Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Edward C. Heyse, PhD


Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) dissolved in the saturated zone are transported into the vadose zone primarily by gaseous phase diffusion. If the saturated zone is remediated, VOCs present in the vadose zone may become a secondary source of contamination for the groundwater. The amount of VOCs that remain in the vadose zone is dependent on site hydrology, soil properties, and the chemical properties of the contaminants. The purpose of this study was to determine what conditions caused VOC concentrations in the vadose zone to significantly recontaminate the saturated zone. A one-dimensional numerical model was developed to investigate the transport of a VOC, trichioroethylene, between the saturated and vadose zones under a variety of conditions. The model featured steady-state unsaturated water flow and transient contaminant transport Transport mechanisms included aqueous phase advection-dispersion and gaseous phase diffusion. Partitioning between the water, gas, and soil compartments were modeled as equilibrium processes. Sensitivity analyses were performed on several variables including soil type (homogeneous and heterogeneous profiles), water infiltration rate and vadose zone depth. Results indicated that recontamination was most significant rate, and vadose zone depth. Results indicated that recontamination was most significant in the presence of heterogeneous soils, low infiltration rates and deep vadose zones.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number