Science.gov

Sample records for media unsaturated zone

  1. A model for the effective diffusion of gas or the vapor phase in a fractured media unsaturated zone driven by periodic atmospheric pressure fluctuations

    SciTech Connect

    Vold, E.L.

    1997-03-01

    There is evidence for migration of tritiated water vapor through the tuff in the unsaturated zone from the buried disposal shafts located on a narrow mesa top at Area G, Los Alamos, NM. Field data are consistent with an effective in-situ vapor phase diffusion coefficient of 1.5x10{sup {minus}3} m{sup s}/s, or a factor of 60 greater than the binary diffusion coefficient for water vapor in air. A model is derived to explain this observation of anomolously large diffusion, which relates an effective vapor or gas phase diffusion coefficient in the fractured porous media to the subsurface propagation of atmospheric pressure fluctuations (barometric pumping). The near surface (unattenuated) diffusion coefficient is independent of mode period under the simplified assumptions of a complete {open_quote}mixing mechanism{close_quote} for the effective diffusion process. The unattenuated effective diffusion driven by this barometric pumping is proportional to an average media permeability times the sum of the square of pressure mode amplitudes, while the attenuation length is proportional to the squarer root of the product of permeability times mode period. There is evidence that the permeability needed to evaluate the pressure attenuation length is the in-situ value, approximately that of the matrix. The diffusion which results using Area G parameter values is negligible in the matrix but becomes large at the effective permeability of the fractured tuff matrix. The effective diffusion coefficient predicted by this model, due to pressure fluctuations and the observed fracture characteristics, is in good agreement with the observed in-situ diffusion coefficient for tritium field measurements. It is concluded that barometric pumping in combination with the enhanced permeability of the fractured media is a likely candidate to account for the observed in-field migration of vapor in the near surface unsaturated zone at Area G.

  2. Micromechanics of saturated and unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chateau, Xavier; Dormieux, Luc

    2002-07-01

    The homogenization method is used to determine the formulation of the behaviour of both saturated and unsaturated porous media. This approach makes it possible to assess the validity of the effective stress concept as a function of the properties of the porous media at the microscopic scale. Furthermore, the influence of the morphologies of the solid and fluid phases on the macroscopic behaviour is studied. The strain induced by drying is examined as a function of the morphological properties.

  3. 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.

  4. Do Karstic Unsaturated Zones Have the Fastest Preferential Flow?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-12-01

    There is strong evidence that unsaturated-zone travel times for preferential flow, unlike those for diffuse flow, mostly fall within a relatively small range, even for a wide variety of media and conditions [Nimmo, 2007, Water Resources Research]. We have calculated travel times for preferential flow observations published in the last seven years, finding a range of travel velocities with a greater maximum than was previously recognized. The instances of faster transport, however, are predominantly for karst or other materials in which water flow may strongly influence the creation and development of preferential flow paths. These findings motivate a hypothesis: in media where the matrix is soluble, erodible, or otherwise vulnerable to enlargement by flowing water, this flow acts to reduce flow impediments within a macropore network. This might be thought of as a sculpting process in which water carves its conduit into a smoother, larger, less constrictive shape, as discussed in connection with soil pipes [Jones, 2010, Hydrological Processes]. Known developmental processes of karst and epikarst are consistent with this hypothesis. Its acceptance would open doors to expanded use of optimality and thermodynamic principles to understand and predict preferential flow. It also could lead to new modes of hydraulic characterization of subsurface media with regard to unsaturated flow, which are much needed as the difficulty of measuring hydraulic properties of the unsaturated zone is a major barrier to the advance of hydrologic science. In practical terms, a new guideline may be justified: in unsaturated karst or other materials in which flowing water may enhance flowpaths, preferential transport rates in general may be several times faster than through media without such pore-developmental processes.

  5. 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

  6. Radioactive Waste Disposal in Thick Unsaturated Zones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Winograd, Isaac J.

    1981-06-01

    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 isolation 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. Gel barrier formation in unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Meejeong; Corapcioglu, M. Yavuz

    2002-05-01

    The gel barrier formation by a gelling liquid (Colloidal Silica) injection in an unsaturated porous medium is investigated by developing a mathematical model and conducting numerical simulations. Gelation process is initiated by adding electrolytes such as NaCl, and the gel phase consisting of cross-linked colloidal silica particles grows as the gelation process proceeds. The mathematical model describing the transport and gelation of Colloidal Silica (CS) is based on coupled mass balance equations for the gel mixture (the sol phase plus the gel phase), gel phase (cross-linked colloidal silica particles plus water captured between cross-linked particles), and colloidal silica particles (discrete and cross-linked) and NaCl in the sol (suspension of discrete colloidal silica particles in water) and gel phases. The solutions in terms of volumetric fraction of the gel phase yield the gel mixture viscosity via the dependency on the volumetric fraction of gel phase. This dependency is determined from a kinetic gelation model with time-normalized viscosity curves. The proposed model is verified by comparing experimentally and numerically determined hydraulic conductivities of gel-treated soil columns at different CS injection volumes. The numerical experiments indicate that an impermeable gel layer is formed within the time period twice the gel-point in a one-dimensional flow system. At the same normalized time corresponding to twice the gel-point, the CS solutions with lower NaCl concentrations result in further migration and poor performance in plugging the pore space. The viscosity computation proposed in this study is compared with another method available in the literature. It is observed that the other method estimates the viscosity at the mixing zone higher than the one proposed by the authors. The proposed model can simulate realistic injection scenarios with various combinations of operating parameters such as NaCl concentration and NaCl mixing time, and thus

  14. Gel barrier formation in unsaturated porous media.

    PubMed

    Kim, Meejeong; Corapcioglu, M Yavuz

    2002-05-01

    The gel barrier formation by a gelling liquid (Colloidal Silica) injection in an unsaturated porous medium is investigated by developing a mathematical model and conducting numerical simulations. Gelation process is initiated by adding electrolytes such as NaCl, and the gel phase consisting of cross-linked colloidal silica particles grows as the gelation process proceeds. The mathematical model describing the transport and gelation of Colloidal Silica (CS) is based on coupled mass balance equations for the gel mixture (the sol phase plus the gel phase), gel phase (cross-linked colloidal silica particles plus water captured between cross-linked particles), and colloidal silica particles (discrete and cross-linked) and NaCl in the sol (suspension of discrete colloidal silica particles in water) and gel phases. The solutions in terms of volumetric fraction of the gel phase yield the gel mixture viscosity via the dependency on the volumetric fraction of gel phase. This dependency is determined from a kinetic gelation model with time-normalized viscosity curves. The proposed model is verified by comparing experimentally and numerically determined hydraulic conductivities of gel-treated soil columns at different CS injection volumes. The numerical experiments indicate that an impermeable gel layer is formed within the time period twice the gel-point in a one-dimensional flow system. At the same normalized time corresponding to twice the gel-point, the CS solutions with lower NaCl concentrations result in further migration and poor performance in plugging the pore space. The viscosity computation proposed in this study is compared with another method available in the literature. It is observed that the other method estimates the viscosity at the mixing zone higher than the one proposed by the authors. The proposed model can simulate realistic injection scenarios with various combinations of operating parameters such as NaCl concentration and NaCl mixing time, and thus

  15. Transport of bacteria in unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schäfer, Anke; Ustohal, Petr; Harms, Hauke; Stauffer, Fritz; Dracos, Themistocles; Zehnder, Alexander J. B.

    1998-09-01

    Bacterial mobility in unsaturated soils plays an important role in bioremediation, biofacilitated transport of pollutants, and dispersal of pathogenic microorganisms. A sand column equipped with ports for measuring water pressure and water saturation has been used to study bacterial transport under well-defined unsaturated flow conditions. Bacterial breakthrough curves at various water saturations were obtained for two soil bacteria. Retention of hydrophobic Rhodococcus sp. C125 and mesohydrophilic Pseudomonas putida mt2 was markedly increased at lower water saturation. A mechanistic model for bacterial transport under unsaturated conditions is proposed. The model attributes stronger bacterial retention under unsaturated conditions to the accumulation of bacteria at the air-water interface. Moreover, the model takes into account changes in the available surface areas of both the solid surface and the air-water interface due to coverage by bacteria and changes in the water flow. Application of the model to our own data and data from the literature showed that short-term breakthrough experiments can be simulated, but that the model deviates from experimental observation in long-term experiments. Reasons for this deviation are discussed, and suggestions for a further model extension are made. All investigated colloidal particles had a higher affinity to the air-water interface than to the solid surface. Therefore, trapping of bacteria by air-water interfaces is an important process possibly controlling bacterial transport in unsaturated soils.

  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. 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...

  18. 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...

  19. 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}).

  20. 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

  1. Colloid Bound Transport of Contaminats In The Unsaturated Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hofmann, T.; Christ, A.

    Colloids can play a major role in the relocation of contaminants in the unsaturated zone. The amount of colloid driven transport is defined by soil chemistry, soil water chemistry and water flow velocity as well as colloid composition and formation. In a current research project we investigate the filtration and mobilization of colloids in unsaturated column studies. We use different soil types, chosen by a wide range of mean grain size and heterogeneity. Particle tracers are polystyrene solids with a de- fined negative surface charge and defined size from 50 nm to 10 µm. In addition, we use natural colloids extracted from a wide range of contaminated and uncontaminated land. Experimental conditions are exactly controlled throughout all the time. We alter mainly flow velocity ionic strength in order to study the filtration behaviour of the soils. In addition, Pyrene and Lead are are used as model contaminants. First results show the colloids are not retarded in many coarse structured soil types. Preferential colloid flow shows a major impact in breakthrough behaviour. Colloid bound lead is relocated significant through the unsaturated zone, whereas non colloid bound lead species are strongly retarded. In the presentation we will show results of contami- nant processes and present new results on the filtration behaviour of colloids in the unsaturated zone depending on flow velocity, soil type and colloid size.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Stochastic modeling of macrodispersion in unsaturated heterogeneous porous media

    SciTech Connect

    Yeh, T.C.J.

    1992-01-01

    The objectives of the proposed study are: (1) to investigate factors controlling the fate and transport of contaminants in heterogeneous unsaturated soils, and (2) to develop a computationally feasible methodology for predicting chemical movements in large-scale unsaturated zone. The proposed study will provide ways to estimate uncertainties in chemical transport due to spatial variability of soil hydrologic parameters. The uncertainty analysis is essential to interpretation of any field experiment of transport of chemically reactive tracers. Without eliminating the uncertainty due to heterogeneity in hydrologic parameters, mechanisms and principles controlling chemical behaviors of contaminants in the field condition may be misinterpreted.

  6. 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.

  7. 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. PMID:18194322

  8. 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.

  9. 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. PMID:22751077

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Basic Constitutive Relations for Unsaturated Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hunt, Allen

    The following sections describe how to find the hydraulic conductivity, air permeability, electrical conductivity, as well as solute and gas diffusion in porous media. The results are valid for the “upscaling” from the pore scale to the sample scale. The theoretical development and the parameters are consistent between the various phenomena and the results predict experiment. Several authors have considered whether the universal scaling of percolation transport coefficients should be seen in basic properties such as the hydraulic or electrical conductivities (Jerauld et al., 1984; Balberg, 1987; Hilfer, 1991; Berkowitz and Balberg, 1992, 1993; Golden et al., 1998; Golden, 2001) . One particular example that it is possible to explain is Archie's law (Archie, 1942) for the electrical conductivity, a result which has occupied the following researchers, among others (Adler et al., 1992; Bigalke, 2000; Binley et al., 2001, 2002; Thompson et al., 1987; Kuentz et al., 2000; Lemaitre. et al., 1988; Johnson and Schwartz, 1989; Le Ravalec et al., 1996; Mattisson and Knackstedt, 1987; Ruffet et al., 1991; Wong et al., 1984) . Rudolf Hilfer and colleagues have more recently also determined that percolation theory can be used to help interpret simulations of flow and conduction (Manwart and Hilfer, 2001) in simulated media (Manwart et al., 2000).

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Unsaturated zone transport modeling of the Greater Confinement Disposal Site

    SciTech Connect

    Brown, T.

    1994-12-31

    Unsaturated zone transport modeling is being conducted as part of the performance assessment of the Greater Confinement Disposal (GCD) facility which is located on the Nevada Test Site. This performance assessment is based on an iterative process of modeling and data collection to assess the likelihood the site will meet the US Environmental Protection Agency`s containment, individual protection and groundwater protection requirements for the disposal of transuranic wastes, high-level wastes and spent fuel. The current iteration of the performance assessment evaluates the potential impact of future events on the transport system. The future events included in this analysis are subsidence, bioturbation, erosion, climate change, irrigated farming and drilling. This paper presents the unsaturated transport model, how it fits into the performance assessment and how the future events are incorporated in the model.

  17. Injection of Nuclear Rocket Engine Exhaust into Deep Unsaturated Zones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cooper, C. A.; Decker, D.

    2008-05-01

    Nuclear rocket engine technology is being considered as a means of interplanetary vehicle propulsion for a manned mission to Mars. To achieve this, a test and development facility must be constructed to safely run nuclear engines. The testing of nuclear engines in the 1950's and 1960's was accomplished by exhausting the engine gases into the atmosphere, a practice that is no longer acceptable. Injection into deep unsaturated zones of radioactive exhaust gases and water vapor associated with the testing of nuclear rocket engines is being considered as a way of sequestering radionuclides from the environment. Numerical simulations were conducted to determine the ability of an unsaturated zone with the hydraulic properties of Frenchman Flat alluvium at the Nevada Test Site to contain gas-phase radionuclides. Gas and water vapor were injected for two hours at rates of 14.5 kg s-1 and 15 kg s-1, respectively, in an interval between 100 and 430 m below the land surface into alluvium with an intrinsic permeability of 10-11 m2 and porosity of 0.35. The results show that during a test of an engine, radionuclides with at least greater than 10-year half-lives may reach the land surface within several years after injection. Radionuclide transport is primarily controlled by the upward pressure gradient from the point of injection to the lower (atmospheric) pressure boundary condition at the land surface. Radionuclides with half-lives on the order of days should undergo enough decay prior to reaching the land surface. A cooling water vapor injected into the unsaturated zone simultaneously with the exhaust gas will condense within several meters of the injection point and drain downward toward the water table. However, the nearly horizontal hydraulic groundwater gradient present in several of the basins at NTS should limit lateral migration of radionuclides away from the vicinity of injection.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Modeling water infiltration and pesticides transport in unsaturated zone of a sedimentary aquifer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-04-01

    Groundwater quality monitoring has become an important environmental, economic and community issue since increasing needs drinking water at the same time with high anthropic pressure on aquifers. Leaching of various contaminants as pesticide into the groundwater is closely bound to water infiltration in the unsaturated zone which whom solute transport can occur. Knowledge's about mechanisms involved in the transfer of pesticides in the deep unsaturated zone are lacking today. This study aims to evaluate and to model leaching of pesticides and metabolites in the unsaturated zone, very heterogeneous, of a fluvio-glacial aquifer, in the South-East of France, where contamination of groundwater resources by pesticides is frequently observed as a consequence of intensive agricultural activities. Water flow and pesticide transport were evaluated from column tests under unsaturated conditions and from adsorption batch experiments onto the predominant lithofacies collected, composed of a mixture of sand and gravel. A maize herbicide, S-metolachlor, applied on the study site and worldwide and its two major degradation products (metolachlor ethanesulfonic acid and metolachlor oxanilic acid) were studied here. A conservative tracer, bromide ion, was used to determine water dispersive parameters of porous media. Elution curves were obtained from pesticide concentrations analyzed by an ultra-performance liquid chromatography system interfaced to a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer and from bromide concentrations measured by ionic chromatography system. Experimental data were implemented into Hydrus to model flow and solute transfer through a 1D profile in the vadose zone. Nonequilibrium solute transport model based on dual-porosity model with mobile and immobile water is fitting correctly elution curves. Water dispersive parameters show flow pattern realized in the mobile phase. Exchanges between mobile and immobile water are very limited. Because of low adsorptions onto

  1. Evolution of the unsaturated zone testing at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Wang, J.S.Y.; Bodvarsson, G.S.

    2002-09-01

    The evaluation of the Yucca Mountain site has evolved from intensive surface based investigations in the early 1980s to current focus on testing in underground drifts. Different periods of site-characterization activities and prominent issues concerning the unsaturated zone are summarized. Data-collection activities have evolved from mapping of faults and fractures, to estimation of percolation through tuff layers, and to quantification of seepage into drifts. Evaluation of discrete flow paths in drifts has led to fracture-matrix interaction and matrix diffusion tests over different scales. The effects of tuff interfaces and local faults are evaluated in fractured-welded and porous-nonwelded units. Mobilization of matrix water and redistribution of moisture are measured in thermal tests. Lessons learned from underground tests are used to focus on processes needed for additional quantification. Migration through the drift shadow zone and liquid flow through faults are two important issues that have evolved from current knowledge.

  2. Evolution of the unsaturated zone testing at Yucca Mountain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, J. S. Y.; Bodvarsson, G. S.

    2003-05-01

    The evaluation of the Yucca Mountain site has evolved from intensive surface-based investigations in the early 1980s to current focus on testing in underground drifts. Different periods of site characterization activities and prominent issues concerning the unsaturated zone (UZ) are summarized. Data collection activities have evolved from mapping of faults and fractures to estimation of percolation through tuff layers, and to quantification of seepage into drifts. Evaluation of discrete flow paths in drifts has led to fracture-matrix interaction and matrix diffusion tests over different scales. The effects of tuff interfaces and local faults are evaluated in fractured-welded and porous-nonwelded units. Mobilization of matrix water and redistribution of moisture are measured in thermal tests. Lessons learned from underground tests are used to focus on processes needed for additional quantification. Migration through the drift shadow zone and liquid flow through faults are two important issues that have evolved from current knowledge.

  3. 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...

  4. 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...

  5. 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...

  6. 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...

  7. 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...

  8. 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

  9. A Research Park for Studying Processes in Unsaturated Fractured Media

    SciTech Connect

    Kristine Baker; Travis McLing; Leah Street; Annette Schafer; Shannon Ansley; Larry Hull; Robert Holt

    2005-01-01

    A field research site has been developed to explore the combined use of physical experiments and mathematical modeling to analyze large-scale infiltration and chemical transport through the unsaturated media overlying the Snake River Plain Aquifer in southeastern Idaho. This site offers opportunities to observe water and contaminant migration influenced by fluid dynamics and microbial activity through heterogeneous-porous and fractured media. At many waste disposal facilities, the presence of toxic or radioactive wastes between the land surface and underlying aquifers poses a serious and ongoing threat to public health and safety. To reduce the risk associated with these industrial and Cold War by-products, a combination of remediation and long-term monitoring will be required.

  10. Simulated Damping of Periodic Fluctuations in Net Infiltration Within a Thick Unsaturated Zone in Southern Nevada: Implications For Radionuclide Transport

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ebel, B. A.; Nimmo, J. R.

    2009-12-01

    Arid and semiarid regions are historically preferred sites for radionuclide generating activities and waste disposal, in part because their unsaturated zones, typically having large thickness and low water content, are expected to inhibit the transport of contaminants to groundwater supplies. Through portions of the unsaturated zone that are heavily fractured, however, there is concern that transport in preferential flow paths might be relatively rapid on an episodic basis. Even so, fractured zones are commonly interrupted by lithologic units without substantial fractures, through which unsaturated flow might always be diffuse so as to damp out episodic fluctuations. In unsaturated-zone fractured units below such damping units, the initiation of preferential flow theoretically hinges on reaching a threshold moisture state, which depends on the magnitude of pressure and flux signals resulting from natural periodic variations in net infiltration. In diffuse unsaturated flow, periodic oscillations are damped to a quasi-steady state at sufficient distance from the inflow boundary. The resulting matric potential may be insufficient to trigger or sustain fracture flow through unsaturated media lying beneath those that facilitate damping. In general, shorter-period oscillations, longer distances of diffuse flow, and drier matrix conditions are conducive to damping. In this work we examine the damping of periodic recharge signals to a quasi-steady value, using analytical solutions for diffuse unsaturated flow, at Rainier Mesa and Shoshone Mountain in southern Nevada. Underground nuclear tests in previous decades introduced radionuclides into the unsaturated subsurface at these sites. Both sites have possible damping units greater than 100 m thick that are believed to be dominated by diffuse flow. Below these damping units lie fractured rocks in which preferential flow could resume, especially if the damping units are not sufficiently thick or dry. Effective damping of

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. Aspects of hysteresis in unsaturated porous media flow

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Duijn, Hans

    2016-04-01

    About 20 years ago, Peter Raats and I wrote a technical note related to the horizontal redistribution in unsaturated porous media with hysteresis in the capillary pressure (P.A.C. Raats & C.J. van Duijn, A note on horizontal redistribution with capillary hysteresis, WWR 31, p. 231-232, 1995). In the first part of my presentation, I will revisit the results of that paper. In particular the cases of unconventional flow, where the water flows from the dry region to the wet region. A comparison will be made with results obtained with the current interface area models as introduced by Gray & Hassanizadeh. I will explain and outline the differences. In the second part, travelling wave solutions of Richards equation with gravity and with hysteresis in both the capillary pressure and relative permeability will be discussed. It will be explained why such solutions oscillate in space-time and how they behave as the hysteresis regularization vanishes.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. How important is the unsaturated zone in the terrestrial nitrogen budget?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ascott, Matthew; Wang, Lei; Ward, Robert; Stuart, Marianne

    2015-04-01

    Inputs of nitrogen to agricultural land have had significant effects on aquatic and marine ecosystems through eutrophication, algal blooms and habitat loss. In order to manage this problem, terrestrial nitrogen budgets at the national scale have been developed. However, explicit representation of nitrate transport in the subsurface is seldom considered. Using derived estimates of unsaturated zone travel time and nitrate loading at the base of the soil zone, we quantify the total mass of nitrate held in in the unsaturated zone of aquifers in the United Kingdom. In the unsaturated zone of moderate and highly productive aquifers of the UK this is estimated to have peaked in 2008 at 1400 kt N; substantially greater than previous approximations. Currently 70% of the nitrate mass in the unsaturated zone is in the Chalk, with the remainder split between the Permo-Triassic Sandstones, Oolitic Limestones and other less important aquifers. The UK unsaturated zone is now a source of nitrate and in 2014 we estimate the net nitrate flux from the unsaturated zone to groundwater and surface water to be approximately 70 kt N a-1. The mass of nitrate in the unsaturated zone should be considered in future terrestrial nitrogen budgets to improve national scale ecosystem management.

  20. Importance of unsaturated zone flow for simulating recharge in a humid climate

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hunt, R.J.; Prudic, D.E.; Walker, J.F.; Anderson, M.P.

    2008-01-01

    Transient recharge to the water table is often not well understood or quantified. Two approaches for simulating transient recharge in a ground water flow model were investigated using the Trout Lake watershed in north-central Wisconsin: (1) a traditional approach of adding recharge directly to the water table and (2) routing the same volume of water through an unsaturated zone column to the water table. Areas with thin (less than 1 m) unsaturated zones showed little difference in timing of recharge between the two approaches; when water was routed through the unsaturated zone, however, less recharge was delivered to the water table and more discharge occurred to the surface because recharge direction and magnitude changed when the water table rose to the land surface. Areas with a thick (15 to 26 m) unsaturated zone were characterized by multimonth lags between infiltration and recharge, and, in some cases, wetting fronts from precipitation events during the fall overtook and mixed with infiltration from the previous spring snowmelt. Thus, in thicker unsaturated zones, the volume of water infiltrated was properly simulated using the traditional approach, but the timing was different from simulations that included unsaturated zone flow. Routing of rejected recharge and ground water discharge at land surface to surface water features also provided a better simulation of the observed flow regime in a stream at the basin outlet. These results demonstrate that consideration of flow through the unsaturated zone may be important when simulating transient ground water flow in humid climates with shallow water tables.

