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Sample records for media unsaturated zone

  1. Unsaturated Zone Flow Model Expert Elicitation Project

    SciTech Connect

    Coppersmith, K. J.

    1997-05-30

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

  2. Unsaturated zone characteristics rating for North Carolina

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Terziotti, Silvia; Eimers, Jo Leslie

    2001-01-01

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

  3. Flow in the unsaturated zone, Tucson, Arizona

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Graham, D.D.

    1988-01-01

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

  4. Radioactive waste disposal in thick unsaturated zones.

    PubMed

    Winogard, I J

    1981-06-26

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

  5. NaturAnalogs for the Unsaturated Zone

    SciTech Connect

    A. Simmons; A. Unger; M. Murrell

    2000-03-08

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1989-01-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

    J. Conca

    2000-12-20

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

  8. Transient Point Infiltration In The Unsaturated Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buecker-Gittel, M.; Mohrlok, U.

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

  9. Unsaturated Zone Flow Patterns and Analysis

    SciTech Connect

    C. Ahlers

    2001-10-17

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

  10. Unsaturated zone 14CO2: implications for groundwater dating

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  11. An updated model of induced airflow in the unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Baehr, Arthur L.; Joss, Craig J.

    1995-01-01

    Simulation of induced movement of air in the unsaturated zone provides a method to determine permeability and to design vapor extraction remediation systems. A previously published solution to the airflow equation for the case in which the unsaturated zone is separated from the atmosphere by a layer of lower permeability (such as a clay layer) has been superseded. The new solution simulates airflow through the layer of lower permeability more rigorously by defining the leakage in terms of the upper boundary condition rather than by adding a leakage term to the governing airflow equation. This note presents the derivation of the new solution. Formulas for steady state pressure, specific discharge, and mass flow in the domain are obtained for the new model and for the case in which the unsaturated zone is in direct contact with the atmosphere.

  12. 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...

  13. 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...

  14. 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...

  15. 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...

  16. 40 CFR 264.278 - Unsaturated zone monitoring.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-04-01

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

  18. 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}).

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Importance of unsaturated zone parameters for contaminant transport

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eggen, G.; French, H. K.; Bloem, E.

    2010-12-01

    In areas with winter frost the use of deicing chemicals on airplanes, runways and taxiways is necessary in order to secure aircraft traffic during wintertime. In Norway the main airport, OSL, is located on top of a glaciofluvial ice contact delta which today comprises Norway’s largest rain fed unconfined aquifer. This implies that OSL acts upon strict regulations to prevent contamination of groundwater and surface waters and disturbance of the ground water balance of the aquifer. In order to handle melt water containing de-icing chemicals, the airport authorities rely on the unsaturated zone as a filter for degradation of the deicing chemicals before reaching the ground water level. This is especially a challenge during the snow melt in the spring time as a large volume of melt water containing deicing chemicals which has accumulated during the winter infiltrates the soil profile. For proper aquifer management it is important to predict flow rate and contaminant transport through the unsaturated zone. Computer modeling is a valuable tool for assessing the flow and transport of solutes through the soil profile. There are two major challenges associated with sound predictions of flow and transport in the unsaturated zone, describing the correct unsaturated zone properties and determining the infiltration rates. Construction and management procedures at the airport implied extensive construction work affecting the soil physical properties as well as the infiltration pattern. To assess the effect of natural and anthropogenic induced subsurface variability, variation of soil physical parameters and different infiltration rates, transport of solutes through the unsaturated soil profile was simulated with SUTRA 2.1 (Saturated-Unsaturated-TRAnsport finite element code). The parameters and variables describing soil physical properties were estimated based on soil samples and infiltration rates from meteorological data and local snow measurements. Sensitivity analyses of

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2002-10-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2002-01-01

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

  16. 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.

  17. Evolution of the unsaturated zone testing at Yucca Mountain.

    PubMed

    Wang, J S Y; Bodvarsson, G S

    2003-01-01

    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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schimschal, Ulrich; Nelson, Philip H.; ,

    1991-01-01

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

  19. Assessing groundwater recharge with two unsaturated zone modeling technologies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gogolev, Mikhail I.

    2002-06-01

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

  20. Nitrate leaching through the unsaturated zone following pig slurry applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mantovi, Paolo; Fumagalli, Letizia; Beretta, Giovanni Pietro; Guermandi, Marina

    2006-01-01

    As the increase of nitrate concentration in groundwater has often been ascribed to an inappropriate use of liquid manure, the main purpose of this study was to better understand the factors controlling nitrate dynamics in the unsaturated zone of soils subjected to characteristic agronomic practices, and to contribute to improving Action Programmes, with reference to EU Directive 91/676, for nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZ). Water infiltration and nitrate leaching have been studied in experimental fields located inside nitrate vulnerable zones of the Emilia-Romagna region (Northern Italy), characterized by different pedological and hydrogeological properties and equipped with meteorological station, tensiometers, ceramic-cup samplers and piezometers. This article describes the results obtained from one of these sites, monitored over a 6-year period, which was cereal cropped and treated with pig slurry. MACRO and SOILN field-scale models have been used in order to verify the reliability of simulated water flow and nitrogen transport. The results demonstrate how nitrogen inputs from slurry, substantially higher than crop uptake, cause nitrate accumulation in the surface layer of the soil especially in warm periods (concentrations of up to 300 mg NO 3-N l -1 were found in soil water). Even if the soil texture was fine, the shrinking-swelling properties of clay minerals determined fast drainage conditions (related to macroporosity), so that during the early rainy periods nitrates leached through the first meters of the unsaturated zone, at least down to 4 m. This shows that nitrate accumulation should be limited before these periods, i.e. by reducing manure application rates, especially if the soil is to be left uncultivated. The model results confirm the observed role of macroporosity in accelerating the breakthrough of surface applied soluble compounds and provide evidence that MACRO and SOILN may be suitable tools for predicting such phenomena, even though their

  1. 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

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

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 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 water...) monitoring. 265.278 Section 265.278 Protection of Environment ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (CONTINUED...

  3. 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...

  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. Assimilation of ambient seismic noise in hydrological models allows estimation of hydraulic conductivity in unsaturated media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fores, B.; Champollion, C.; Mainsant, G.; Fort, A.; Albaric, J.

    2016-12-01

    Karstic hydrosystems represent one of the main water resources in the Mediterranean area but are challenging for geophysical methods. The GEK (Geodesy in Karstic Environment) observatory has been setup in 2011 to study the unsaturated zone of a karstic system in the south of France. The unsaturated zone (the epikarst) is thick and up to 100m on the site. Since 2011, gravity, rainfall and evapotranspiration are monitored. Together, they allow precise estimation of the global water storage changes but lack depth resolution. Surface waves velocity variations, obtained from ambient seismic noise monitoring are used here to overcome this lack. Indeed, velocities depend on saturation and the depths where changes occur can be defined as surface waves are dispersive. From October 2014 to November 2015, two seismometers have been recording noise. Velocity changes at a narrow frequency band (6-8 Hz) have shown a clear annual cycle. Minimum velocity is several months late on precipitations, which is coherent with a slow infiltration and a maximum sensitivity at -40m for these frequencies and this site. Models have been made with the Hydrus-1D software which allows modeling 1D-flow in variably saturated media. With a stochastic sampling, we have researched the underground parameters that reproduce the most the different observations (gravity, evapotranspiration and rainfall, and velocity changes). We show that velocity changes clearly constrain the hydraulic conductivity of the medium. Ambient seismic noise is therefore a promising method to study unsaturated zone which are too deep or too heterogeneous for classic methods.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2002-07-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hayek, Mohamed; Lehmann, François; Ackerer, Philippe

    2008-01-01

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

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2001-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Milly, P.C.D.

    1996-01-01

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

  13. Intermittent Flow Regimes in Unsaturated Fractured Porous Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ghezzehei, T. A.; Or, D.

    2001-12-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. Percolation Theory and Models of Unsaturated Porous Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Golden, J. M.

    1980-02-01

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

  16. Parameter estimation for flow in heterogeneous unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Erdal, Daniel; Neuweiler, Insa

    2010-05-01

    The unsaturated zone is an important part of the hydrologic cycle and in modeling of large systems it provides the important link between the land surfaces and groundwater systems. One of the problems when modeling water fluxes in the unsaturated zone is to estimate the model parameters from observations. Due to heterogeneities of the soil, these parameters depend on length scale. Furthermore, even if a perfect measurement of a soil parameter would be available, the difference in scale between measurement and model would still cause a need to upscale the measurements into effective parameters. Given certain properties of the soil structure, this study looks at how much measurement data is required to make a good estimation of the effective parameters for a flow scenario in the unsaturated zone. The estimation of local and effective parameters is done within a Bayesian framework, using a Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) sampling strategy. MCMC methods have the advantage of not only giving best estimates of parameters, but also provide the full distribution of the estimate, hence making uncertainties and eventual multimodalities easily accessible. In this study the Differential Evolution Adaptive Metropolis (DREAM) algorithm (Vrugt et al. 2008) is used. For the study, data from lab-scale drainage experiments in heterogeneous sand columns of M. Vasin (Vasin et al 2008) are used. In the experiments, the depth averaged water content in two sand columns with different heterogeneous structure was monitored during successive drainage steps using neutron radiography. We estimate the flow parameters for the columns taking successively observations into account. In particular we integrate observations of spatially averaged water content. Results will be presented and discussed on the poster. References Vasin M, Lehmann P, Kaestner A, Hassanein R, Nowak W, Helmig R, Neuweiler I. Drainage in heterogeneous sand columns with different geometric structures. Adv Water Resources 2008

  17. Movement of Water Through the Chalk Unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-12-01

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

  18. Visualization of Colloid Deposition and Mobilization During Unsteady and Steady Porewater Flow Through Unsaturated Porous Media.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Saiers, J. E.; Gao, B.; Ryan, J. N.

    2004-12-01

    Mineral colloids that are mobilized from near-surface soils during infiltration events may carry sorptive contaminants through the vadose zone and into drinking-water aquifers. The vadose-zone flux of colloid-associated contaminants depends, in part, on the difference between colloid mobilization rates and deposition rates. Our research is aimed at improving current understanding of colloid effects on subsurface-contaminant transport by identifying the mechanisms that govern colloid mobilization and deposition in unsaturated porous media. We present pore-scale observations of the transport of fluorescent microspheres through transparent flow cells packed with a thin layer of partially saturated sand. These visualization experiments were conducted under steady-flow and transient-flow conditions. In experiments in which the air phase was discontinuous and occurred as insular air bubbles, the negatively charged microspheres accumulated at the air-bubble surface and moved freely about this air-water interface. A fraction of these colloids eventually migrated from the air-water interface to the air-water-solid interface, whereupon their motion stopped. Destruction of the air bubbles during imbibition led to the release of colloids retained previously by the air-water interface, but not to the release of colloids held at the air-water-solid interface. Colloids were also trapped upon entry into dead-end water conduits that split from the primary flow channels. The exchange of colloids and water between a dead zone and primary flow channel was slow under steady flow; however, the reconnection of dead-end zones as moisture content increased during imbibition resulted in the mobilization of large concentrations of colloids. Our findings show that multiple mechanisms govern the deposition and mobilization of colloids in unsaturated porous media and provide direction for refining mathematical models for colloid and colloid-facilitated contaminant transport within the vadose

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1995-12-31

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

  4. Nitrate transport and transformation processes in unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1995-07-01

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

  5. Nitrate transport and transformation processes in unsaturated porous media

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1995-01-01

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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...

