such differences is ascribed to the presence of recirculation zones, even at low Reynolds numbers. Various methods to readily identify recirculation zones and quantify their magnitude using pore-scale data are proposed. The information gained from this analysis is then used to define macroscale models able to provide an appropriate description of the observed anomalous transport. A mass transfer model is applied to estimate relevant macroscale parameters (hydrodynamic dispersion above all) and their spatial variation in the medium; a functional relation describing the spatial variation of such macroscale parameters is then proposed.

  6. Natural radionuclide mobility and its influence on U-Th-Pb dating of secondary minerals from the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Neymark, L.A.; Amelin, Y.V.

    2008-01-01

    Extreme U and Pb isotope variations produced by disequilibrium in decay chains of 238U and 232Th are found in calcite, opal/chalcedony, and Mn-oxides occurring as secondary mineral coatings in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. These very slowly growing minerals (mm my-1) contain excess 206Pb and 208Pb formed from excesses of intermediate daughter isotopes and cannot be used as reliable 206Pb/238U geochronometers. The presence of excess intermediate daughter isotopes does not appreciably affect 207Pb/235U ages of U-enriched opal/chalcedony, which are interpreted as mineral formation ages. Opal and calcite from outer (younger) portions of coatings have 230Th/U ages from 94.6 ?? 3.7 to 361.3 ?? 9.8 ka and initial 234U/238U activity ratios (AR) from 4.351 ?? 0.070 to 7.02 ?? 0.12, which indicate 234U enrichment from percolating water. Present-day 234U/238U AR is ???1 in opal/chalcedony from older portions of the coatings. The 207Pb/235U ages of opal/chalcedony samples range from 0.1329 ?? 0.0080 to 9.10 ?? 0.21 Ma, increase with microstratigraphic depth, and define slow long-term average growth rates of about 1.2-2.0 mm my-1, in good agreement with previous results. Measured 234U/238U AR in Mn-oxides, which pre-date the oldest calcite and opal/chalcedony, range from 0.939 ?? 0.006 to 2.091 ?? 0.006 and are >1 in most samples. The range of 87Sr/86Sr ratios (0.71156-0.71280) in Mn-oxides overlaps that in the late calcite. These data indicate that Mn-oxides exchange U and Sr with percolating water and cannot be used as a reliable dating tool. In the U-poor calcite samples, measured 206Pb/207Pb ratios have a wide range, do not correlate with Ba concentration as would be expected if excess Ra was present, and reach a value of about 1400, the highest ever reported for natural Pb. Calcite intergrown with opal contains excesses of both 206Pb and 207Pb derived from Rn diffusion and from direct ??-recoil from U-rich opal. Calcite from coatings devoid of opal

  7. The Effect of Dynamic Evaporation Rates on the Mobility of Pharmaceuticals in Unsaturated Environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Normile, H.; Papelis, C.; Kibbey, T. C. G.

    2015-12-01

    The focus of this work was on investigating how dynamic rates of evaporation affect the fate and transport of pharmaceutical compounds in unsaturated porous media. The environmental processes of saturation and evaporation control local concentrations of contaminants in pore water of porous media. Specifically, the rate of evaporation can affect the identity and extent of solid formation of a pharmaceutical compound. A range of experiments with different evaporation rates were conducted on sand columns saturated with a solution of ciprofloxacin, a fluoroquinolone antibiotic. Experiments were designed to simulate increased and decreased pore-water concentrations of a compound due to evaporation and resaturation, respectively. Results suggest that varied rates of evaporation cause differences in compound adsorption behavior. This result has significant implications for understanding fate and transport within the unsaturated zone. Preliminary models exploring the impact on contaminant mobility are discussed.

  8. Rapid imbibition of water in fractures within unsaturated sedimentary rock

    DOE PAGES

    Cheng, Chu-Lin; Perfect, Edmund; Donnelly, B.; ...

    2015-01-27

    The spontaneous imbibition of water and other liquids into gas-filled fractures in variably-saturated porous media is important in a variety of engineering and geological contexts. However, surprisingly few studies have investigated this phenomenon. In this paper, we present a theoretical framework for predicting the 1-dimensional movement of water into air-filled fractures within a porous medium based on early-time capillary dynamics and spreading over the rough surfaces of fracture faces. The theory permits estimation of sorptivity values for the matrix and fracture zone, as well as a dispersion parameter which quantifies the extent of spreading of the wetting front. Quantitative datamore » on spontaneous imbibition of water in unsaturated Berea sandstone cores were acquired to evaluate the proposed model. The cores with different permeability classes ranging from 50 to 500 mD and were fractured using the Brazilian method. Spontaneous imbibition in the fractured cores was measured by dynamic neutron radiography at the Neutron Imaging Prototype Facility (beam line CG-1D, HFIR), Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Water uptake into both the matrix and the fracture zone exhibited square-root-of-time behavior. The matrix sorptivities ranged from 2.9 to 4.6 mm s-0.5, and increased linearly as the permeability class increased. The sorptivities of the fracture zones ranged from 17.9 to 27.1 mm s-0.5, and increased linearly with increasing fracture aperture width. The dispersion coefficients ranged from 23.7 to 66.7 mm2 s-1 and increased linearly with increasing fracture aperture width and damage zone width. Both theory and observations indicate that fractures can significantly increase spontaneous imbibition in unsaturated sedimentary rock by capillary action and surface spreading on rough fracture faces. Fractures also increase the dispersion of the wetting front. In conclusion, further research is needed to investigate this phenomenon in other natural and engineered

  9. Rapid imbibition of water in fractures within unsaturated sedimentary rock

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cheng, C.-L.; Perfect, E.; Donnelly, B.; Bilheux, H. Z.; Tremsin, A. S.; McKay, L. D.; DiStefano, V. H.; Cai, J. C.; Santodonato, L. J.