  1. Importance of unsaturated zone flow for simulating recharge in a humid climate.

    PubMed

    Hunt, Randall J; Prudic, David E; Walker, John F; Anderson, Mary P

    2008-01-01

    Transient recharge to the water table is often not well understood or quantified. Two approaches for simulating transient recharge in a ground water flow model were investigated using the Trout Lake watershed in north-central Wisconsin: (1) a traditional approach of adding recharge directly to the water table and (2) routing the same volume of water through an unsaturated zone column to the water table. Areas with thin (less than 1 m) unsaturated zones showed little difference in timing of recharge between the two approaches; when water was routed through the unsaturated zone, however, less recharge was delivered to the water table and more discharge occurred to the surface because recharge direction and magnitude changed when the water table rose to the land surface. Areas with a thick (15 to 26 m) unsaturated zone were characterized by multimonth lags between infiltration and recharge, and, in some cases, wetting fronts from precipitation events during the fall overtook and mixed with infiltration from the previous spring snowmelt. Thus, in thicker unsaturated zones, the volume of water infiltrated was properly simulated using the traditional approach, but the timing was different from simulations that included unsaturated zone flow. Routing of rejected recharge and ground water discharge at land surface to surface water features also provided a better simulation of the observed flow regime in a stream at the basin outlet. These results demonstrate that consideration of flow through the unsaturated zone may be important when simulating transient ground water flow in humid climates with shallow water tables.

  2. TSPA Model for the Yucca Mountain Unsaturated Zone

    SciTech Connect

    Wilson, M. L.; Ho, C. K.

    2002-02-26

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is being considered as a potential site for a repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Total-system performance-assessment (TSPA) calculations are performed to evaluate the safety of the site. Such calculations require submodels for all important engineered and natural components of the disposal system. There are five submodels related to the unsaturated zone: climate, infiltration, mountain-scale flow of water, seepage into emplacement drifts, and radionuclide transport. For each of these areas, models have been developed and implemented for use in TSPA. The climate model is very simple (a set of climate states have been deduced from paleoclimate data, and the times when climate changes occur in the future have been estimated), but the other four models make use of complex process models involving time-consuming computer runs. An important goal is to evaluate the impact of uncertainties (e.g., incomplete knowledge of the site) on the estimates of potential repository performance, so particular attention is given to the key uncertainties for each area. Uncertainties in climate, infiltration, and mountain-scale flow are represented in TSPA simulations by means of discrete high, medium, and low cases. Uncertainties in seepage and radionuclide transport are represented by means of continuous probability distributions for several key parameters.

  3. TSPA Model for the Yucca Mountain Unsaturated Zone

    SciTech Connect

    M.L. Wilson; C.K. Ho

    2001-12-12

    Yucca Mountain, Nevada, is being considered as a potential site for a repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Total-system performance-assessment (TSPA) calculations are performed to evaluate the safety of the site. Such calculations require submodels for all important engineered and natural components of the disposal system. There are five submodels related to the unsaturated zone: climate, infiltration, mountain-scale flow of water, seepage into emplacement drifts, and radionuclide transport. For each of these areas, models have been developed and implemented for use in TSPA. The climate model is very simple (a set of climate states have been deduced from paleoclimate data, and the times when climate changes occur in the future have been estimated), but the other four models make use of complex process models involving time-consuming computer runs. An important goal is to evaluate the impact of uncertainties (e.g., incomplete knowledge of the site) on the estimates of potential repository performance, so particular attention is given to the key uncertainties for each area. Uncertainties in climate, infiltration, and mountain-scale flow are represented in TSPA simulations by means of discrete high, medium, and low cases, Uncertainties in seepage and radionuclide transport are represented by means of continuous probability distributions for several key parameters.

  4. Oxygen profiling of the unsaturated zone using direct push drilling.

    PubMed

    Sopilniak, A; Elkayam, R; Lev, O; Elad, T

    2015-09-01

    A methodology for oxygen profile measurements in the unsaturated zone is developed based on direct push drilling using sampling liners equipped with homemade silicone septa. The oxygen measurement is carried out by puncturing the septum with a commercial retractable optode needle fitted with a fluorescent tip. Metrological characteristics and method validation were carried out under laboratory conditions using different levels of oxygen and various water contents. The relative standard deviations under dry and water saturated soil conditions were less than 0.3% and 5% for 0.5 mg L(-1) of oxygen and less than 2% and 3% for 9 mg L(-1). Field demonstrations in a calcareous-sandstone soil aquifer treatment system with a layered clayey, marl and sandstone lithology of widely different water contents provided down to 30 m deep profiles of the dissolved oxygen level with less than 1.5 m spatial resolution. A single sensor was used for over 50 field measurements, though recalibration was required after approximately 30 measurements due to the deterioration of the fluorescent tip. PMID:26245519

  5. 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.

  6. Numerical study of variable-density flow and transport in unsaturated-saturated porous media.

    PubMed

    Liu, Yi; Kuang, Xingxing; Jiao, Jiu Jimmy; Li, Jiang

    2015-11-01

    Dense contaminant or solute transport in the unsaturated-saturated aquifer commonly exists in the natural environment. However, the influence of hydraulic properties of the unsaturated soil on penetration process of variable density flow in an unsaturated-saturated aquifer system is rarely investigated. In this study, a variable density, variably saturated flow and transport model based on FEFLOW is used to systematically investigate the penetration process of the solute through the unsaturated-saturated aquifer system, with a focus on the influence of the hydraulic parameters of the unsaturated soil on the penetration process. Vertical center of mass, and its speed and acceleration, are used to identify different stages of the penetration process through the unsaturated-saturated aquifer. The hydraulic parameters in the van Genuchten-Mualem model (VGM) affect the water content distribution in the unsaturated zone, subsequently the penetration time through the unsaturated zone. Through influencing the thickness of the transition zone (0.1-0.9 maximum concentration of the plume) when the plume reaches the water table, the hydraulic parameters affect the accumulation time of the solute at the boundary layer in the saturated zone. Thus, the process in not only the unsaturated but also the saturated zones is influenced by the change of the hydraulic properties of the unsaturated zone. Furthermore, the results show that the instabilities start to occur at the zone with high water content (90% of maximum saturation) in the capillary fringe. Freshwater intrudes into the zone with high water content when fingers are completely developed at the entire system. The length of freshwater intrusion above the water table has a negative correlation with the fitting parameter alpha in the VGM model. The influence of the density difference of the solute on the penetration processes is insignificant in the unsaturated zone but significant in the saturated zone. Sensitive analysis for

  7. Numerical study of variable-density flow and transport in unsaturated-saturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Yi; Kuang, Xingxing; Jiao, Jiu Jimmy; Li, Jiang

    2015-11-01

    Dense contaminant or solute transport in the unsaturated-saturated aquifer commonly exists in the natural environment. However, the influence of hydraulic properties of the unsaturated soil on penetration process of variable density flow in an unsaturated-saturated aquifer system is rarely investigated. In this study, a variable density, variably saturated flow and transport model based on FEFLOW is used to systematically investigate the penetration process of the solute through the unsaturated-saturated aquifer system, with a focus on the influence of the hydraulic parameters of the unsaturated soil on the penetration process. Vertical center of mass, and its speed and acceleration, are used to identify different stages of the penetration process through the unsaturated-saturated aquifer. The hydraulic parameters in the van Genuchten-Mualem model (VGM) affect the water content distribution in the unsaturated zone, subsequently the penetration time through the unsaturated zone. Through influencing the thickness of the transition zone (0.1-0.9 maximum concentration of the plume) when the plume reaches the water table, the hydraulic parameters affect the accumulation time of the solute at the boundary layer in the saturated zone. Thus, the process in not only the unsaturated but also the saturated zones is influenced by the change of the hydraulic properties of the unsaturated zone. Furthermore, the results show that the instabilities start to occur at the zone with high water content (90% of maximum saturation) in the capillary fringe. Freshwater intrudes into the zone with high water content when fingers are completely developed at the entire system. The length of freshwater intrusion above the water table has a negative correlation with the fitting parameter alpha in the VGM model. The influence of the density difference of the solute on the penetration processes is insignificant in the unsaturated zone but significant in the saturated zone. Sensitive analysis for

  8. 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.

  9. 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. PMID:26586231

  10. 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...

  11. 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

  12. Unsaturated zone arsenic distribution and implications for groundwater contamination.

    PubMed

    Reedy, Robert C; Scanlon, Bridget R; Nicot, Jean-Philippe; Tachovsky, J Andrew

    2007-10-15

    Arsenic compounds have been applied at the land surface as pesticides in agricultural areas globally. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the fate of anthropogenic arsenic applications related to agriculture, using arsenic applications on cotton in the southern High Plains (SHP), Texas, as a case study and examining possible linkages with contamination of the underlying Ogallala aquifer in this region, where 36% of wells exceed the new EPA 10 microg/L standard. Unsaturated zone soil samples were collected from boreholes beneath natural ecosystems (grassland/ shrubland) to provide a control (no arsenic application) (5 profiles) and cotton cropland (20 profiles) for analyses of water-extractable arsenic, vanadium, phosphate, chloride, and nitrate. Natural ecosystem profiles have high arsenic concentrations at depth (maximum of 7.2-69.6 microg As/ kg dry soil at 5.9-21.4 m depth) that are attributed to a geologic source. Most profiles beneath cotton cropland have high arsenic concentrations within the upper meter (profile means 1.7 to 31.6 microg/kg) that correlate with phosphate (r = 0.70, p < 0.01) and are attributed to anthropogenic arsenic application associated with phosphate fertilizer application. High arsenic concentrations at >1 m depth (profile means < or =36.3 microg/kg) found in cropland profiles are attributed to a geologic source because of similarity with profiles beneath natural ecosystems, lack of correlation with phosphate, and pore-water ages that predate anthropogenic arsenic application in many profiles. GIS analyses showed poor correlations between groundwater arsenic and percent cultivated land (r = -0.15, p < 0.01), groundwater nitrate (r = 0.30, p < 0.01), and water table depth (r= -0.31, p < 0.01), further supporting the idea that anthropogenic-derived arsenic in the shallow subsurface is not linked to groundwater arsenic contamination in this region.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Film Flow in Macro- and Micropores: How Much Unsaturated-Zone Hydrology can it Explain?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nimmo, J. R.

    2008-12-01

    Although capillary concepts have dominated the pore-scale geometry of unsaturated zone flow theory and models for several decades, in many cases a free-surface film model can more closely represent reality. Unsaturated flow requires a broad definition of film, as a planar volume of liquid bounded by solid material on one side and gas on the other, in which the gas-liquid interface is not significantly constrained by capillary force. Observational, experimental, and theoretical explorations of free-surface films in unsaturated media have been increasing since the 1990s. Various observations related to preferential flow suggest a characteristic film thickness of hydrologic importance ranging from a few to tens of microns. Conceptualized as laminar flow, a free-surface film's thickness and area of spread determine flow rate and water content; there is no strong dependence on the filled/unfilled distinction as for capillaries. Flow rates for a given water content can be faster in films than in capillaries, similarly to the way flow in a sloped streambed can be faster than in a system of filled pipes. If films less than 1 micron thick are considered, then flow rates also can be slower than in capillary flow, because a given amount of liquid spread over a broader area will, on average, be closer to solid surface. Free surface film theory may provide new insights and improved predictions for a variety of specific phenomena and applications, such as the following examples. (1) Short-time-scale observations, such as rapid water table response or subsurface lateral flow to streams during rainstorms, often involve faster transmission of water than would be predicted by capillary theory within a sequence of filled pores. (2) In property-transfer models like the one of Arya and Paris, in which a specified hypothetical geometry determines water retention related to inferred pore size, film concepts could replace the unrealistic elongation of tiny capillaries needed to agree with

  16. 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.

  17. Time-series analysis for determining vertical air permeability in unsaturated zones

    SciTech Connect

    Lu, N.

    1999-01-01

    The air pressure in the unsaturated subsurface changes dynamically as the barometric pressure varies with time. Depending on the material properties and boundary conditions, the intensity of the correlation between the atmospheric and subsurface pressures may be evidenced in two persistent patterns: (1) the amplitude attenuation; and (2) the phase lag for the principal modes, such as the diurnal, semidiurnal, and 8-h tides. The amplitude attenuation and the phase lag generally depend on properties that can be classified into two categories: (1) The barometric pressure parameters, such as the apparent pressure amplitudes and frequencies controlled by the atmospheric tides and others; and (2) the material properties of porous media, such as the air viscosity, air-filled porosity, and permeability. Based on the principle of superposition and a Fourier time-series analysis, an analytical solution for predicting the subsurface air pressure variation caused by the atmospheric pressure fluctuation is presented. The air permeability (or pneumatic diffusivity) can be quantitatively determined by using the calculated amplitude attenuations (or phase lags) and the appropriate analytical relations among the parameters of the atmosphere and the porous medium. An analysis using the field data shows that the Fourier time-series analysis may provide a potentially reliable and simple method for predicting the subsurface barometric pressure variation and for determining the air permeability of unsaturated zones.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Modeling transient streaming potentials in coupled saturated-unsaturated zone flow to a pumping well

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Malama, B.

    2012-12-01

    A semi-analytical model for transient response of streaming potentials (SP) to pumping in an unconfined aquifer, taking into account unsaturated zone flow, is presented. Flow in the unsaturated zone is modeled with a linearized Richards' equation with the moisture retention curve and unsaturated hydraulic conduc- tivity assumed to be exponential functions of matric potential. For the case presented here, the same sorption number is assumed for moisture retention and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity. The ratio of the unsaturated to satu- rated electrokinetic coupling coefficient is described by Cℓ,r = kr Sw-(d+1), where kr is relative hydraulic conductivity, Sw is saturation, and d is Archie's second exponent. Hence, based on the assumption of an exponential moisture retention curve, Cℓ,r is also an exponential function of matric potential. Model predicted responses in the saturated and unsaturated zones are compared with measured SP responses to pumping in a bench-scale experimental setup that simulates a radially bounded unconfined aquifer. Potential for using SP responses to esti- mate saturated and unsaturated hydraulic parameters is evaluated. Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory managed and operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04- 94AL85000. This research is funded by WIPP programs administered by the Office of Environmental Management (EM) of the U.S Department of Energy.

  5. 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.

  6. Oxygenated gasoline release in the unsaturated zone, Part 2: Downgradient transport of ethanol and hydrocarbons.

    PubMed

    Freitas, Juliana G; Doulatyari, Behnam; Molson, John W; Barker, James F

    2011-07-01

    In the event of a gasoline spill containing oxygenated compounds such as ethanol and MTBE, it is important to consider the impacts these compounds might have on subsurface contamination. One of the main concerns commonly associated with ethanol is that it might decrease the biodegradation of aromatic hydrocarbon compounds, leading to an increase in the hydrocarbon dissolved plume lengths. The first part of this study (Part 1) showed that when gasoline containing ethanol infiltrates the unsaturated zone, ethanol is likely to partition to and be retained in the unsaturated zone pore water. In this study (Part 2), a controlled field test is combined with a two-dimensional laboratory test and three-dimensional numerical modelling to investigate how ethanol retention in the unsaturated zone affects the downgradient behaviour of ethanol and aromatic hydrocarbon compounds. Ethanol transport downgradient was extremely limited. The appearance of ethanol in downgradient wells was delayed and the concentrations were lower than would be expected based on equilibrium dissolution. Oscillations in the water table resulted in minor flushing of ethanol, but its effect could still be perceived as an increase in the groundwater concentrations downgradient from the source zone. Ethanol partitioning to the unsaturated zone pore water reduced its mass fraction within the NAPL thus reducing its anticipated impact on the fate of the hydrocarbon compounds. A conceptual numerical simulation indicated that the potential ethanol-induced increase in benzene plume length after 20 years could decrease from 136% to 40% when ethanol retention in the unsaturated zone is considered.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Performance of concrete barriers in radioactive waste disposal in the unsaturated zone

    SciTech Connect

    Walton, J.C. ); Otis, M.D. )

    1989-09-14

    Concrete barriers are an important component of many designs for disposal of radioactive waste in the unsaturated zone. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the concrete barriers performance assessment models representing the material degradation rates and transport properties must be developed. Models for evaluation of fluid flow and mass transport through partially failed concrete barriers located in the unsaturated zone are presented. Implications of the use of impermeable barriers design are discussed. Concrete of highest quality may not always be desirable for use in all components of waste disposal vaults. 7 refs., 5 figs.

  13. 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

  14. Review of unsaturated-zone transport and attenuation of volatile organic compound (VOC) plumes leached from shallow source zones.

    PubMed

    Rivett, Michael O; Wealthall, Gary P; Dearden, Rachel A; McAlary, Todd A

    2011-04-25

    Reliable prediction of the unsaturated zone transport and attenuation of dissolved-phase VOC (volatile organic compound) plumes leached from shallow source zones is a complex, multi-process, environmental problem. It is an important problem as sources, which include solid-waste landfills, aqueous-phase liquid discharge lagoons and NAPL releases partially penetrating the unsaturated zone, may persist for decades. Natural attenuation processes operating in the unsaturated zone that, uniquely for VOCs includes volatilisation, may, however, serve to protect underlying groundwater and potentially reduce the need for expensive remedial actions. Review of the literature indicates that only a few studies have focused upon the overall leached VOC source and plume scenario as a whole. These are mostly modelling studies that often involve high strength, non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) sources for which density-induced and diffusive vapour transport is significant. Occasional dissolved-phase aromatic hydrocarbon controlled infiltration field studies also exist. Despite this lack of focus on the overall problem, a wide range of process-based unsaturated zone - VOC research has been conducted that may be collated to build good conceptual model understanding of the scenario, particularly for the much studied aromatic hydrocarbons and chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons (CAHs). In general, the former group is likely to be attenuated in the unsaturated zone due to their ready aerobic biodegradation, albeit with rate variability across the literature, whereas the fate of the latter is far less likely to be dominated by a single mechanism and dependent upon the relative importance of the various attenuation processes within individual site - VOC scenarios. Analytical and numerical modelling tools permit effective process representation of the whole scenario, albeit with potential for inclusion of additional processes - e.g., multi-mechanistic sorption phase partitioning, and provide

  15. Microbial dispersal in unsaturated porous media: Characteristics of motile bacterial cell motions in unsaturated angular pore networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ebrahimi, Ali N.; Or, Dani

    2014-09-01

    The dispersal rates of self-propelled microorganisms affect their spatial interactions and the ecological functioning of microbial communities. Microbial dispersal rates affect risk of contamination of water resources by soil-borne pathogens, the inoculation of plant roots, or the rates of spoilage of food products. In contrast with the wealth of information on microbial dispersal in water replete systems, very little is known about their dispersal rates in unsaturated porous media. The fragmented aqueous phase occupying complex soil pore spaces suppress motility and limits dispersal ranges in unsaturated soil. The primary objective of this study was to systematically evaluate key factors that shape microbial dispersal in model unsaturated porous media to quantify effects of saturation, pore space geometry, and chemotaxis on characteristics of principles that govern motile microbial dispersion in unsaturated soil. We constructed a novel 3-D angular pore network model (PNM) to mimic aqueous pathways in soil for different hydration conditions; within the PNM, we employed an individual-based model that considers physiological and biophysical properties of motile and chemotactic bacteria. The effects of hydration conditions on first passage times in different pore networks were studied showing that fragmentation of aquatic habitats under dry conditions sharply suppresses nutrient transport and microbial dispersal rates in good agreement with limited experimental data. Chemotactically biased mean travel speed of microbial cells across 9 mm saturated PNM was ˜3 mm/h decreasing exponentially to 0.45 mm/h for the PNM at matric potential of -15 kPa (for -35 kPa, dispersal practically ceases and the mean travel time to traverse the 9 mm PNM exceeds 1 year). Results indicate that chemotaxis enhances dispersal rates by orders of magnitude relative to random (diffusive) motions. Model predictions considering microbial cell sizes relative to available liquid pathways sizes were

  16. 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.

  17. Modeling of biological clogging in unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Soleimani, Sahar; Van Geel, Paul J.; Isgor, O. Burkan; Mostafa, Mohamed B.

    2009-04-01

    A two-dimensional unsaturated flow and transport model, which includes microbial growth and decay, has been developed to simulate biological clogging in unsaturated soils, specifically biofilters. The bacterial growth and rate of solute reduction due to biodegradation is estimated using the Monod equation. The effect of microbial growth is considered in the proposed conceptual model that relates the relative permeability term for unsaturated flow to the microbial growth. Two applications of the model are presented in this study. Using the model, the clogging mechanism in different soils has been simulated. The results of the model indicate that the time to reach a clogged state is influenced by the hydraulic properties of the soil. Clogging is delayed in soils with higher saturated hydraulic conductivities, and higher porosities. For the relative permeability model proposed, higher van Genuchten n values lead to a delay in clogging. The model was also used to simulate the progressive clogging of a septic bed as the biomat initially forms at the up-gradient end of the distribution pipe, displacing wastewater infiltration and biomat formation further down-gradient over time.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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).

  1. 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, ...

  2. 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...

  3. 40 CFR 264.278 - Unsaturated zone monitoring.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... combined effects of degradation, transformation, and immobilization. The Regional Administrator will... degradation, transformation, or immobilization of the PHCs will assure treatment at at least equivalent levels... success of degradation, transformation, or immobilization processes in the treatment zone. (h) If...

  4. 40 CFR 264.278 - Unsaturated zone monitoring.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... combined effects of degradation, transformation, and immobilization. The Regional Administrator will... degradation, transformation, or immobilization of the PHCs will assure treatment at at least equivalent levels... success of degradation, transformation, or immobilization processes in the treatment zone. (h) If...

  5. Estimating spatial variability of recharge in southern New Jersey from unsaturated-zone measurements

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Baehr, Arthur L.; Kauffman, Leon J.; Perkins, Kimberlie; Nolan, Bernard T.

    2003-01-01

    Spatial variability of recharge in southern New Jersey was studied by sampling the unsat-urated zone at 48 sites distributed over approximately 930 square kilometers. Samples of unsaturated-zone sediment were collected during the summer and fall of 1996. Unsaturated flow was calculated using moisture-content data and estimates of conductivity and matric potential derived from sediment-size data. Matric forces were found to be important at about 70 percent of the sites despite the expectation that unsaturated flow in a humid climate is gravity driven. Upward water movement occurred at about 17 percent of the sites. The lower sediment layer at these sites consisted of sandy loam, indicating that upward movement can occur at depth only where the sediments are relatively fine-grained. At the other extreme, calculated flow at about 17 percent of the sites exceeded 250 centimeters per year. Because of the uncertainty inherent in unsaturated-flow calculations, the method provides only a scaling of recharge variability; however, the median calculated flow of 29.1 centimeters per year compares favorably with recharge estimates from previous water-budget studies. A map developed by spatial analysis of the recharge estimates identified an agricultural part of the study area where recharge was known to be low relative to recharge in other basins.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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).

  9. Hydrochemical investigations in characterizing the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Yang, I.C.; Rattray, G.W.; Ferarese, J.S.; Yu, P.; Ryan, J.N.

    1998-11-01

    Hydrochemical and isotopic investigations of ground water at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, site of a potential permanent national nuclear-waste repository, demonstrate that younger rocks are dominated by calcium-sulfate or calcium-chloride water and that older rocks contain sodium-carbonate or sodium-bicarbonate water. Furthermore, unsaturated-zone pore water has significantly larger concentrations of major ions and dissolved solids than does the saturated-zone water. Recharge of perched or saturated-zone water, therefore, requires rapid flow through fractures or permeable regions in the unsaturated zone to avoid mixing with the chemically concentrated water in the unsaturated zone. This conceptual model is consistent with observations of rapidly moved post-bomb (post-1954) tritium and chlorine-36 in the deep unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. Presence of post-bomb tritium in matrix water away from fracture zones further indicates that parts of the fast-flow water that moves through fractures have been diverted laterally into nonwelded units. Experimental data show that different lithologic units require specific water-extraction methods for stable-isotope analyses of hydrogen and oxygen to ensure accurate characterization. Vacuum-distillation and compression-extraction methods both can yield accurate data but must be used with specific lithologies. Column experiments demonstrate that percolating water can exchange with pore water of the core as well as water held in zeolite minerals in the core. Exchange rates range from days to months. Pore-water samples from core, therefore, reflect the most recently infiltrated water but do not reflect percolating water of the distant past.

