This paper evaluates the importance of seven types of parameters to virus transport: hydraulic conductivity, porosity, dispersivity, sorption rate and distribution coefficient (representing physical-chemical filtration), and in-solution and adsorbed inactivation (representing virus inactivation). The first three parameters relate to subsurface transport in general while the last four, the sorption rate, distribution coefficient, and in-solution and adsorbed inactivation rates, represent the interaction of viruses with the porous medium and their ability to persist. The importance of four types of observations to estimate the virus-transport parameters are evaluated: hydraulic heads, flow, temporal moments of conservative-transport concentrations, and virus concentrations. The evaluations are conducted using one- and two-dimensional homogeneous simulations, designed from published field experiments, and recently developed sensitivity-analysis methods. Sensitivity to the transport-simulation time-step size is used to evaluate the importance of numerical solution difficulties. Results suggest that hydraulic conductivity, porosity, and sorption are most important to virus-transport predictions. Most observation types provide substantial information about hydraulic conductivity and porosity; only virus-concentration observations provide information about sorption and inactivation. The observations are not sufficient to estimate these important parameters uniquely. Even with all observation types, there is extreme parameter correlation between porosity and hydraulic conductivity and between the sorption rate and in-solution inactivation. Parameter estimation was accomplished by fixing values of porosity and in-solution inactivation.
Additional publication details
Parameter and observation importance in modelling virus transport in saturated porous media - Investigations in a homogenous system