Date of Award
Master of Science
Department of Systems Engineering and Management
Mark N. Goltz, PhD
The ability to measure groundwater contaminant flux is increasingly being recognized as crucial in order to prioritize contaminated site cleanups, estimate the efficiency of remediation technologies, measure rates of natural attenuation, and apply proper source terms to model groundwater contaminant transport. An innovative mass flux measurement method using horizontal flow treatment wells (HFTWs) was developed recently to compensate for the disadvantages of other flux measurement methods that are being used. Flux measurement methods can be categorized as either point methods or integral methods. As the name suggests, point methods measure flux at a specific point or points in the subsurface. To increase confidence in the accuracy of the measurement, it is necessary to increase the number of points (and therefore, the cost) of the sampling network. Integral methods avoid this disadvantage by using pumping wells to interrogate large volumes of the subsurface. Unfortunately, integral methods are expensive because they require that large volumes of contaminated water be extracted and managed. HFTWs combine the advantages of each of the two approaches described above; that is, it is an integral technique that samples a large volume of the subsurface while not requiring extraction of contaminated water from the subsurface. In this study, the accuracy of the HFTW flux measurement method was quantified by applying the method in an artificial aquifer, where the flux being measured was known. Two HFTW approaches, the multi-dipole approach and the tracer test approach, were compared to each other, as well as being compared to the transect method of measuring flux, which is the conventionally used point method. Results found that the transect and HFTW tracer test approaches provided reasonably accurate measures of flux (within 50% and 44% respectively) in the artificial aquifer, while the multi-dipole approach was too sensitive to small hydraulic head measurement errors to be useful. A comparison of the costs of applying the different methods at a generic site showed that the HFTW method had significant cost advantages. This study also compared other advantages and disadvantages of the various flux measurement methods, concluding that depending on conditions at a site, one or the other method may be most advantageous for application.
Kim, Seh J., "Validation of an Innovative Groundwater Contaminant Flux Measurement Method" (2005). Theses and Dissertations. 3805.