  10. Desiccation of unsaturated porous media: Intermediate-scale experiments and numerical simulation

    SciTech Connect

    Oostrom, Martinus; Wietsma, Thomas W.; Dane, J. H.; Truex, Michael J.; Ward, Anderson L.

    2009-08-01

    Soil desiccation (drying) is recognized as a potentially robust vadose zone remediation process involving water evaporation induced by air injection and extraction. Desiccation has the potential to immobilize contaminants and could potentially improve access for other gas-phase treatments by reducing water saturation and therefore increasing sediment gas-phase permeability. Before this technology could be deployed in the field, concerns related to energy limitations, osmotic effects, and potential contaminant remobilization after rewetting need to be addressed. A series of detailed wedge-shaped, intermediate-scale laboratory experiments in unsaturated homogeneous and simple heterogeneous systems was conducted to improve the understanding of the impact of energy balance issues on soil desiccation. The experiments were simulated with the multifluid flow simulator STOMP, using independently obtained hydraulic and thermal porous medium properties. In all the experiments, the injection of dry air proved to be an effective means for removing essentially all moisture from the test media. Evaporative cooling was observed which generally decreased with increased distance from the gas inlet chamber. Observations of temperature in fine-grained sands in the heterogeneous systems show two local temperature minima associated with the cooling. The first one occurs because of evaporation in the adjacent medium-grained sand whereas the second minimum is attributed to evaporative cooling in the fine-grained sand itself. Results of the laboratory tests were simulated accurately when thermal properties of the flow cell walls and insulation material were taken into account, indicating that the proper physics were incorporated into the simulator.

  11. 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, Rob; 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.

  12. 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. 

  13. A mixed damage model for unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arson, Chloé; Gatmiri, Behrouz

    2009-02-01

    The aim of this study is to present a framework for the modeling of damage in continuous unsaturated porous geomaterials. The damage variable is a second-order tensor. The model is formulated in net stress and suction independent state variables. Correspondingly, the strain tensor is split into two independent thermodynamic strain components. The proposed framework mixes micro-mechanical and phenomenological approaches. On the one hand, the effective stress concept of Continuum Damage Mechanics is used in order to compute the damaged rigidities. On the other hand, the concept of equivalent mechanical state is introduced in order to get a simple phenomenological formulation of the behavior laws. Cracking effects are also taken into account in the fluid transfer laws. To cite this article: C. Arson, B. Gatmiri, C. R. Mecanique 337 (2009).

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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. PMID:26805922

  19. 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.

  20. CO2 dynamics in the Amargosa Desert: Fluxes and isotopic speciation in a deep unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walvoord, M.A.; Striegl, R.G.; Prudic, D.E.; Stonestrom, D.A.

    2005-01-01

    Natural unsaturated-zone gas profiles at the U.S. Geological Survey's Amargosa Desert Research Site, near Beatty, Nevada, reveal the presence of two physically and isotopically distinct CO2 sources, one shallow and one deep. The shallow source derives from seasonally variable autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration in the root zone. Scanning electron micrograph results indicate that at least part of the deep CO2 source is associated with calcite precipitation at the 110-m-deep water table. We use a geochemical gas-diffusion model to explore processes of CO2 production and behavior in the unsaturated zone. The individual isotopic species 12CO2, 13CO2, and 14CO2 are treated as separate chemical components that diffuse and react independently. Steady state model solutions, constrained by the measured PCO2 ??13C (in CO2), and ??14C (in CO2) profiles, indicate that the shallow CO2 source from root and microbial respiration composes ???97% of the annual average total CO2 production at this arid site. Despite the small contribution from deep CO2 production amounting to ???0.1 mol m-2 yr-1, upward diffusion from depth strongly influences the distribution of CO2 and carbon isotopes in the deep unsaturated zone. In addition to diffusion from deep CO2 production, 14C exchange with a sorbed CO2 phase is indicated by the modeled ??14C profiles, confirming previous work. The new model of carbon-isotopic profiles provides a quantitative approach for evaluating fluxes of carbon under natural conditions in deep unsaturated zones.

  1. 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

  2. Enhancing simultaneous nitritation and anammox in recirculating biofilters: effects of unsaturated zone depth and alkalinity dissolution of packing materials.

    PubMed

    Wen, Jianfeng; Tao, Wendong; Wang, Ziyuan; Pei, Yuansheng

    2013-01-15

    This study investigated effects of unsaturated zone depth on nitrogen removal via simultaneous nitritation and anammox in three vertical flow recirculating biofilters. The biofilters had different depths (25, 40, and 60 cm) of an unsaturated zone and the same depth (35 cm) of a saturated zone. Unsaturated zone depth could be regulated to maintain suitable dissolved oxygen concentrations and enhance entrapment of carbon dioxide for co-occurrence of aerobic ammonia oxidation and anammox in the saturated zones. The biofilters with the larger unsaturated zones had higher ammonium and total inorganic nitrogen removal rates (16.2-33.5 g N/m(3)/d and 4.6-16.7 g N/m(3)/d, respectively) than the biofilter with the smallest unsaturated zone (11.9-18.1 g N/m(3)/d and 4.4-7.9 g N/m(3)/d, respectively). Electric arc furnace slag and marble chips were packed in the unsaturated and saturated zones, respectively, as low-cost materials to supplement alkalinity and buffer pH. Laboratory experiments showed that the maximum alkalinity dissolution efficiency was 513 mg CaCO(3)/kg marble chips and 761 mg CaCO(3)/kg electric arc furnace slag. Marble chips and electric arc furnace slag could increase dairy wastewater pH up to 7 and 9, respectively. The laboratory results are also useful for utilization of furnace slag and marble chips in constructed wetlands.

  3. Widespread natural perchlorate in unsaturated zones of the southwest United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rao, B.; Anderson, T.A.; Orris, G.J.; Rainwater, K.A.; Rajagopalan, S.; Sandvig, R.M.; Scanlon, B.R.; Stonestrom, D.A.; Walvoord, M.A.; Jackson, W.A.

    2007-01-01

    A substantial reservoir (up to 1 kg ha-1) of natural perchlorate is present in diverse unsaturated zones of the arid and semi-arid southwestern United States. The perchlorate co-occurs with meteoric chloride that has accumulated in these soils throughout the Holocene [0 to 10-15 ka (thousand years ago)] and possibly longer periods. Previously, natural perchlorate widely believed to be limited to the Atacama Desert, now appears widespread in steppe-to-desert ecoregions. The perchlorate reservoir becomes sufficiently large to affect groundwater when recharge from irrigation or climate change flushes accumulated salts from the unsaturated zone. This new source may help explain increasing reports of perchlorate in dry region agricultural products and should be considered when evaluating overall source contributions. ?? 2007 American Chemical Society.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Nitrogen fluxes through unsaturated zones in five agricultural settings across the USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-12-01

    The main controls on nitrogen (N) fluxes between the root zone and the water table were determined for agricultural sites in California, Washington, Nebraska, Indiana, and Maryland in 2004 and 2005. Sites included irrigated and non-irrigated fields; soil textures ranging from clay to sand; crops including corn, soybeans, almonds, and pasture; and unsaturated zone thicknesses ranging from 0.5 to 20 m. Chemical analyses of water from lysimeters, shallow wells, and sediment cores indicate that advective transport of nitrate is the dominant process affecting the rate of N transport below the root zone. Vertical profiles of (1) N species, (2) stable N and O isotopes, and (3) oxygen gas in unsaturated zone air and shallow ground water, 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. Relatively stable concentrations at depths greater than a few meters allow calculation of nitrogen fluxes to the saturated zone. These fluxes are equivalent to 14 - 64% of the N application rates. At the same locations, median vertical fluxes of N in ground water are generally lower, ranging from 4 - 37% of N application rates. The lower nitrate fluxes in ground water reflect processes including lateral flow to tile drains and denitrification in the capillary fringe, as well as historical changes in N inputs.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  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. 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.

  19. An effective stress based numerical model for hydro-mechanical analysis in unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Khalili, N.; Khabbaz, M. H.; Valliappan, S.

    A fully coupled flow-deformation model is presented for the behaviour of unsaturated porous media. The governing equations are derived based on the equations of equilibrium, effective stress concept, Darcy's law, Henry's law, and the conservation of fluid mass. Macroscopic coupling between the flow and deformation fields is established through the effective stress parameters. The microscopic link between the volumetric deformations of the two pore system (i.e. the pore-air and the pore-water) is established using Betti's reciprocal theorem. Both links are essential for a proper modelling of flow and deformation in unsaturated porous media. The discretised form of the governing equations is obtained using the finite element technique. As application of the model, experimental results from several laboratory tests reported in the literature are modelled numerically. Good agreement is obtained between the numerical and the experimental results in all cases.

  20. 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...

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Hydrologic inferences from strontium isotopes in pore water from the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Marshall, B.D.; Futa, K.; Peterman, Z.E.

    1997-12-31

    Calcite is ubiquitous at Yucca Mountain, occurring in the soils and as fracture and cavity coatings within the volcanic tuff section. Strontium is a trace element in calcite, generally at the tens to hundreds of ppm level. Because calcite contains very little rubidium and the half-life of the {sup 87}Rb parent is billions of years, the {sup 87}Sr/{sup 86}Sr ratios of the calcite record the ratio in the water from which the calcite precipitated. Dissolution and reprecipitation does not alter these compositions so that, in the absence of other sources of strontium, one would expect the strontium ratios along a flow path to preserve variations inherited from strontium in the soil zone. Strontium isotope compositions of calcites from various settings in the Yucca Mountain region have contributed to the understanding of the unsaturated zone (UZ), especially in distinguishing unsaturated zone calcite from saturated zone calcite. Different populations of calcite have been compared, either to group them together or distinguish them from each other in terms of their strontium isotope compositions. Ground water and perched water have also been analyzed; this paper presents strontium isotope data obtained on pore water.

  8. 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

    2016-04-01

    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). PMID:26736171

  9. 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

    2016-04-01

    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).

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. Predicting unsaturated zone nitrogen mass balances in agricultural settings of the United States.

    PubMed

    Nolan, Bernard T; Puckett, Larry J; Ma, Liwang; Green, Christopher T; Bayless, E Randall; Malone, Robert W

    2010-01-01

    Unsaturated zone N fate and transport were evaluated at four sites to identify the predominant pathways of N cycling: an almond [Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb] orchard and cornfield (Zea mays L.) in the lower Merced River study basin, California; and corn-soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] rotations in study basins at Maple Creek, Nebraska, and at Morgan Creek, Maryland. We used inverse modeling with a new version of the Root Zone Water Quality Model (RZWQM2) to estimate soil hydraulic and nitrogen transformation parameters throughout the unsaturated zone; previous versions were limited to 3-m depth and relied on manual calibration. The overall goal of the modeling was to derive unsaturated zone N mass balances for the four sites. RZWQM2 showed promise for deeper simulation profiles. Relative root mean square error (RRMSE) values for predicted and observed nitrate concentrations in lysimeters were 0.40 and 0.52 for California (6.5 m depth) and Nebraska (10 m), respectively, and index of agreement (d) values were 0.60 and 0.71 (d varies between 0 and 1, with higher values indicating better agreement). For the shallow simulation profile (1 m) in Maryland, RRMSE and d for nitrate were 0.22 and 0.86, respectively. Except for Nebraska, predictions of average nitrate concentration at the bottom of the simulation profile agreed reasonably well with measured concentrations in monitoring wells. The largest additions of N were predicted to come from inorganic fertilizer (153-195 kg N ha(-1) yr(-1) in California) and N fixation (99 and 131 kg N ha(-1) yr(-1) in Maryland and Nebraska, respectively). Predicted N losses occurred primarily through plant uptake (144-237 kg N ha(-1) yr(-1)) and deep seepage out of the profile (56-102 kg N ha(-1) yr(-1)). Large reservoirs of organic N (up to 17,500 kg N ha(-1) m(-1) at Nebraska) were predicted to reside in the unsaturated zone, which has implications for potential future transfer of nitrate to groundwater.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. Influences of topography and subsurface heterogeneity on lateral subsurface flow in unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, J.; Mohanty, B.

    2014-12-01

    Lateral subsurface flow plays a significant role in redistributing soil water which has a direct effect on biological, chemical, and geomorphologic processes in root zone. However, most of the land surface models (LSMs) are neglecting the horizontal exchanges of water at the grid or subgrid scales, focusing only on the vertical exchanges of entities including water as one-dimensional process. Topography and hydrologic properties are the main controls on the vertical and lateral subsurface flow in heterogeneous land surface. Thus, in this study, we designed three cases to consider the lateral subsurface flow in unsaturated zone using a land surface model (Community Land Model, CLM): Case 1 is to consider only surface topography for the entire soil column, Case 2 is to consider surface topography in upper soil layers and heterogeneous soil hydraulic properties between the soil columns (using uniform anisotropy for lateral hydraulic conductivity) in lower soil layers, and Case 3 is also to consider surface topography and heterogeneous soil hydraulic properties but using spatially distributed anisotropy derived from hydrologic connectivity which can be created by physical controls (e.g., soil type, vegetation cover) at a watershed scale. The results of this study indicated that all of the cases improved the subsurface flow in unsaturated zone compared to the results of original model, especially representing the best performance in the case 3. Hence, this approach could characterize the spatially distributed patterns of subsurface flow and improve a simulation of the hydrologic cycle.

  18. 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.

  19. 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. PMID:23274409

  20. Hydrologic characterization of faults and other potentially conductive geologic features in the unsaturated zone

    SciTech Connect

    Javandel, I.; Shan, C.

    1990-01-01

    The capability of characterizing near-vertical faults and other potentially highly conductive geologic features in the vicinity of a high-level-waste repository is of great importance in site characterization of underground waste-isolation projects. The possibility of using transient air pressure data at depth for characterizing these features in the unsaturated zone are investigated. Analytical solutions for calculating the pressure response of such systems are presented. Solutions are given for two types of barometric pressure fluctuations, step function and sinusoidal. 3 refs., 9 figs.

  1. 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

  2. Variability of unsaturated zone water transport parameters: implications for hydrological modelling. 1. In situ measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ragab, R.; Cooper, J. D.

    1993-07-01

    Physically based hydrological models require values of saturated and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity to solve the equations used to describe subsurface flow. Variability of these parameters within and between various land uses and soil types is an important consideration if hydrological behaviour is to be described realistically. A catchment in south-west England has been chosen to validate the European Hydrological System (Système Hydrologique Européen — SHE). The catchment includes three land use domains — arable (including temporary grass), permanent grassland and woodland. For the unsaturated zone component of the SHE both saturated hydraulic conductivity, Ks, and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity as a function of matric suction, K(ψ), are required. The aim of this investigation was to measure the parameters for input to the model, to assess the variability of these parameters and to determine whether or not parameters should be used for each domain independently. A Guelph permeameter was used to obtain Ks and α, which describes the slope of the logarithmic unsaturated hydraulic conductivity function ( K( ψ) = Ks exp( αψ)). Measurements at four depths were carried out. Domains were chosen according to land use — arable land (including temporary grass), permanent grassland and woodland. Both Ks and α were found to be lognormally distributed. The Ks values were highest in the grassland and lowest in arable land. The difference between means was significant for Ks but not for α in the three domains. High values of Ks were attributed to preferential flow along slate faces and root-induced channels in the grassland and woodland, respectively, as indicated by dye tests. Finally, it was concluded that, as Ks and K(ψ) differ significantly between domains, different hydrological behaviour would be expected. It is therefore recommended that different parameter sets be used for modelling the individual domains.

  3. Assessing aquifer contamination risk using immunoassay: trace analysis of atrazine in unsaturated zone sediments

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Juracek, K.E.; Thurman, E.M.

    1997-01-01

    The vulnerability of a shallow aquifer in south-central Kansas to contamination by atrazine (2-chloro-4-ethylamino-6-isopropylamines-triazine) was assessed by analyzing unsaturated zone soil and sediment samples from about 60 dryland and irrigated sites using an ultrasensitive immunoassay (detection level of 0.02 µg/kg) with verification by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Samples were collected at depths of 0 to 1.2 m (i.e., the root zone), 1.2 to 1.8 m, and 1.8 to 3.0 m during two time periods-prior to planting and after harvest of crops. About 75% of the samples contained detectable concentrations of parent atrazine. At the shallow sampling depth, atrazine concentrations ranged from 0.5 to approximately 12 µg/kg. Atrazine concentrations at the intermediate (1.2-1.8 m) depth generally were <1.0 µg/kg, with most of the concentrations <0.10 µg/kg, which suggests substantial degradation of parent atrazine in the root zone. Likewise, atrazine concentrations front the deepest (1.8-3.0 m) depth ranged from <0.02 to 0.33 µg/kg. The metabolite deethylatrazine (2-amino-4-chloro-6- isopropylamine-s-triazine) was detected by GC/MS only in 2 of 60 samples with concentrations of 1.4 and 1.5 µg/kg. The reconnaissance survey shows that, in spite of atrazine use ranging from 1 to 5 or more years, there does not appear to he a significant buildup of parent compound below the root zone. Therefore, the unsaturated zone does not appear to be a major storage compartment of atrazine contamination for the underlying shallow aquifer.

  4. Investigation of Episodic Flow from Unsaturated Porous Media into a Macropore

    SciTech Connect

    R. K. Podgorney; J. P. Fairley

    2008-02-01

    Th e recent literature contains numerous observations of episodic or intermittent fl ow in unsaturated flow systems under both constant fl ux and ponded boundary conditions. Flow systems composed of a heterogeneous porous media, as well as discrete fracture networks, have been cited as examples of systems that can exhibit episodic fl ow. Episodic outfl ow events are significant because relatively large volumes of water can move rapidly through an unsaturated system, carrying water and contaminants to depth greatly ahead of a wetting front predicted by a one-dimensional, gravity-driven diff usive infiltration model. In this study, we model the behavior of water flow through a sand column underlain by an impermeable-walled macropore. Relative permeability and capillary pressure relationships were developed that capture the complex interrelationships between the macropore and the overlying porous media that control fl ow out of the system. The potential for episodic flow is assessed and compared to results of conventional modeling approaches and experimental data from the literature. Model results using coupled matrix–macropore relative permeability and capillary pressure relationships 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 fl ow dynamics. Capturing the rapid downward movement of water suggests that the matrix-macropore capillary pressure and relative permeability functions developed have the potential to improve descriptions of fl ow and transport processes in heterogeneous, variably saturated media.

  5. Coupled Hydromechanical and Electromagnetic Responses in Unsaturated Porous Media: Theory, Observation, and Numerical Simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mahardika, Harry

    Hydromechanical energy can be partially converted into electromagnetic energy due to electrokinetic effect, where mechanical energy causes the relative displacement of the charged pore water with respect to the solid skeleton of the porous material and generated electrical current density. An application of this phenomenon is seismoelectric method, a geophysical method in which electromagnetic signals are recorded and associated with the propagation of seismic waves. Due to its coupling nature, seismoelectric method promises advantages in characterizing the subsurface properties and geometry compared to independent employments of seismic or electromagnetic acquisition alone. Since the recorded seismoelectric signal are sensitive to water content changes this method have been applied for groundwater studies to delineates vadoze zone-aquifer boundary since the last twenty years. The problem, however, the existing governing equations of coupled seismic and electromagnetic are not accounted for unsaturated conditions and its petrophysical sensitivity to water content. In this thesis we extend the applications of seismoelectric method for unsaturated porous medium for several geophysical problems. (1) We begin our study with numerical study to localize and characterize a seismic event induced by hydraulic fracturing operation sedimentary rocks. In this problem, we use the fully-saturated case of seismoelectric method and we propose a new joint inversion scheme (seismic and seismoelectric) to determine the position and moment tensor that event. (2) We expand the seismoelectric theory for unsaturated condition and show that the generation of electrical current density are depend on several important petrophysical properties that are sensitive to water content. This new expansion of governing equation provide us theory for developing a new approach for seismoelectric method to image the oil water encroachment front during water flooding of an oil reservoir or an aquifer

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  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. An adaptive multiscale finite element method for unsaturated flow problems in heterogeneous porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    He, Xinguang; Ren, Li

    2009-07-01

    SummaryIn this paper we present an adaptive multiscale finite element method for solving the unsaturated water flow problems in heterogeneous porous media spanning over many scales. The main purpose is to design a numerical method which is capable of adaptively capturing the large-scale behavior of the solution on a coarse-scale mesh without resolving all the small-scale details at each time step. This is accomplished by constructing the multiscale base functions that are adapted to the time change of the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity field. The key idea of our method is to use a criterion based on the temporal variation of the hydraulic conductivity field to determine when and where to update our multiscale base functions. As a consequence, these base functions are able to dynamically account for the spatio-temporal variability in the equation coefficients. We described the principle for constructing such a method in detail and gave an algorithm for implementing it. Numerical experiments were carried out for the unsaturated water flow equation with randomly generated lognormal hydraulic parameters to demonstrate the efficiency and accuracy of the proposed method. The results show that throughout the adaptive simulation, only a very small fraction of the multiscale base functions needs to be recomputed, and the level of accuracy of the adaptive method is higher than that of the multiscale finite element technique in which the base functions are not updated with the time change of the hydraulic conductivity.

  10. 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.

  11. Acidification, Buffering, and Salt Effects in the Unsaturated Zone of a Sandy Aquifer, Klosterhede, Denmark

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hansen, Bent KjæR.; Postma, Dieke

    1995-01-01

    Acidification of groundwater in a noncalcareous sandy aquifer at Klosterhede, Denmark, is the result of acid rain deposition. In the 4- to 5-m-thick unsaturated zone the pH ranges from 4.2 to 4.9 with Al concentrations of up to 0.8 mmol L-1. The groundwater at the top of the saturated zone still has a pH below 5. Deposition of sea salt affects the solute profiles, and its importance varies both spatially from the forest margin to the inner part of the forest and temporally through seasonal variations in infiltration and dry deposition. As a result, pulses of high solute concentrations travel downward through the unsaturated zone. The cation exchange capacity (CEC) of the sediments ranges between 0.2 and 1 meq 100 g-1, and in the acidified zone, base saturation is around 17%. The pore waters are close to equilibrium with gibbsite, supersaturated for kaolinite, and strongly undersaturated for other silicateminerals. Mass balance calculations on increases in dissolved silica over depth suggest that the buffering effect of silicate weathering is small. Buffering processes and solute transport were modeled with the code PHREEQM. Simulation of pre-acid rain weathering indicates that this process operates on a timescale of thousands of years, yielding minimum pH values near 5.2 and a base saturation of greater than 70%. The present leaching of Al3+ rich acid water from the soil yields acidification rates of 7 and 10 cm yr-1 for weathering of a naturally weathered and a pristine profile, respectively. Simulation of infiltration of sea-salt pulses indicates that the cation distribution quickly becomes attenuated by the exchanger composition. However, due to coupling of gibbsite equilibrium with ion exchange processes, downward traveling pulses with high solute concentrations will cause pH variations throughout the unsaturated zone by precipitation and dissolution of gibbsite. Accordingly, the general acidification pattern at Klosterhede is overprinted by salts effects in a

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Improvement of subsurface process in land surface modeling including lateral flow under unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, J.; Mohanty, B.

    2013-12-01

    Lateral subsurface flow is an important component in local water budgets through its direct impact on soil moisture. However, most of the land surface models are one-dimensional considering only vertical interactions and neglecting the horizontal flow of water at the grid or sub-grid scales. Subsurface flow can be affected by surface topography and non-homogenous soil properties controlling the lateral flow of water. In this study, we improved the subsurface flow process in land surface model (Community Land Model, CLM) by considering the lateral flow based on topography and heterogeneous soil hydraulic properties in unsaturated zone. The changes in flow direction derived from topographic factor are used to consider the lateral movement of water at the near surface. Furthermore, vertical and horizontal hydraulic conductivities for each layer in unsaturated zone are estimated using different averaging methods and anisotropic factors. Based on the hydraulic conductivities of each layer for heterogeneous soil profiles we considered lateral flow of soil water between soil columns. These approaches were tested at several different sites (e.g. field and watershed scales). The results showed the appropriate vertical and horizontal hydraulic conductivities with depth for each site and the improved subsurface flow process by considering the lateral flow in land surface models.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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)

  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. 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.