    2015-03-01

    The spontaneous imbibition of water and other liquids into gas-filled fractures in variably-saturated porous media is important in a variety of engineering and geological contexts. However, surprisingly few studies have investigated this phenomenon. We present a theoretical framework for predicting the 1-dimensional movement of water into air-filled fractures within a porous medium based on early-time capillary dynamics and spreading over the rough surfaces of fracture faces. The theory permits estimation of sorptivity values for the matrix and fracture zone, as well as a dispersion parameter which quantifies the extent of spreading of the wetting front. Quantitative data on spontaneous imbibition of water in unsaturated Berea sandstone cores were acquired to evaluate the proposed model. The cores with different permeability classes ranging from 50 to 500 mD and were fractured using the Brazilian method. Spontaneous imbibition in the fractured cores was measured by dynamic neutron radiography at the Neutron Imaging Prototype Facility (beam line CG-1D, HFIR), Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Water uptake into both the matrix and the fracture zone exhibited square-root-of-time behavior. The matrix sorptivities ranged from 2.9 to 4.6 mm s-0.5, and increased linearly as the permeability class increased. The sorptivities of the fracture zones ranged from 17.9 to 27.1 mm s-0.5, and increased linearly with increasing fracture aperture width. The dispersion coefficients ranged from 23.7 to 66.7 mm2 s-1 and increased linearly with increasing fracture aperture width and damage zone width. Both theory and observations indicate that fractures can significantly increase spontaneous imbibition in unsaturated sedimentary rock by capillary action and surface spreading on rough fracture faces. Fractures also increase the dispersion of the wetting front. Further research is needed to investigate this phenomenon in other natural and engineered porous media.

  10. Numerical simulations of sulphate emissions from the unsaturated zone on NA processes in ground water - reactive transport modelling of a benzene and naphthalene contaminated plume. Reaktive Transportmodellierungen einer mit Benzen und Naphthalin kontaminierten Abstromfahne

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hornbruch, G.; Schäfer, D.; Dahmke, A.

    2007-06-01

    The supply of electron acceptors from leachate through the unsaturated zone could represent a special boundary condition with regard to contaminant plume spreading in groundwater. This is an important issue for the acceptance of monitored natural attenuation (MNA) strategies and the prediction of NA processes, but which to date has received little attention. The results of the numerical simulations considered herein show problems in parameterisation of the Monod kinetic approach used for modelling biodegradation processes under sulphate reducing conditions and show the effects of different sulphate loads on the future spreading of a benzene and naphthalene plume at a former coking plant. The results indicate a strong influence of sulphate supply and thus highlight the importance of quantifying these electron acceptor sources and loads, and of defining the controlling parameters for predicting long-term trends in plume development.

  11. Influence of colloids on the attenuation and transport of phosphorus in alluvial gravel aquifer and vadose zone media.

    PubMed

    Pang, Liping; Lafogler, Mark; Knorr, Bastian; McGill, Erin; Saunders, Darren; Baumann, Thomas; Abraham, Phillip; Close, Murray

    2016-04-15

    Phosphorous (P) leaching (e.g., from effluents, fertilizers) and transport in highly permeable subsurface media can be an important pathway that contributes to eutrophication of receiving surface waters as groundwater recharges the base-flow of surface waters. Here we investigated attenuation and transport of orthophosphate-P in gravel aquifer and vadose zone media in the presence and absence of model colloids (Escherichia coli, kaolinite, goethite). Experiments were conducted using repacked aquifer media in a large column (2m long, 0.19m in diameter) and intact cores (0.4m long, 0.24m in diameter) of vadose zone media under typical field flow rates. In the absence of the model colloids, P was readily traveled through the aquifer media with little attenuation (up to 100% recovery) and retardation, and P adsorption was highly reversible. Conversely, addition of the model colloids generally resulted in reduced P concentration and mass recovery (down to 28% recovery), and increased retardation and adsorption irreversibility in both aquifer and vadose zone media. The degree of colloid-assisted P attenuation was most significant in the presence of fine material and Fe-containing colloids at low flow rate but was least significant in the presence of coarse gravels and E. coli at high flow rate. Based on the experimental results, setback distances of 49-53m were estimated to allow a reduction of P concentrations in groundwater to acceptable levels in the receiving water. These estimates were consistent with field observations in the same aquifer media. Colloid-assisted P attenuation can be utilized to develop mitigation strategies to better manage effluent applications in gravelly soils. To efficiently retain P within soil matrix and reduce P leaching to groundwater, it is recommended to select soils that are rich in iron oxides, to periodically disturb soil preferential flow paths by tillage, and to apply a low irrigation rate.

  12. Modeling and Optimization of GEDIT for In Situ Contaminant Destruction in the Vadose Zone

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2012-04-01

    for Three-Phase Non- isothermal Flows of Multicomponent Hydrocarbon Mixtures in Saturated-Unsaturated Heterogeneous Media. Report LBNL -49375 Lawrence...FINAL REPORT ADDENDUM Modeling and Optimization of GEDIT For In Situ Contaminant Destruction in the Vadose Zone ESTCP Project ER-200511...April 2012 Patrick Evans CDM Smith REPORT DOCUMENTATION PAGE Form Approved OMB No. 0704-0188 Public reporting burden for this

  13. Data from a thick unsaturated zone underlying Oro Grande and Sheep Creek washes in the western part of the Mojave Desert, near Victorville, San Bernardino County, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Izbicki, John A.; Clark, Dennis A.; Pimental, Maria I.; Land, Michael; Radyk, John C.; Michel, Robert L.

    2000-01-01

    This report presents data on the physical properties of unsaturated alluvial deposits and on the chemical and isotopic composition of soil water and soil gas collected at 12 monitoring sites in the western part of the Mojave Desert, near Victorville, California. Sites were installed using the ODEX air-hammer method. Seven sites were located in the active channels of Oro Grande and Sheep Creek Washes. The remaining five sites were located away from the active washes. Most sites were drilled to a depth of about 100 feet below land surface; two sites were drilled to the water table almost 650 feet below land surface. Drilling procedures, lithologic and geophysical data, and site construction and instrumentation are described. Core material was analyzed for water content, bulk density, water potential, particle size, and water retention. The chemical composition of leachate from almost 1,000 subsamples of cores and cuttings was determined. Water extracted from selected subsamples of cores was analyzed for tritium and the stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen. Water from suction-cup lysimeters and soil-gas samples also were analyzed for chemical and isotopic composition. In addition, data on the chemical and isotopic composition of bulk precipitation from five sites and on ground water from two water-table wells are reported.