  8. 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...

  9. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1989-02-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neuweiler, Insa; Vogel, Hans-JöRg

    2007-03-01

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

  12. 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.

  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. Effects of crude oil on water and tracer movement in the unsaturated and saturated zones.

    PubMed

    Delin, Geoffrey N; Herkelrath, William N

    2017-03-29

    A tracer test was conducted to aid in the investigation of water movement and solute transport at a crude-oil spill site near Bemidji, Minnesota. Time of travel was measured using breakthrough curves for rhodamine WT and bromide tracers moving from the soil surface through oil-contaminated and oil-free unsaturated zones to the saturated zone. Results indicate that the rates of tracer movement were similar in the oil-free unsaturated and saturated zones compared to the oily zones. These results are somewhat surprising given the oil contamination in the unsaturated and saturated zones. Rhodamine tracer breakthrough in the unsaturated and saturated zones in general was delayed in comparison to bromide tracer breakthrough. Peak tracer concentrations for the lysimeters and wells in the oily zone were much greater than at the corresponding depths in the oil-free zone. Water and tracer movement in the oily zone was complicated by soil hydrophobicity and decreased oil saturations toward the periphery of the oil. Preferential flow resulted in reduced tracer interaction with the soil, adsorption, and dispersion and faster tracer movement in the oily zone than expected. Tracers were freely transported through the oily zone to the water table. Recharge calculations support the idea that the oil does not substantially affect recharge in the oily zone. This is an important result indicating that previous model-based assumptions of decreased recharge beneath the oil were incorrect. Results have important implications for modeling the fate and transport of dissolved contaminants at hydrocarbon spill sites.

  16. Effects of crude oil on water and tracer movement in the unsaturated and saturated zones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Delin, Geoffrey N.; Herkelrath, William N.

    2017-05-01

    A tracer test was conducted to aid in the investigation of water movement and solute transport at a crude-oil spill site near Bemidji, Minnesota. Time of travel was measured using breakthrough curves for rhodamine WT and bromide tracers moving from the soil surface through oil-contaminated and oil-free unsaturated zones to the saturated zone. Results indicate that the rates of tracer movement were similar in the oil-free unsaturated and saturated zones compared to the oily zones. These results are somewhat surprising given the oil contamination in the unsaturated and saturated zones. Rhodamine tracer breakthrough in the unsaturated and saturated zones in general was delayed in comparison to bromide tracer breakthrough. Peak tracer concentrations for the lysimeters and wells in the oily zone were much greater than at the corresponding depths in the oil-free zone. Water and tracer movement in the oily zone was complicated by soil hydrophobicity and decreased oil saturations toward the periphery of the oil. Preferential flow resulted in reduced tracer interaction with the soil, adsorption, and dispersion and faster tracer movement in the oily zone than expected. Tracers were freely transported through the oily zone to the water table. Recharge calculations support the idea that the oil does not substantially affect recharge in the oily zone. This is an important result indicating that previous model-based assumptions of decreased recharge beneath the oil were incorrect. Results have important implications for modeling the fate and transport of dissolved contaminants at hydrocarbon spill sites.

  17. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 3-D Distribution of Retained Colloids in Unsaturated Porous Media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kibbey, T. C.

    2013-12-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. Identifying the role of flow rate and water content in colloid transport in unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Knappenberger, T.; Flury, M.; Mattson, E. D.; Harsh, J.; Zang, F.; Gee, G.; Lichtner, P.

    2012-04-01

    Colloid transport in unsaturated soils and sediments is strongly affected by the presence of the air-water interface. The air-water interface is related to the water content, and as such, water content which plays a dominant role controlling colloid transport. The goal of our research is to elucidate the combined effects of water content and flow rates on colloid transport in unsaturated porous media. We conducted colloid transport experiments under different water contents and flow rates in sand columns containing silica sand with sizes ranging from 250 to 425 micrometers. Two different carboxylate-modified polystyrene colloids (26 and 200 nm diameter) were introduced to unsaturated columns under steady-state flow. The solution chemistry was chosen so that colloid transport occurred under unfavorable attachment conditions. By using a geocentrifuge, Flow flow rate and water content were varied independently in our experiments, which under normal conditions cannot be varied independently,is not possible were varied in our experiments independently by using a geocentrifuge. This unique experimental setup allowed us to run a series of colloid transport experiments at different water contents (effective saturation of 1.0, 0.6, 0.32, 0.19) but identical pore water velocity (10.6 cm/min). In general, decreasing water content led to increased colloid retention inside the columns. A portion of the retained colloids could be released by changing the solution chemistry, indicating that colloids had been retained in the secondary energy minimum. A DLVO analysis supports this assumption. We attribute unrecovered colloids in the outflow to the presence of flow stagnation zones. Overall the retention of the 26 nm colloids was stronger than the retention of the 220 nm colloids. Calculations of hydrodynamic forces suggest that the higher drag forces acting on the 220 nm colloids compared to the 26 nm colloids are responsible for the differences in retention.

  11. Retention and Release of Graphene Oxide in Structured Heterogeneous Porous Media under Saturated and Unsaturated Conditions.

    PubMed

    Dong, Shunan; Shi, Xiaoqing; Gao, Bin; Wu, Jianfeng; Sun, Yuanyuan; Guo, Hongyan; Xu, Hongxia; Wu, Jichun

    2016-10-04

    In this work, saturated and unsaturated structured heterogeneous sand columns were used to examine the fate of graphene oxide (GO) nanoparticles in heterogeneous porous media under various conditions. A two-domain model considering mass exchange between zones was applied to describe GO retention and transport in structured, heterogeneous porous media, which matched the transport experimental breakthroughs well. Experimental and model results showed that GO retention and transport in all the heterogeneous columns were dominated by the preferential flow phenomena. Under saturated conditions, the coarse sand with higher hydraulic conductivity was the fast-flow domain (FFD), and the fine sand was the slow-flow domain (SFD), and both FFD and SFD affected GO particles fate in structured heterogeneous media. When the heterogeneous columns were drained, the fine sand with higher moisture content became the FFD, and the coarse sand was the SFD, however, preferential flows in the FFD dominated GO retention and transport processes. For all the columns, the mobility of GO decreased with the increasing ionic strength (IS), and the previous retained particles were released by reducing solution IS, indicating part of the retained particles were trapped in the secondary minimum energy well.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    You, K.; Zhan, H.

    2012-12-01

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

  16. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-10-01

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Steady state fractionation of heavy noble gas isotopes in a deep unsaturated zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Seltzer, Alan M.; Severinghaus, Jeffrey P.; Andraski, Brian; Stonestrom, David A.

    2017-01-01

    To explore steady state fractionation processes in the unsaturated zone (UZ), we measured argon, krypton, and xenon isotope ratios throughout a ∼110 m deep UZ at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Amargosa Desert Research Site (ADRS) in Nevada, USA. Prior work has suggested that gravitational settling should create a nearly linear increase in heavy-to-light isotope ratios toward the bottom of stagnant air columns in porous media. Our high-precision measurements revealed a binary mixture between (1) expected steady state isotopic compositions and (2) unfractionated atmospheric air. We hypothesize that the presence of an unsealed pipe connecting the surface to the water table allowed for direct inflow of surface air in response to extensive UZ gas sampling prior to our first (2015) measurements. Observed isotopic resettling in deep UZ samples collected a year later, after sealing the pipe, supports this interpretation. Data and modeling each suggest that the strong influence of gravitational settling and weaker influences of thermal diffusion and fluxes of CO2 and water vapor accurately describe steady state isotopic fractionation of argon, krypton, and xenon within the UZ. The data confirm that heavy noble gas isotopes are sensitive indicators of UZ depth. Based on this finding, we outline a potential inverse approach to quantify past water table depths from noble gas isotope measurements in paleogroundwater, after accounting for fractionation during dissolution of UZ air and bubbles.

  2. Review of ground-water flow and transport models in the unsaturated zone

    SciTech Connect

    Oster, C.A.

    1982-11-01

    Models of partially saturated flow and transport in porous media have application in the analysis of existing as well as future low-level radioactive waste facilities located above the water table. An extensive literature search along with telephone and mail correspondence with recognized leading experts in the field, was conducted to identify computer models suitable for studies of low-level radioactive waste facilities located in the unsaturated zone. Fifty-five existing models were identified as potentially useful. Ten of these models were selected for further examination. This report contains a statement of the ground-water flow-contaminant transport problem, a discussion of those methods used to reduce the physical problem to a computer model, a brief discussion about the data requirements of these models. The procedure used to select the ten codes for further discussion is given, along with a list of these models. Finally, the Appendices contain the data about the fifty-five codes examined. Specifically Appendix D contains the detailed discussion of each of the ten selected codes. Included in each discussion are such items which a potential user requires in determining whether the code is suitable for his applications. Appendix E contains brief summary information about each of the fifty-five codes. Included in the summaries are identification data, authors, pertinent references, and model type.

  3. Steady state fractionation of heavy noble gas isotopes in a deep unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seltzer, Alan M.; Severinghaus, Jeffrey P.; Andraski, Brian J.; Stonestrom, David A.

    2017-04-01

    To explore steady state fractionation processes in the unsaturated zone (UZ), we measured argon, krypton, and xenon isotope ratios throughout a ˜110 m deep UZ at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Amargosa Desert Research Site (ADRS) in Nevada, USA. Prior work has suggested that gravitational settling should create a nearly linear increase in heavy-to-light isotope ratios toward the bottom of stagnant air columns in porous media. Our high-precision measurements revealed a binary mixture between (1) expected steady state isotopic compositions and (2) unfractionated atmospheric air. We hypothesize that the presence of an unsealed pipe connecting the surface to the water table allowed for direct inflow of surface air in response to extensive UZ gas sampling prior to our first (2015) measurements. Observed isotopic resettling in deep UZ samples collected a year later, after sealing the pipe, supports this interpretation. Data and modeling each suggest that the strong influence of gravitational settling and weaker influences of thermal diffusion and fluxes of CO2 and water vapor accurately describe steady state isotopic fractionation of argon, krypton, and xenon within the UZ. The data confirm that heavy noble gas isotopes are sensitive indicators of UZ depth. Based on this finding, we outline a potential inverse approach to quantify past water table depths from noble gas isotope measurements in paleogroundwater, after accounting for fractionation during dissolution of UZ air and bubbles.