  2. Novel methods for measuring air-water interfacial area in unsaturated porous media.

    PubMed

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

    2015-05-01

    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

  3. Novel methods for measuring air-water interfacial area in unsaturated porous media.

    PubMed

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

    2015-05-01

    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.

  4. Numerical simulation of temperature-driven air circulation and oxygen transport in unsaturated porous media

    SciTech Connect

    Guo, Weixing; Parizek, R.R. . Dept. of Geosciences)

    1992-01-01

    Temperature-driven air circulation within unsaturated porous media is receiving increasing attention in the studies of volatile organic component transport and remediation, safety assessment of radioactive waste repositories, soil moisture redistribution, etc. This coupled physical process also plays an important role in supplying oxygen to coal mine spoil where acid mine drainage is generated. To investigate the availability of oxygen within mine spoil, as the primary oxidant in acid reactions, a transient two-dimensional numerical model (HOT) which incorporates temperature-driven air circulation, dispersion-advection oxygen transport in gas phase, steady-state groundwater flow and chemical reactions, has been created. Energy and mass transfer across liquid and gas phases are included. Shrinking core models are used to simulate the kinetics of acid reactions. The rates of heat generation and oxygen consumption are determined stoichiometrically. The generalized Newton-Raphson method is used to linearize the partial differential equations describing heat and mass transfer in porous media. HOT has been used in studies of acid mine drainage generation within coal mine spoil and successfully compared with in-situ temperature measurements. This model may also be applied for some other research including soil vapor extraction, radon migration in soils and temperature prediction of nuclear waste repositories within unsaturated rocks.

  5. 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

  6. Numerical Generation of Dense Plume Fingers in Unsaturated Homogeneous Porous Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cremer, C.; Graf, T.

    2012-04-01

    In nature, the migration of dense plumes typically results in the formation of vertical plume fingers. Flow direction in fingers is downwards, which is counterbalanced by upwards flow of less dense fluid between fingers. In heterogeneous media, heterogeneity itself is known to trigger the formation of fingers. In homogeneous media, however, fingers are also created even if all grains had the same diameter. The reason is that pore-scale heterogeneity leading to different flow velocities also exists in homogeneous media due to two effects: (i) Grains of identical size may randomly arrange differently, e.g. forming tetrahedrons, hexahedrons or octahedrons. Each arrangement creates pores of varying diameter, thus resulting in different average flow velocities. (ii) Random variations of solute concentration lead to varying buoyancy effects, thus also resulting in different velocities. As a continuation of previously made efforts to incorporate pore-scale heterogeneity into fully saturated soil such that dense fingers are realistically generated (Cremer and Graf, EGU Assembly, 2011), the current paper extends the research scope from saturated to unsaturated soil. Perturbation methods are evaluated by numerically re-simulating a laboratory-scale experiment of plume transport in homogeneous unsaturated sand (Simmons et al., Transp. Porous Media, 2002). The following 5 methods are being discussed: (i) homogeneous sand, (ii) initial perturbation of solute concentration, (iii) spatially random, time-constant perturbation of solute source, (iv) spatially and temporally random noise of simulated solute concentration, and (v) random K-field that introduces physically insignificant but numerically significant heterogeneity. Results demonstrate that, as opposed to saturated flow, perturbing the solute source will not result in plume fingering. This is because the location of the perturbed source (domain top) and the location of finger generation (groundwater surface) do not

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  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. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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).

  16. Foam Delivery of Amendments for Vadose Zone Remediation – Propagation Performance in Unsaturated Sediments

    SciTech Connect

    Zhong, Lirong; Szecsody, James E.; Zhang, Z. F.; Mattigod, Shas V.

    2010-08-01

    Foam delivery of remedial amendments is potentially useful for vadose zone remediation because aqueous amendments are delivered while maintaining a low water content. The transport behavior of foam in the vadose zone is not well studied. Bench top scale column tests were conducted to investigate the foam transport, foaming gas and liquid propagation, pressure build up and distribution, influence of foam quality and sediment permeability on foam injection pressure, and liquid up-taking and distribution in sediments during foam flow in unsaturated sediments. Results indicated that under the unsaturated conditions, foaming gas front traveled much faster than the foam front where bubbles rupture was significant. A liquid front was formed ahead of the foam flow front. The accumulated liquid in this front was mainly composed of the water injected with foam. The foam injection pressure was mostly attributed to the resistance to foam flow from the sediment, but not to the movement of the water ahead of the foam front. Foam had a high effective viscosity compare to water. A near linear pressure distribution within the foam-occupied column section was observed. At fixed injection rate, higher foam quality resulted lower injection pressure. Higher permeability sediments did not necessarily have a lower foam injection pressure, as other factors such as the foam injection rate, foam bubble diameter, and sediment pore size also influenced the pressure. In the foam flushed region, the liquid uptake and the water content distribution in sediment was barely affected by the initial water content and the foam injection rate. The implications of these findings in field remediation application were discussed.

  17. Code System Calculate One-Dimensional Vertical Transport Unsaturated Soil Zone

    1989-03-01

    SESOIL, as an integrated screening-level soil compartment model, is designed to simultaneously model water transport, sediment transport, and pollutant fate. SESOIL is a one-dimensional vertical transport model for the unsaturated soil zone. Only one compound at a time can be considered. The model is based on mass balance and equilibrium partitioning of the chemical between different phases (dissolved, sorbed, vapor, and pure). The SESOIL model was designed to perform long-term simulations of chemical transport andmore » transformations in the soil and uses theoretically derived equations to represent water transport, sediment transport on the land surface, pollutant transformation, and migration of the pollutant to the atmosphere and groundwater. Climatic data, compartment geometry, and soil and chemical property data are the major components used in the equations. SESOIL was developed as a screening-level model, utilizing less soil, chemical, and meteorological values as input than most other similar models. Output of SESOIL includes time-varying pollutant concentrations at various soil depths and pollutant loss from the unsaturated zone in terms of surface runoff, percolation to the groundwater, volatilization, and degradation. The February 1995 release corrects an error that caused the code to fail when average monthly air temperature was -10C and includes an improved iteration procedure for the mass balance equations in the model. PLEASE NOTE: The RISKPRO information management software (see OTHER PROG/OPER SYS INFO) was used by the developers of the New SESOIL User''s Guide in their study and revisions of SESOIL. Using RISKPRO in conjunction with SESOIL is an option, and it may provide the easiest way to use SESOIL. The other option, use of SESOIL in stand-alone mode, has been tested and used. The stand-alone option is covered in ''Instructions for Running Stand-Alone SESOIL Code'', and in ''A Seasonal Soil Compartment Model''.« less

  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. 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.

  20. Distribution of Minor Elements in Calcite From the Unsaturated Zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marshall, B. D.; Whelan, J. F.

    2001-12-01

    Calcite is sporadically distributed in fractures and cavities in the volcanic rocks that form the 500- to 700-m-thick unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. Previous work has shown that the calcite precipitated from water moving downward through the unsaturated zone since the volcanic rocks were emplaced approximately 13 Ma. Calcite thus serves as a proxy for the chemistry and amounts of past percolation, two parameters that are important in predictions of the future behavior of the potential radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Latest calcite, which began forming between approximately 5 and 2 Ma, typically displays fine-scale growth zoning defined by distributions of Mn (inferred from cathodoluminescence), Mg, and Sr. Electron microprobe (EPMA) mapping of outermost calcite reveals Mg growth zoning1 and higher overall concentrations of Mg in late calcite than in older calcite. Micro X-ray fluorescence (micro-XRF) maps were obtained by slow rastering of the samples over a 100-watt X-ray source collimated through a final aperture of 100 μ m. Although the spatial resolution of the micro-XRF mapping is much less than that of EPMA, this technique reveals distributions of some elements to which EPMA is less sensitive. Micro-XRF maps show that Sr is spatially correlated with Mg; Sr concentrations range to 500 μ g/g at the resolution of the 100-μ m collimator. Because both Mg and Sr have similar calcite-water distribution coefficients much less than one, the Mg/Sr in calcite reflects the Mg/Sr of the water that precipitated the calcite. The distribution coefficient for Mn is greater than one and variations in Mn are not correlated with Mg and Sr. Covariation of Mg and Sr in the percolating water may be explained by reactions that affect the rate of uptake of chemical constituents from the overlying rock and soil, and/or evaporation. Late calcite has lower δ 13C values, probably due to a regional change from wetter to drier climate conditions. The higher Mg and

  1. 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

  2. Tracking sources of unsaturated zone and groundwater nitrate contamination using nitrogen and oxygen stable isotopes at the Hanford Site, WA.

    SciTech Connect

    Singleton, Michael J.; Woods, Katharine N.; Conrad, Mark E.; DePaolo, Donald J.; Dresel, P Evan

    2005-04-15

    The nitrogen and oxygen isotopic compositions of nitrate in pore water extracts from unsaturated zone core samples and groundwater samples indicate at least four potential sources of nitrate plumes in groundwaters at the USDOE Hanford Site in south-central Washington.

  3. A facility designed to monitor the unsaturated zone during infiltration of tertiary-treated sewage, Long Island, New York

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Prill, Robert C.; Oaksford, Edward T.; Potorti, James E.

    1979-01-01

    A facility consisting of a circular recharge basin 6.10 meters in diameter with a central observation manhole was developed on Long Island, N.Y., to study the role of the unsaturated zone during aquifer recharge with tertiary-treated sewage. The manhole extends through most of the 7.5-meter-thick unsaturated zone, which is composed of glacial outwash sand and gravel, and enables collection of water samples and monitoring of dynamic characteristics of the unsaturated zone during recharge experiments. The system contains instrumentation for monitoring infiltration rate, pressure-head distribution, soil-moisture content, ground-water levels, and soil gases. The 24.55-square-meter recharge basin has operated in all seasons intermittently since April 1975 and, as of April 1978, has transmitted 62 million liters of tertiary-treated effluent to the water-table aquifer. Overall performance of the facility indicates that it is suitably designed for monitoring the unsaturated zone during artificial-recharge experiments. (Kosco-USGS)

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Sensitivity analysis of flow in unsaturated heterogeneous porous media: Theory, numerical model, and its verification

    SciTech Connect

    Kabala, Z.J.; Milly, P.C.D. )

    1990-04-01

    Sensitivity analysis is one of the tools available for analyzing the effects of parameter uncertainty and soil heterogeneity on the transport of moisture in the unsaturated similar porous media. Direct differentiation of the discretized Richards equation with respect to parameters defining spatial variability leads to linear systems of equations for elementary sensitivities that are readily solved in conjunction with the original equation. These elementary sensitivities can be easily transformed into approximations of functional sensitivities and into sensitivities of boundary fluxes. A numerical implementation of this technique in one space dimension yields results that are consistent with exact analytical solutions and with numerical perturbation calculations. The effects of a given heterogeneity can be modeled adequately provided that the maximum relative change of the scale factor from one grid to the next not exceed a number on the order of unity.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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).

  11. 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

  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. 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.

  14. Water and Colloids Transfer in the Heterogeneous Unsatured Zone: Experimentation and Modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Predelus, Dieuseul; Binh Bien, Le; Ben Slimene, Erij; Lassabatere, Laurent; Winiarski, Thierry; Angulo-Jaramillo, Rafael

    2013-04-01

    induces stronger trapping colloids. The use of the fluorescent nanoparticles as a colloid tracer can improve our knowledge of the transfer of colloids in the heterogeneous unsaturated zone.

  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

    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.

  17. 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)

  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. Diffusion and consumption of methane in an unsaturated zone in north-central Illinois, U.S.A.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Striegl, R.G.; Ishii, A.L.

    1989-01-01

    The distribution of CH4 in unsaturated glacial and eolian deposits adjacent to buried low-level radioactive waste was measured, and movement of the gas from the waste source was simulated using a two-dimensional finite-difference model for gas diffusion in the unsaturated zone. Mean PCH4 was greatest (1.56 Pa) in a pebbly-sand deposit 11.6 m below the land surface and 12 m from the waste, and generally decreased with increased horizontal distance from the waste. Mean PCH4 was least (0.07 Pa) at depth of 1.8 m below land surface, regardless of distance from the waste. PCH4 at the land surface averaged 0.17 Pa. Depth versus PCH4 profiles suggest consumption of both waste-produced and atmospheric CH4 in the upper unsaturated zone, presumably by methanotrophic microorganisms. Numerical simulations of methane movement support the consumption observation; inclusion of a term in the model for consumption of CH4 in the upper 2 m of the unsaturated zone resulted in simulated PCH4 within 30% of mean PCH4 at eleven of thirteen sampling locations. A similar fit of the data was obtained for only four locations when consumption was not considered. ?? 1989.

  20. 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)

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

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

    PubMed

    Wan, J; Wilson, J L; Kieft, T L

    1994-02-01

    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.

  5. Density-Driven Migration of Heavy NAPL Vapor in the Unsaturated Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kleinknecht, S. M.; Class, H.; Braun, J.

    2014-12-01

    Contamination of the subsoil is a major concern in industrially developed as well as developing countries. Liquids introduced into the unsaturated zone will migrate as a liquid phase, however, they will also vaporize and migrate in a gaseous state. In particular, vapor (gas) plumes migrate easily in the unsaturated zone. Heavy vapors migrate, preferentially downward, due to their greater density and thus pose a potential threat to aquifers. Large scale column experiments and numerical simulations were conducted to investigate migration of carbon disulfide vapor. Carbon disulfide (CS2), amongst others used for the manufacture of viscous rayon, is an industrial, non-polar solvent. It is highly volatile and characterized by a higher density than water (ρ = 1.263 g/cm3) and, above all, denser than air when in a gaseous state (1.6 compared to air). The goals of these investigations were to quantitatively describe density-driven vapor migration in the subsurface at a large scale with clearly defined and controlled boundary conditions. The experiments were conducted in vertical, large columns (ID = 0.109 m) of 4 m length packed with dry porous medium in which the migration behavior of CS2vapor was characterized. Different types of glass beads were used to investigate the influence of permeability. The porous medium was kept dry to avoid partitioning effects due to pore water. The upper and lower boundaries were open to the atmosphere and hence constant pressure boundaries which allowed for an unhindered migration of the heavy vapor injected in the middle section of the column. Gas samples were taken along the column throughout the experiment and analyzed using a GC (HP 6890 Series) to quantify time and space dependent migration. The set-up of the experiment was numerically reproduced employing a 1-D, two-phase, two-component, isothermal model. Simulation results were compared with data from vapor migration experiments to verify the model. Variations were performed to

  6. 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.

  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. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Physicochemical controls on adsorbed water film thickness in unsaturated geological media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tokunaga, Tetsu K.

    2011-08-01

    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 by 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-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.

  11. 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

  12. Stochastic modeling of macrodispersion in unsaturated heterogeneous porous media. Semi-annual progress report, August 1, 1991--February 1, 1992

    SciTech Connect

    Yeh, T.C.J.

    1992-03-01

    The objectives of the proposed study are: (1) to investigate factors controlling the fate and transport of contaminants in heterogeneous unsaturated soils, and (2) to develop a computationally feasible methodology for predicting chemical movements in large-scale unsaturated zone. The proposed study will provide ways to estimate uncertainties in chemical transport due to spatial variability of soil hydrologic parameters. The uncertainty analysis is essential to interpretation of any field experiment of transport of chemically reactive tracers. Without eliminating the uncertainty due to heterogeneity in hydrologic parameters, mechanisms and principles controlling chemical behaviors of contaminants in the field condition may be misinterpreted.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Advective Desorption of Uranium (VI) from Contaminated Hanford Vadose Zone Sediments under Saturated and Unsaturated Conditions

    SciTech Connect

    Wellman, Dawn M.; Zachara, John M.; Liu, Chongxuan; Qafoku, Nikolla; Smith, Steven C.; Forrester, Steven W.

    2008-11-03

    Sedimentary, hydrologic, and geochemical variations in the Hanford subsurface environment, as well as compositional differences in contaminating waste streams, have created vast differences in the migration and mobility of uranium within the subsurface environment. A series of hydraulically-saturated and -unsaturated column experiments were performed to i.) assess the effect of water content on the advective desorption and migration of uranium from contaminated sediments, and ii.) evaluate the uranium concentration that can develop in porewater and/or groundwater as a result of desorption/dissolution reactions. Flow rate and moisture content were varied to evaluate the influence of contact time, pore water velocity, and macropore desaturation on aqueous uranium concentrations. Sediments were collected from the T-TX-TY tank farm complex and the 300 Area Process Ponds located on the Hanford Site, southeastern Washington State. The sediments vary in depth, mineralogy, and in contamination events. Experiments were conducted under mildly alkaline/calcareous conditions representative of conditions commonly encountered at repository sites across the arid western United States and, in particular, the Hanford site. Results illustrate the release of uranium from these sediments is kinetically controlled and low water contents encountered within the Hanford vadose zone result in the formation of mobile-immobile water regimes, which isolate a fraction of the reactive sites within the sediments, effectively reducing the concentration of uranium released into migrating porewaters.

  17. 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.

  18. PORE-WATER ISOTOPIC COMPOSITION AND UNSATURATED-ZONE FLOW, YUCCA MOUNTAIN, NEVADA

    SciTech Connect

    C. Yang

    2000-10-23

    Site characterization at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the site of a potential high-level radioactive waste repository, has included studies of recharge, flow paths, percolation flux, perched water bodies, and chemical compositions of the water in the thick unsaturated zone (UZ). Samples of pore water from cores of two recently drilled boreholes, USW SD-6 near the ridge top of Yucca Mountain and USW WT-24 north of Yucca mountain, were analyzed for isotopic compositions as part of a study by the US Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the US Department of Energy, under Interagency Agreement DE-AI08-97NV12033. The purpose of this report is to interpret {sup 14}C, {delta}{sup 13}C, {sup 3}H, {delta}D and {delta}{sup 18}O isotopic compositions of pore water from the core of boreholes USW SD-6 and USW WT-24 in relation to sources of recharge and flow paths in the UZ at Yucca Mountain. Borehole designation USW SD-6 and USW WT-24 subsequently will be referred to as SD-6 and WT-24. The sources of recharge and flow paths are important parameters that can be used in a UZ flow model, total system performance assessment (TSPA), and the license application (LA) for the potential repository at Yucca Mountain.

  19. Modeling and field experimental investigation of remediation by venting measures in the unsaturated soil zone

    SciTech Connect

    Lin, J.Y. ); Kinzelbach, W.K.H. )

    1993-10-01

    In the unsaturated soil zone, venting systems have proved to be an effective remediation method for contamination with volatile hydrocarbons. A new potential is opened up for this method by combining it with measures such as injection of hot gas or irrigation of the top soil to increase the radius of influence. A numerical 3-D model for air flow through variably saturated soil is presented which can serve as a design tool for locating and dimensioning of venting wells. It further allows rough estimates of the venting time and optimization of the technique. The user-friendly computer code AIR can be run on a fast PC. Two field applications are studied. In the first case, the measure consists of both injection and suction wells. The top soil is irrigated in order to reduce its conductivity. The efficiency of this measure in increasing the radius of influence is determined. In the second case, the functioning of a suction well is studied by using the natural radon gas in the soil as a tracer. The comparison of observations in the field with model computations offers a basis for the discussion of the limitations and design considerations of venting measures.

  20. 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.

  1. 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)

  2. 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.

  3. Mobilization of aluminum by the acid percolates within unsaturated zone of sandstones.

    PubMed

    Navrátil, Tomáš; Vařilová, Zuzana; Rohovec, Jan

    2013-09-01

    The area of the Black Triangle has been exposed to extreme levels of acid deposition in the twentieth century. The chemical weathering of sandstones found within the Black Triangle became well-known phenomenon. Infiltration of acid rain solutions into the sandstone represents the main input of salt components into the sandstone. The infiltrated solutions--sandstone percolates--react with sandstone matrix and previously deposited materials such as salt efflorescence. Acidic sandstone percolates pH 3.2-4.8 found at ten sites within the National Park Bohemian Switzerland contained high Al-tot (0.8-10 mg L(-1)) concentrations and high concentrations of anions SO4 (5-66 mg L(-1)) and NO3 (2-42 mg L(-1)). A high proportion (50-98 %) of Al-tot concentration in acid percolates was represented by toxic reactive Al(n+). Chemical equilibrium modeling indicated as the most abundant Al species Al(3+), AlSO4 (+), and AlF(2+). The remaining 2-50 % of Al-tot concentration was present in the form of complexes with dissolved organic matter Al-org. Mobilization and transport of Al from the upper zones of sandstone causes chemical weathering and sandstone structure deterioration. The most acidic percolates contained the highest concentrations of dissolved organic material (estimated up to 42 mg L(-1)) suggesting the contribution of vegetation on sandstone weathering processes. Very low concentrations of Al-tot in springs at BSNP suggest that Al mobilized in unsaturated zone is transported deeper into the sandstone. This process of mobilization could represent a threat for the water quality small-perched aquifers.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. An Active Area Model of Rapid Infiltration Response at Substantial Depth in the Unsaturated Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mitchell, L.; Nimmo, J. R.

    2011-12-01

    In a porous medium subject to preferential flow, response to surface water infiltration can occur rapidly even at substantial depth in the unsaturated zone. In a ponding experiment at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) the profile of undisturbed natural soil, seasonally dry at the start, was observed to approach field saturation throughout a 2 meter depth within 6 hours (Nimmo and Perkins, 2007). Traditional use of Richards' equation would require an unrealistically large unsaturated hydraulic conductivity of 40 m/day to capture the observed non-classic wetting behavior. Here we present a model for rapid flow using an active area concept similar to the active fracture model (Liu and others, 1998, WRR 34:2633-2646). The active area concept is incorporated within the preferential flow domain (which allows rapid downward movement) of a dual-domain model that also contains a diffuse-flow domain in which flow can be described by Richards' equation. Development of the active area model is motivated by observation of rapid wetting at substantial depth, as well as a phenomenon in which deep flow is observed before shallow flow. In this model water movement in the preferential domain can be physically conceptualized as laminar flow in free-surface films of constant average thickness. For a given medium, the preferential domain is characterized by an effective areal density (area per unit bulk volume) that describes the free-surface film capacity of the domain as a function of depth. The active area is defined as a portion of the effective areal density that dictates the depth and temporal distribution of domain-exchange and new infiltration within the preferential domain. With the addition of the active area concept, the model is capable of simulating non-diffusive vertical transport patterns. Advantages of the model include simulating rapid response for a variety of infiltration types, including ponding and rain events, as well as modeling relatively rapid aquifer

  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. 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.

  11. A Reservoir of Natural Perchlorate in Unsaturated Zones of Arid and Semi-Arid Regions, Southwestern USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rao, B. A.; Stonestrom, D. A.; Anderson, T. A.; Orris, G. J.; Rajagapolan, S.; Sandvig, R. M.; Scanlon, B. R.; Walvoord, M. A.; Jackson, W.

    2006-12-01

    Natural perchlorate (ClO4-) is generally present in unsaturated zones of steppe-to-desert regions of the arid and semi-arid southwestern United States. The perchlorate is associated with atmospherically deposited chloride that has accumulated throughout the Holocene. To assess this natural reservoir, we analyzed unsaturated-zone profiles from ten sites across Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah for perchlorate and other anions. The sampled sites represent a wide range of precipitation (0.1 0.5 m yr-1), dominant vegetation, soil type, underlying geology, and include five distinct ecological regions: Chihuahuan, Mojave, and southern Great Basin deserts; Arizona-New Mexico semi-desert; and Texas High Plains dry steppe. Concentrations of perchlorate correlated closely with chloride and bromide. The perchlorate reservoir (up to 1 kg ha-1) is sufficiently large to impact groundwater when natural recharge during pluvial periods or induced recharge after conversion to agriculture flushes accumulated salts from the unsaturated zone. This little explored source can explain perchlorate in milk and other agricultural products far from anthropogenic contamination, and should be considered when evaluating overall exposure risk.

  12. Spatial distribution characteristics of volatile halogenated hydrocarbons in unsaturated zone of Xiaodian sewage irrigation area, Taiyuan, China.