  14. Assessment of the influence of climate condition on a migration rate of the 90Sr in the unsaturated zone in the Kirov and Sverdlovsk Region, Russia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kurinova, Natalia; Dediulina, Ekaterina

    2016-04-01

    In this research, the transport of 90Sr with unsaturated flow in the same geological section (0.5 m top soil, from 0.5 to 6.0 m sand) was taken under consideration in two regions: Kirov and Sverdlovsk Region, Russia. The modeling schematization assumed that the nuclide polluted top soil to the depth of 0.2 m and from this point are transported with infiltration of precipitation during 100 year. The modeling were conducted in Hydrus 1D. The climate classification based on the Budyko aridity index (Budyko 1958) was used to define climate differences between regions. According this classification climate in both are temperate continental but the biggest differences is in the wetting degree. The Kirov region has the aridity index about 0.70; there is overwatering conditions, which means that average annual precipitation exceeds the potential evapotranspiration. The Sverdlovsk region has the aridity index about 1.04; there is the optimal watering conditions. The results of modeling of the 90Sr migration process showed the transport dynamic dependence on wetting degree. At the end of the 100-year period, the 90Sr reached the depth of 1.3 m in Kirov region and 1.0 m in Sverdlovsk.

  15. Ground-water flow and effects of agricultural application of sewage sludge and other fertilizers on the chemical quality of sediments in the unsaturated zone and ground water near Platteville, Colorado, 1985-89

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gaggiani, N.G.

    1995-01-01

    From fall 1985 through 1989, 6,431 dry tons of anaerobic, digested, sewage sludge were applied as a fertilizer on about 1 square mile of sandy farm- land near Platteville, Colorado. Mean nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen concentrations in the surficial aquifer increased during the period of sewage- sludge application. However, the effects of municipal sewage sludge applied to the soil in section 16 are difficult to ascertain because anhydrous ammonia and cattle and chicken manure were applied to section 16 prior to sewage-sludge application and anhydrous ammonia was applied during the period of sewage-sludge application. Mostly ammonia plus organic nitrogen was detected in the unsaturated zone while nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen predominated in the surficial aquifer. The areas of largest concentrations of nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen were in the northeastern and southwestern quarter sections os section 16. Changes in nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen concentrations with depth and time were detected in water samples from the multilevel ground-water sampling devices in the surficial aquifer. Nitrogen probably entered the saturated zone in the irrigated areas and low temporarily ponded areas and moved to the northeast with water in the surficial aquifer.

  16. An Integrated Modeling Analysis of Unsaturated Flow Patterns inFractured Rock

    SciTech Connect

    Wu, Yu-Shu; Lu, Guoping; Zhang, Keni; Pan, Lehua; Bodvarsson,Gudmundur S.

    2005-03-21

    Characterizing percolation patterns in unsaturated zones hasposed a greater challenge to numerical modeling investigations thancomparable saturated zone studies, because of the heterogeneous nature ofunsaturated media as well as the great number of variables impactingunsaturated zone flow. This paper presents an integrated modelingmethodology for quantitatively characterizing percolation patterns in theunsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, a proposed undergroundrepository site for storing high-level radioactive waste. It takes intoaccount the multiple coupled processes of air, water, heat flow andchemical isotopic transport in Yucca Mountain s highly heterogeneous,unsaturated fractured tuffs. The modeling approach integrates a widevariety of moisture, pneumatic, thermal, and isotopic geochemical fielddata into a comprehensive three-dimensional numerical model for modelinganalyses. Modeling results are examined against different types offield-measured data and then used to evaluate different hydrogeologicalconceptual models and their results of flow patterns in the unsaturatedzone. In particular, this integration model provides a much clearerunderstanding of percolation patterns and flow behavior through theunsaturated zone, both crucial issues in assessing repositoryperformance. The integrated approach for quantifying Yucca Mountain sflow system is also demonstrated to provide a comprehensive modeling toolfor characterizing flow and transport processes in complex subsurfacesystems.

  17. The Importance of Moving Air-Water Interfaces for Colloid Transport in Porous Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flury, M.

    2015-12-01

    In the vadose zone, or in unsaturated porous media in general, transport of colloids is usually less pronounced than in groundwater. An important retention mechanism for colloids in unsaturated porous media is attachment to air-water interfaces. However, air-water interfaces can also lead to colloid mobilization and enhanced transport if air-water interfaces are moving, such as during infiltration, imbibition, and drainage. Colloid attachment to air-water interfaces is caused by surface tension forces, and these forces usually exceed other interactions forces; therefore, surface tension forces play a dominant role for colloid transport in unsaturated porous media. In this presentation, experimental and theoretical evidence of surface tension forces acting on colloids will be presented, and the role of moving air-water interfaces will be discussed.

  18. Measurement and modeling of unsaturated hydraulic conductivity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Perkins, Kim S.; Elango, Lakshmanan

    2011-01-01

    The unsaturated zone plays an extremely important hydrologic role that influences water quality and quantity, ecosystem function and health, the connection between atmospheric and terrestrial processes, nutrient cycling, soil development, and natural hazards such as flooding and landslides. Unsaturated hydraulic conductivity is one of the main properties considered to govern flow; however it is very difficult to measure accurately. Knowledge of the highly nonlinear relationship between unsaturated hydraulic conductivity (K) and volumetric water content is required for widely-used models of water flow and solute transport processes in the unsaturated zone. Measurement of unsaturated hydraulic conductivity of sediments is costly and time consuming, therefore use of models that estimate this property from more easily measured bulk-physical properties is common. In hydrologic studies, calculations based on property-transfer models informed by hydraulic property databases are often used in lieu of measured data from the site of interest. Reliance on database-informed predicted values with the use of neural networks has become increasingly common. Hydraulic properties predicted using databases may be adequate in some applications, but not others. This chapter will discuss, by way of examples, various techniques used to measure and model hydraulic conductivity as a function of water content, K. The parameters that describe the K curve obtained by different methods are used directly in Richards’ equation-based numerical models, which have some degree of sensitivity to those parameters. This chapter will explore the complications of using laboratory measured or estimated properties for field scale investigations to shed light on how adequately the processes are represented. Additionally, some more recent concepts for representing unsaturated-zone flow processes will be discussed.