  4. 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...

  5. Hydrological processes in the Chalk unsaturated zone - Insights from an intensive field monitoring programme

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ireson, A. M.; Wheater, H. S.; Butler, A. P.; Mathias, S. A.; Finch, J.; Cooper, J. D.

    2006-10-01

    As part of the NERC lowland catchment research programme (LOCAR), the Pang-Lambourn catchments (Berkshire, UK) have been extensively instrumented to provide an improved understanding of the hydrological processes in the unsaturated zone of the Chalk - a subject of much debate over the past 30 years. To quantify the movement of water through the unsaturated zone it is necessary to measure matric potential and water content (as well as input and output fluxes from precipitation, evapotranspiration and groundwater recharge). Previous studies have indicated the need for fine temporal resolution data to monitor this system effectively. Due to the challenges faced in meeting this objective, a monitoring scheme was designed that combines a variety of instrumentation to provide the required range, accuracy and spatial and temporal resolution of data. This paper firstly presents an overview of the monitoring programme and a critical discussion of the instrumentation used. Subsequently, the field data are used to characterise the hydrological properties of the unsaturated zone and to gain insight into recharge processes. The interpretation of the data presented in this paper indicate that, in the Chalk unsaturated zone at West Ilsley, matrix flow is the dominant recharge mechanism.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-09-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2017-01-01

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

  8. 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.

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    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, ...

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-11-01

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

  11. 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).

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2017-03-01

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

  13. Modeling of biological clogging in unsaturated porous media.

    PubMed

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

    2009-04-15

    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.

  14. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  16. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2008-01-01

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

  18. The Soil Foam Drainage Equation - an alternative model for unsaturated flow in porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Assouline, Shmuel; Lehmann, Peter; Hoogland, Frouke; Or, Dani

    2017-04-01

    The analogy between the geometry and dynamics of wet foam drainage and gravity drainage of unsaturated porous media expands modeling capabilities for capillary flows and supplements the standard Richards equation representation. The governing equation for draining foam (or a soil variant termed the soil foam drainage equation - SFDE) obviates the need for macroscopic unsaturated hydraulic conductivity function by an explicit account of diminishing flow pathway sizes as the medium gradually drains. Potential advantages of the proposed drainage foam formalism include direct description of transient flow without requiring constitutive functions; evolution of capillary cross sections that provides consistent description of self-regulating internal fluxes (e.g., towards field capacity); and a more intuitive geometrical picture of capillary flow across textural boundaries. We will present new and simple analytical expressions for drainage rates and volumes from unsaturated porous media subjected to different boundary conditions that are in good agreement with the numerical solution of the SFDE and experimental results. The foam drainage methodology expands the range of tools available for describing and quantifying unsaturated flows and provides geometrically tractable links between evolution of liquid configuration and flow dynamics in unsaturated porous media. The resulting geometrical representation of capillary drainage could improve understanding of colloid and pathogen transport. The explicit geometrical interpretation of flow pathways underlying the hydraulic functions used by the Richards equation offers new insights that benefit both approaches.

  19. Monitoring and physical characterization of unsaturated zone transport. Laboratory analysis

    SciTech Connect

    Gee, G.W.; Campbell, A.C.

    1980-03-01

    Batch Kd screening tests on Hanford sediments indicated that anionic radionuclide mobility is dependent upon specie and concentration. Technetium, as TcO/sub 4//sup -/, is not sorbed to any extent and will move as rapidly as water. Iodine, as I/sup -/, will also move at high concentrations (>5 ppB) but is retarded at very low concentrations (<1 ppB). Neutral species such as tritium and complexed nuclides such as cobalt-60 (EDTA) are only slightly retarded while uncomplexed cobalt-60 is strongly bound to the sediments under the conditions studied. Strontium sorption is controlled by ion exchange-like reactions and sorption is predictable from a knowledge of soil and solution characteristics. Cesium is strongly bound to the Hanford sediments under typical conditions and appears to be sorbed independent of salt concentration for the synthetic ground waters tested. The sorption of relatively mobile nuclides such as tritium, cobalt-EDTA, and technetium could be measured with greater precision using the unsaturated column tests than with batch methods. Little or no difference in sorption was observed when the flow rates were changed by more than an order of magnitude (2 to 50 cm/day). Changes in saturation percentage of the soil, from 56 to 31%, also had only a minor effect on nuclide sorption. For layered sediments, the effective sorption of a layered sequence is controlled by the sorption characteristics of the most sorbing layer.

  20. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2015-01-01

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

  2. Performance assessment model development and analysis of radionuclide transport in the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

    PubMed

    Robinson, Bruce A; Li, Chunhong; Ho, Clifford K

    2003-01-01

    This paper describes the development and use of a particle-tracking model to perform radionuclide-transport simulations in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The goal of the effort was to produce a computational model that can be coupled to the project's calibrated 3D site-scale flow model so that the results of that effort could be incorporated directly into the Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA) analyses. The transport model simulates multiple species (typically 20 or more) with complex time-varying and spatially varying releases from the potential repository. Water-table rise, climate-change scenarios, and decay chains are additional features of the model. A cell-based particle-tracking method was employed that includes a dual-permeability formulation, advection, longitudinal dispersion, matrix diffusion, and colloid-facilitated transport. This paper examines the transport behavior of several key radionuclides through the unsaturated zone using the calibrated 3D unsaturated flow fields. Computational results illustrate the relative importance of fracture flow, matrix diffusion, and lateral diversion on the distribution of travel times from the simulated repository to the water table for various climatic conditions. Results also indicate rapid transport through fractures for a portion of the released mass. Further refinement of the model will address several issues, including conservatism in the transport model, the assignment of parameters in the flow and transport models, and the underlying assumptions used to support the conceptual models of flow and transport in the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain.

  3. 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

  4. 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. 

  5. The effect of NAPL on the electrical properties of unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schwartz, N.; Huisman, J. A.; Furman, A.

    2012-03-01

    The spectral induced polarization signature of porous media contaminated with non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) was studied. Using an accurate measurement system, the complex electrical conductivity of unsaturated porous media contaminated with either diesel fuel or motor oil at a constant water saturation was determined. Counter intuitively, the results show that replacing air with NAPL increases the real part of the complex conductivity of unsaturated porous media. We interpret the results in terms of electrochemical polarization, and suggest that polar compounds contained in the NAPL adsorb to the mineral surface leading to release of inorganic ions to the pore water, which affects both the fluid and surface conductivity. In addition, we observed a decrease in the polarization followed by further addition of NAPL, which we relate to a lower mobility of the adsorbed polar compound. This study allows a better understanding of the electrical signature of NAPL contaminated porous media, especially in variably saturated conditions.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mudarra, M.; Andreo, B.

    2011-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-04-05

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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. The Importance of Simulating Unsaturated Zone Flow in the Humid Climate of the Trout Lake Basin, Northern Wisconsin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-12-01

    Recharge is the most important source of water to groundwater systems, but is often not well quantified. Uncertainty is especially acute with respect to transient recharge. Recently, USGS researchers have been working toward adding unsaturated-zone processes to MODFLOW. A one-dimensional, kinematic wave approach is used that maintains conservation of mass in a homogeneous unsaturated zone but does not consider flow due to capillary forces (UZF package - Niswonger et al. 2006). This code was applied to the sandy sediments of the Trout Lake watershed in northern Wisconsin, where an existing transient simulation was used to evaluate the importance of unsaturated-zone flow. The model has 30 lakes simulated with the lake (LAK) and stream flow routing (SFR) packages, and consists of four layers with a total of 220800 cells. Time was discretized into monthly stress periods, and total length of the simulation was ten years. The evaluation consisted of a comparison of two cases: 1) the standard approach of adding infiltration directly to the water table using the recharge package (RCH) for MODFLOW; and 2) adding the same infiltration below the root zone and subsequently routing it through the unsaturated zone using the UZF package for MODFLOW. Results show that in areas with thin (<2 m) unsaturated zones, little difference in timing of recharge was observed between methods but saturation excess did occur with the UZF package; thus, it appears that in this basin, a standard RCH package approach was adding more water to the water table than would be expected given the soils present in the watershed. In areas with thicker unsaturated zones (>10 m), the recharge pulse was more diffuse when routed through the unsaturated zone, and coalescing wetting fronts occurred that represented spring snowmelt infiltration overtaking and combining with infiltration from the previous fall. Thus, in thicker unsaturated zones, the volume of water infiltrated was properly simulated using the

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Parametric analysis of a TOUGH2 model for the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain

    SciTech Connect

    Xiang, Y.; Mishra, S.; Dunlap, B.

    1995-03-01

    Yucca Mountain in Nevada is currently being investigated for suitability as a potential site for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. As the most important natural barrier against radionuclide migration to the accessible environment, the unsaturated zone at Yucca mountain is a key constituent in assessing the ambient geohydrology. A three-dimensional site-scale TOUGH2 model of the unsaturated zone is currently under development by Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) consists of six hydrogeologic units - TCw (Tiva Canyon welded), PTn (Paintbrush nonwelded), TSw (Topopah Spring welded), TSv (Topopah Spring welded-vitrophyre), CHnz (Calico Hills nonwelded-vitric), and CHnz (Calico Hills nonwelded-zeolitic), which are further subdivided into seventeen layers to represent additional lithologic detail. Based on the work of Klavetter and Peters, the fractured units TCw and TSw are treated as equivalent continua with specified threshold saturation for triggering fracture flow.

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-05-15

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. Enhanced Attenuation of Unsaturated Chlorinated Solvent Source Zones using Direct Hydrogen Delivery

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2013-01-01

    inexpensive electron donor for scavenging oxygen (i.e., naturally-occurring aerobic bacteria will use the propane to remove oxygen). Hydrogen is used as...the electron donor for dechlorinating bacteria to stimulate biodegradation of chlorinated organic compounds, forming innocuous daughter products such... bacteria , 21 mg of perchloroethene (PCE) can be completely converted to ethene. In the unsaturated zone, the H2T process relies on a gas injection

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2017-04-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Microbial Perchlorate Reduction in the Unsaturated Zone of an Israeli Mars Analog Site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coleman, M. L.; Gal, H.; Ronen, Z.; Weisbrod, N.