    PubMed

    Liao, Yuan; Ma, Teng; Cui, Yahui; Qi, Zhichong

    2014-12-01

    Sewage irrigation is one of the best options to reduce the stress on limited fresh water and to meet the nutrient requirement of crops. Environment pollution caused by volatile halogenated hydrocarbons (VHCs) associated with sewage irrigation has received increasing attention due to the toxicological importance in ecosystem. The aim of this study was to discuss the spatial distribution characteristics of VHCs in unsaturated zone under sewage irrigation and their migration in the environment. Soil samples were collected from XiaoDian district of TaiYuan city and measured for the major VHCs including of chloroform (CHCl3), tetrachloromethane (CCl4), trichloroethylene (C(2)HCl(3)), tetrachloroethylene(C(2)Cl(4)), pentachlorobenzene (C(6)HCl(5)), hexachlorobenzene (C(6)Cl(6)). Results showed that VHCs were accumulated in the unsaturated zone with long-term sewage irrigation. The contents of VHCs in the unsaturated zone of the study area were 34, 2, 3, 1.5, 8.3, 4.8 times higher than the background value respectively. Soils with long-term irrigation of sewage showed higher contents of VHCs than that with short-term irrigation of sewage. Not only the irrigation time, soil physical properties (e.g. soil texture) also played an important role on VHCs accumulation in soil.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. The Apparent Conductivity for Steady Unsaturated Flow in Periodically Fractured Porous Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martinez, M. J.; Dykhuizen, R. C.; Eaton, R. R.

    1992-11-01

    The influence of horizontal fractures on the steady seepage of moisture in variably saturated porous media is analyzed by analytical and numerical means. The fractures are assumed to contain many open (dry) regions, and to be distributed periodically in two dimensions. The dry regions of the fracture form a barrier to moisture flow through the geologic medium. An idealized two-dimensional model that maximizes the barrier effect of the fractures is analyzed. The results of the analysis quantify the effect of the dry regions of the fractures on global water flow through the fractured medium. An apparent conductivity is determined such that the fractured system can be replaced by a homogeneous medium for describing steady unsaturated flow. An asymptotic analysis yields an analytic expression for the apparent hydraulic conductivity through such a system in the limit of small sorptive number (fracture spacing divided by a characteristic capillary suction) for the intact matrix material. The apparent hydraulic conductivity for arbitrary spacing and sorptive number is determined by numerical means. The numerical model accounts for variable hydraulic conductivity as a function of the local pressure head, whereas the asymptotic solution represents the limit of constant conductivity. The numerical results confirm the analytical solution as a lower bound on the apparent hydraulic conductivity.

  16. FEMWATER: a finite-element model of water flow through saturated-unsaturated porous media

    SciTech Connect

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

    1980-10-01

    Upon examining the Water Movement Through Saturated-Unsaturated Porous Media: A Finite-Element Galerkin Model, it was felt that the model should be modified and expanded. The modification is made in calculating the flow field in a manner consistent with the finite element approach, in evaluating the moisture-content increasing rate within the region of interest, and in numerically computing the nonlinear terms. With these modifications, the flow field is continuous everywhere in the flow regime, including element boundaries and nodal points, and the mass loss through boundaries is much reduced. Expansion is made to include four additional numerical schemes which would be more appropriate for many situations. Also, to save computer storage, all arrays pertaining to the boundary condition information are compressed to smaller dimension, and to ease the treatment of different problems, all arrays are variably dimensioned in all subroutines. This report is intended to document these efforts. In addition, in the derivation of finite-element equations, matrix component representation is used, which is believed more readable than the matrix representation in its entirety. Two identical sample problems are simulated to show the difference between the original and revised models.

  17. 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. PMID:26275396

  18. Benchmarking variable-density flow in saturated and unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guevara Morel, Carlos Roberto; Cremer, Clemens; Graf, Thomas

    2015-04-01

    In natural environments, fluid density and viscosity can be affected by spatial and temporal variations of solute concentration and/or temperature. These variations can occur, for example, due to salt water intrusion in coastal aquifers, leachate infiltration from waste disposal sites and upconing of saline water from deep aquifers. As a consequence, potentially unstable situations may exist in which a dense fluid overlies a less dense fluid. This situation can produce instabilities that manifest as dense plume fingers that move vertically downwards counterbalanced by vertical upwards flow of the less dense fluid. Resulting free convection increases solute transport rates over large distances and times relative to constant-density flow. Therefore, the understanding of free convection is relevant for the protection of freshwater aquifer systems. The results from a laboratory experiment of saturated and unsaturated variable-density flow and solute transport (Simmons et al., Transp. Porous Medium, 2002) are used as the physical basis to define a mathematical benchmark. The HydroGeoSphere code coupled with PEST are used to estimate the optimal parameter set capable of reproducing the physical model. A grid convergency analysis (in space and time) is also undertaken in order to obtain the adequate spatial and temporal discretizations. The new mathematical benchmark is useful for model comparison and testing of variable-density variably saturated flow in porous media.

  19. Abstracts of the symposium on unsaturated flow and transport modeling

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1982-03-01

    Abstract titles are: Recent developments in modeling variably saturated flow and transport; Unsaturated flow modeling as applied to field problems; Coupled heat and moisture transport in unsaturated soils; Influence of climatic parameters on movement of radionuclides in a multilayered saturated-unsaturated media; Modeling water and solute transport in soil containing roots; Simulation of consolidation in partially saturated soil materials; modeling of water and solute transport in unsaturated heterogeneous fields; Fluid dynamics and mass transfer in variably-saturated porous media; Solute transport through soils; One-dimensional analytical transport modeling; Convective transport of ideal tracers in unsaturated soils; Chemical transport in macropore-mesopore media under partially saturated conditions; Influence of the tension-saturated zone on contaminant migration in shallow water regimes; Influence of the spatial distribution of velocities in porous media on the form of solute transport; Stochastic vs deterministic models for solute movement in the field; and Stochastic analysis of flow and solute transport. (DMC)

  20. Experimental Investigation of the Effective Foam Viscosity in Unsaturated Porous Media

    SciTech Connect

    Zhang, Z. F.; Zhong, Lirong; White, Mark D.; Szecsody, James E.

    2012-11-01

    Foam has the potential to effectively carry and distribute either aqueous or gaseous amendments to the deep vadose zone for contaminant remediation. However, the transport of foam in porous media is complicated because flow characteristics such as the effective viscosity are affected not only by foam properties but also by the sediment properties and flow conditions. We determined the average effective foam viscosity via a series of laboratory experiments and found that the effective foam viscosity increased with the liquid fraction in foam, the injection rate, and sediment permeability. These impacts are quantified with an empirical expression, which is further demonstrated with data from literature. The results show that the liquid fraction in foam and sediment permeability are two primary factors affecting effective foam viscosity. These results suggest that, when foam is used in deep vadose zone remediation, foam flow will not suffer from gravitational drainage and can distribute amendments uniformly in heterogeneous sediments.

  1. Sensitivity Analysis of Infiltration, Exfiltration, and Drainage in Unsaturated Miller-Similar Porous Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kabala, Z. J.; Milly, P. C. D.

    1991-10-01

    The effects of soil heterogeneity on the transport of moisture in the unsaturated zone are studied by means of functional sensitivities, which are more suitable than elementary (or conventional) sensitivities for analyzing continuous systems. The earlier described algorithm is applied to three problems, drainage, infiltration, and exfiltration, for two Miller-similar soils (a randomly generated heterogeneous Yolo light clay and a homogeneous one). It reveals the difference between drainage, on the one hand, and both infiltration and exfiltration on the other. The scaled flux sensitivity profiles, i.e., the functional derivatives of fluxes with respect to Miller-similarity parameter λ(x), are flat for drainage, demonstrating that drainage is equally sensitive to changes in λ(x) at all points of the profile and hence that the similarity parameter has to be modeled well in the whole soil column. Analogous sensitivity profiles for infiltration and exfiltration problems show, significant delay in propagation of functional sensitivities in the soil column (with respect to the moisture front), allowing thus for less stringent modeling of the similarity parameter for the bottom of the column. Infiltration problems seem to be most difficult to deal with, because they are most sensitive to the similarity parameter.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Modelling of unsaturated water flow in double porosity media. An integrated approach.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lewandowska, J.

    2009-04-01

    "Multi-scale, multi-components, multi-phases" are the key words that characterize the double porosity media, like fissured rocks or aggregated soils, subject to geo-environmental conditions. In relation to this context we present an integrated upscaling approach to the modelling of unsaturated water flow in double porosity media. This approach combines three issues: theoretical, numerical and experimental. In the theoretical part, the macroscopic model is derived by using the asymptotic homogenization method. It is assumed that the microstructure of the medium is composed of two porous domains of contrasted hydraulic parameters (macro- and micro-porosity), so that the water capillary pressure reaches equilibrium much faster in the highly than in the weakly conducting domain. Consequently, large local-scale pressure gradients arise, which significantly influence the macroscopic behaviour of the medium (local non-equilibrium). In this case, the macroscopic model consists of two coupled non-linear equations that have to be solved simultaneously. The homogenization model offers a complete description of the problem, including the definition of the effective parameters (in a general case anisotropic) and the domain of validity of the model. By the latter term we understand the set of underlying assumptions on the microstructure of the medium, the considered spatial and time scales, and the relations between the local hydraulic parameters and the forces driving the flow. All these assumptions are explicitly introduced via the estimation of the dimensionless parameters and the formulation of the appropriate boundary and interface conditions at the microscopic scale. For practical applications the model was generalized to take into account all possible situations (and the appropriate models) that can occurs during a flow process (local equilibrium/local non-equilibrium). The numerical implementation of double-porosity model requires a particular strategy, allowing for the

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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)

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. Unsaturated zone characterization in soil through transient wetting and drying using GPR joint time-frequency analysis and grayscale images

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lai, W. L.; Kou, S. C.; Poon, C. S.

    2012-07-01

    SummaryThis paper describes an experimental method to characterize the soil's unsaturated zone by constructing a scenario in which transient downward water infiltration took place from the topsoil to the bottom soil continuously. During the water infiltration, GPR waveforms and side-view grayscale images of the soil column were simultaneously and continuously captured. The GPR wavelets associated with the wetting front were analyzed using short time fourier transform (STFT) algorithm. The downward wetting front and the stretch of unsaturated transition zone decelerated and eased the wetting front's reflection in the time domain; as well as reduced the peak frequency and attenuated the frequency spectra in the frequency domain. The subsequent drying process further attenuated but accelerated the wetting front's reflection in both time and frequency domains. These observations were correlated with the image pixel profiles, from which GPR velocity profiles at different lapsed times were generated after computation via a complex refractive index model (CRIM). The CRIM method is entirely non-invasive and not only offers very detailed measurement of the water saturation profile of the transition zone in laboratory scale, but also is potentially useful for the further study of a variety of vadose zone properties.

  15. 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. 

  16. 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.

  17. Carbon and chlorine isotope ratios of chlorinated ethenes migrating through a thick unsaturated zone of a sandy aquifer.

    PubMed

    Hunkeler, Daniel; Aravena, Ramon; Shouakar-Stash, Orfan; Weisbrod, Noam; Nasser, Ahmed; Netzer, Lior; Ronen, Daniel

    2011-10-01

    Compound-specific isotope analysis (CSIA) can potentially be used to relate vapor phase contamination by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to their subsurface sources. This field and modeling study investigated how isotope ratios evolve during migration of gaseous chlorinated ethenes across a 18 m thick unsaturated zone of a sandy coastal plain aquifer. At the site, high concentrations of tetrachloroethene (PCE up to 380 μg/L), trichloroethene (TCE up to 31,600 μg/L), and cis-1,2-dichloroethene (cDCE up to 680 μg/L) were detected in groundwater. Chlorinated ethene concentrations were highest at the water table and steadily decreased upward toward the land surface and downward below the water table. Although isotopologues have different diffusion coefficients, constant carbon and chlorine isotope ratios were observed throughout the unsaturated zone, which corresponded to the isotope ratios measured at the water table. In the saturated zone, TCE became increasingly depleted along a concentration gradient, possibly due to isotope fractionation associated with aqueous phase diffusion. These results indicate that carbon and chlorine isotopes can be used to link vapor phase contamination to their source even if extensive migration of the vapors occurs. However, the numerical model revealed that constant isotope ratios are only expected for systems close to steady state.

  18. Assessment of Uncertainty of Radionuclide Transport in the Yucca Mountain Unsaturated Zone: Parametric and Parameter Estimation Uncertainty

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pan, F.; Ye, M.; Wu, Y.; Hu, B.; Shirley, C.; Yu, Z.

    2005-12-01

    This study is to assess uncertainty of radionuclide transport in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. The uncertainty is attributed to parametric uncertainty due to parameter spatial variability and parameter estimation uncertainty when fitting van Genuchten parameters alpha and n based on water retention measurements. The uncertainty assessment is conducted using Monte Carlo simulation and the three-dimensional flow and transport numerical code, TOUGH2, is employed to simulate unsaturated flow and radionuclide transport in the unsaturated zone. Matrix porosity, saturated hydraulic conductivity, sorption coefficient, and van Genuchten alpha and n parameters are treated as statistically homogeneous random variables. Distributions of the first three random parameters are determined based on site measurements. Seven transformations including three transforms from the Johnson system are applied to the measurements and Lilliefors test is used to identify the best transform that renders the transformed data closest to normal distribution. The fitted matrix van Genuchten alpha and n parameters are assumed to follow normal distributions and parameter estimation uncertainty is measured by the covariance matrix obtained from least square analysis. For each model layer, Latin Hypercube Sampling (LHS) method is used to generate 200 realizations random fields, among which matrix porosity is correlated with saturated hydraulic conductivity and van Genuchten alpha and n are correlated also. The correlation between the former two is measured by Spearman rank correlations estimated from site measurements. The Spearman rank correlation of the latter two is calculated from a large number of generated values using MINTAB software based on their estimated means, variances and covariance. 200 Monte Carlo simulations are conducted using the TOUGH2 and convergence of the Monte Carlo results is thoroughly examined. Mean, variances, 5% and 95% percentiles of saturation, capillary

  19. 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.

  20. 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. PMID:26372944

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Steam and air co-injection in removing residual TCE in unsaturated layered sandy porous media.

    PubMed

    Peng, Sheng; Wang, Ning; Chen, Jiajun

    2013-10-01

    Steam and air co-injection is a promising technique for volatile and semi-volatile organic contaminant remediation in heterogeneous porous media. In this study, removal of trichloroethene (TCE) with steam-air co-injection was investigated through a series of 2D sandbox experiments with different layered sand structures, and through numerical simulations. The results show that a layered structure with coarse sand, in which steam and air convection are relatively rapid, resulted in a higher removal rate and a larger removal ratio than those observed in an experiment using finer sand; however, the difference was not significant, and the removal ratios from three experiments ranged from 85% to 94%. Slight downward movement of TCE was observed for Experiment 1 (TCE initially in a fine sand zone encased in a coarse sand), while no such movement was observed for Experiment 2 (TCE initially in two fine sand layers encased in a coarse sand) or 3 (TCE initially in a silty sand zone encased in a coarse sand). Simulations show accumulation of TCE at the interface of the layered sands, which indicates a capillary barrier effect in restraining the downward movement of TCE. This effect is illustrated further by a numerical experiment with homogeneous coarse sand, in which continuous downward TCE movement to the bottom of the sandbox was simulated. Another numerical experiment with higher water saturation was also conducted. The results illustrate a complicated influence of water saturation on TCE removal in a layered sand structure.

  4. Sensitivity Analysis of Hydrological Parameters in Modeling Flow and Transport in the Unsaturated Zone of Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    K. Zhang; Y.S. Wu; J.E. Houseworth

    2006-03-21

    The unsaturated fractured volcanic deposits at Yucca Mountain 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. This paper reports on a systematic analysis of hydrological parameters using the site-scale 3-D unsaturated zone (UZ) flow model. The objectives of the sensitivity analyses are to evaluate the effects of uncertainties in hydrologic parameters on modeled UZ flow and contaminant transport results. Sensitivity analyses are carried out relative to fracture and matrix permeability and capillary strength (van Genuchten a), through variation of these parameter values by one standard deviation from the base-case values. The parameter variation results 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 are discussed and 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Modeling the Changes in Unsaturated Hydraulic Properties of Subsurface Media due to Chemical Reactions: A Film Depositional Modeling Approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Freedman, V. L.; Bacon, D. H.; Saripalli, K. P.; Meyer, P. D.

    2001-12-01

    Precipitation and dissolution of minerals in the subsurface can cause a significant reduction in porosity and permeability by plugging pore throats in aquifer and reservoir media. Changes in these two basic properties of the medium also result in significant changes in the remaining 'derived properties' (i.e., relative permeability, fluid-fluid and fluid-solid interfacial areas, pore and particle size distributions) and the constitutive relationships among these properties. Very few published works on modeling the influence of chemical reactions and fluid flow on porosity and permeability account for the spatial and temporal changes in the hydrologic properties on flow and transport. This study reports on the development of a methodology for modeling changes in permeability of unsaturated sub-surface media due to glass and mineral precipitation and dissolution reactions using a film depositional modeling approach. The model is based on the assumption that the mineral precipitate is deposited on the pore walls as a continuous film, causing a reduction in permeability. In this study, the film depositional model is developed for a discrete pore-size distribution, which is determined using the unsaturated hydraulic properties of the porous medium. This facilitates the process of dynamically updating the unsaturated hydraulic parameters used to describe fluid flow through the media. The resulting algorithms are implemented in the multiphase, multicomponent reactive transport code STORM (Sub-surface Transport over Reactive Multiphases). The modeling approach is tested using the Hanford's Immobilized Low Activity Waste (ILAW) repository, where the low-level waste from fuel fabrication activities is being vitrified and emplaced in the sub-surface. Results from simulation of the simultaneous dissolution of low-level glassified waste and secondary mineral precipitation show that the film depositional model based on the Mualem approach reasonably predicts permeability changes

  7. 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

  8. Tortuosity of Immiscible Fluids in Porous Media based on Phase Interfacial Areas: A New Definition and its Applications to Unsaturated Flow and Transport

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Saripalli, K. P.; Serne, R. J.; Khaleel, R.

    2003-04-01

    Tortuosity is the single most important characteristic of flow through porous media that determines several flow and transport phenomena. Currently available definitions of tortuosity are empirical, and do not lend themselves to direct and independent measurement. We present a new definition for the tortuosity factor of saturated media as the ratio of specific surface of real porous medium to that of an idealized capillary bundle. For unsaturated media, tortuosity factor is defined as the ratio of the specific air-water interfacial area of real and the corresponding idealized porous medium. This tortuosity factor is suitably measured using sorptive tracers (e.g., nitrogen adsorption method) for saturated media and interfacial tracers for unsaturated media. New models based on this approach are presented for the prediction of several fundamental phenomena in unsaturated porous media, such as diffusion, unsaturated water flow and anisotropy, that are influenced by changes in tortuosity with a changing water content. Diffusion coefficients and diffusive resistances measured in a number of saturated and unsaturated granular porous media agree well with the predictions of the model. Trends in the prediction of tortuosity as a function water saturation are in agreement with similar recent predictions based on diffusion theory (Moldrup et al., 2001). Unsaturated hydraulic conductivities measured for a number of coarse-textured sediments agree well with predictions based on a modified Kozeny-Carman relation. Results indicate that the alternative definition of tortuosity is useful to the understanding and prediction of multiphase flow and transport. By defining the tortuosity factor as the phase interfacial area ratio, one overcomes the need to base its definition on the length dimensions of flow through the idealized capillary bundles, which is the most serious deficiency in the tortuosity-based approaches to modeling flow through porous media (Dullien, 1979; Epstein, 1989).

  9. 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

  10. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baehr, Arthur L.; Charles, Emmanuel G.; Baker, Ronald J.

    2001-02-01

    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.

  12. 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.

  13. Estimating flow and transport parameters in the unsaturated zone with pore water stable isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sprenger, M.; Volkmann, T. H. M.; Blume, T.; Weiler, M.

    2015-06-01

    Determining the soil hydraulic properties is a prerequisite to physically model transient water flow and solute transport in the vadose zone. Estimating these properties by inverse modelling techniques has become more common within the last 2 decades. While these inverse approaches usually fit simulations to hydrometric data, we expanded the methodology by using independent information about the stable isotope composition of the soil pore water depth profile as a single or additional optimization target. To demonstrate the potential and limits of this approach, we compared the results of three inverse modelling strategies where the fitting targets were (a) pore water isotope concentrations, (b) a combination of pore water isotope concentrations and soil moisture time series, and (c) a two-step approach using first soil moisture data to determine water flow parameters and then the pore water stable isotope concentrations to estimate the solute transport parameters. The analyses were conducted at three study sites with different soil properties and vegetation. The transient unsaturated water flow was simulated by solving the Richards equation numerically with the finite-element code of HYDRUS-1D. The transport of deuterium was simulated with the advection-dispersion equation, and a modified version of HYDRUS was used, allowing deuterium loss during evaporation. The Mualem-van Genuchten and the longitudinal dispersivity parameters were determined for two major soil horizons at each site. The results show that approach (a), using only the pore water isotope content, cannot substitute hydrometric information to derive parameter sets that reflect the observed soil moisture dynamics but gives comparable results when the parameter space is constrained by pedotransfer functions. Approaches (b) and (c), using both the isotope profiles and the soil moisture time series, resulted in good simulation results with regard to the Kling-Gupta efficiency and good parameter

  14. The nitrate time bomb: a numerical way to investigate nitrate storage and lag time in the unsaturated zone.

    PubMed

    Wang, L; Butcher, A S; Stuart, M E; Gooddy, D C; Bloomfield, J P

    2013-10-01

    Nitrate pollution in groundwater, which is mainly from agricultural activities, remains an international problem. It threatens the environment, economics and human health. There is a rising trend in nitrate concentrations in many UK groundwater bodies. Research has shown it can take decades for leached nitrate from the soil to discharge into groundwater and surface water due to the 'store' of nitrate and its potentially long travel time in the unsaturated and saturated zones. However, this time lag is rarely considered in current water nitrate management and policy development. The aim of this study was to develop a catchment-scale integrated numerical method to investigate the nitrate lag time in the groundwater system, and the Eden Valley, UK, was selected as a case study area. The method involves three models, namely the nitrate time bomb-a process-based model to simulate the nitrate transport in the unsaturated zone (USZ), GISGroundwater--a GISGroundwater flow model, and N-FM--a model to simulate the nitrate transport in the saturated zone. This study answers the scientific questions of when the nitrate currently in the groundwater was loaded into the unsaturated zones and eventually reached the water table; is the rising groundwater nitrate concentration in the study area caused by historic nitrate load; what caused the uneven distribution of groundwater nitrate concentration in the study area; and whether the historic peak nitrate loading has reached the water table in the area. The groundwater nitrate in the area was mainly from the 1980s to 2000s, whilst the groundwater nitrate in most of the source protection zones leached into the system during 1940s-1970s; the large and spatially variable thickness of the USZ is one of the major reasons for unevenly distributed groundwater nitrate concentrations in the study area; the peak nitrate loading around 1983 has affected most of the study area. For areas around the Bowscar, Beacon Edge, Low Plains, Nord Vue

  15. The nitrate time bomb: a numerical way to investigate nitrate storage and lag time in the unsaturated zone.

    PubMed

    Wang, L; Butcher, A S; Stuart, M E; Gooddy, D C; Bloomfield, J P

    2013-10-01

    Nitrate pollution in groundwater, which is mainly from agricultural activities, remains an international problem. It threatens the environment, economics and human health. There is a rising trend in nitrate concentrations in many UK groundwater bodies. Research has shown it can take decades for leached nitrate from the soil to discharge into groundwater and surface water due to the 'store' of nitrate and its potentially long travel time in the unsaturated and saturated zones. However, this time lag is rarely considered in current water nitrate management and policy development. The aim of this study was to develop a catchment-scale integrated numerical method to investigate the nitrate lag time in the groundwater system, and the Eden Valley, UK, was selected as a case study area. The method involves three models, namely the nitrate time bomb-a process-based model to simulate the nitrate transport in the unsaturated zone (USZ), GISGroundwater--a GISGroundwater flow model, and N-FM--a model to simulate the nitrate transport in the saturated zone. This study answers the scientific questions of when the nitrate currently in the groundwater was loaded into the unsaturated zones and eventually reached the water table; is the rising groundwater nitrate concentration in the study area caused by historic nitrate load; what caused the uneven distribution of groundwater nitrate concentration in the study area; and whether the historic peak nitrate loading has reached the water table in the area. The groundwater nitrate in the area was mainly from the 1980s to 2000s, whilst the groundwater nitrate in most of the source protection zones leached into the system during 1940s-1970s; the large and spatially variable thickness of the USZ is one of the major reasons for unevenly distributed groundwater nitrate concentrations in the study area; the peak nitrate loading around 1983 has affected most of the study area. For areas around the Bowscar, Beacon Edge, Low Plains, Nord Vue

  16. Preliminary 3-D site-scale studies of radioactive colloid transport in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2003-02-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is actively investigating the technical feasibility of permanent disposal of high-level nuclear waste in a repository to be situated in the unsaturated zone (UZ) at Yucca Mountain (YM), 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Preliminary 3-D site-scale studies of radioactive colloid transport in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

    PubMed

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

    2003-02-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is actively investigating the technical feasibility of permanent disposal of high-level nuclear waste in a repository to be situated in the unsaturated zone (UZ) at Yucca Mountain (YM), 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. PMID:12504362

  19. DCM3D: A dual-continuum, three-dimensional, ground-water flow code for unsaturated, fractured, porous media

    SciTech Connect

    Updegraff, C.D. ); Lee, C.E. ); Gallegos, D.P. )

    1991-02-01

    This report constitutes the user's manual for DCM3D. DCM3D is a computer code for solving three-dimensional, ground-water flow problems in variably saturated, fractured porous media. The code is based on a dual-continuum model with porous media comprising one continuum and fractures comprising the other. The continua are connected by a transfer term that depends on the unsaturated permeability of the porous medium. An integrated finite-difference scheme is used to discretize the governing equations in space. The time-dependent term is allowed to remain continuous. The resulting set of ordinary differential equations (ODE's) is solved with a general ODE solver, LSODES. The code is capable of handling transient, spatially dependent source terms and boundary conditions. The boundary conditions can either prescribed head or prescribed flux. 24 refs., 22 figs., 5 tabs.