  19. Microcosm Experiments and Modeling of Microbial Movement Under Unsaturated Conditions

    SciTech Connect

    Brockman, F.J.; Kapadia, N.; Williams, G.; Rockhold, M.

    2006-04-05

    Colonization of bacteria in porous media has been studied primarily in saturated systems. In this study we examine how microbial colonization in unsaturated porous media is controlled by water content and particle size. This is important for understanding the feasibility and success of bioremediation via nutrient delivery when contaminant degraders are at low densities and when total microbial populations are sparse and spatially discontinuous. The study design used 4 different sand sizes, each at 4 different water contents; experiments were run with and without acetate as the sole carbon source. All experiments were run in duplicate columns and used the motile organism Pseudomonas stutzeri strain KC, a carbon tetrachloride degrader. At a given sand size, bacteria traveled further with increasing volumetric water content. At a given volumetric water content, bacteria generally traveled further with increasing sand size. Water redistribution, solute transport, gas diffusion, and bacterial colonization dynamics were simulated using a numerical finite-difference model. Solute and bacterial transport were modeled using advection-dispersion equations, with reaction rate source/sink terms to account for bacterial growth and substrate utilization, represented using dual Monod-type kinetics. Oxygen transport and diffusion was modeled accounting for equilibrium partitioning between the aqueous and gas phases. The movement of bacteria in the aqueous phase was modeled using a linear impedance model in which the term D{sub m} is a coefficient, as used by Barton and Ford (1995), representing random motility. The unsaturated random motility coefficients we obtained (1.4 x 10{sup -6} to 2.8 x 10{sup -5} cm{sup 2}/sec) are in the same range as those found by others for saturated systems (3.5 x 10{sup -6} to 3.5 x 10{sup -5} cm{sup 2}/sec). The results show that some bacteria can rapidly migrate in well sorted unsaturated sands (and perhaps in relatively high porosity, poorly

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

    SciTech Connect

    Brown, Stephen R.

    2003-06-01

    Heterogeneity and Scaling in Geologic Media: Applications to Transport in the Vadose and Saturated Zones Stephen Brown, Gregory Boitnott, and Martin Smith New England Research In rocks and soils, the bulk geophysical and transport properties of the matrix and of fracture systems are determined by the juxtaposition of geometric features at many length scales. For sedimentary materials the length scales are: the pore scale (irregularities in grain surface roughness and cementation), the scale of grain packing faults (and the resulting correlated porosity structures), the scale dominated by sorting or winnowing due to depositional processes, and the scale of geomorphology at the time of deposition. We are studying the heterogeneity and anisotropy in geometry, permeability, and geophysical response from the pore (microscopic), laboratory (mesoscopic), and backyard field (macroscopic) scales. In turn these data are being described and synthesized for development of mathematical models. Eventually, we will perform parameter studies to explore these models in the context of transport in the vadose and saturated zones. We have developed a multi-probe physical properties scanner which allows for the mapping of geophysical properties on a slabbed sample or core. This device allows for detailed study of heterogeneity at those length scales most difficult to quantify using standard field and laboratory practices. The measurement head consists of a variety of probes designed to make local measurements of various properties, including: gas permeability, acoustic velocities (compressional and shear), complex electrical impedance (4 electrode, wide frequency coverage), and ultrasonic reflection (ultrasonic impedance and permeability). We can thus routinely generate detailed geophysical maps of a particular sample. With the exception of the acoustic velocity, we are testing and modifying these probes as necessary for use on soil samples. As a baseline study we have been

  1. Age dating ground water by use of chlorofluorocarbons (CCl{sub 3}F and CCl{sub 2}F{sub 2}), and distribution of chlorofluorocarbons in the unsaturated zone, Snake River Plain aquifer, Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, Idaho

    SciTech Connect

    Busenberg, E.; Weeks, E.P.; Plummer, L.N.; Bartholomay, R.C.

    1993-04-01

    Detectable concentrations of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC`s) were observed in ground water and unsaturated-zone air at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) and vicinity. The recharge ages of waters were determined to be from 4 to more than 50 years on the basis of CFC concentrations and other environmental data; most ground waters have ages of 14 to 30 years. These results indicate that young ground water was added at various locations to the older regional ground water (greater than 50 years) within and outside the INEL boundaries. The wells drilled into the Snake River Plain aquifer at INEL sampled mainly this local recharge. The Big Lost River, Birch Creek, the Little Lost River, and the Mud Lake-Terreton area appear to be major sources of recharge of the Snake River Plain aquifer at INEL. An average recharge temperature of 9.7{plus_minus}1.3{degrees}C (degrees Celsius) was calculated from dissolved nitrogen and argon concentrations in the ground waters, a temperature that is similar to the mean annual soil temperature of 9{degrees}C measured at INEL. This similarity indicates that the aquifer was recharged at INEL and not at higher elevations that would have cooler soil temperatures than INEL. Soil-gas concentrations at Test Area North (TAN) are explained by diffusion theory.

  2. The Role of Natural Organic Matter and Mineral Colloids in the Transport of Contaminants through Heterogeneous Vadose-Zone Environments

    SciTech Connect

    James Saiers, Yale University; Joseph Ryan, University of Colorado

    2009-01-31

    Our research was guided by a key objective of the Environmental Management Science Program (EMSP), which is to improve conceptual and predictive models for contaminant movement in complex vadose zone environments. In this report, increases in the understanding of colloidcontaminant interactions, colloid mobilization, and colloid deposition within unsaturated soils are cited as requisite needs for predicting contaminant fate and distribution in the vadose zone. We addressed these needs by pursuing three key goals: 1. Identify the mechanisms that govern OM and mineral-colloid reaction and transport in heterogeneous, unsaturated porous media; 2. Quantify the role of OM and mineral colloids in scavenging and facilitating the transport of contaminants of concern to DOE; and 3. Develop and test a mathematical model suitable for simulating the movement of OM- and colloid-associated contaminants through heterogeneous, unsaturated porous media.