    2010-12-01

    The identification of perchlorate on Mars by the Phoenix mission (Hecht et al. 2009 Science vol 325, 64) encouraged those who favored the Atacama Desert as an analog. However, in the Atacama, nitrate predominates wherever perchlorate is found and the extreme aridity is unlike the Phoenix landing site, where there is ice. In Israel, the site of a former ammonium perchlorate factory was investigated because of environmental concerns about perchlorate in both groundwater and the unsaturated zone but it is also a valuable Mars analog. The unsaturated zone comprises 40 m of sands with sandy clay and clay-rich layers in which bacteria with perchlorate reducing capability had been detected. Microbial perchlorate reduction occurs under anaerobic conditions, not those expected in the unsaturated zone, and the process needs water and an electron donor (e.g. trace organic matter). Chlorine stable isotope analyses quantitatively characterize both partially reduced perchlorate and the resultant chloride product. Our analyses show varying extents of perchlorate reduction in the unsaturated zone, up to 10%, but not correlated with depth, clay content, or water content. We assume that the reduction is occurring in microenvironments in a generally aerobic system but the precise source of the electron donor is still enigmatic; organic coatings on clays would be one possibility. This site, despite having been modified by human activity, is a valuable analog for possible microbial processes on Mars. The microbial activity has given another example of the persistence of life in an extreme environment where nutrients are extremely limited. Although not analogous in terms of Mars temperatures, this site offers the potential for new understanding of life processes (and new challenges for Mars exploration).

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Interfacial Soil Chemistry of Radionuclides in the Unsaturated Zone

    SciTech Connect

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

    2002-06-01

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

  9. Interfacial Soil Chemistry of Radionuclides in the Unsaturated Zone

    SciTech Connect

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

    2003-06-01

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  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. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1996-01-01

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

  18. The Importance of Plant Growth and Unsaturated Zone Mixing for Modeling Stable Water Isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Knighton, J.; Saia, S. M.; Morris, C. K.; Walter, M. T.

    2016-12-01

    Simulation of naturally occurring stable water isotopes (e.g. δ18O and δ2H) has allowed watershed engineers to make inferences on hydrologic model calibration, precipitation patterns, flow pathways, watershed mixing, and watershed transit times. We propose that several ecohydrologic concepts can be incorporated into these models to improve simulation of watershed fractionation. We modify the existing hydrologic model JoFlo to track stable water isotopes for an infiltration excess watershed in Pennsylvania, USA. We demonstrate that incorporation of unsaturated zone mixing is an important consideration for proper simulation of groundwater and streamflow isotopic composition. We next demonstrate that proper partitioning of evaporation and transpiration is critical to proper representation of the isotopic signature of water held in the unsaturated zone, plant xylem, and evaporated water. Though stable water isotopes provide hydrologists with additional information, the use of these data is improved greatly when we incorporate ecohydrologic concepts such as plant growth, evapotranspiration partitioning, and unsaturated zone mixing to properly simulate the dynamics and seasonality of δ18O throughout the hydrologic cycle.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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...

  2. 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...

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2004-01-01

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

  4. Transport of dissolved gases through unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maryshev, B. S.

    2017-06-01

    The natural porous media (e.g. soil, sand, peat etc.) usually are partially saturated by groundwater. The saturation of soil depends on hydrostatic pressure which is linearly increased with depth. Often some gases (e.g. nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, methane etc.) are dissolved into the groundwater. The solubility of gases is very small because of that two assumptions is applied: I. The concentration of gas is equal to solubility, II. Solubility depends only on pressure (for isothermal systems). In this way some part of dissolved gas transfers from the solution to the bubble phase. The gas bubbles are immovably trapped in a porous matrix by surface-tension forces and the dominant mechanism of transport of gas mass becomes the diffusion of gas molecules through the liquid. If the value of water content is small then the transport of gas becomes slow and gas accumulates into bubble phase. The presence of bubble phase additionally decreases the water content and slows down the transport. As result the significant mass of gas should be accumulated into the massif of porous media. We derive the transport equations and find the solution which is demonstrated the accumulation of gases. The influence of saturation, porosity and filtration velocity to accumulation process is investigated and discussed.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2003-01-01

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

  6. Application of unsaturated zone hydrology at waste rock facilities: Design of soil covers and prediction of seepage

    SciTech Connect

    Swanson, D.A.; O'Kane, M.

    1999-07-01

    The design of soil covers and the prediction of seepage for waste rock facilities are important components of permitting and closure at mines situated in arid climates. This design and prediction require an understanding and application of unsaturated zone hydrology, which, in many respects in counter-intuitive compared to the saturated conditions that are predominant in groundwater hydrology. For example, water under saturated conditions prefers to flow through course textured materials, whereas, under unsaturated conditions, water may prefer to flow through finer textured materials. To ensure accurate and defensible soil cover design and seepage prediction for waste rock facilities, methods must be employed using conceptual models based on unsaturated zone hydrology.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-05

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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Biogenic Volatile Organic Compounds as Indicators of Change in a Deep Arid Unsaturated Zone, Amargosa Desert, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Green, C. T.; Baker, R. J.; Luo, W.; Andraski, B. J.; Haase, K.; Stonestrom, D. A.

    2016-12-01

    Biogenic volatile organic compounds (bVOCs) are important agents in atmospheric chemistry, climatic forcing, plant physiology, and ecologic signaling. Despite a marked increase in scientific attention to bVOCs since the 1990s, relatively little is known about bVOC dynamics in soils and virtually nothing is known about bVOCs in deep unsaturated zones. The goal of this study was to systematically explore subsurface bVOCs through characterization and analysis of deep unsaturated zone VOCs in an arid setting. A wide range of VOCs have been sampled from the unsaturated zone at the Amargosa Desert Research Site (ADRS) at least annually for over a decade in the vicinity of a hazardous waste repository in southwestern Nevada. Grid- and transect-based soil gas samples were collected at shallow (0.5-m and 1.5-m) depths, and vertical arrays of samples were collected from three unsaturated zone boreholes ( 10m intervals from 0 to 110 m below ground surface), one of which is in an undisturbed area 3000 m from the waste repository. The VOC data were analyzed to identify bVOCs and processes related to bVOC transport in the deep unsaturated zone. Locally generated bVOCs were identified on the basis of (1) frequency of detections at the remote borehole location, (2) patterns of distribution in shallow unsaturated zone samples around the waste repository, (3) comparisons with atmospheric concentrations, and (4) comparisons with travel blank samples. Several dozen compounds met the criteria to be characterized as bVOCs. The relatively abundant compound m,p-xylene was selected as a tracer for subsequent modeling analysis of vertical and horizontal transport processes in the unsaturated zone. Targeted processes comprised (1) changes in vertical bVOC profiles as a result of ecological shifts, and (2) predominantly horizontal transport of unsaturated-zone gases following installation of the low level nuclear waste repository at the ADRS. To the best of our knowledge the results document

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. Nuclear-waste isolation in the unsaturated zone of arid regions

    SciTech Connect

    Wollenberg, H.A.; Wang, J.S.Y.; Korbin, G.

    1982-05-01

    The vadose zone in arid regions is considered as a possible environment for geologic isolation of nuclear waste. There are several topographic and lithologic combinations in the vadose zone of arid regions that may lend themselves to waste isolation considerations. In some cases, topographic highs such as mesas and interbasin ranges - comprised of several rock types, may contain essentially dry or partially saturated conditions favorable for isolation. The adjacent basins, especially in the far western and southwestern US, may have no surface or subsurface hydrologic connections with systems ultimately leading to the ocean. Some rock types may have the favorable characteristics of very low permeability and contain appropriate minerals for the strong chemical retardation of radionuclides. Environments exhibiting these hydrologic and geochemical attributes are the areas underlain by tuffaceous rocks, relatively common in the Basin and Range geomorphic province. Adjacent valley areas, where tuffaceous debris makes up a significant component of valley fill alluvium, may also contain thick zones of unsaturated material, and as such also lend themselves to strong consideration as respository environments. This paper summarizes the aspects of nuclear waste isolation in unsaturated regimes in alluvial-filled valleys and tuffaceous rocks of the Basin and Range province.

  19. A model for flow in the chalk unsaturated zone incorporating progressive weathering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-02-01

    SummaryGroundwater from unconfined chalk aquifers constitutes a major water resource in the UK. The unsaturated zone in such systems plays a crucial role in the hydrological cycle, determining the timing and magnitude of recharge, and the transport and fate of nutrients. However, despite more than three decades of study, our physical understanding of this system is incomplete. In this research, state of the art instrumentation provided high temporal resolution readings of soil moisture status, rainfall and actual evaporation from two sites in the Pang and Lambourn catchments (Berkshire, UK), for a continuous two year period (2004/5). A parsimonious, physically based model for the flow of water through the chalk unsaturated zone, including a novel representation of the soil and weathered chalk layers, was developed. The parameters were identified by inverse modelling using field measurements of water content and matric potential. The model was driven by rainfall and evaporation data, and simulated fluxes throughout the profile (including the discrete matrix and fracture components), down to the water table (but not the water table response). Results showed that the model was able to reproduce closely the observed changes in soil moisture status. Recharge was predominantly through the matrix, and the recharge response was strongly attenuated with depth. However, the activation of fast recharge pathways through fractures in the chalk unsaturated zone was highly sensitive to rainfall intensity. Relatively modest increases in rainfall led to dramatically different recharge patterns, with potentially important implications for groundwater flooding. The development and migration of zero flux planes with time and depth were simulated. The simulations also provided strong evidence that, for water table depths greater than 5 m, recharge fluxes persist throughout the entire year, even during drought conditions, with important implications for the calculation of specific yield

  20. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-10-01

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

  2. A set of constitutive relationships accounting for residual NAPL in the unsaturated zone.

    PubMed

    Wipfler, E L; van der Zee, S E

    2001-07-01

    Although laboratory experiments show that non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) is retained in the unsaturated zone, no existing multiphase flow model has been developed to account for residual NAPL after NAPL drainage in the unsaturated zone. We developed a static constitutive set of saturation-capillary pressure relationships for water, NAPL and air that accounts for both this residual NAPL and entrapped NAPL. The set of constitutive relationships is formulated similarly to the set of scaled relationships that is frequently applied in continuum models. The new set consists of three fluid-phase systems: a three-phase system and a two-phase system, that both comply with the original constitutive model, and a newly introduced residual NAPL system. The new system can be added relatively easily to the original two- and three-phase systems. Entrapment is included in the model. The constitutive relationships of the non-drainable residual NAPL system are based on qualitative fluid behavior derived from a pore scale model. The pore scale model reveals that the amount of residual NAPL depends on the spreading coefficient and the water saturation. Furthermore, residual NAPL is history-dependent. At the continuum scale, a critical NAPL pressure head defines the transition from free, mobile NAPL to residual NAPL. Although the Pc-S relationships for water and total liquid are not independent in case of residual NAPL, two two-phase Pc-S relations can represent a three-phase residual system of Pc-S relations. A newly introduced parameter, referred to as the residual oil pressure head, reflects the mutual dependency of water and oil. Example calculations show consistent behavior of the constitutive model. Entrapment and retention in the unsaturated zone cooperate to retain NAPL. Moreover, the results of our constitutive model are in agreement with experimental observations.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1992-12-31

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Baehr, Arthur L.; Baker, Ronald J.

    1995-01-01

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. A study on quantitative estimation method of groundwater contamination vulnerability in unsaturated zones, Southeastern Korea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ryu, J. O.; Choi, J. J.; Kim, M. G.; Nho, J. G.; Choo, C. O.; Jeong, G. C.

    2016-12-01

    We performed a hydrogeological analysis for better understanding integrated surface-groundwater in unsaturated zones and landfills as a preliminary approach because there is still an urgent need for desirable implementation of the groundwater protection policy of the country. For this study, the characterization of groundwater flow in unsaturated zones composed of soil and landfill in Yangsan, southeastern Korea was made using HYDRUS-1D code that incorporates simulation tools for water flow and complex solutes. For comparison of the permissibility data obtained in the field, one test-bed was constructed in Andong, middle eastern Korea. It is noteworthy to mention that Yangsan is famous for its unique geological position because it is located between alluvium and a river called Yangsancheon along Yangsan fault that is the largest one among major faults in southeastern Korea. Underground layers in alluvium identified by drilling are composed of landfill (8 m depth), silt and sand (22 m depth), regolith (26 m) and weathered zone (30 m depth) from the top. Pressure heads showed significant fluctuation at depths of 20 25 m and water content showed sufficient water content in landfills. Hydraulic conductivity and hydraulic capacity were variable at 23 m depth. Water flux greatly decreased at the zones of silt, sand and regolith while it increased at the weathered zone. In summary, water content increased with decreasing hydraulic conductivity. It is evident that the water level increased during the rainy seasons, which is interpreted to be affected by rainfall. It can be concluded that the study area is characterized by high hydraulic conductivity because its hydrogeological data represent the unique properties typical of gravel or coarse sand areas. Hydraulic conductivity measured by a time lag of the peak point at the test-bed showed 10-3 10-4 cm/sec, corresponding to the data obtained by HYDRUS-1D. This study was supported by the project 2015000530003, GAIA program of

  12. 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. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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)

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

    SciTech Connect

    Yang, I.C.

    1997-12-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1984-01-01

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

  19. Pore-Scale Transport of Strontium During Dynamic Water Content Changes in the Unsaturated Zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weaver, W.; Kibbey, T. C. G.; Papelis, C.

    2016-12-01

    Dynamic water content changes in the unsaturated zone caused by natural and manmade processes, such as evaporation, rainfall, and irrigation, have an effect on contaminant mobility. In general, in the unsaturated zone, evaporation causes an increase in contaminant concentrations, potentially leading to sorption of contaminants on aquifer materials or precipitation of crystalline or amorphous phases. On the other hand, increase of water content may result in dissolution of precipitated phases and increased mobility of contaminants. The objective of this study was to develop a quantitative model for the transport of strontium through sand under dynamic water content conditions, as a function of strontium concentration, pH, and ionic strength. Strontium was selected as a surrogate for strontium-90, a by-product of nuclear reactions. The dynamic water content was determined using an automated device for rapidly measuring the hysteretic capillary pressure—saturation relationship, followed by ambient air evaporation, and gravimetric water content measurement. Strontium concentrations were measured using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Flow interruption experiments were conducted to determine whether equilibrium conditions existed for a given flowrate. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to visualize the treated quartz sand particles and the distribution of strontium on sand grains was determined using elemental maps created by energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDX). Strontium behavior appears to be pH dependent as well as ionic strength dependent under these conditions.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  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. 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.

  10. Application of TOUGH to hydrologic problems related to the unsaturated zone site investigation at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

    SciTech Connect

    Kwicklis, E.M.; Healy, R.W.; Bodvarsson, G.S.

    1995-03-01

    To date, TOUGH and TOUGH2 have been the principal codes used by the U.S. Geological Survey in their investigation of the hydrology of the unsaturated zone at Yucca Mountain. Examples of some applications of the TOUGH and TOUGH2 codes to flow and transport problems related to the Yucca Mountain site investigation are presented, and the slight modifications made to the codes to implement them are discussed. These examples include: (1) The use of TOUGH in a simple fracture network model, with a discussion of an approach to calculate directional relative permeabilities at computational cells located at fracture intersections. These simulations illustrated that, under unsaturated conditions, the locations of dominant pathways for flow through fracture networks are sensitive to imposed boundary conditions; (2) The application of TOUGH to investigate the possible hydrothermal effects of waste-generated heat at Yucca Mountain using a dual-porosity, dual-permeability treatment to better characterize fracture-matrix interactions. Associated modifications to TOUGH for this application included implementation of a lookup table that can express relative permeabilities parallel and transverse to the fracture plane independently. These simulations support the continued use of an effective media approach in analyses of the hydrologic effects of waste-generated heat; and (3) An investigation of flow and tracer movement beneath a wash at Yucca Mountain in which a particle tracker was used as a post-processor. As part of this study, TOUGH2 was modified to calculate and output the x-,y- and z- sequence of tuffs overlying the potential repository site will result in the formation of capillary barriers that locally promote considerable lateral flow, thereby significantly decreasing the magnitude of fluxes form peak values at the ground surface and delaying the arrival of surface-derived moisture at the potential repository horizon.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moench, Allen F.

    2008-06-01

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

  12. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2001-12-01

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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. 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.

  2. Parallel computing simulation of fluid flow in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

    PubMed

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

    2003-01-01

    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-1-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 1-million-cell models produce better resolution results and reveal some flow patterns that cannot be obtained using coarse-grid modeling models.

  3. 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.

  4. 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).

  5. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2005-01-01

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

  7. Characterization of flow and transport processes within the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, under current and future climates.

    PubMed

    Wu, Yu-Shu; Pan, Lehua; Zhang, W; Bodvarsson, G S

    2002-02-01

    This paper presents a large-scale modeling study characterizing fluid flow and tracer transport in the unsaturated zone of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, a potential repository site for storing high-level radioactive waste. The study has been conducted using a three-dimensional numerical model, which incorporates a wide variety of field data and takes into account the coupled processes of flow and transport in the highly heterogeneous, unsaturated fractured porous rock. The modeling approach is based on a dual-continuum formulation of coupled multiphase fluid and tracer transport through fractured porous rock. Various scenarios of current and future climate conditions and their effects on the unsaturated zone are evaluated to aid in the assessment of the proposed repository's system performance using different conceptual models. These models are calibrated against field-measured data. Model-predicted flow and transport processes under current and future climates are discussed.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Jones, S B; Or, D

    1999-04-01

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

  11. 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

  12. 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

    2017-05-01

    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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

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

  17. 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).

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

    SciTech Connect

    Robert K. Podgorney

    2006-05-01

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

  19. 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1998-12-31

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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)

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2003-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2003-01-01

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

  8. Modeling in nuclear waste isolation: Approximate solutions for flow in unsaturated porous media

    SciTech Connect

    Martinez, M.J.; McTigue, D.F.

    1996-12-31

    Mathematical modeling plays a key role in the design and licensing of repositories for radioactive waste. Because safe isolation of nuclear waste involves extremely long time scales, and there exists very little engineering experience upon which to draw, modeling takes on a particularly crucial role. An example of a model problem motivated by hydrological issues in high-level waste isolation is presented. A repository concept involving storage in rock above the water table requires models for the flow of groundwater in unsaturated, porous media. Such flow is governed by an extremely nonlinear diffusion equation, and poses some difficult numerical challenges. A special form of the hydraulic conductivity function however, results in a linear field equation for steady-state problems, for which a boundary integral method yields very fast solutions.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2003-12-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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)

  15. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2007-12-01

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

  17. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Genuchten, M. T.

    2006-12-01

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

  19. Modeling Raw Sewage Leakage and Transport in the Unsaturated Zone of Carbonate Aquifer Using Carbamazepine as an Indicator

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yakirevich, A.; Kuznetsov, M.; Livshitz, Y.; Gasser, G.; Pankratov, I.; Lev, O.; Adar, E.; Dvory, N. Z.

    2016-12-01

    Fast contamination of groundwater in karstic aquifers can be caused due to leaky sewers, for example, or overflow from sewer networks. When flowing through a karst system, wastewater has the potential to reach the aquifer in a relatively short time. The Western Mountain Aquifer (Yarkon-Taninim) of Israel is one of the country's major water resources. During late winter 2013, maintenance actions were performed on a central sewage pipe that caused raw sewage to leak into the creek located in the study area. The subsequent infiltration of sewage through the thick ( 100 m) fractured/karst unsaturated zone led to a sharp increase in contaminant concentrations in the groundwater, which was monitored in a well located 29 meters from the center of the creek. Carbamazepine (CBZ) was used as an indicator for the presence of untreated raw sewage and its quantification in groundwater. The ultimate research goal was to develop a mathematical model for quantifying flow and contaminant transport processes in the fractured-porous unsaturated zone and karstified groundwater system. A quasi-3D dual permeability numerical model, representing the 'vadose zone - aquifer' system, was developed by a series of 1D equations solved in variably-saturated zone and by 3D-saturated flow and transport equation in groundwater. The 1D and 3D equations were coupled at the moving phreatic surface. The model was calibrated and applied to a simulated water flow scenario and CBZ transport during and after the observed sewage leakage event. The results of simulation showed that after the leakage stopped, significant amounts of CBZ were retained in the porous matrix of the unsaturated zone below the creek. Water redistribution and slow recharge during the dry summer season contributed to elevated CBZ concentrations in the groundwater in the vicinity of the creek and tens of meters downstream. The resumption of autumn rains enhanced flushing of CBZ from the unsaturated zone and led to an increase in

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1994-05-01

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

  5. 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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1993-03-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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)

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

    PubMed

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

    2003-01-01

    In this study, porewater chloride data from Yucca Mountain, NV are analyzed and modeled by three-dimensional chemical transport simulation 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 performed using the porewater 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 an insignificant effect on the distribution of simulated percolation fluxes but significantly changed the predicted distribution of simulated chloride concentrations. An analytical method was also applied to model transient chloride transport. The method was verified by three-dimensional simulation results to be capable of capturing major chemical transient behavior and trends. Effects of lateral flow in the Paintbrush nonwelded unit on percolation fluxes and chloride distribution were studied by three-dimensional 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    JOSEPH F. WHELAN AND RICHARD J. MOSCATI

    1998-01-26

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1998-12-31

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

  15. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2008-12-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2002-12-01

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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1999-01-01

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

  3. 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1999-07-01

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  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. Pore-Water Extraction from Unsaturated Porous Media: Intermediate-Scale Laboratory

    SciTech Connect

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

    2014-08-15

    As a remedial approach, vacuum-induced pore-water extraction offers the possibility of contaminant and water removal from the vadose zone, which may be beneficial in reducing the flux of vadose zone contaminants to groundwater. Vadose zone water extraction is being considered at the Hanford Site in Washington State as a means to remove technetium-99 contamination from low permeability sediments with relatively high water contents. A series of intermediate-scale laboratory experiments have been conducted to improve the fundamental understanding and limitations of the technique. Column experiments were designed to investigate the relations between imposed suctions, water saturations, and water production. Flow cell experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of high-permeability layers and near-well compaction on pore-water extraction efficiency. Results show that water extraction from unsaturated systems can be achieved in low permeability sediments, provided that the initial water saturations are relatively high. The presence of a high-permeability layer decreased the yield, and compaction near the well screen had a limited effect on overall performance. In all experiments, large pressure gradients were observed near the extraction screen. Minimum requirements for water extraction include an imposed vacuum-induced suction larger than the initial sediment capillary pressure, in combination with a fully saturated seepage-face boundary. A numerical multiphase simulator with a coupled seepage-face boundary conditions was used to simulate the experiments. Reasonable matches were obtained between measured and simulated results for both water extraction and capillary pressures, suggesting that numerical simulations may be used as a design tool for field-scale applications of pore-water extraction.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dennehy, Kevin F.; McMahon, Peter B.