  20. Mixing Zones and Mineral Precipitation Dynamics in Porous Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gebrehiwet, T.; Henrikson, J.; Guo, L.; Fox, D. T.; Huang, H.; Fujita, Y.; Tu, L.

    2011-12-01

    Precipitation of mineral phases in subsurface environments involves coupling between reactant transport and changes in media properties that control transport. Chemical gradients within mixing zones will determine the rates and products of reactions, which in turn can modify the permeability and flow paths within the porous media. This reaction-transport coupling is being studied using double diffusion experiments and reactive transport modeling, with calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate as the model mineral systems. In particular we are investigating: (1) the interplay between permeability modifications and reactions that can change local chemical conditions, hydrodynamic conditions, and therefore the rate of precipitation, (2) narrowing ("focusing") of the precipitation zone, and (3) migration of the precipitation zone associated with asymmetry across the mixing zone with respect to precipitation rates and/or local chemical conditions. Experiments are being conducted in hydrogel (polyacrylamide) and granular (glass beads and fine-grained sand) media. Gels were used to investigate the role of diffusion alone on the structure of precipitation zones. We observed differences between carbonate and phosphate systems with respect to the induction period for precipitation, and the position and migration of the precipitation zone. One interesting observation was that multiple precipitation bands are produced in the calcium phosphate system, while no clear banding has been observed in the calcium carbonate system. Initial reactive transport simulations that couple precipitation kinetics with reactant transport and mixing appear consistent with the experimental observations. Precipitation band width and position were found to change with time, and precipitation appeared to slow subsequent reactions at the mixing interfaces. The induction time, spacing between the precipitation bands and band width in the calcium phosphate system were influenced by pH, saturation state

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. A large-scale experiment on mass transfer of trichloroethylene from the unsaturated zone of a sandy aquifer to its interfaces.

    PubMed

    Jellali, Salah; Benremita, Hocine; Muntzer, Paul; Razakarisoa, Olivier; Schäfer, Gerhard

    2003-01-01

    A large-scale experiment was conducted to investigate the transport of trichloroethylene (TCE) vapors in the unsaturated zone and to determine the mass transfer to the groundwater and the atmosphere. The experiment involved injection of 5 1 of TCE in the unsaturated zone under controlled conditions, with multidepth sampling of gas and water through the unsaturated zone and across the capillary zone into underlying groundwater. The mass transfer of TCE vapors from the vadose zone to the atmosphere was quantified using a vertical flux chamber. A special soil water sampler was used to monitor transport across the capillary fringe. Experimental data indicated that TCE in the unsaturated zone was mainly transported to the atmosphere and this exchange reduced significantly the potential for groundwater pollution. The maximum measured TCE flux to the atmosphere was about 3 g/m(2)/day. Observed and calculated fluxes based on vertical TCE vapor concentration gradients and Fick's law were in good agreement. This confirms that TCE vapor transport under the experimental conditions was governed essentially by molecular diffusion. TCE vapors also caused a lower, but significant contamination of the underlying groundwater by dispersion across the capillary fringe with a corresponding maximum flux of about 0.1 g/m(2)/day. This mass transfer to groundwater is partly uncertain due to an inadvertent entry of some nonaqueous phase liquid (NAPL) from the source area into the saturated zone. Application of an analytical solution to estimate the TCE flux from the unsaturated zone to the groundwater indicated that this phenomenon is not only influenced by molecular diffusion but also by vertical dispersion. The mass balance indicates that, under the given experimental conditions (e.g. proximity of the source emplacement relative to the soil surface, relatively high permeable porous medium), nearly 95% of the initial TCE mass was transferred to the atmosphere.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. Development of methods to evaluate uranium distribution coefficients in unsaturated media

    SciTech Connect

    Sautman, M.T.; Simonson, S.A.

    1993-12-31

    To date, batch sorption and dynamic column experiments have been performed for many elements as part of site characterization programs. These experiments were often conducted with samples having relatively high liquid/solid ratios (in some cases the solid volume was much smaller than the solution volume). The development of methods for measuring sorption parameters at low liquid/solid ratios was undertaken to attempt to judge whether or not results of saturated experiments are valid for use in performance assessments of sites located in unsaturated rocks. The amount of hydrologic saturation can affect the ionic strength, pH, and redox potential which can in turn affect sorption. In addition, the presence of the gas phase may affect the amount of wetting occurring on the solid`s surface. This paper describes experimental procedures which were developed to evaluate the sorption of uranium by silica sand at predetermined levels of unsaturation.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Synthesis and physicochemical properties of unsaturated trifluoromethylated sodium carboxylates in aqueous media.

    PubMed

    Damas, Christine; Carcenac, Yvan; Abarbri, Mohamed; Coudert, Robert

    2013-04-01

    Structural modifications of unsaturated sodium carboxylate surfactants in terms of trifluoromethylation associated with the hydrocarbon chain length have been studied, the synthesis is described, and aggregation properties have been examined by conductimetry and vapor pressure osmometry between 30°C and 45°C. No strong effect of adding a CF3 group was observed on the Critical Micellar Concentrations. However, the thermodynamic study shows the specific effect exerted by the CF3 group through the enhancement of the entropic contribution.

  11. Effect of Particle-Scale Heterogeneity on Uranium(VI) Transport in Unsaturated Porous Media

    SciTech Connect

    Wellman, Dawn M.; Gamerdinger, Amy P.; Kaplan, Daniel I.; Serne, R. Jeffrey

    2008-01-23

    Uranium (VI) sorption and transport was evaluated in mixtures of silt loam and coarse sand sediments using traditional static batch sorption, saturated column, and unsaturated centrifugation experiments to evaluate the association of mobile and immobile water domains with particles of different size and surface reactivity. Exclusion of conservative tracers and a decrease in uranium sorption compared to what was predicted by the Kd-mass-avg value observed in sediment mixtures where the mass fraction of silt loam was 10%. This is consistent with behavior that was previously reported for coarse and fine sand separates. No exclusion of the conservative tracer, as predicted for the moderate water content range, was measured during unsaturated transport in sediment mixtures that contained 30% or more silt loam by mass. However, sorption was greater than predicted based on the Kd-mass-avg value, which suggests the fine-textured silt was in contact with the mobile water domain. This is the first evidence linking sorption to transport in a particular water domain. Results of this investigation demonstrate the interaction between the geochemical and hydrodynamic processes has a profound effect on transport in unsaturated sediments. In particular, analyses of the data from the experiments on sediment mixtures illustrate how the hydrodynamic conditions have a significant impact on the breakthrough of sorptive solutes. Definition of the fraction of mobile water was especially important for defining the front of the BTC, which is integral to predicting the arrival time of solutes at a particular depth/location in the sediment.

  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. THE INFLUENCE OF REPOSITORY THERMAL LOAD ON MULTIPHASE FLOW AND HEAT TRANSFER IN THE UNSATURATED ZONE OF YUCCA MOUNTAIN

    SciTech Connect

    Yu-Shu Wu, Sumit Mukhopadhyay, Keni Zhang, and G. S. Bodvarsson

    2006-04-16

    This paper investigates the impact of proposed repository thermal-loading on mountain-scale flow and heat transfer in the unsaturated fractured rock of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. In this context, a model has been developed to study the coupled thermal-hydrological (TH) processes at the scale of the entire Yucca Mountain. This mountain-scale TH model implements the current geological framework and hydrogeological conceptual models, and incorporates the latest rock thermal and hydrological properties. The TH model consists of a two-dimensional north-south vertical cross section across the entire unsaturated zone model domain and uses refined meshes near and around the proposed repository block, based on the current repository design, drift layout, thermal loading scenario, and estimated current and future climatic conditions. The model simulations provide insights into thermally affected liquid saturation, gas- and liquid-phase fluxes, and elevated water and rock temperature, which in turn allow modelers to predict the changes in water flux driven by evaporation/condensation processes, and drainage between drifts.

  14. 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.

  15. 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. 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. 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

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

    PubMed

    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

  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. 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, Rob

    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.

  1. 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

  2. A geostatistical modeling study of the effect of heterogeneity on radionuclide transport in the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain.

    PubMed

    Viswanathan, Hari S; Robinson, Bruce A; Gable, Carl W; Carey, James W

    2003-01-01

    Retardation of certain radionuclides due to sorption to zeolitic minerals is considered one of the major barriers to contaminant transport in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain. However, zeolitically altered areas are lower in permeability than unaltered regions, which raises the possibility that contaminants might bypass the sorptive zeolites. The relationship between hydrologic and chemical properties must be understood to predict the transport of radionuclides through zeolitically altered areas. In this study, we incorporate mineralogical information into an unsaturated zone transport model using geostatistical techniques to correlate zeolitic abundance to hydrologic and chemical properties. Geostatistical methods are used to develop variograms, kriging maps, and conditional simulations of zeolitic abundance. We then investigate, using flow and transport modeling on a heterogeneous field, the relationship between percent zeolitic alteration, permeability changes due to alteration, sorption due to alteration, and their overall effect on radionuclide transport. We compare these geostatistical simulations to a simplified threshold method in which each spatial location in the model is assigned either zeolitic or vitric properties based on the zeolitic abundance at that location. A key conclusion is that retardation due to sorption predicted by using the continuous distribution is larger than the retardation predicted by the threshold method. The reason for larger retardation when using the continuous distribution is a small but significant sorption at locations with low zeolitic abundance. If, for practical reasons, models with homogeneous properties within each layer are used, we recommend setting nonzero K(d)s in the vitric tuffs to mimic the more rigorous continuous distribution simulations. Regions with high zeolitic abundance may not be as effective in retarding radionuclides such as Neptunium since these rocks are lower in permeability and contaminants can

  3. Study on influencing factors on removal of chlorobenzene from unsaturated zone by soil vapor extraction.

    PubMed

    Qin, Chuan-yu; Zhao, Yong-sheng; Zheng, Wei; Li, Yu-song

    2010-04-15

    This paper deals with the influencing factors on removal of chlorobenzene from unsaturated soils by soil vapor extraction (SVE) method. A series of one-dimensional column experiments were conducted to study the influencing factors for SVE method, the factors included extracted vapor flow rate, soil grain size, extraction mode, soil organic matter content and water content. The results indicated that: (1) the increase of vapor flow rate led to higher contaminant removal efficiency, but the increment of removal was not significant at higher flow rate levels; (2) soil grain sizes had a great impact on chlorobenzene removal efficiency, the coarser the sand, the higher the removal rate; (3) pulsed vapor extraction and continuous vapor extraction almost had the same contaminant removal effects in the sand column; (4) the higher organic content in the soil could decrease the removal efficiency; (5) water content in the soil had different impact on the contaminant removal efficiency which related with the organic content in the soil.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perkins, Kim S.; Nimmo, John R.; Rose, Claire E.; Coupe, Richard H.

    2011-01-01

    SummaryIn 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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...

  9. Effect of the interfacial tension and wettability on the behaviour of unsaturated granular media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taibi, Said; Dumont, Matthieu; Fleureau, Jean-Marie

    2009-06-01

    The concept of "effective stress extended to unsaturated soils" is one of the most discussed concepts in soil mechanics today. This concept enters in the formulation of the constitutive laws of elastic as well as elastoplastic solid phases, and controls the stress-strain relations, the volume changes and the strength of the solid skeleton, independently of the amplitude of the pore water pressure. These last years, several researchers showed that the extended effective stress concept remains an effective tool to describe qualitatively and quantitatively the unified mechanical behavior of the soils, assuring continuity between saturated and unsaturated domains. This paper presents the effect of the air-water surface tension and wettability of the solid particles by the liquid in the formulation of the capillary force between the particles; this force, integrated in a representative elementary volume (REV), makes it possible to define a "capillary" stress σ'cap(pc), function of the capillary pressure pc. Taking into account the surface tension in the formulation of the capillary stress σ' cap is far from being negligible. Whereas this effect is negligible when the water content tends towards 0, it quickly becomes very important when the water content reaches a few percents. Validations were carried out on various loading paths and various materials.

  10. 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.

  11. Modeling volatilization of residual VOCs in unsaturated zones: a moving boundary problem.

    PubMed

    Abbas, Talib R; Yu, Jung-Hau; Fen, Chiu-Shia; Yeh, Hund-Der; Yeh, Li-Ming

    2012-06-15

    It is of practical interest to investigate the natural evaporation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) after the removal of a leaking tank situated on the top of the soil. This study aims to develop a mathematical model to predict mole fraction distributions and migration of evaporation front for two VOCs emanating from residual non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) due to the leak from the tank in a homogeneous soil. Considering the location of the front and the regions above and below the front, a numerical model for the diffusive transport of VOCs in unsaturated soils was developed using the finite difference method with a moving grid approach. The model was further simplified to the case of single VOC and solved analytically by Boltzmann's transformation with a moving boundary. Analytical expressions for the depth and moving speed of the front for a single VOC were then obtained for practical use. Finally, the developed model was used to predict the concentration distributions of VOCs below the land surface and examine the factors affecting the location and moving speed of the evaporation front. PMID:22521795

  12. Potential for aerobic isoproturon biodegradation and sorption in the unsaturated and saturated zones of a chalk aquifer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, Andrew C.; Hughes, Clare D.; Williams, Richard J.; John Chilton, P.

    1998-04-01

    The potential fate and behaviour of the herbicide isoproturon, under aerobic conditions, was studied in soil, chalk and groundwater from two sites on an unconfined aquifer in Hampshire, UK. A small but significant sorption potential for isoproturon was noted in the upper chalk, suggesting that some retardation would take place in transport through the chalk. The degradation potential of the samples was studied using laboratory microcosms. Very little degradation potential appeared to exist for isoproturon in the unsaturated zone of upper chalk 3 m below the soil surface. Wide variations in degradation rates between samples from the same depth was noted. A degradation potential was noted in the chalk from shallow depths under laboratory microcosm conditions at a pesticide concentration of 100 μg l -1. Of the two sites examined, the most rapid and consistent degradation observed was associated with the groundwater rather than the chalk in the saturated zone. No significant isoproturon ring mineralisation occurred in the chalk or groundwater samples, implying that where isoproturon degradation does occur a by-product containing the phenyl ring will persist. Isoproturon degradation potential was not directly related to the moisture content, total organic carbon, ability to metabolise acetate, or number of viable bacteria present in the sample.

  13. Evaluation of recharge in a small temperate catchment using natural and applied delta 18O profiles in the unsaturated zone.

    PubMed

    McConville, C; Kalin, R M; Johnston, H; McNeill, G W

    2001-01-01

    A water balance study was used for determining recharge rate and mechanisms in the Enler Catchment, Northern Ireland. Here spatially limited data for the water balance resulted in varied calculation of the annual and monthly net infiltration rate. This paper outlines a method whereby high-resolution soil profiles (1 to 2 cm) were obtained from field cores in the upper 2 m of the unsaturated zone using delta 18O of water. These profiles show changes in isotopic composition that range from individual rainfall events to annually integrated cycles of rainfall. Recharge rates were calculated from stable isotope profiles for each of the four main soil types in the study catchment and summed over each area resulting in an average recharge in the range 55 to 70 mm/a, which is comparable with previous findings. Applied isotopic tracer tests were also conducted to evaluate the extent of preferential flow through the two main soil types in the catchment. Rates of water movement found from these experiments show good agreement with natural isotopic profiles; however, evidence suggests that preferential flow is not the dominant process controlling water movement in this catchment. This type of data provides valuable information about recharge rates and mechanisms and may facilitate better prediction of contaminant transport pathways in the vadose zone.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. An approximate solution for one-dimensional absorption in unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zimmerman, Robert W.; Bodvarsson, Gudmundur S.

    1989-06-01

    The "boundary layer" or "integral" method is used to derive a closed-form approximate solution for one-dimensional absorption of water in an unsaturated porous medium whose characteristic curves are of the van Genuchten type. In this approach, an assumed saturation profile is substituted into the governing equation, and integrated from the boundary out to the wetting front. This yields closed-form solutions for the front location and the instantaneous liquid flux at the boundary. The accuracy of this solution in predicting the flux, as determined by comparison with numerical solutions utilizing a Boltzmann-type transformation, is always within 15%, for any value of the initial saturation. As an example of the use of this approximate solution, saturation profiles are calculated for absorption into the Topopah Spring volcanic tuff at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the site of the proposed nuclear waste repository.

  17. FECWATER: user's manual of a Finite-Element Code for simulating WATER flow through saturated-unsaturated porous media

    SciTech Connect

    Yeh, G.T.; Strand, R.H.

    1982-08-01

    This report presents the user's manual of FECWATER, a Finite-Element code for simulating WATER flow through saturated-unsaturated porous media. The code is designed for generic application. For each site-specific application, 14 cards are required to specify the size of arrays and 6 cards are used to assign the control numbers in the main program. In addition, user's supply functions must be given to specify the soil property relationships between moisture content, water capacity, and hydraulic conductivity and pressure head, if they are not given in tabular form. Input data to the code includes the program control indices, properties of the porous media, the geometry in the form of elements and nodes, boundary and initial conditions, and rainfall information. Principal output includes the spatial distribution of pressure head, total head, moisture-content, and Darcy's velocity components at any desired time. Fluxes through various types of boundaries are output. In addition, diagnostic variables, such as the number of non-convergent nodes, residuals, and rainfall-seepage nodes, may be printed, if required. This user's manual should be used in conjunction with references listed in the bibliography.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Road Salt Accumulation in Highway Snow Banks and Transport Through the Unsaturated Zone of the Oak Ridges Moraine, Southern Ontario

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Labadia, C. F.; Buttle, J. M.

    1996-12-01

    Pathways and fate of road deicing salt (NaCl) applied during the 1994-1995 winter were studied for a 14-km section of a major highway that crosses the Oak Ridges Moraine in southern Ontario. Total salt applications over the winter ranged from 29 to 74 kg m-1 of highway, and NaCl concentrations in snow banks adjacent to the roadway reached 9400 mg l-1 during the later stages of snow cover development. This salt was released to the ground surface during snowmelt. Sodium chloride (NaCl) loadings to soil from snow cover during the final melt phase were relatively uniform along the study section (3-5 kg NaCl m-1 of highway). However, the snowpack at all transects retained <50% of applied NaCl, and this shortfall probably reflected direct runoff and infiltration of saline meltwater from the road surface into the adjacent shoulder and right-of-way. Cation exchange with Ca2+ in near-surface soils most likely resulted in preferential retention of Na+ relative to Cl-, although total storage of NaCl in upper soil horizons by winter's end was <15% of deicing salt applications. An environmental tracer (18O) was used to trace movement of saline meltwater through the unsaturated zone underlying the highway. Average meltwater particle velocities at a site underlain by loam soils were 0.02 m d-1, and ca. 280 mm of water was displaced below a depth of 1.86 m over a 78-day period in the spring and summer of 1995. Sodium ion and chloride ion concentrations in water sampled in late summer 1995 at depths >2 m exceeded 500 mg l-1 and 1000 mg l-1, respectively. Approximately 75% of the net flux of NaCl below the upper soil was retained in the 0-2.8 m depth interval at this site, and results from more permeable soils traversed by the highway indicate an even greater penetration of the annual NaCl application into the unsaturated zone along the moraine. This saline water likely recharges groundwater in this portion of the Oak Ridges Moraine.

  1. Colloidal particle transport in unsaturated porous media: Influence of flow velocity and ionic strength on colloidal particle retention

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Predelus, Dieuseul; Coutinho, Paiva Artur; Lassabatere, Laurent; Winiarsky, Thierry; Angulo Jaramillo, Rafael

    2014-05-01

    Recently, anthropogenic colloidal particles are increasingly present into the environment. They can carry contaminants or constitute themselves a risk for the environment. Several factors can influence the fate of colloidal particles in soils. This work presents the investigation of effects of flow velocity and ionic strength on colloidal particles retention in unsaturated porous media. Experiments were carried out in laboratory column (D = 10 cm, L = 30 cm) with compacted mixture sand-gravel from a fluvioglacial basin of Lyon, France. Fluorescents nanoparticles (D = 50 to 60 nm) of silica doped with fluorescent organic molecules (fluorescein) have been used to simulate colloid particle transport. A solution of a non-reactive tracer, Br-, was used to determine the water flow behavior. Three different unsaturated water flow velocities (i.e. V = 0.025, 0.064 and 0.127 cm/min) and five ionic strengths (i.e. IS = 1, 5, 50, 100 and 200 mM at pH=8.5) have been tested for the case of a pulse injection of a colloidal particle solution at a concentration of 2 mg/L. Breakthrough curves are modeled by the non-equilibrium transfer model MIM (mobile and immobile water fraction), taking into account a sink term to reflect the colloidal particles adsorption. Results show that, when the flow velocity increases, the colloidal particle retention decreases. The decrease in flow velocity allows a better homogenization of the flow. In addition, colloidal entrapment is favored by the fact that their pore velocity is reduced. The retention of colloidal particle is function of ionic strength as well. Indeed, when the ionic strength increases, the retention increases. However for ionic strength higher than 50 mM, the retention decreases suggesting that there is a threshold value for the ionic strength with respect to the retention of colloidal particles. The retention profiles at the end of experiments indicate that the colloidal particles are retained at the inlet of the columns

  2. Land-Use Change in Arid Regions Can Mobilize Millennial Accumulations of Unsaturated-Zone Salts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stonestrom, D. A.; Prudic, D. E.; Walvoord, M. A.; Jackson, W.

    2005-12-01

    Studies from arid regions around the world have reported elevated pore-water concentrations of chloride just beneath the root zones of xeric vegetation. Recent work in the Amargosa Desert shows that these chloride "bulges" are accompanied by accumulations of other salts, including nitrate, sulfate, and perchlorate. Several lines of evidence indicate that atmospherically deposited salts have been accumulating beneath the root zones of interfluvial desert vegetation in the western United States since at least the end of the Pleistocene, when wetter and cooler conditions gave way to the hot and dry conditions of today. Transport simulations and chloride mass-balance calculations suggest that thousands of years of negligible deep percolation are required to accumulate the observed sub-root salt accumulations. Salt bulges are absent beneath a long-established, incised reach of the ephemeral Amargosa River in southwestern Nevada but are present, though translocated downwards, beneath a non-incised reach that was established during historic flood-induced channel migration in 1969. Desert areas that were converted from native vegetation to irrigated agriculture have salt bulges that have been translocated downward by deeply percolating irrigation water. Downward translocations of bulges indicate that accumulated nitrate and other salts can be rapidly transported to ground water once recharging conditions are established. Travel-velocity estimates of deep water fluxes agree approximately with chloride mass-balance estimates, supporting the idea of quick release of accumulated salts. Estimated fluxes range from 0.02 to 0.5 m/yr. Given modern conversion of large desert areas to agriculture, irrigation-triggered release of sub-root zone accumulations may account for previously unexplained contamination of water-table aquifers with nitrate, perchlorate, and other atmospherically deposited salts.

