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MODELING NONEQUILIBRIUM CONTAMINANT TRANSPORT PROCESSES IN SOILS AND GROUNDWATER

DOI: 10.1615/ICHMT.2009.CONV.80
20 pages

Martinus Th. van Genuchten
DEM/PEM - Politécnica/COPPE Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro, 21941-972, Brazil

Elizabeth May Pontedeiro
Radioactive Waste Division, DIREJ, Brazilian Nuclear Energy Commission, CNEN, Rua da Passagem 123, Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, 20290-030, Brazil

Renato M. Cotta
Laboratory of Nano- and Microfluidics and Microsystems, LabMEMS, Mechanical Engineering Department and Nanotechnology Engineering Dept., POLI & COPPE, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Cidade Universitária, Cx. Postal 68503, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, CEP 21945-970, Brazil; Interdisciplinary Nucleus for Social Development—NIDES/CT, UFRJ, Brazil; Mechanical Engineering Department, University College London, UCL, United Kingdom

Résumé

Accurate simulation of contaminant transport processes in the subsurface remains a major challenge in many science and engineering applications. In this paper we review a broad range of dual-porosity and dual-permeability formulations for modeling nonequilibrium or preferential fluid flow and contaminant transport in macroporous soils or fractured rock. We focus especially on transport processes in the variably-saturated vadose zone between the soil surface and the groundwater table. One effective modeling approach for flow is to use composite functions for the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity to account for the separate effects of macropores and micropores, and to combine this approach with a mobile-immobile water type nonequilibrium formulation for solute transport. Two example problems are given to illustrate the potentially important effects of preferential flow on the simulation results. One application concerns pesticide transport in a tile-drained field for which only limited data were available for model calibration. A second application involves the long-term environmental fate of a radionuclide decay chain released from a mining installation in Amazonia processing ore containing natural occurring radioactive materials.

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