  3. Microbial Activity and Precipitation at Solution-Solution Mixing Zones in Porous Media -- Subsurface Biogeochemical Research

    SciTech Connect

    Colwell, Frederick; Wildenschild, Dorthe; Wood, Brian; Gerlach, Robin; Mitchell, Andrew; Redden, George

    2014-08-29

    The goal for this research was to understand how best to add compounds to receptive microbial communities in porous media in order to achieve optimal calcite precipitation in a volumetrically significant space and to understand the physiological health of the cells that are responsible for the calcite precipitation. The specific objectives were to: (1) develop better tools for visually examining biofilms in porous media and calcium carbonate precipitation being mediated by microbes in porous media, and (2) demonstrate the effectiveness of using that tool within a flow cell model system.

  4. Stabilized unsaturated polyesters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vogl, O.; Borsig, E. (Inventor)

    1985-01-01

    An unsaturated polyester, such as propylene glycolmaleic acid phthalic acid prepolymer dissolved in styrene is interpolymerized with an ultraviolet absorber and/or an antioxidant. The unsaturated chain may be filled with H or lower alkyl such as methyl and tertiary alkyl such as tertiary butyl. A polymer stable to exposure to the outdoors without degradation by ultraviolet radiation, thermal and/or photooxidation is formed.

  5. Sensitivity analysis of unsaturated flow and contaminant transport with correlated parameters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pan, Feng; Zhu, Jianting; Ye, Ming; Pachepsky, Yakov A.; Wu, Yu-Shu

    2011-02-01

    SummaryThis study conducts sensitivity and uncertainty analysis for predicting unsaturated flow and contaminant transport in a layered heterogeneous system. The objectives of this work are to: (1) examine the effects of parameter correlations on the sensitivity of unsaturated flow and contaminant transport and (2) assess the relative contributions of parameter uncertainties to the uncertainties of flow and transport at each hydrogeologic layer. Using the unsaturated zone (UZ) of Yucca Mountain (YM) in Nevada, USA, as an example, the study considers cases of independent and correlated parameters. A sampling-based regression method is used, when the model input parameters are independent, and a decomposition method is used for the correlated case. When the parameters are independent, the uncertainty in permeability has the largest contribution to the uncertainties in simulated percolation flux and mass of the reactive tracer arriving at the water table. For the percolation flux, the second largest contribution is from the van Genuchten α; the sorption coefficient of the reactive tracer is the second most important parameter for the tracer mass arrival uncertainty. The sensitivity to the sorption coefficient is larger in the layers of devitrified and zeolitic tuffs than in the layers of vitric tuff. Contributions of the uncertainties in van Genuchten n and porosity to the percolation flux and tracer transport uncertainties are larger in the case of correlated parameters compared with the case of independent parameters due to the correlations of n and porosity with the van Genuchten α and permeability, respectively. These results illustrate the significant effects of parameter correlations on the sensitivity and uncertainty of unsaturated flow and transport. The findings are of significance in facilitating future characterizations to reduce the parameter uncertainties and associated predictive uncertainties of flow and contaminant transport in unsaturated fractured

  6. Rapid imbibition of water in fractures within unsaturated sedimentary rock

    SciTech Connect

    Cheng, Chu-Lin; Perfect, Edmund; Donnelly, B.; Bilheux, Hassina Z.; Tremsin, Anton S.; McKay, L. D.; Distefano, Victoria H.; Cai, J. C.; Santodonato, Louis J.

    2015-01-27

    The spontaneous imbibition of water and other liquids into gas-filled fractures in variably-saturated porous media is important in a variety of engineering and geological contexts. However, surprisingly few studies have investigated this phenomenon. In this paper, we present a theoretical framework for predicting the 1-dimensional movement of water into air-filled fractures within a porous medium based on early-time capillary dynamics and spreading over the rough surfaces of fracture faces. The theory permits estimation of sorptivity values for the matrix and fracture zone, as well as a dispersion parameter which quantifies the extent of spreading of the wetting front. Quantitative data on spontaneous imbibition of water in unsaturated Berea sandstone cores were acquired to evaluate the proposed model. The cores with different permeability classes ranging from 50 to 500 mD and were fractured using the Brazilian method. Spontaneous imbibition in the fractured cores was measured by dynamic neutron radiography at the Neutron Imaging Prototype Facility (beam line CG-1D, HFIR), Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Water uptake into both the matrix and the fracture zone exhibited square-root-of-time behavior. The matrix sorptivities ranged from 2.9 to 4.6 mm s-0.5, and increased linearly as the permeability class increased. The sorptivities of the fracture zones ranged from 17.9 to 27.1 mm s-0.5, and increased linearly with increasing fracture aperture width. The dispersion coefficients ranged from 23.7 to 66.7 mm2 s-1 and increased linearly with increasing fracture aperture width and damage zone width. Both theory and observations indicate that fractures can significantly increase spontaneous imbibition in unsaturated sedimentary rock by capillary action and surface spreading on rough fracture faces. Fractures also increase the dispersion of the wetting front. In conclusion, further research is needed to investigate this phenomenon

  7. Geohydrology of the unsaturated zone and simulated time of arrival of landfill leachate at the water table, municipal solid waste landfill facility, US Army Air Defense Artillery Center and Fort Bliss, El Paso County, Texas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Frenzel, Peter F.; Abeyta, Cynthia G.