  3. Theory of matrix and fracture flow regimes in unsaturated, fractured porous media

    SciTech Connect

    Nitao, J.J.

    1991-01-01

    The flow behavior of a two-dimensional, unsaturated fracture-matrix system is characterized by a critical flux q*{sub f} = {phi}(S{sub s} {minus} S{sub i})D{sub m} where {phi} is matrix porosity, S{sub s} maximum matrix saturation, S{sub i} initial saturation, and D{sub m} matrix imbibition diffusivity constant. If the flux q{sub f} into the fracture satisfies q{sub f} {much_gt} q*{sub f}, the flow field is fracture-dominated; whereas, if q{sub f} {much_lt} q*{sub f}, the flow is matrix-dominated, and the system behaves as a single equivalent medium with capillary equilibrium between fracture and matrix. If the fracture entrance is ponded, the critical fracture hydraulic conductivity K*{sub f}, or corresponding critical aperture 2b* from the ``cubic law,`` controls the flow behavior instead of the critical flux. Rocks with fracture apertures 2b that are sufficiently large, b{sup 3} {much_gt} b*{sup 3}, have flow that is fracture-dominated while rocks with small aperture fractures, b{sup 3} {much_lt} b*{sup 3}, will be matrix-dominated. Numerical modeling verifies the theory and tests approximate analytical solutions predicting fracture front movement. 15 refs., 7 figs., 4 tabs.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Puddles - A trigger for heterogeneous chemical influx into the unsaturated zone.

    PubMed

    Zentner, Eitan; Weisbrod, Noam; Gerstl, Zev; Gasser, Guy; Ronen, Daniel

    2015-09-01

    Spatial heterogeneity in the chemical concentration of interstitial water in the vadose zone was previously observed under apparently homogeneous surface conditions on two leveled fields sprinkler irrigated with treated sewage effluents on the phreatic Coastal Plain aquifer of Israel. This phenomenon greatly hampers the monitoring of groundwater quality. In this study we report on the presence of puddles of different size and shape that were sporadically observed in these fields. Temporal variability noted in the concentration of treated sewage effluents components in the puddles were considered to be related to evapotranspiration and degradation. For example: increases in the electrical conductivity (up to 1.32 mS/cm), and in the concentrations of chloride (up to 521 mg/L), dissolved organic carbon (up to 28.4 mg/L), and carbamazepine (up to 780 ng/L) and decreases in the concentrations of nitrate (up to 20.1mg/L) and caffeine (3,396 ng/L). Variable trends in concentration were observed for sulfamethoxazole, venlafaxine, 10-hydroxy-10,11-dihydrocarbamazepine and o-desmethylvenlafaxine. The presence of puddles was not necessarily related to areas with high irrigation water input. It is postulated that the continuous chemical variability in the puddles, whose location and size are also variable, determine a heterogeneous influx of solutes into the soil and subsequently into the vadose zone. PMID:25957034

  8. Effects of Sorption in the Lower Unsaturated Zone on the Storage and Transport of Ions in Recharge to Ground Water, Southern New Jersey

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reilly, T. J.; Baehr, A. L.

    2006-05-01

    A field-based approach for determining sorption in the lower unsaturated zone (between the root zone and the capillary fringe) and its effect on the storage and transport of ions in recharge to ground water has been demonstrated for a small (8 km2) agricultural watershed in the Coastal Plain of southern New Jersey. These sediments typically are quartzose, acidic (pH 3.9-6.8 standard units), iron- and kaolinite-rich, and organic-matter poor, and the shallow ground water is nearly saturated with oxygen. Moisture-content and chemical-concentration data obtained from 14 paired unsaturated-zone-core (mean depth 5.7 m) and shallow- ground-water samples (mean depth 6.0 m) were used to estimate the mass flux of chemical constituents across the water table and sorption coefficients (Kd). Denitrification is not thought to be a significant process in this system as the water is nearly saturated with oxygen. The selectivity order of the Kd values for cations is consistent with the expected selectivity order based on charge density (for example, Na+ > Mg++ > Ca++ for sands). Although calculated sorption coefficients were greater for cations than for anions (cation sorption coefficients were 4 to 10 times greater than those calculated for NO3-), sorption has a substantial effect on the transport of anions through the unsaturated zone. In particular, average Kd values for NO3- were 0.22 L/mg for sands and 0.62 L/mg for finer grained sediments. This result indicates that the lower unsaturated zone in the study area is a large reservoir for nitrogen as nitrate. Unless the system is at steady state, models that do not account for sorption will result in underestimates of nitrogen storage and overestimates of contaminant transport rates. Such predictions would lead to overly optimistic expectations for natural cleansing in this watershed and in other, similar settings.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Linking drainage front morphology with gaseous diffusion in unsaturated porous media: a lattice Boltzmann study.

    PubMed

    Chau, Jessica Furrer; Or, Dani

    2006-11-01

    The effect of drainage front morphology on gaseous diffusion through partially saturated porous media is analyzed using the lattice Boltzmann method (LBM). Flow regimes for immiscible displacement in porous media have been characterized as stable displacement, capillary fingering, and viscous fingering. The dominance of a flow regime is associated with the relative magnitudes of gravity, viscous, and capillary forces, quantifiable via the Bond number Bo, capillary number Ca, and their difference, Bo-Ca . Forced drainage from an initially saturated two-dimensional (2D) porous medium was simulated and the resulting flow patterns were analyzed and compared with theoretical predictions and experimental results. The LBM simulations reproduced expected flow morphologies for a range of drainage velocities and gravitational forces (i.e., a range of capillary and Bond numbers). Furthermore, measures of drainage front width as a function of the dimensionless difference Bo-Ca correspond well with scaling laws derived from percolation theory. Effects of flow morphology on residual fluid entrapment and gaseous diffusion were assessed by running LBM diffusion simulations through the partially saturated domain for a range of water contents. The effective diffusion coefficient as a function of water content was estimated for three regimes: stable drainage front, capillary fingering, and viscous fingering. Significant reductions in gaseous diffusion coefficient were found for viscous fingering relative to stable displacement, and to a lesser extent for capillary fingering, indicating that wetting phase distribution with a high degree of fingering in the 2D domain severely restricts connectivity of gas diffusion pathways through the medium. The study lends support for the use of LBM in design and management of fluids in porous media under variable gravity, and enhances the understanding of the role of dynamic fluid behavior on macroscopic transport properties of partially saturated

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guerin, Marianne

    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.

  13. Modeling thermal-hydrological response of the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, to thermal load at a potential repository

    SciTech Connect

    Haukwa, C.B.; Wu, Yu-Shu; Bodvarsson, G.S.

    2002-09-01

    This paper presents a numerical study on the response of the unsaturated zone (UZ) system of Yucca Mountain to heat generated from decaying radioactive wastes emplaced at the proposed repository. The modeling study is based on the current thermal-hydrological (TH) mountain-scale model, which uses a locally refined 2D north-south cross section and dual-permeability numerical approach. The model provides a prediction of the mountain-scale TH response under the thermal-load scenario of 1.45 kW/m, while accounting for future climatic changes and the effects of drift ventilation. The TH simulation results show that ventilation of the repository drifts has a large impact on thermal-hydrologic regimes and moisture-flow conditions at the repository. In both cases, with and without ventilation, the TH model predicts dry or reduced liquid saturation near the drifts for over 1,000 years, during which liquid flux through the drifts is reduced to either zero or less than the ambient flux. Without ventilation, the model predicts higher temperatures at the repository, but no major moisture redistribution in the UZ except in the areas very near the heated drifts.

  14. Modeling thermal-hydrological response of the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, to thermal load at a potential repository.

    PubMed

    Haukwa, C B; Wu, Yu-Shu; Bodvarsson, G S

    2003-01-01

    This paper presents a numerical study on the response of the unsaturated zone (UZ) system of Yucca Mountain to heat generated from decaying radioactive wastes emplaced at the proposed repository. The modeling study is based on the current thermal-hydrological (TH) mountain-scale model, which uses a locally refined 2D north-south cross-section and dual-permeability numerical approach. The model provides a prediction of the mountain-scale TH response under the thermal-load scenario of 1.45 kW/m, while accounting for future climatic changes and the effects of drift ventilation. The TH simulation results show that ventilation of the repository drifts has a large impact on thermal-hydrologic regimes and moisture-flow conditions at the repository. In both cases, with and without ventilation, the TH model predicts dry or reduced liquid saturation near the drifts for over 1000 years, during which liquid flux through the drifts is reduced to either zero or less than the ambient flux. Without ventilation, the model predicts higher temperatures at the repository, but no major moisture redistribution in the UZ except in the areas very near the heated drifts.

  15. 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. PMID:11588829

  16. Distribution and degradation of diesel oil in the unsaturated zone following an oil spill on a chalk aquifer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ashley, R. P.; Lerner, D. N.; Lloyd, J. W.

    1994-07-01

    In 1976, there occurred a substantial loss of diesel oil from a storage facility at Royston in eastern England. The site is on the outcrop of the important Chalk aquifer, which is protected by an unsaturated zone 24-30 m thick. In 1986, a cored borehole was drilled through the site of the spillage to investigate the fate of the contaminants. The core samples were analysed by physical and chemical methods to determine the physical structure of the rock, and the characteristics and distribution of the oil. The chemically analysed samples included pore water extracts, scrapings from fracture surfaces, and non-fracture (matrix) samples. The results indicate that oil accumulated within a few millimetres of major fissure surfaces, and entry into the rock matrix was limited by the small size of pores and the presence of water. Oil may also have migrated along microscopic channels away from the major fissures. There was no evidence of downward migration of oil since the initial phase of movement. The adoption of certain assumptions regarding degradation, evaporation and dissolution processes allows the estimation of oil depletion caused by these processes. Physical weathering and degradation were found to have been extensive, but highly variable. Both processes occurred on the major fissure surfaces but, in the matrix, degradation appears to have been restricted. The conclusions have implications for the investigation and remediation of fissured Chalk aquifers contaminated by oil.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

    2016-05-01

    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.

  19. 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.

  20. Concentrations of triazine herbicides in the unsaturated zone in western Harvey County, Kansas, spring and fall 1992-93

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Juracek, Kyle E.

    1994-01-01

    To assess the potential transport of triazine herbicides into the Equus Beds aquifer, soil samples were collected from the unsaturated zone at 27 dryland and 30 irrigated sites in western Harvey County, Kansas. All sites were sampled at a depth of 4 to 6 feet (that is, immediately below the root zone) during March and October-November 1992 and March and October-November 1993. During the October-November 1992 and March 1993 sampling periods, five sites also were sampled at depths of 0 to 4 and 6 to 10 feet. All samples were analyzed for total triazine concentrations using a 20-gram extraction, immunoassay technique with a 0.02 microgram per kilogram detection level. Additionally, 20 samples from each sampling period were analyzed specifically for atrazine and two atrazine metabolites (deethylatrazine and deisopropylatrazine) using a 20-gram extraction, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry procedure with a 0.5 microgram per kilogram detection level. Total triazine concentrations at the 4- to 6-foot depth, with one exception, were less than 1.0 microgram per kilogram, with the majority of the concen- trations less than 0.10 microgram per kilogram. Triazine concentrations at the O- to 4-foot depth ranged from 0.51 to 12.20 micrograms per kilogram. Triazine concentrations at the 6- to 10-foot depth ranged from less than 0.02 to 0.33 microgram per kilogram. The atrazine metabolite deethylatrazine was detected in three samples, with concentrations of 0.63, 1.44, and 1.48 micrograms per kilogram. The atrazine metabolite deisopropylatrazine was not detected in any of the soil samples analyzed. Because the 1992 and 1993 growing seasons included periods of above-normal rainfall, the concentrations of triazine herbicides and metabolites measured during this study may not be indicative of average conditions.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-03-01

    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.

  2. 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

  3. Vertical Distribution of Calcite at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as an Indicator of Flow Through a Thick Unsaturated Zone

    SciTech Connect

    J.B. Paces; Z.E. Peterman

    2001-07-20

    Meteoric water percolating through 500 to 700 m of hydrologically unsaturated felsic tuffs provides a mechanism for release and transport of radionuclides from a potential high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Modern flow through the unsaturated zone (UZ) is low (probably <20 mm/year) and has not been observed directly. However, calcite formed from water percolating through fracture and lithophysal cavities over the last 12.8 million years provides, in part, a time-integrated record of UZ flow. Calcite concentration profiles were determined in dry-drilled boreholes USW WT-24 and USW SD-6 by acidifying samples of powdered rock cuttings collected over 5-foot intervals and measuring the evolved CO{sub 2} using gas chromatography. Resulting CO{sub 2}-derived calcite concentrations ranged from 30,800 to less than 20 ppm. Aliquots of the same powders also were analyzed for Ca, Ti, and Zr by energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence. Concentrations of Ti and Zr in the crystal-poor, high-silica rhyolite parts of the Topopah Spring Tuff are uniform (standard deviations of 3 to 4%); however, Ca scatters widely (standard deviations of 21 and 32%). Concentrations of Ca are positively correlated to CO{sub 2}-derived calcite concentrations and regressions for samples of the two major rhyolitic tuffs yielded r{sup 2} values >0.9, CO{sub 2}-intercept Ca concentrations in the range of values determined on fresh rock samples, and slopes equivalent to addition of stoichiometric calcite. Therefore, combined CO{sub 2} and Ca data provide a means of determining the amount of secondary calcite added to the rock mass from percolating water. The vertical distribution of calcite is related to lithostratigraphy with the largest concentrations in the welded hydrogeologic unit of the Tiva Canyon Tuff near the land surface and progressively smaller values with depth into the underlying nonwelded units. Large values also may be present in the upper parts of the underlying

  4. Quantification of unsaturated-zone alteration and cation exchange in zeolitized tuffs at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vaniman, David T.; Chipera, Steve J.; Bish, David L.; Carey, J. William; Levy, Schön S.

    2001-10-01

    Zeolitized horizons in the unsaturated zone (UZ) at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, USA, are an important component in concepts for a high-level nuclear waste repository at this site. The use of combined quantitative X-ray diffraction and geochemical analysis allows measurement of the chemical changes that accompanied open-system zeolitization at Yucca Mountain. This approach also provides measures of the extent of chemical migration that has occurred in these horizons as a result of subsequent cation exchange. Mass-balance analysis of zeolitized horizons with extensive cation exchange (drill hole UZ-16) and with only minimal cation exchange (drill hole SD-9) shows that Al is essentially immobile. Although zeolitization occurred in an open system, the mass transfer of constituents other than water is relatively small in initial zeolitization, in contrast to the larger scales of cation exchange that can occur after zeolites have formed. Cation exchange in the clinoptilolite ± mordenite zeolitized horizons is seen in downward-diminishing concentration gradients of Ca, Mg, and Sr exchanged for Na and (to lesser extent) K. Comparison with data from drill hole SD-7, which has multiple zeolitized horizons above the water table, shows that the upper horizons accumulate Ca, Mg, and Sr to such an extent that transport of these elements to the deepest UZ zeolitized horizon can be blocked. Quantitative analysis of zeolite formation yields insight into processes that are implied from laboratory studies and modeling efforts but are otherwise unverified at the site. Such analysis also yields information not provided by or contradicted by some models of flow and transport. The results include the following: (1) evidence of effective downward flow through zeolitic horizons despite the low permeability of these horizons, (2) evidence that alkaline-earth elements accumulated by zeolites are mostly derived from eolian materials in surface soils, (3) validation of the very effective

  5. Hydraulic bridges in unsaturated coarse granular media: Influence of bridge size and conductivity on flow through clasts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jayakody, Jeevan A.; Nicholl, Michael J.

    2016-10-01

    Unsaturated flow in coarse granular media must pass through hydraulic bridges (e.g., pendular water, porous connections) that form a physical connection between adjoining clasts. Previous studies suggest that volumetric flow through a porous clast (Q) will be linearly dependent on the cross-sectional area of the hydraulic bridges, and understate the importance of bridge conductivity. Numerical simulations were performed to explore steady-state flow through a spherical clast with identical bridges located at the top and bottom. The cross-sectional area of the bridges relative to that of the clast (Ar) was varied across six orders of magnitude. The ratio of hydraulic conductivity between bridges and clasts (Kb/Kc) was varied across 12 orders of magnitude to consider resistive, neutral, and conductive bridges. Results show that hydraulic bridges place a primary control on both Q and flux distribution within the clast. For neutral and conductive bridges (Kb/Kc ≥1), Ar is the dominant factor in determining Q, while Kb/Kc is the primary control for resistive bridges (Kb/Kc < 1). For all bridges, Q shows a non-linear dependency on both Ar and Kb/Kc. The intra-clast flow distribution shifts outwards as Ar increases. Conductive bridges promote this process and resistive bridges impede it.

  6. Pore-water isotopic compositions and unsaturated-zone flow, Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Yang, In C.

    2001-04-29

    Isotopic compositions of core-water samples from boreholes USW SD-6 and USW WT-24 indicate that recent water has been introduced at depth. Tritium, carbon, oxygen, and deuterium isotopic compositions all support younger water at depth in the two boreholes. Peaks in tritium concentrations in pore-water samples, indicating younger water than the other samples, observed near the basal vitrophyre of the Topopah Spring Tuff and at the bottom of the CHF and the top of the PP in both boreholes SD-6 and WT-24. Larger {sup 14}C activities in two pore-water samples from WT-24 at the bottom of the CHF and the top of the PP indicate younger water than in other samples from WT-24. More positive {delta}{sup 18}O and {delta}D values indicate younger water in samples of pore water at the bottom of the CHF in boreholes SD-6 and WT-24. The isotopic compositions indicating younger water at depth in boreholes SD-6 and WT-24 occur at the basal vitrophyre zone of the Topopah Spring Tuff and the bottom of the CHF/upper part of the PP, probably from lateral preferential flow through connected fractures (fast-flow paths). The source of the young water at borehole WT-24 probably was recharge from The Prow to the north, which then flowed laterally southward through the highly fractured TSw. The source of the young water at borehole SD-6 probably was water flow from the Solitario Canyon fault to the west, which then flowed laterally through the TSw and CHF.

  7. Effect of Viscous Cross Coupling between two Immiscible Fluids on Elastic Wave Propagation and Attenuation in Unsaturated Porous Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lo, WeiCheng; Lee, JheWei; Lee, ChengHaw

    2015-04-01

    A central issue in the theoretical treatment of a multiphase system is the proper mathematical description of momentum transfer across fluid-solid and fluid-fluid interfaces. Although recent studies have advanced our knowledge on modeling the coupling behavior between a porous framework and the fluids permeating it, the effect of viscous resistance caused by two-fluid flow on elastic wave behavior in unsaturated porous media still remains unaddressed. In the present study, we generalize the theory of dynamic poroelasticity to incorporate viscous cross coupling arising from the velocity difference between two adjacent fluids for examining the dynamic behavior of fluid flow in deformable porous media related to harmonic wave perturbation. The corresponding dispersion relations that characterize three compressional waves and one shear wave are precisely formulated, with the coefficients featuring all elasticity, inertial coupling, and viscous coupling parameters, for describing how wave number changes as excitation frequency is stipulated. To evaluate quantitatively this as-yet unknown effect, numerical simulations are implemented to solve the dispersion relations for Columbia fine sandy loam bearing an oil-water mixture with respect to three representative wave excitation frequencies. Our results show that the phase speed and attenuation coefficient of the third compressional wave which has the smallest speed is strongly sensitive to the presence of viscous cross coupling, as expected for this wave being attributed primarily to the out-of-phase motion of the two pore fluids. Viscous cross coupling also exerts an impact on the attenuation coefficient of the shear wave and the first compressional wave whose speed is greatest, which exhibits two opposite trends at different ranges of low and high water contents. A sensitivity analysis is further conducted to provide information on the importance of the coupling parameter, revealing that the effect becomes more

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. Impact of urbanization on hydrochemical evolution of groundwater and on unsaturated-zone gas composition in the coastal city of Tel Aviv, Israel.

    PubMed

    Zilberbrand, M; Rosenthal, E; Shachnai, E

    2001-08-01

    The coastal city of Tel Aviv was founded at the beginning of the 20th century. The number of its inhabitants and its water consumption increased rapidly. This study analyses a 15-year record (1934-1948) of pre-industrial development of groundwater chemistry in the urban area. Archive data on concentrations of major ions, dissolved gases (CO2 and O2), organic matter, and pH were available for each half-year during the period of 1934-1948. The major factors causing changes in the chemistry of groundwater flowing in three sandy sub-aquifers have been seawater encroachment due to overpumping, and infiltration of effluents from pit-latrine collectors. Influence of these factors decreases with depth. Landward-penetrating seawater passed through clayey coastal sediments, interbedded among sands and calcareous sandstones, and spread into the Kurkar Group aquifer. This has led to exchange of sodium (dominant in seawater) with calcium adsorbed on clay particles, enriching groundwater with calcium. Intensity of cation exchange decreases inland and with depth. Infiltration of pit-latrine effluents has introduced large amounts of ammonium into the unsaturated zone. Its rapid oxidation in unsaturated sediments has caused massive nitrate production, accompanied by pore-water acidification. This process induces dissolution of vadose carbonate, resulting in enrichment of groundwater recharge in calcium. Anthropogenically induced dissolution of calcite in the unsaturated zone has been the major factor for the increase of Ca2+ concentration in groundwater, accounting for about 80% of this increase. In the interface zone, an additional 20% of calcium has been supplied by cation exchange. Owing to pH increase caused by denitrification in the aquifer, Ca(2+)-rich waters supersaturated with calcite could be formed, especially in the capillary fringe of the uppermost sub-aquifer, which could induce calcite precipitation and ultimately lead to the cementation of sandy aquifers. Urban

  16. 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

  17. 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).

  18. Mountain-Scale Transport of Radioactive Solutes and Colloids Through the Unsaturated Zone of Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moridis, G. J.; Seol, Y.

    2003-12-01

    The US Department of Energy is actively investigating the technical feasibility of permanent disposal of high-level nuclear waste in an appropriate repository to be situated in the unsaturated zone (UZ) at Yucca Mountain (YM), Nevada. The objectives of this study are to evaluate the transport of radioactive solutes and colloids under ambient conditions from the potential repository horizon to the water table and to determine processes and geohydrologic features that significantly affect radionuclide transport. The radionuclide transport model considers the site hydrology, and the effects of the spatial distribution of hydraulic and transport properties in the fractured rocks of the YM subsurface. Several radionuclides (solutes and colloids) with varying properties are investigated. The results of the study indicate that the most important factors affecting radionuclide 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. Radioactive decay, diffusion from the fractures into the matrix, and subsequent sorption (for solutes) or filtration (for colloids) onto, are the main retardation processes. For solutes, arrival times at the watertable increase with the sorption distribution coefficients of the various species, and may have to account for contributions from the decay daughters of certain radionuclides. Changes in future climatic conditions can have a significant effect on transport, as increasing infiltration leads to faster transport to the water table. 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 fracture attributes.

  19. Tracking sources of unsaturated zone and groundwater nitrate contamination using nitrogen and oxygen stable isotopes at the Hanford site, Washington.