    1989-01-01

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

  12. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-05-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Winograd, Isaac Judah

    1986-01-01

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

  15. 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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2004-01-01

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

  17. 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.

  18. Electromagnetic induction of foam-based nanoscale zerovalent iron (NZVI) particles to thermally enhance non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) volatilization in unsaturated porous media: Proof of concept.

    PubMed

    Srirattana, Supawan; Piaowan, Kitsanateen; Lowry, Gregory V; Phenrat, Tanapon

    2017-09-01

    Nanoscale zerovalent iron (NZVI) is a promising remediation agent for volatile organic compound (VOC) contamination in saturated sub-surfaces, but is rarely applied to the vadose zone as there are not enough water molecules in the unsaturated zone to participate in reductive dechlorination. In this study, we evaluated the possibility of using foam as a carrying vehicle to emplace NZVI in unsaturated porous media followed by the application of low frequency-electromagnetic field (LF-EMF) to enhance VOC volatilization in laboratory batch reactors. We found that the optimal condition for generating foam-based NZVI (F-NZVI) was using sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES) at a concentration of 3% (w/w) and a N2 flow rate of 500 mL/min. Also, F-NZVI could carry as much as 41.31 g/L of NZVI in the liquid phase of the foam and generate heat to raise ΔT to 77 °C in 15 min under an applied LF-EMF (150 kHz and 13 A). Under these conditions, F-NZVI together with LF-EMF enhanced trichloroethylene (TCE) volatilization from TCE-dense non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) in unsaturated sand by 39.51 ± 6.59-fold compared to reactors without LF-EMF application. This suggested that using F-NZVI together with LF-EMF could theoretically be an alternative to radio frequency heating (RFH) as it requires a much lower irradiation frequency (336-fold lower), which should result in significantly lower capital and operational costs compared to RFH. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  20. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Knappenberger, Thorsten; Aramrak, Surachet; Flury, Markus

    2015-09-01

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

  2. Fresnel zones in tapered gradient-index media.

    PubMed

    Rivas-Moscoso, José Manuel; Gómez-Reino, Carlos; Pérez, María Victoria

    2002-11-01

    The free propagation of a wave front in an inhomogeneous medium with parabolic refractive-index profile and the division of the wave front into Fresnel zones are studied. We determine the radius and the area of each zone as well as the zone contribution to the total wave at an observation point inside the medium. We find the condition that the optical path must fulfill from each zone to that point so that the disturbance due to successive zones will be in phase opposition. Once this condition is settled the concept of zone plate in gradient-index media is introduced.

  3. 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

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

    SciTech Connect

    Striegl, R.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, carbon dioxide-14 and radon-222. Concentrations of methane and carbon dioxide-14 originated at the waste, as shown by partial-pressure gradients of the gases. 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 carbon dioxide-14 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 radon-222 were measured. 26 refs., 38 figs., 10 tabs.

  5. 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)

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mirus, Benjamin B.; Nimmo, John R.

    2013-03-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Man Na Mi; Yeo, In Wook

    2013-04-01

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

  11. 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. 

  12. Land surface temperature as an indicator of the unsaturated zone thickness: A remote sensing approach in the Atacama Desert.

    PubMed

    Urqueta, Harry; Jódar, Jorge; Herrera, Christian; Wilke, Hans-G; Medina, Agustín; Urrutia, Javier; Custodio, Emilio; Rodríguez, Jazna

    2017-09-07

    Land surface temperature (LST) seems to be related to the temperature of shallow aquifers and the unsaturated zone thickness (∆Zuz). That relationship is valid when the study area fulfils certain characteristics: a) there should be no downward moisture fluxes in an unsaturated zone, b) the soil composition in terms of both, the different horizon materials and their corresponding thermal and hydraulic properties, must be as homogeneous and isotropic as possible, c) flat and regular topography, and d) steady state groundwater temperature with a spatially homogeneous temperature distribution. A night time Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) image and temperature field measurements are used to test the validity of the relationship between LST and ∆Zuz at the Pampa del Tamarugal, which is located in the Atacama Desert (Chile) and meets the above required conditions. The results indicate that there is a relation between the land surface temperature and the unsaturated zone thickness in the study area. Moreover, the field measurements of soil temperature indicate that shallow aquifers dampen both the daily and the seasonal amplitude of the temperature oscillation generated by the local climate conditions. Despite empirically observing the relationship between the LST and ∆Zuz in the study zone, such a relationship cannot be applied to directly estimate ∆Zuz using temperatures from nighttime thermal satellite images. To this end, it is necessary to consider the soil thermal properties, the soil surface roughness and the unseen water and moisture fluxes (e.g., capillarity and evaporation) that typically occur in the subsurface. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-11-15

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

  15. Soil water migration in the unsaturated zone of semiarid region in China from isotope evidence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, Yonggang; Fu, Bojie

    2017-03-01

    Soil water is an important driving force of the ecosystems, especially in the semiarid hill and gully region of the northwestern Loess Plateau in China. The mechanism of soil water migration in the reconstruction and restoration of Loess Plateau is a key scientific problem that must be solved. Isotopic tracers can provide valuable information associated with complex hydrological problems, difficult to obtain using other methods. In this study, the oxygen and hydrogen isotopes are used as tracers to investigate the migration processes of soil water in the unsaturated zone in an arid region of China's Loess Plateau. Samples of precipitation, soil water, plant xylems and plant roots are collected and analysed. The conservative elements deuterium (D) and oxygen (18O) are used as tracers to identify variable source and mixing processes. The mixing model is used to quantify the contribution of each end member and calculate mixing amounts. The results show that the isotopic composition of precipitation in the Anjiagou River basin is affected by isotopic fractionation due to evaporation. The isotopic compositions of soil waters are plotted between or near the local meteoric water lines, indicating that soil waters are recharged by precipitation. The soil water migration is dominated by piston-type flow in the study area and rarely preferential flow. Water migration exhibited a transformation pathway from precipitation to soil water to plant water. δ18O and δD are enriched in the shallow (< 20 cm depth) soil water in most soil profiles due to evaporation. The isotopic composition of xylem water is close to that of soil water at the depth of 40-60 cm. These values reflect soil water signatures associated with Caragana korshinskii Kom. uptake at the depth of 40-60 cm. Soil water from the surface soil layer (20-40 cm) comprised 6-12 % of plant xylem water, while soil water at the depth of 40-60 cm is the largest component of plant xylem water (ranging from 60 to 66

  16. Evaluating storm-scale groundwater recharge dynamics with coupled weather radar data and unsaturated zone modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nasta, P.; Gates, J. B.; Lock, N.; Houston, A. L.

    2013-12-01

    Groundwater recharge rates through the unsaturated zone emerge from complex interactions within the soil-vegetation-atmosphere system that derive from nonlinear relationships amongst atmospheric boundary conditions, plant water use and soil hydraulic properties. While it is widely recognized that hydrologic models must capture soil water dynamics in order to provide reliable recharge estimates, information on episodic recharge generation remains uncommon, and links between storm-scale weather patterns and their influence on recharge is largely unexplored. In this study, the water balance of a heterogeneous one-dimensional soil domain (3 m deep) beneath a typical rainfed corn agro-ecosystem in eastern Nebraska was numerically simulated in HYDRUS-1D for 12 years (2001-2012) on hourly time steps in order to assess the relationships between weather events and episodic recharge generation. WSR-88D weather radar reflectivity data provided both rainfall forcing data (after estimating rain rates using the z/r ratio method) and a means of storm classification on a scale from convective to stratiform using storm boundary characteristics. Individual storm event importance to cumulative recharge generation was assessed through iterative scenario modeling (773 total simulations). Annual cumulative recharge had a mean value of 9.19 cm/yr (about 12 % of cumulative rainfall) with coefficient of variation of 73%. Simulated recharge generation events occurred only in late winter and spring, with a peak in May (about 35% of total annual recharge). Recharge generation is observed primarily in late spring and early summer because of the combination of high residual soil moisture following a winter replenishment period, heavy convective storms, and low to moderate potential evapotranspiration rates. During the growing season, high rates of root water uptake cause rapid soil water depletion, and the concurrent high potential evapotranspiration and low soil moisture prevented recharge

  17. 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.

    2014-10-01

    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 two 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 numerically solving the Richards equation with the finite-element code of Hydrus-1D. The transport of deuterium was simulated with the advection-dispersion equation, and the Hydrus code was modified to allow for 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 satisfying model performances and good parameter identifiability. However, approach (b) has the

  18. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    You, Kehua; Zhan, Hongbin

    2013-02-01

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

  20. 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.

  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. Modeling unsaturated zone flow and runoff processes by integrating MODFLOW-LGR and VSF, and creating the new CFL package

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Borsia, I.; Rossetto, R.; Schifani, C.; Hill, Mary C.

    2013-01-01

    In this paper two modifications to the MODFLOW code are presented. One concerns an extension of Local Grid Refinement (LGR) to Variable Saturated Flow process (VSF) capability. This modification allows the user to solve the 3D Richards’ equation only in selected parts of the model domain. The second modification introduces a new package, named CFL (Cascading Flow), which improves the computation of overland flow when ground surface saturation is simulated using either VSF or the Unsaturated Zone Flow (UZF) package. The modeling concepts are presented and demonstrated. Programmer documentation is included in appendices.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-04-01

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Latrille, C.; Néel, M. C.