    1999-01-01

    The U.S. Air Defense Artillery Center and Fort Bliss Municipal Solid Waste Landfill Facility (MSWLF) is located about 10 miles northeast of downtown El Paso, Texas. The landfill is built on the Hueco Bolson, a deposit that yields water to five public-supply wells within 1.1 miles of the landfill boundary on all sides. The bolson deposits consist of lenses and mixtures of sand, clay, silt, gravel, and caliche. The unsaturated zone at the landfill is about 300 feet thick. The Hydrologic Evaluation of Landfill Performance (HELP) and the Multimedia Exposure Assessment Model for Evaluating the Land Disposal of Wastes (MULTIMED) computer models were used to simulate the time of first arrival of landfill leachate at the water table. Site-specific data were collected for model input. At five sites on the landfill cover, hydraulic conductivity was measured by an in situ method; in addition, laboratory values were obtained for porosity, moisture content at field capacity, and moisture content at wilting point. Twenty-seven sediment samples were collected from two adjacent boreholes drilled near the southwest corner of the landfill. Of these, 23 samples were assumed to represent the unsaturated zone beneath the landfill. The core samples were analyzed in the laboratory for various characteristics required for the HELP and MULTIMED models: initial moisture content, dry bulk density, porosity, saturated hydraulic conductivity, moisture retention percentages at various suction values, total organic carbon, and pH. Parameters were calculated for the van Genuchten and Brooks-Corey equations that relate hydraulic conductivity to saturation. A reported recharge value of 0.008 inch per year was estimated on the basis of soil- water chloride concentration. The HELP model was implemented using input values that were based mostly on site-specific data or assumed in a conservative manner. Exceptions were the default values used for waste characteristics. Flow through the landfill was

  8. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Elevated Concentrations of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in Unsaturated-Zone Vapors Near a Chemical and Low-Level Radioactivity Waste-Disposal Facility, Amargosa Desert Research Site, Nye County, Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baker, R. J.; Andraski, B. J.; Walvoord, M. A.; Stonestrom, D. A.; Prudic, D. E.; Luo, W.

    2003-12-01

    As part of its Toxic Substances Hydrology Program, the U.S. Geological Survey is studying contaminant-transport processes in an arid environment at the Amargosa Desert Research Site (http://nevada.usgs.gov/adrs/). The site is near waste-disposal facilities 20 kilometers east of Death Valley National Park. Low-level radioactive waste was buried in unlined trenches of varying depth during 1962-92. Hazardous chemical waste was buried in unlined trenches at an adjacent facility during 1970-88. Mean annual precipitation at the site from 1981 to 2000 was 108 millimeters. The unsaturated zone is aerobic down to the water table, which is about 110 m (meters) deep. Sampling infrastructure south and west of the facility includes a grid of vapor probes 1.5 m deep, a 23.8-m-deep background borehole (JFDB), and two approximately 100-m-deep boreholes (UZB-2 and UZB-3), which are 160 m and 100 m from the nearest trench, respectively, and are instrumented for multi-level sampling. Analytes detected in unsaturated-zone-vapor samples include elevated concentrations of tritium and carbon-14; three chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) compounds, eight chlorinated solvent compounds, and toluene, all at concentrations exceeding 1,000 parts per billion (ppb) in UZB-3, and at lower concentrations in UZB-2 and in the shallow-vapor-probe grid; and CO2 in concentrations up to 2% in UZB-3, whereas maximum CO2 concentrations in JFDB are less than 0.2%. With the notable exception of toluene, VOCs that are known to be highly biodegradable are generally absent or occur at low concentrations (<100 ppb). The trends in the CO2 concentration profiles approximately parallel those of CFCs and radionuclides. The following preliminary conclusions have been drawn from the radionuclide, VOC, and CO2 data: 1. Biodegradation of organic substances is a reasonable explanation for the presence of CO2 in UZB-3 at concentrations greater those in JFDB (background), which are attributed to near-surface natural biological

  9. Repository site data report for unsaturated tuff, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Tien, P.L.; Updegraff, C.D.; Siegel, M.D.; Wahi, K.K.; Guzowski, R.V.

    1985-11-01

    The US Department of Energy is currently considering the thick sequences of unsaturated, fractured tuff at Yucca Mountain, on the southwestern boundary of the Nevada Test Site, as a possible candidate host rock for a nuclear-waste repository. Yucca Mountain is in one of the most arid areas in the United States. The site is within the south-central part of the Great Basin section of the Basin and Range physiographic province and is located near a number of silicic calderas of Tertiary age. Although localized zones of seismic activity are common throughout the province, and faults are present at Yucca Mountain, the site itself is basically aseismic. No data are available on the composition of ground water in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. It has been suggested that the composition is bounded by the compositions of water from wells USW-H3, UE25p-1, J-13, and snow or rain. There are relatively few data available from Yucca Mountain on the moisture content and saturation, hydraulic conductivity, and characteristic curves of the unsaturated zone. The available literature on thermomechanical properties of tuff does not always distinguish between data from the saturated zone and data from the unsaturated zone. Geochemical, hydrologic, and thermomechanical data available on the unsaturated tuffs of Yucca Mountain are tabulated in this report. Where the data are very sparse, they have been supplemented by data from the saturated zone or from areas other than Yucca Mountain. 316 refs., 58 figs., 37 tabs.

  10. Oxygen diffusion measurements in porous media on the ISS: One piece of the puzzle for optimal root zone performance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jones, Scott; Heinse, Robert; Or, Dani; Topham, T. Shane; Podolsky, Igor; Bingham, Gail

    Optimization of Root Zone Substrates (ORZS) are currently being researched to expand plantbased bio-regenerative life support systems. This NASA funded research investigates the effect of reduced-gravity on porous media fluid management at the root-module and pore scale, necessitated by current limitations in root zone management that may have led to stunted, often unexplained plant vigor. Among them, alterations in substrate water retention and oxygen diffusion are restraining optimal support of plant growth. Our work explores the effect of gravity on the distribution and flow of fluids in porous media. These effects demonstrate unanticipated behavior in fluid transport with fluid distribution in pursuit of a capillary equilibrium within the hysteretic, contingent energy potential of water and continuity of phases for the supply of plant resources to the root. We investigate how accounts of fluid transport are part of a larger story of fluid distribution when gravitational and capillary forces are shifting. We now have data from the International Space Station that were collected in a novel experimental setup developed and tested for measurement of oxygen diffusion in partially saturated porous media under microgravity conditions with a sealed dual-chamber diffusion cell. The experiment flew on the International Space Station between July and September 2007 as part of the ORZS- MIS experimental flight package. In comparing oxygen diffusion measurements in microgravity with earth-based data, results point to enhanced hysteresis in oxygen diffusion dependency on air-filled porosity in microgravity. This indicates altered water distribution patterns relative to earth-based measurements. Considering air invasion during drainage, we hypothesize that a critical air-filled pathway forms at higher saturation in microgravity due to the absence of hydrostatic water distribution. A shift in the critical air-filled porosity in microgravity would require adjustment in plant