    PubMed

    Singleton, Michael J; Woods, Katharine N; Conrad, Mark E; Depaolo, Donald J; Dresel, P Evan

    2005-05-15

    The nitrogen and oxygen isotopic compositions of nitrate in pore water extracts from unsaturated zone (UZ) core samples and groundwater samples indicate at least four potential sources of nitrate in groundwaters at the U.S. DOE Hanford Site in south-central Washington. Natural sources of nitrate identified include microbially produced nitrate from the soil column (delta15N of 4 - 8 per thousand, delta18O of -9 to 2 per thousand) and nitrate in buried caliche layers (delta15N of 0-8 per thousand, delta 18O of -6to 42 per thousand). Isotopically distinctindustrial sources of nitrate include nitric acid in low-level disposal waters (delta15N approximately per thousand, delta 18O approximately 23%o) per thousandnd co-contaminant nitrate in high-level radioactive waste from plutonium processing (6'5delta1of 8-33 % o, per thousand18delta oO -9 to 7%0). per thousandThe isotopic compositions of nitrate from 97 groundwater wells with concentrations up to 1290 mg/L NO3- have been analyzed. Stable isotope analyses from this study site, which has natural and industrial nitrate sources, provide a tool to distinguish nitrate sources in an unconfined aquiferwhere concentrations alone do not. These data indicate that the most common sources of high nitrate concentrations in groundwater at Hanford are nitric acid and natural nitrate flushed out of the UZ during disposal of low-level wastewater. Nitrate associated with high-level radioactive UZ contamination does not appear to be a major source of groundwater nitrate at this time.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. Effect of viscous cross coupling between two immiscible fluids on elastic wave propagation and attenuation in unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lo, Wei-Cheng; Yeh, Chao-Lung; Lee, Jhe-Wei

    2015-09-01

    A central issue in the theoretical treatment of a multiphase system is the proper mathematical description of momentum transfer across fluid-solid and fluid-fluid interfaces. Although recent studies have advanced our knowledge on modeling the coupling behavior between a porous framework and the fluids permeating it, the effect of viscous resistance caused by two-fluid flow on elastic wave behavior in unsaturated porous media still remains elusive. In the present study, the theoretical model developed for describing immiscible two-phase fluid flows in a deformable porous medium related to harmonic wave perturbation is generalized to account for viscous cross coupling due to relative velocity between two adjacent fluids. The corresponding dispersion relations whose coefficients feature all elasticity, inertial-drag, and viscous-drag parameters are then precisely formulated, in a physical context characterizing three compressional waves and one shear wave. To evaluate quantitatively this as-yet unknown effect, numerical calculations are conducted to solve the dispersion relations for Columbia fine sandy loam bearing an oil-water mixture as a function of water saturation and excitation frequency. Our results show that the phase speed and attenuation coefficient of the P3 wave which has the smallest speed is strongly sensitive to the presence of viscous cross coupling, as expected since this wave is attributed primarily to the out-of-phase motion of the two pore fluids. Viscous cross coupling also exerts an impact on the attenuation coefficient of the shear wave and the P1 wave whose speed is greatest, which exhibits two opposite trends at different ranges of low and high water contents. Relative differences in these wave attributes are principally independent of excitation frequency. A sensitivity analysis is carried out to assess how changes in viscous cross coupling affect these differences, revealing that some of them become more significant as viscous cross

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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%.

  8. Sensors and Monitoring Techniques for the Deep Unsaturated Zone: Reducing Uncertainty Related to Seepage and Transport in Fractured Rock

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dinwiddie, C. L.; Or, D.; Stothoff, S. A.; Fedors, R. W.; Pohle, J. A.; Tuller, M.

    2007-12-01

    Planning for performance confirmation of hydrologic properties and processes in a potential geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain is a requirement stated in Subpart F of 10 CFR Part 63. An important goal of performance confirmation is to acquire information indicating whether natural and engineered barriers are functioning as intended, and whether the conditions encountered are within the limits assumed during a licensing review. Long-term monitoring of hydrologic properties and processes and in situ confirmation of design assumptions will play a key role in the safe operation of the potential geologic radioactive waste repository and in the decision to close the repository. Despite remarkable advances in cyberinfrastructure for linking sensors into spatially distributed environmental networks, the extended time horizon (decades to hundreds of years) for long-term monitoring activities, the harsh thermal and radiative conditions in the near-field environment, the deep fractured unsaturated rock environment at Yucca Mountain, the potential scope of observations, and restricted access to observation ports for maintenance and upgrades each present unprecedented challenges to the design of hydro-environmental monitoring networks. Activities for performance confirmation could include the use of pore water samplers and sensors for measuring water content, matric potential, temperature, relative humidity, and water and gas fluxes. Current sensor technology for deep fractured rock systems (i) lags behind environmental observatory network solutions for surface and near-surface processes, (ii) lags behind analogous technology for unconsolidated porous media, (iii) cannot be reliably deployed without ongoing maintenance or replacement at relatively frequent intervals, and (iv) is not designed to withstand harsh thermal and radiative conditions. Long-term monitoring could require special design considerations, such as measurement redundancy

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Design and laboratory testing of a chamber device to measure total flux of volatile organic compounds from the unsaturated zone under natural conditions.

    PubMed

    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.

  2. 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

  3. RHODIUM CATALYZED CONJUGATED ADDITION OF UNSATURATED CARBONYL COMPOUNDS BY TRIPHENYLBISMUTH IN AQUEOUS MEDIA AND UNDER AN AIR ATMOSPHERE. (R822668)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Abstract

    In the presence of a rhodium catalyst, small alpha, Greek,small beta, Greek-unsaturated est...

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Carbon Isotopes in Unsaturated-Zone Gases and Ground Water Near a Radioactive-Waste Disposal Area, Amargosa Desert Research Site, Nye County, Nevada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stonestrom, D. A.; Michel, R. L.; Evans, W. C.; Smith, T. R.; Smith, T. R.; Prudic, D. E.; Striegl, R. G.; Haas, H.; Brockman, F. J.; Andraski, B. J.

    2001-12-01

    To test hypotheses about radionuclide distribution and transport, vertical profiles of 14C in carbon dioxide were determined on gas samples from a 110-m deep unsaturated zone 32, 100, and 3,000 m from a low-level radioactive-waste disposal area. A direct-scintillation-counting method for radiocarbon was developed that minimized sample handling and compared favorably with the more labor-intensive benzene-synthesis method. Values of δ 13C in pore gas were determined by isotope ratio mass spectrometry. Gross gas compositions were determined by chromatography. Gross gas compositions 100 m from the disposal area were similar to those at the 3,000-m site, i.e., relatively unperturbed, except that O2 levels at the 100-m site were slightly depleted in the 34-48 m depth interval ( ~19.5% versus ~20.8% O2 by volume). Radiocarbon levels at the 100-m site peaked at ~2,000 percent modern carbon (PMC) near land surface and decreased monotonically to <100 PMC at depths below 58 m. Gross gas composition 32 m from the disposal area displayed a well-defined CO2 peak that reached 2.0-2.5% by volume at a depth of 24 m. 14C levels showed a roughly coincident peak that reached 6x105 PMC at the 24 m depth. Elevated levels of tritium and volatile organic-carbon compounds accompanied the CO2 and 14C peaks. Corresponding δ 13CO2 values were shifted -7 to -10 permil from unperturbed values. This shift to lighter values is suggestive of fractionation during microbial production of 14CO2 from disposed waste. Core samples from the affected depths were dry and virtually devoid of microbes, with <4x103 colony forming units per gram of sediment, suggesting that the hypothesized microbial activity occurs closer to the emplacement trenches. Ground water at the 32-m site had a 14C level in dissolved inorganic carbon of 845 PMC in March 2000. Ground water from an adjacent well had a 14C level of 26 PMC in 1989 and 323 PMC in 1999. The low levels of 14C in ground water relative to those in

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. An evaluation of materials and methods for vapour measurement of the isotopic composition of pore water in deep, unsaturated zones.

    PubMed

    Pratt, Dyan L; Lu, Mengna; Lee Barbour, S; Jim Hendry, M

    2016-01-01

    The development of in situ vapour sampling methods to measure δ(2)H and δ(18)O in pore water of deep, unsaturated soil profiles, including mine tailings and waste rock, is required to improve our ability to track water migration through these deposits. To develop appropriate field sampling methods, a laboratory study was first undertaken to evaluate potential materials and sampling methods to collect and analyse vapour samples from unsaturated mine waste. Field methods were developed based on these findings and tested at two mine sites using either on-site analyses with a portable isotope laser spectrometer or sample collection and storage prior to laboratory analyses. The field sites included a series of deep (>50 m) multiport profiles within a coal waste rock dump and open wells installed in a sand tailings dyke at an oil sands mine. Laboratory results show that memory effects in sample bags and tubing require 3-5 pore volumes of vapour flushing prior to sample collection and sample storage times are limited to 24 h. Field sampling highlighted a number of challenges including the need to correct for sample humidity and in situ temperature. Best results were obtained when a portable laser spectrometer was used to measure vapour samples in situ. PMID:27002493

  12. Processes and Parameters Controlling the Extent of Methanogenic Conditions in the Unsaturated Zone of a Crude Oil Spill Site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Molins, S.; Mayer, K.

    2007-12-01

    Gas concentrations measured in the vadose zone at a crude oil spill site near Bemidji, MN, show that a large area near the oil body is currently dominated by methanogenic conditions. Away from the oil body methane concentrations decrease as it is degraded by methanotrophic bacteria under aerobic conditions. Numerical simulations have been conducted to quantify the contributions of the relevant transport and reaction processes to the production and attenuation of methane in the vadose zone. Methane is generated in the vadose zone by anaerobic degradation of oil and is also added by fluxes from the capillary fringe and the saturated zone. Gas diffusion and advection contribute to the transport of methane in the lateral direction and towards the ground surface. Attenuation of methane concentrations occurs through aerobic oxidation in the presence of methanotrophic bacteria. Critical parameters were varied within bounds provided by field data and previous studies. Simulation results confirm that the layered sediment structure present at the site plays a significant role in explaining the observed distribution of gases in the vadose zone. The presence of a low permeability lens in the area upgradient from the source results in higher moisture contents, limiting diffusion of oxygen into the zone of methane production, and contributes to the spread of methane. Diffusion was identified as the most significant transport mechanism for gases in the vadose zone. However, field-observed zones of depleted and enriched N2 and Ar concentrations could only be explained by the development of advective fluxes induced by reactive processes (methanogenesis and methanotrophy). The zones of gas production are characterized by slightly increased total gas pressures and low concentrations of N2 and Ar, while zones of gas consumption show slightly depressed total gas pressures and high concentrations of N2 and Ar. The simulations suggest that the advective flux that develops between these

  13. Geochemical controls on the composition of soil pore waters beneath a mixed waste disposal site in the unsaturated zone. [SNAKE RIVER PLAIN AQUIFER

    SciTech Connect

    Rawson, S.A.; Hubbell, J.M.

    1989-01-01

    Soil pore waters are collected routinely to monitor a thick unsaturated zone that separates a mixed waste disposal site containing transuranic and low-level radioactive wastes from the Snake River Plain aquifer. The chemistry of the soil pore waters has been studied to evaluate the possible control on the water composition by mineral equilibria and determine the extent, if any, of migration of radionuclides from the disposal site. Geochemical codes were used to perform speciation calculations for the waters. The results of speciation calculations suggest that the installation of the lysimeters affects the observed silica contents of the soil pore waters. The results also establish those chemical parameters that are controlled by secondary mineral precipitation. 15 refs., 6 figs., 1 tab.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. Implications of surfactant-induced flow for miscible-displacement estimation of air-water interfacial areas in unsaturated porous media.

    PubMed

    Costanza-Robinson, Molly S; Zheng, Zheng; Henry, Eric J; Estabrook, Benjamin D; Littlefield, Malcolm H

    2012-10-16

    Surfactant miscible-displacement experiments represent a conventional means of estimating air-water interfacial area (A(I)) in unsaturated porous media. However, changes in surface tension during the experiment can potentially induce unsaturated flow, thereby altering interfacial areas and violating several fundamental method assumptions, including that of steady-state flow. In this work, the magnitude of surfactant-induced flow was quantified by monitoring moisture content and perturbations to effluent flow rate during miscible-displacement experiments conducted using a range of surfactant concentrations. For systems initially at 83% moisture saturation (S(W)), decreases of 18-43% S(W) occurred following surfactant introduction, with the magnitude and rate of drainage inversely related to the surface tension of the surfactant solution. Drainage induced by 0.1 mM sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate, commonly used for A(I) estimation, resulted in effluent flow rate increases of up to 27% above steady-state conditions and is estimated to more than double the interfacial area over the course of the experiment. Depending on the surfactant concentration and the moisture content used to describe the system, A(I) estimates varied more than 3-fold. The magnitude of surfactant-induced flow is considerably larger than previously recognized and casts doubt on the reliability of A(I) estimation by surfactant miscible-displacement.

  20. 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

  1. FECWASTE: user's manual of a Finite-Element Code for simulating WASTE transport through saturated-unsaturated porous media. Environmental Sciences Division Publication No. 1907

    SciTech Connect

    Yeh, G.T.; Strand, R.H.

    1982-12-01

    This report presents the user's manual of FECWASTE, a Finite-Element Code for simulating WASTE transport through saturated-unsaturated porous media. The code is designed for generic application. For each site-specific application, 12 control cards are required to specify the size of data arrays and 6 control cards are used to assign the control numbers in the main program. In addition, prior to the execution of FECWASTE, FECWATER must be executed to yield the groundwater flow variables including the pressure head, total head, moisture content, and Darcy's velocity components. Input data to the computer code includes the program control indices, properties of the porous media, parameters of waste-media interaction, the geometry in the form of elements and nodes, boundary and initial conditions, and waste characteristics. Principal output includes the spatial distribution of the concentration and material fluxes at any desired time. Fluxes through various types of boundaries, material accumulated in the matrix and solution, and material transformed through decay and chemical, physical, and biological degradation are also the output, if desired.

  2. Measurement of Air-Water Interfacial Areas in Unsaturated Water-Wet Sandy Porous Media Using Synchrotron X-ray Microtomography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Costanza-Robinson, M. S.; Harrold, K. H.; Brusseau, M. L.; Lieb-Lappen, R. M.

    2006-12-01

    Air-water interfacial area (Aia) is a critical parameter in porous media systems that influences equilibrium fluid and contaminant distributions, as well as mass- and energy-transfer kinetics. Despite its importance, methods for quantitative measurement of Aia are not well developed. In this work, innovative synchrotron X-ray microtomography methods were used to measure Aia for a variety of unsaturated water-wet natural silica sands and glass spheres as a function of water saturation (Sw). Individual capillary and smooth-film contributions to Aia were determined for a subset of these media using X-ray absorption edge-difference imaging techniques. Aia values were observed to decrease linearly for all porous media with increasing Sw. A linear relationship was also observed between maximum Aia values, obtained by linear extrapolation to zero water saturation, and smooth-sphere-approximated surface areas for glass spheres (r2 = 0.99) and natural silica sands (r2=0.76). The weaker correlation for natural media is likely due to grain shape variation among the sands and greater uncertainty associated with areas extracted from the more complex natural-sand images. Total measured Aia was further differentiated into individual capillary and smooth-film contributions for select media, indicating that films contribute the majority of air-water interfacial areas measured by this technique. Because the relevance of individual interfacial domains differs widely for various contaminant and remediation scenarios, the ability to experimentally distinguish these domains using X-ray microtomography represents an important advance.

  3. 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.

  4. Humic Acid Effects on the Transport of Colloidal Particles in Unsaturated Porous Media: Humic Acid Dosage, pH, and Ionic Strength Dependence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morales, V. L.; Gao, B.; Steenhuis, T. S.

    2008-12-01

    Soil colloids and biocolloids can facilitate contaminant transport within the soil profile through the complexation of pollutants previously thought to have limited mobility. Dissolved organic substances are qualitatively known to alter the behavior of colloids and surface chemistry of soil particles in aquatic environments when adsorbed to their surfaces. Specifically, it has been observed that even small amounts of adsorbed humic acids result in a pronounced increase in colloid mobility in saturated porous systems, presumably by a combination of electrostatic and steric stabilization. However, the degree to which adsorbed humic acids stabilize colloidal suspension is highly sensitive to the system's solution chemistry; mainly in terms of pH, ionic strength, and metal ions present. The objective of this study is to expound quantitatively on the role that combined stabilizing and destabilizing solution chemistry components have on humic acid-colloid transport in unsaturated media by isolating experimentally some underlying mechanisms that regulate colloid transport in realistic aquatic systems. We hypothesize that in chemically heterogeneous porous media, with ionic strength values above 0 and pH ranges from 4 to 9, the effect of humic acid on colloid suspensions cannot be simply characterized by increased stability and mobility. That a critical salt concentration must exists for a given humic acid concentration and pH, above which the network of humic acid collapses by forming coordination complexes with other suspended or adsorbed humic acids, thus increasing greatly the retention of colloids in the porous medium by sweep flocculation. In addition, capillary forces in unsaturated media may contribute further to overcome repulsive forces that prevent flocculation of humic acid-colloid complexes. The experimental work in this study will include: jar tests to determine critical solution concentration combinations for desired coagulation/flocculation rates, column

  5. 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. PMID:21030134

  6. CO2 production rate maxima in the deeper unsaturated zone of a semi-arid floodplain at Rifle, Colorado

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tokunaga, T. K.; Kim, Y.; Wan, J.; Dong, W.; Conrad, M. E.; Bill, M.; Hobson, C.; Williams, K. H.; Long, P. E.

    2015-12-01

    Fluxes of CO2 from soils are important to understand in order to predict subsurface feedbacks to the atmosphere and responses to climate change. Such fluxes are commonly monitored at the soil surface and generally assumed to largely originate within shallow depths. Relatively little is understood on the depth distribution of CO2 production below the rhizosphere. We monitored CO2 fluxes at the soil surface, and measured vertical profiles of vadose CO2 concentrations, matric potentials, and temperatures at the Rifle Site, a saline semi-arid floodplain along the Colorado River in order to determine the significance of deeper vadose zone respiration. Vadose zone CO2 profiles exhibit temperature-dependent seasonal variations, and are consistent with CO2 fluxes measured at the soil surface. The measured vadose zone CO2 concentration profiles combined with gas diffusion coefficients estimated from soil properties indicated that local maxima in rates of CO2 production persist in the deeper vadose zone, about 1 m below the rhizosphere, and above the water table (~3.5 m below the soil surface). We hypothesized that water and oxygen activities, nutrient levels, and temperatures remain favorable for microbial respiration throughout the year in the subrhizosphere, unlike overlying drier soils and the underlying poorly aerated aquifer. Using soils and sediments from the field site, the hypothesized existence of deeper subsurface maxima in CO2 production rate is currently being tested in the laboratory through sediment incubation experiments and in 2.0 m tall vadose zone columns. Initial results from the laboratory support the hypothesized persistence of a subrhizosphere "hot zone" for microbial respiration, partly sustained through seasonal pulses of dissolved and labile organic carbon originating from the rhizosphere. These findings suggest that similar sustained deeper local maxima in respiration rates may occur in many other regions where near-surface conditions are

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. [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

  11. [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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. A numerical model for the movement of H 2O, H 218O, and 2HHO in the unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shurbaji, Abdel-Rahman M.; Phillips, Fred M.

    1995-09-01

    Vertical profiles of H 218O and 2HHO concentrations have yielded useful information on evaporation and infiltration processes in soils. However, in the field, quantitative interpretation of such profiles has been limited by the restrictions inherent in the quasi-steady-state and transient analytical models available to describe the physical processes. This study presents a flexible numerical model that simulates transient fluxes of heat, liquid water, water vapor, and isotopic species. The model can simulate both infiltration and evaporation under fluctuating meteorological conditions and thus should be useful in reproducing changes in field isotope profiles. A transition factor is introduced in the isotope transport equation. This factor combines hydrologic and isotopic parameters and changes slowly with depth in the soil profile but strongly in the evaporation zone, owing to the rapid change in the dominant phase of water from liquid to vapor. Using the transition factor in the isotope transport equation facilitates obtaining the typical shape of the isotope profile (bulge at the evaporation zone). This factor also facilitates producing broad isotope enrichment peaks that may be seen in very dry soils.

  16. Chemistry of unsaturated zone gases sampled in open boreholes at the crest of Yucca Mountain, Nevada: Data and basic concepts of chemical and physical processes in the mountain

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Thorstenson, D.C.; Weeks, E.P.; Haas, H.; Busenberg, E.; Plummer, L.N.; Peters, C.A.

    1998-01-01

    Boreholes open to the unsaturated zone at the crest of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, were variously sampled for CO2 (including 13C and 14C), CH4, N2, O2, Ar, CFC-11, CFC12, and CFC-113 from 1986 to 1993. Air enters the mountain in outcrops, principally on the eastern slope, is enriched in CO2 by mixing with soil gas, and is advected to the mountain crest, where it returns to the atmosphere. The CFC data indicate that travel times of the advecting gas in the shallow Tiva Canyon hydrogeologic unit are ???5 years. The 14C activities are postbomb to depths of 100 m, indicating little retardation of 14CO2 in the shallow flow systems. The 14C activities from 168 to 404 m in the Topopah Spring hydrogeologic unit are 85-90 pMC at borehole USW-UZ6. The CFC data show that the drilling of USW-UZ6 in 1984 has altered the natural system by providing a conduit through the Paintbrush Nonwelded unit, allowing flow from Topopah Spring outcrops in Solitario Canyon on the west to USW-UZ6, upward in the borehole through the Paintbrush, to the shallow Tiva Canyon flow systems, and out of the mountain.

  17. Hydrological, meteorological and geohydrological data for an unsaturated zone study near the Radioactive Waste Management Complex, Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, Idaho - 1987

    SciTech Connect

    Davis, L.C.; Pittman, J.R. )

    1990-01-01

    Since 1952, radioactive waste has been buried at the RWMC (Radioactive Waste Management Complex) at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory in southeastern Idaho. In 1985, the US Geological Survey, in cooperation with the US Department of Energy, began a 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 burial trenches and pits. This study is being conducted to provide hydrological, meteorological and geohydrological data for the test trench area adjacent to the northern boundary of the RWMC. During 1987, data were collected from the test trench area, where several types of instrumentation were installed in the surficial sediment in 1985. Hydrological data collected from both disturbed and undisturbed soil included measurements, from 28 thermocouple psychrometers placed at selected depths to about 6m. Soil moisture content measurements were collected bi-weekly in 9 neutron-probe access holes with a neutron moisture depth gage. Meteorological data summarized daily included: (1) incoming and emitted long-wave radiation; (2) incoming and reflected short-wave radiation; (3) air temperature; (4) relative humidity; (5) wind speed; (6) wind direction; and (7) precipitation. To describe grain-size distribution with depth, 17 samples were analyzed using sieve and pipette methods. Statistical parameters, carbonate content, color, particle roundness and sphericity, and mineralogic and clastic constituents were determined for each sample. Some samples were analyzed by x-ray diffraction techniques to determine bulk and clay mineralogy.

  18. 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.

  19. Chemistry of unsaturated zone gases sampled in open boreholes at the crest of Yucca Mountain, Nevada: Data and basic concepts of chemical and physical processes in the mountain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thorstenson, Donald C.; Weeks, Edwin P.; Haas, Herbert; Busenberg, Eurybiades; Plummer, L. Niel; Peters, Charles A.

    Boreholes open to the unsaturated zone at the crest of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, were variously sampled for CO2 (including 13C and 14C), CH4, N2, O2, Ar, CFC-11, CFC-12, and CFC-113 from 1986 to 1993. Air enters the mountain in outcrops, principally on the eastern slope, is enriched in CO2 by mixing with soil gas, and is advected to the mountain crest, where it returns to the atmosphere. The CFC data indicate that travel times of the advecting gas in the shallow Tiva Canyon hydrogeologic unit are <=5 years. The 14C activities are postbomb to depths of 100 m, indicating little retardation of 14CO2 in the shallow flow systems. The 14C activities from 168 to 404 m in the Topopah Spring hydrogeologic unit are 85-90 pMC at borehole USW-UZ6. The CFC data show that the drilling of USW-UZ6 in 1984 has altered the natural system by providing a conduit through the Paintbrush Nonwelded unit, allowing flow from Topopah Spring outcrops in Solitario Canyon on the west to USW-UZ6, upward in the borehole through the Paintbrush, to the shallow Tiva Canyon flow systems, and out of the mountain.

  20. 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)

  1. 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