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Modeling contamination of shallow unconfined aquifers through infiltration beds

TitleModeling contamination of shallow unconfined aquifers through infiltration beds
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1986
AuthorsOstendorf DW
JournalWater Resources Research
Start Page375
Date Published03/1986

We model the transport of a simply reactive contaminant through an infiltration bed and underlying shallow, one-dimensional, unconfined aquifer with a plane, steeply sloping bottom in the assumed absence of dispersion and downgradient dilution. The effluent discharge and ambient groundwater flow under the infiltration beds are presumed to form a vertically mixed plume marked by an appreciable radial velocity component in the near field flow region. The near field analysis routes effluent contamination as a single linear reservoir whose output forms a source plane for the one-dimensional, far field flow region downgradient of the facility; the location and width of the source plane reflect the relative strengths of ambient flow and effluent discharge. We model far field contaminant transport, using an existing method of characteristics solution with frame speeds modified by recharge, bottom slope, and linear adsorption, and concentrations reflecting first-order reaction kinetics. The near and far field models simulate transport of synthetic detergents, chloride, total nitrogen, and boron in a contaminant plume at the Otis Air Force Base sewage treatment plant in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, with reasonable accuracy.