  11. Mechanisms for fast flow in unsaturated fractured rock

    SciTech Connect

    Tokunaga, Tetsu K.; Wan, Jiamin

    1998-03-01

    Although fractures in rock are well-recognized as pathways for fast percolation of water, the possibility that fast flow could occur along unsaturated fracture pathways is commonly not considered in vadose zone hydrology. In this study, two mechanisms for fast flow along unsaturated fractures were investigated, film flow and surface zone flow. The importance of fracture surface roughness was demonstrated through experiments conducted on ceramic blocks having simple surface topographies. Those experiments showed that film flow on fracture surfaces is largely due to flow along continuous surface channels which become water-filled at near-zero matric (capillary) potentials. The second mechanism, surface zone flow, is important when the permeability of the rock along fractures (fracture skin) is significantly greater than that of the bulk rock matrix. Surface zone fast flow was demonstrated through water imbibition (sorptivity) experiments. These mechanisms help explain observations of rapid solute transport in unsaturated subsurface environments.

  12. 3D Observation and Evaluation of Induced Damaged Zones in Anisotropic Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nasseri, M.; Rezanezhad, F.; Young, R.

    2009-05-01

    Rift zones, sites for dyke intrusion and supporting roof of a mine under tension, production enhancement and stimulation of hydrocarbon and geothermal reservoirs are good examples to study the nature of interaction of propagating tensile fractures with pre-existing preferably oriented sets of geological structures. Such interactions cause anisotropy in transport and mechanical properties in rocks, eventually affecting the post strength, post-frictional and hydro-geological properties of resultant rock masses. In present study 3D micro CT images are used to understand the relationship between the test crack path propagation and structure of caused damage zones, with microstructural fabric orientation in a granite tested for fracture toughness under mode I along specific directions. X-ray CT scanning images were obtained on a volume of Barre granite when the test cracks were forced to propagate parallel (case 1) and perpendicular (case 2) to the preferably oriented microstructural fabric. These images were binarized to mineral grains and induced cracks by means of a neighborhood-based standard deviation thresholding algorithm. 3D objects counter algorithm was applied on these images to identify and compare the physical properties such as crack induced porosity, induced crack density, generated total surface area and contribution of individual mineral grains within the damaged zones in case 1 and 2 scenarios. Results showed that measured induced crack porosity for case 1 is more than ten times than that of case 2 which further justifies the reason for the fracture toughness in case 1 being almost twice of that of case 2. The type and structure of damage zones in these cases were found geometrically different. This study, linked with observations in field scale helps in better understanding of fracture propagation and its application to stability of underground openings, control of rock fragmentation, prediction of transport properties with divers flow regimes and

  13. Final Report - Montana State University - Microbial Activity and Precipitation at Solution-Solution Mixing Zones in Porous Media

    SciTech Connect

    Gerlach, Robin

    2014-10-31

    Background. The use of biological and chemical processes that degrade or immobilize contaminants in subsurface environments is a cornerstone of remediation technology. The enhancement of biological and chemical processes in situ, involves the transport, displacement, distribution and mixing of one or more reactive agents. Biological and chemical reactions all require diffusive transport of solutes to reaction sites at the molecular scale and accordingly, the success of processes at the meter-scale and larger is dictated by the success of phenomena that occur at the micron-scale. However, current understanding of scaling effects on the mixing and delivery of nutrients in biogeochemically dynamic porous media systems is limited, despite the limitations this imposes on the efficiency and effectiveness of the remediation challenges at hand. Objectives. We therefore proposed to experimentally characterize and computationally describe the growth, evolution, and distribution of microbial activity and mineral formation as well as changes in transport processes in porous media that receive two or more reactive amendments. The model system chosen for this project was based on a method for immobilizing 90Sr, which involves stimulating microbial urea hydrolysis with ensuing mineral precipitation (CaCO3), and co-precipitation of Sr. Studies at different laboratory scales were used to visualize and quantitatively describe the spatial relationships between amendment transport and consumption that stimulate the production of biomass and mineral phases that subsequently modify the permeability and heterogeneity of porous media. Biomass growth, activity, and mass deposition in mixing zones was investigated using two-dimensional micro-model flow cells as well as flow cells that could be analyzed using synchrotron-based x-ray tomography. Larger-scale flow-cell experiments were conducted where the spatial distribution of media properties, flow, segregation of biological activity and

  14. Acoustic behaviors of unsaturated soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lu, Z.

    2011-12-01

    Soils are unconsolidated granular materials, consisting of solid particles, water and air. Their mechanical and dynamic behaviors are determined by the discrete nature of the media as well as external and inter-particle forces. For unsaturated soils, two factors significantly affect soils acoustic/seismic responses: external pressure and internal water potential/matric suction. In triaxial cell tests, unsaturated soils were subjected to predefined stress paths to undergo stages of normal consolidation, unload-reload cycles, and failure. The stress deformation curve and stress-P-wave velocity were measured and compared. The study revealed that soil's dynamic response to external pressure are similar to those of the load-deformation behaviors and demonstrated that acoustic velocity can be used to monitor the state of stress of soils. In a long term field soil survey, the P-wave velocities were found to be correlated with water potential as expressed as a power-law relationship. The above phenomena can be understood by using the Terzaghi' s the principle of effective stress. The measured results were in good agreement with Brutsaert theory. The effective stress concept can also be applied to explain the observations in a soil pipe flow study in which soil internal erosion processes were monitored and interpreted by the temporal evolution of the P-wave velocity. In addition to above linear acoustic behaviors, soils, like other earth materials, exhibit astonishing non-classical nonlinear behaviors such as end-point memory, hysteresis, strain -dependent shear modulus, resonant frequency shift, and phase shift, harmonics generation, etc. A nonlinear acoustic study of a soil as a function of water content showed that the nonlinear acoustic parameter are much sensitive to the variations of soil water content than that of the acoustic velocity.

