A simulation nonlinear multiple-regression methodology for estimating parameters that characterize the transport of contaminants is developed and demonstrated. Finite difference contaminant transport simulation is combined with a nonlinear weighted least squares multiple-regression procedure. The technique provides optimal parameter estimates and gives statistics for assessing the reliability of these estimates under certain general assumptions about the distributions of the random measurement errors. Monte Carlo analysis is used to estimate parameter reliability for a hypothetical homogeneous soil column for which concentration data contain large random measurement errors. The value of data collected spatially versus data collected temporally was investigated for estimation of velocity, dispersion coefficient, effective porosity, first-order decay rate, and zero-order production. The use of spatial data gave estimates that were 2–3 times more reliable than estimates based on temporal data for all parameters except velocity. Comparison of estimated linear and nonlinear confidence intervals based upon Monte Carlo analysis showed that the linear approximation is poor for dispersion coefficient and zero-order production coefficient when data are collected over time. In addition, examples demonstrate transport parameter estimation for two real one-dimensional systems. First, the longitudinal dispersivity and effective porosity of an unsaturated soil are estimated using laboratory column data. We compare the reliability of estimates based upon data from individual laboratory experiments versus estimates based upon pooled data from several experiments. Second, the simulation nonlinear regression procedure is extended to include an additional governing equation that describes delayed storage during contaminant transport. The model is applied to analyze the trends, variability, and interrelationship of parameters in a mourtain stream in northern California.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||A statistical methodology for estimating transport parameters: Theory and applications to one-dimensional advectivec-dispersive systems|
|Series title||Water Resources Research|
|Publisher||American Geophysical Union|