    2013-05-01

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

  8. Stochastic modeling of macrodispersion in unsaturated heterogeneous porous media. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Yeh, T.C.J.

    1995-02-01

    Spatial heterogeneity of geologic media leads to uncertainty in predicting both flow and transport in the vadose zone. In this work an efficient and flexible, combined analytical-numerical Monte Carlo approach is developed for the analysis of steady-state flow and transient transport processes in highly heterogeneous, variably saturated porous media. The approach is also used for the investigation of the validity of linear, first order analytical stochastic models. With the Monte Carlo analysis accurate estimates of the ensemble conductivity, head, velocity, and concentration mean and covariance are obtained; the statistical moments describing displacement of solute plumes, solute breakthrough at a compliance surface, and time of first exceedance of a given solute flux level are analyzed; and the cumulative probability density functions for solute flux across a compliance surface are investigated. The results of the Monte Carlo analysis show that for very heterogeneous flow fields, and particularly in anisotropic soils, the linearized, analytical predictions of soil water tension and soil moisture flux become erroneous. Analytical, linearized Lagrangian transport models also overestimate both the longitudinal and the transverse spreading of the mean solute plume in very heterogeneous soils and in dry soils. A combined analytical-numerical conditional simulation algorithm is also developed to estimate the impact of in-situ soil hydraulic measurements on reducing the uncertainty of concentration and solute flux predictions.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2001-09-01

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

  15. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  17. Assessing Sentiment In Conflict Zones Through Social Media

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2016-12-01

    the assessment of the relationship between geo-spatially anchored social media users and traditional polling methods. In response , we designed an...SENTIMENT IN CONFLICT ZONES THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA by Andrew K. Bourret Joshua D. Wines Jason M. Mendes December 2016 Thesis Advisor: T. Camber...reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 1 hour per response , including the time for reviewing instruction, searching

  18. 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

  19. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Izbicki, John A.

    2002-03-01

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

  1. Seasonal variations and cycling of nitrous oxide using nitrogen isotopes and concentrations from an unsaturated zone of a floodplain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bill, M.; Conrad, M. E.; Kolding, S.; Williams, K. H.; Tokunaga, T. K.

    2014-12-01

    Nitrous oxide (N2O) concentrations and isotope ratios of 15N to 14N of N2O in the vadose zone mainly depend on atmospheric deposition, symbiotic or non-symbiotic N2 fixation, and nitrification/denitrification processes in underlying groundwater. In an effort to quantify N2O seasonal variations, cycling and N budgets in an alluvial aquifer in western Colorado (Rifle, CO), the concentrations and nitrogen stable isotopes of N2O within the pore space of partially saturated sediments have been monitored over the 2013-2014 years. Vertically resolved profiles spanning from 0m to 3m depth were sampled at 0.5m increments at a periodicity of one month. At each of the profile locations, N2O concentrations decreased from 3m depth to the surface. The maximum concentrations were observed at the interface between the unsaturated zone and groundwater, with minimum values observed in the near surface samples. The d15N values tend to increase from the unsaturated zone/groundwater interface to the surface. Both variation of N2O concentrations and d15N values suggest that denitrification is the main contribution to N2O production and both parameters exhibited a strong seasonal variation. The maximum concentrations (~10ppmv) were observed at the beginning of summer, during the annual maximum in water table elevation. The minimum N2O concentrations were observed in the period from January to May and coincided with low water table elevations. Additionally, nitrogen concentrations and d15N values of the shallowest sediments within the vertical profiles do not show variation, suggesting that the main source of N2O is associated with groundwater denitrification, with the shallower, partially saturated sediments acting as a sink for N2O.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-12-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-12-01

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

  7. 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

  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. 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

  10. 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1990-11-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. Generation of dense plume fingers in saturated-unsaturated homogeneous porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cremer, Clemens J. M.; Graf, Thomas

    2015-02-01

    Flow under variable-density conditions is widespread, occurring in geothermal reservoirs, at waste disposal sites or due to saltwater intrusion. The migration of dense plumes typically results in the formation of vertical plume fingers which are known to be triggered by material heterogeneity or by variations in source concentration that causes the density variation. Using a numerical groundwater model, six perturbation methods are tested under saturated and unsaturated flow conditions to mimic heterogeneity and concentration variations on the pore scale in order to realistically generate dense fingers. A laboratory-scale sand tank experiment is numerically simulated, and the perturbation methods are evaluated by comparing plume fingers obtained from the laboratory experiment with numerically simulated fingers. Dense plume fingering for saturated flow can best be reproduced with a spatially random, time-constant perturbation of the solute source. For unsaturated flow, a spatially and temporally random noise of solute concentration or a random conductivity field adequately simulate plume fingering.

  16. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2014-01-01

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

  18. 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

  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. Analysis of water movement through an unsaturated soil zone in Jeju Island, Korea using stable oxygen and hydrogen isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Kwang-Sik; Kim, Jun-Mo; Lee, Dong-Rim; Kim, Yongje; Lee, Dongho

    2007-10-01

    SummaryIn order to analyze water movement through an unsaturated soil zone in Jeju Island, Korea, temporal variations in the oxygen-18 and deuterium isotopes of precipitation and soil waters at three different depths were monitored for about one year. The stable oxygen and hydrogen isotopic compositions of the soil waters are plotted between or near the two local meteoric water lines for summer and winter precipitation indicating that the soil waters were recharged from the year-around precipitation, and evaporation was negligible even during hot summer season in the study area. Mean residence times of the soil waters were then estimated from the δ18O, δD, and deuterium excess or d-values of the precipitation and soil waters using two well-mixed or exponential models (EM) and one exponential piston-flow model (EPM). The regression results show that the combination of the exponential piston-flow model and the d-values of the precipitation and soil waters gives the most reasonable estimation of the mean residence times of the soil waters in the study area. It suggests that the deuterium excess or d-values can be used as a better parameter than the δ18O or δD values alone for estimating mean residence times of subsurface waters not only in Korea but also in other Northeast Asian countries. The estimated low moisture contents and hydraulic diffusivities of the soils at the three different depths also indicate that the boundary between the upper fine-grained soil and the lower coarse-grained soil may act as a capillary barrier, and the soil waters probably flow slowly through micropores rather than rapidly through macropores in the unsaturated soil zone.

  1. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1992-12-31

    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.

  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. 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...

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Or, D.

    2006-12-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Yunquan; Ma, Jinzhu; Guan, Huade

    2016-10-01

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

  11. 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. 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

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

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scholer, Marie; Irving, James; Holliger, Klaus

    2010-05-01

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

  16. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2001-05-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2001-05-01

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

  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. A new lumped-parameter approach to simulating flow processes in unsaturated dual-porosity media

    SciTech Connect

    Zimmerman, R.W.; Hadgu, T.; Bodvarsson, G.S.

    1995-03-01

    We have developed a new lumped-parameter dual-porosity approach to simulating unsaturated flow processes in fractured rocks. Fluid flow between the fracture network and the matrix blocks is described by a nonlinear equation that relates the imbibition rate to the local difference in liquid-phase pressure between the fractures and the matrix blocks. This equation is a generalization of the Warren-Root equation, but unlike the Warren-Root equation, is accurate in both the early and late time regimes. The fracture/matrix interflow equation has been incorporated into a computational module, compatible with the TOUGH simulator, to serve as a source/sink term for fracture elements. The new approach achieves accuracy comparable to simulations in which the matrix blocks are discretized, but typically requires an order of magnitude less computational time.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-08-08

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-04-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1989-01-01

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1987-04-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-12-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Velten, K.; Best, W.

    2000-09-01

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

  10. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-11-01

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

  12. Fate and Transformation of Nitrate in the Unsaturated Zone of Two Soil Distributed Areas in the Huaihe River Basin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, R.; Ruan, X.; Liu, C. Q.

    2016-12-01

    Unsaturated zone (UZ) is the most important passageway for nitrogen pollutants transporting from land surface to groundwater, and can be a hotspot for nitrogen transformation due to the transitional redox conditions. Study on the fate of nitrogen in UZ has significant implication for revealing the causes of groundwater nitrate pollution. In this study, we examined two types of UZs in Fluvo-aquic soil (FAS) and lime concretion black soil (LCBS) distributed areas which account for 33.57% and 13.31% of the arable land in the Huaihe River Basin, and determined the isotopic compositions (δ15N and δ18O) of nitrate in soil water extracts of both UZs to reveal the potential nitrification and denitrification processes. The similarity of measured δ18O-NO3- values in both upper UZs to the stoichiometrically calculated δ18O-NO3- value (3.4‰, according to the known nitrification pathway) confirms that the end product of nitrification process had a major contribution to the nitrate pool. Compared to those in the UZ of FAS area, the enrichment of heavy isotopes in nitrate coincided with the decrease of NO3-/Cl- molar ratios in the lower UZ of LCBS area, indicating the occurrence of denitrification therein. Further quantitative analyses showed that as high as 90% of the total nitrate was eliminated via denitrification based upon Rayleigh equation. Our results imply that groundwater in the FAS distributed areas may be more vulnerable to nitrate pollution induced by agricultural activities.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2017-03-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Or, D.; Phutane, S.

    2005-12-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Working towards a numerical solver for seismic wave propagation in unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boxberg, Marc S.; Friederich, Wolfgang

    2017-04-01

    Modeling the propagation of seismic waves in porous media gets more and more popular in the seismological community. However, it is still a challenging task in the field of computational seismology. Nevertheless, it is important to account for the fluid content of, e.g., reservoir rocks or soils, and the interaction between the fluid and the rock or between different immiscible fluids to accurately describe seismic wave propagation through such porous media. Often, numerical models are based on the elastic wave equation and some might include artificially introduced attenuation. This simplifies the computation, because it only approximates the physics behind that problem. However, the results are also simplified and could miss phenomena and lack accuracy in some applications. We present a numerical solver for wave propagation in porous media saturated by two immiscible fluids. It is based on Biot's theory of poroelasticity and accounts for macroscopic flow that occurs on the same scale as the wavelength of the seismic waves. Fluid flow is described by a Darcy type flow law and interactions between the fluids by means of capillary pressure curve models. In addition, consistent boundary conditions on interfaces between poroelastic media and elastic or acoustic media are derived from this poroelastic theory itself. The poroelastic solver is integrated into the larger software package NEXD that uses the nodal discontinuous Galerkin method to solve wave equations in 1D, 2D, and 3D on a mesh of linear (1D), triangular (2D), or tetrahedral (3D) elements. Triangular and tetrahedral elements have great advantages as soon as the model has a complex structure, like it is often the case for geologic models. We illustrate the capabilities of the codes by numerical examples. This work can be applied to various scientific questions in, e.g., exploration and monitoring of hydrocarbon or geothermal reservoirs as well as CO2 storage sites.