  15. Statistical mechanics of unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, Jin; Louge, Michel Y.

    2015-12-01

    We explore a mean-field theory of fluid imbibition and drainage through permeable porous solids. In the limit of vanishing inertial and viscous forces, the theory predicts the hysteretic "retention curves" relating the capillary pressure applied across a connected domain to its degree of saturation in wetting fluid in terms of known surface energies and void space geometry. To avoid complicated calculations, we adopt the simplest statistical mechanics, in which a pore interacts with its neighbors through narrow openings called "necks," while being either full or empty of wetting fluid. We show how the main retention curves can be calculated from the statistical distribution of two dimensionless parameters λ and α measuring the specific areas of, respectively, neck cross section and wettable pore surface relative to pore volume. The theory attributes hysteresis of these curves to collective first-order phase transitions. We illustrate predictions with a porous domain consisting of a random packing of spheres, show that hysteresis strength grows with λ and weakens as the distribution of α broadens, and reproduce the behavior of Haines jumps observed in recent experiments on an ordered pore network.

  16. Electrokinetic coupling in unsaturated porous media

    SciTech Connect

    Revil, A.; Linde, N.; Cerepi, A.; Jougnot, D.; Matthai, S.; Finsterle, S.

    2007-02-27

    We consider a charged porous material that is saturated bytwo fluid phases that are immiscible and continuous on the scale of arepresentative elementary volume. The wetting phase for the grains iswater and the nonwetting phase is assumed to be an electricallyinsulating viscous fluid. We use a volume-averaging approach to derivethe linear constitutive equations for the electrical current density aswell as the seepage velocities of the wetting and nonwetting phases onthe scale of a representative elementary volume. These macroscopicconstitutive equations are obtained by volume-averaging Ampere's lawtogether with the Nernst Planck equation and the Stokes equations. Thematerial properties entering the macroscopic constitutive equations areexplicitly described as functions of the saturation of the water phase,the electrical formation factor, and parameters that describe thecapillary pressure function, the relative permeability function, and thevariation of electrical conductivity with saturation. New equations arederived for the streaming potential and electro-osmosis couplingcoefficients. A primary drainage and imbibition experiment is simulatednumerically to demonstrate that the relative streaming potential couplingcoefficient depends not only on the water saturation, but also on thematerial properties of the sample, as well as the saturation history. Wealso compare the predicted streaming potential coupling coefficients withexperimental data from four dolomite core samples. Measurements on thesesamples include electrical conductivity, capillary pressure, thestreaming potential coupling coefficient at various level of saturation,and the permeability at saturation of the rock samples. We found verygood agreement between these experimental data and the modelpredictions.

  17. Mechanics and hydraulics of unsaturated soils: what makes interfaces an indispensable part of a physically-based model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nikooee, E.; Hassanizadeh, S. M.

    2014-12-01

    The foundations of the current theories for hydraulics and mechanics of unsaturated soils have been mainly based on the empirically introduced equations. There are various characteristics of unsaturated soils for which lots of different empirical equations have been proposed such as hydraulic conductivity, water retention curve, and effective stress parameter. One of the remarkable challenges which all current models face is hysteresis, i.e., for a certain matric suction, values of saturation, hydraulic conductivity and effective stress parameter in drying state and wetting are different. Conventional models of hydraulic and mechanical behaviour of unsaturated soils try to account for the hysteresis phenomenon by means of different empirical equations for each hydraulic path. Hassanizadeh and Gray (1993) claimed that the hysteresis in capillary pressure-saturation curves can be modelled through the inclusion of air-water interfaces as a new independent variable [1]. It has recently been stated that the same conjecture can be made for suction stress [2]. Therefore, it seems to better portray hydraulic and mechanical behaviour of unsaturated soils, interfaces are required as an indispensable part of the framework [3, 4]. This presentation aims at introducing the drawbacks of current theories of hydraulics and mechanics of unsaturated soils. For this purpose, the role of interfaces in the mechanics and hydraulics of unsaturated soils is explained and different possibilities to account for the contribution of interfaces are discussed. Finally, current challenges and future research directions are set forth. References[1] Hassanizadeh, S.M. & Gray, W.G.: Thermodynamic basis of capillary pressure in porous media. Water Resour.Res. 29(1993), 3389-3405.[2] Nikooee, E., Habibagahi, G., Hassanizadeh, S.M. & Ghahramani, A.: Effective Stress in unsaturated Soils: a thermodynamic approach based on the interfacial energy and hydromechanical coupling. Transport porous Med. 96

  18. THE VELOCITY OF DNAPL FINGERING IN WATER-SATURATED POROUS MEDIA LABORATORY EXPERIMENTS AND A MOBILE-IMMOBILE-ZONE MODEL. (R826157)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Dense nonaqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs) are immiscible with water and can give rise to highly fingered fluid distributions when infiltrating through water-saturated porous media. In this paper, a conceptual mobile¯immobile¯zone (MIZ) model is pr...

  19. Optimal hydraulic design of earth dam cross section using saturated-unsaturated seepage flow model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, Y.-Q.; Unami, K.; Kawachi, T.

    An optimal hydraulic design problem regarding an earth dam cross section is formulated as an inverse problem for the steady model of saturated-unsaturated seepage flows in porous media. In the problem formulation, the choice of soil material to be used in each point of the dam cross sectional domain is considered as the control variable to be identified. The performance index used to evaluate the appropriateness of the design is defined as the sum of two square integral norms, which represent reducing the saturated zone and minimizing material costs. It is also shown that the first norm bounds the total seepage discharge through the earth dam. Since the governing variational boundary value problem as well as the adjoint problem is well-posed, a deterministic approach is taken. A numerical scheme including pseudo-unsteady terms is developed to calculate the optimal solution in an ideal earth dam cross section to be designed utilizing two different types of soil material. The results show that an inclined clay core of less hydraulic conductivity should be located on the upstream side of the cross section. The unsaturated zone turns out to play an important role in the flow field and the optimal design.

  20. CAPILLARY BARRIERS IN UNSATURATED FRACTURED ROCKS

    SciTech Connect

    Y.S. Wu; W. Zhang; L. Pan; J. Hinds; G. Bodvarsson

    2000-10-01

    This work presents modeling studies investigating the effects of capillary barriers on fluid-flow and tracer-transport processes in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, Neva