A compositional multiphase model for groundwater contamination by petroleum products: 2. Numerical solution

Water Resources Research
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In this paper we develop a numerical solution to equations developed in part 1 (M. Y. Corapcioglu and A. L. Baehr, this issue) to predict the fate of an immiscible organic contaminant such as gasoline in the unsaturated zone subsequent to plume establishment. This solution, obtained by using a finite difference scheme and a method of forward projection to evaluate nonlinear coefficients, provides estimates of the flux of solubilized hydrocarbon constituents to groundwater from the portion of a spill which remains trapped in a soil after routine remedial efforts to recover the product have ceased. The procedure was used to solve the one-dimensional (vertical) form of the system of nonlinear partial differential equations defining the transport for each constituent of the product. Additionally, a homogeneous, isothermal soil with constant water content was assumed. An equilibrium assumption partitions the constituents between air, water, adsorbed, and immiscible phases. Free oxygen transport in the soil was also simulated to provide an upper bound estimate of aerobic biodgradation rates. Results are presented for a hypothetical gasoline consisting of eight groups of hydrocarbon constituents. Rates at which hydrocarbon mass is removed from the soil, entering either the atmosphere or groundwater, or is biodegraded are presented. A significant sensitivity to model parameters, particularly the parameters characterizing diffusive vapor transport, was discovered. We conclude that hydrocarbon solute composition in groundwater beneath a gasoline contaminated soil would be heavily weighted toward aromatic constituents like benzene, toluene, and xylene.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A compositional multiphase model for groundwater contamination by petroleum products: 2. Numerical solution
Series title Water Resources Research
DOI 10.1029/WR023i001p00201
Volume 23
Issue 1
Year Published 1987
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 13 p.
First page 201
Last page 213
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