  3. 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

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

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2005-01-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1995-10-01

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

  6. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koh, Y.; Lee, S.; Yang, J.; Lee, K.

    2012-12-01

    An area accommodating various industrial facilities has fairly high probability of groundwater contamination with multiple chlorinated solvents such as trichloroethene (TCE), carbon tetrachloride (CT), and chloroform (CF). Source tracing of chlorinated solvents in the unsaturated zone is an essential procedure for the management and remediation of contaminated area. From the previous study on seasonal variations in hydrological stresses and spatial variations in geologic conditions on a TCE plume, the existence of residual DNAPLs at or above the water table has proved. Since TCE is one of the frequently detected VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) in groundwater, residual TCE can be detected by gas monitoring. Therefore, monitoring of temporal and spatial variations in the gas phase TCE contaminant at an industrial complex in Wonju, Korea, were used to find the residual TCE locations. As pilot tests, TCE gas samples collected in the unsaturated zone at 4 different wells were analyzed using SPME (Solid Phase MicroExtraction) fiber and Gas Chromatography (GC). The results indicated that detecting TCE in gas phase was successful from these wells and TCE analysis on gas samples, collected from the unsaturated zone, will be useful for source area characterization. However, some values were too high to doubt the accuracy of the current method, which needs a preliminary lab test with known concentrations. The modified experiment setups using packer at different depths are in process to find residual TCE locations in the unsaturated zone. Meanwhile, several PVD (polyethylene-membrane Passive Vapor Diffusion) samplers were placed under water table to detect VOCs by equilibrium between air in the vial and VOCs in pore water.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2004-05-01

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

  11. New Conceptual Model for Soil Treatment Units: Formation of Multiple Hydraulic Zones during Unsaturated Wastewater Infiltration.

    PubMed

    Geza, Mengistu; Lowe, Kathryn S; Huntzinger, Deborah N; McCray, John E

    2013-07-01

    Onsite wastewater treatment systems are commonly used in the United States to reclaim domestic wastewater. A distinct biomat forms at the infiltrative surface, causing resistance to flow and decreasing soil moisture below the biomat. To simulate these conditions, previous modeling studies have used a two-layer approach: a thin biomat layer (1-5 cm thick) and the native soil layer below the biomat. However, the effect of wastewater application extends below the biomat layer. We used numerical modeling supported by experimental data to justify a new conceptual model that includes an intermediate zone (IZ) below the biomat. The conceptual model was set up using Hydrus 2D and calibrated against soil moisture and water flux measurements. The estimated hydraulic conductivity value for the IZ was between biomat and the native soil. The IZ has important implications for wastewater treatment. When the IZ was not considered, a loading rate of 5 cm d resulted in an 8.5-cm ponding. With the IZ, the same loading rate resulted in a 9.5-cm ponding. Without the IZ, up to 3.1 cm d of wastewater could be applied without ponding; with the IZ, only up to 2.8 cm d could be applied without ponding. The IZ also plays a significant role in soil moisture distribution. Without the IZ, near-saturation conditions were observed only within the biomat, whereas near-saturation conditions extended below the biomat with the IZ. Accurate prediction of ponding is important to prevent surfacing of wastewater. The degree of water and air saturation influences pollutant treatment efficiency through residence time, volatility, and biochemical reactions.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Colloid transport in unsaturated porous media: the role of water content and ionic strength on particle straining.

    PubMed

    Torkzaban, Saeed; Bradford, Scott A; van Genuchten, Martinus Th; Walker, Sharon L

    2008-02-19

    Packed column and mathematical modeling studies were conducted to explore the influence of water saturation, pore-water ionic strength, and grain size on the transport of latex microspheres (1.1 microm) in porous media. Experiments were carried out under chemically unfavorable conditions for colloid attachment to both solid-water interfaces (SWI) and air-water interfaces (AWI) using negatively charged and hydrophilic colloids and modifying the solution chemistry with a bicarbonate buffer to pH 10. Interaction energy calculations and complementary batch experiments were conducted and demonstrated that partitioning of colloids to the SWI and AWI was insignificant across the range of the ionic strengths considered. The breakthrough curve and final deposition profile were measured in each experiment indicating colloid retention was highly dependent on the suspension ionic strength, water content, and sand grain size. In contrast to conventional filtration theory, most colloids were found deposited close to the column inlet, and hyper-exponential deposition profiles were observed. A mathematical model, accounting for time- and depth-dependent straining, produced a reasonably good fit for both the breakthrough curves and final deposition profiles. Experimental and modeling results suggest that straining--the retention of colloids in low velocity regions of porous media such as grain junctions--was the primary mechanism of colloid retention under both saturated and unsaturated conditions. The extent of stagnant regions of flow within the pore structure is enhanced with decreasing water content, leading to a greater amount of retention. Ionic strength also contributes to straining, because the number of colloids that are held in the secondary energy minimum increases with ionic strength. These weakly associated colloids are prone to be translated to stagnation regions formed at grain-grain junctions, the solid-water-air triple point, and dead-end pores and then becoming

  20. 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).

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. A physically based hydrological connectivity algorithm for describing spatial patterns of soil moisture in the unsaturated zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Jonggun; Mohanty, Binayak P.

    2017-02-01

    Hydrologic connectivity has been proposed as an important concept for understanding local processes in the context of catchment hydrology. It can be useful for characterizing the soil moisture variability in complex heterogeneous landscapes. The current land surface models (e.g., Community Land Model, CLM) could not completely account for flow path continuity and connected patterns of subsurface properties in the unsaturated zone. In this study, we developed a physically based hydrologic connectivity algorithm based on dominant physical controls (e.g., topography, soil texture, and vegetation) to better understand the spatially distributed subsurface flow and improve the parameterization of soil hydraulic properties in hydrological modeling. We investigated the effects of mixed physical controls on soil moisture spatial variability and developed hydrologic connectivity using various thresholds. The connectivity was used for identifying the soil moisture variability and applied in a distributed land surface model (CLM) for calibrating soil hydraulic properties and improving model performance for estimating spatially distributed soil moisture. The proposed concept was tested in two watersheds (Little Washita in Oklahoma and Upper South Skunk in Iowa) comparing estimated soil moisture with the airborne remote sensing data (Electronically Scanning Thinned Array Radiometer and Polarimetric Scanning Radiometer). Our finding demonstrated that the spatial variations of soil moisture could be described well using physically based hydrologic connectivity, and the land surface model performance was improved by using the calibrated (distributed) soil hydraulic parameters. In addition, we found that the calibrated soil hydraulic parameters significantly affect model outputs not only on the water cycle but also on surface energy budgets.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Density and pressure effects on the transport of gas phase chemicals in unsaturated porous media

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Altevogt, Andrew S.; Rolston, Dennis E.; Venterea, Rodney T.

    2003-03-01

    The density of gas phase contaminants may be responsible for several important transport phenomena in porous media. One-dimensional laboratory experiments were conducted to explore the transport of a dense gas (Freon-113) through an air-dry sand. Gas densities were measured and fluxes were estimated during transport through a column filled with oso-flaco sand. Significant differences in density profiles and fluxes were observed for the three primary flow directions (horizontal, vertically upward, and vertically downward) at high source densities. Estimates indicate that pressure gradients of up to 20 Pa/m measured in the first 2.5 cm of the column were possibly due to the nonequimolar diffusion of Freon and air. Simulated Freon densities from numerical models based on the standard Darcy-Fickian transport equation did not compare well against measured density data. Density profiles generated by the model differed from the data by up to 400%. Numerical simulations indicated that slip flow may be significant relative to Darcy advective flow, but the slip phenomenon did not account for the discrepancy between model simulations and data. Further research and equation development will be necessary in order to ascertain why the standard theory does not adequately describe the diffusive and advective transport processes for dense gases.

  8. A Film Depositional Model of Permeability for Mineral Reactions in Unsaturated Media.

    SciTech Connect

    Freedman, Vicky L.; Saripalli, Prasad; Bacon, Diana H.; Meyer, Philip D.

    2004-11-15

    A new modeling approach based on the biofilm models of Taylor et al. (1990, Water Resources Research, 26, 2153-2159) has been developed for modeling changes in porosity and permeability in saturated porous media and implemented in an inorganic reactive transport code. Application of the film depositional models to mineral precipitation and dissolution reactions requires that calculations of mineral films be dynamically changing as a function of time dependent reaction processes. Since calculations of film thicknesses do not consider mineral density, results show that the film porosity model does not adequately describe volumetric changes in the porous medium. These effects can be included in permeability calculations by coupling the film permeability models (Mualem and Childs and Collis-George) to a volumetric model that incorporates both mineral density and reactive surface area. Model simulations demonstrate that an important difference between the biofilm and mineral film models is in the translation of changes in mineral radii to changes in pore space. Including the effect of tortuosity on pore radii changes improves the performance of the Mualem permeability model for both precipitation and dissolution. Results from simulation of simultaneous dissolution and secondary mineral precipitation provides reasonable estimates of porosity and permeability. Moreover, a comparison of experimental and simulated data show that the model yields qualitatively reasonable results for permeability changes due to solid-aqueous phase reactions.

  9. Imaging and Measurements of Flow Phenomena and Impact of Soil Associated Constituents Through Unsaturated Porous Media in a 2D System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pales, A. R.; Li, B.; Clifford, H.; Edayilam, N.; Montgomery, D.; Dogan, M.; Tharayil, N.; Martinez, N. E.; Moysey, S. M.; Darnault, C. J. G.

    2016-12-01

    This research aims to build upon past two-dimension (2D) tank light transmission methods to quantify real-time flow in unsaturated porous media (ASTM silica sand; US Silica, Ottawa, IL, USA) and how exudates effect unstable flow patterns. A 2D tank light transmission method was created using a transparent flow through tank coupled with a random rainfall simulator; a commercial LED light and a complementary metal oxide semiconductor digital single lens reflex (CMOS DSLR) Nikon D5500 camera were used to capture the real-time flow images. The images were broken down from red-green-blue (RGB) into hue-saturation-intensity (HVI) and analyzed in Matlab to produce quantifiable data about finger formation and water saturation distribution. Contact angle and surface tension of the chemical plant exudate solutions was measured using a Kruss EasyDrop FM40Mk2 (Kruss GmbH Germany). The exudates (oxalate, citrate, tannic acid, and Suwannee River Natural Organic Matter) had an increased wettability effect compared to control rain water (0.01M NaCl). This resulted in variable finger formation and speed of finger propagation; dependent on exudate type and concentration. Water saturation along the vertical and horizontal p