Part I of this study (Rubin, H.; Buddemeier, R.W. Groundwater Contamination Downstream of a Contaminant Penetration Site Part 1: Extension-Expansion of the Contaminant Plume. J. of Environmental Science and Health Part A (in press).) addressed cases, in which a comparatively thin contaminated region represented by boundary layers (BLs) developed within the freshwater aquifer close to contaminant penetration site. However, at some distance downstream from the penetration site, the top of the contaminant plume reaches the top or bottom of the aquifer. This is the location of the "attachment point," which comprises the entrance cross section of the domain evaluated by the present part of the study. It is shown that downstream from the entrance cross section, a set of two BLs develop in the aquifer, termed inner and outer BLs. It is assumed that the evaluated domain, in which the contaminant distribution gradually becomes uniform, can be divided into two sections, designated: (a) the restructuring section, and (b) the establishment section. In the restructuring section, the vertical concentration gradient leads to expansion of the inner BL at the expense of the outer BL, and there is almost no transfer of contaminant mass between the two layers. In the establishment section, each of the BLs occupies half of the aquifer thickness, and the vertical concentration gradient leads to transfer of contaminant mass from the inner to the outer BL. By use of BL approximations, changes of salinity distribution in the aquifer are calculated and evaluated. The establishment section ends at the uniformity point, downstream from which the contaminant concentration profile is practically uniform. The length of the restructuring section, as well as that of the establishment section, is approximately proportional to the aquifer thickness squared, and is inversely proportional to the transverse dispersivity. The study provides a convenient set of definitions and terminology that are helpful in visualizing the gradual development of uniform contaminant concentration distribution in an aquifer subject to contaminant plume penetration. The method developed in this study can be applied to a variety of problems associated with groundwater quality, such as initial evaluation of field data, design of field data collection, the identification of appropriate boundary conditions for numerical models, selection of appropriate numerical modeling approaches, interpretation and evaluation of field monitoring results, etc.
Additional Publication Details
Groundwater contamination downstream of a contaminant penetration site. II. Horizontal penetration of the contaminant plume
Journal of Environmental Science and Health - Part A Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering