The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Vertical transport processes in unconfined aquifers

TitleVertical transport processes in unconfined aquifers
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1989
AuthorsOstendorf DW, Reckhow DA, Popielarczyk DJ
JournalJournal of Contaminant Hydrology
Start Page93
Date Published02/1989

We derive simple two-dimensional mathematical models describing the unsteady transport of conservative contaminants through an unconfined aquifer with a gently sloping aquiclude subject to advection, recharge, and vertical dispersion. The inclusion of vertical transport terms permits the proper nonreactive analysis of closed and open chemical systems, with the latter allowing dispersion of volatile constituents across the water table. These systems exhibit conservative and pseudoreactive behavior respectively when the pollution is analyzed on a depth-integrated basis, as is common in present one-dimensional models of groundwater contamination. Vertical and longitudinal chloride and total inorganic carbon observations at the well-documented Babylon, Long Island sanitary landfill plume are used to calibrate and test the analyses with a modest level of accuracy, using the vertical dispersivity as a calibration factor in this testing process. The parameter is important in the determination of reaeration rates across the water table and nutrient mixing from below in the related problem of biological transformations near the free surface.