Position-dependent concentrations of trichloroethylene and methyl-tert-butyl ether are considered for a 2.81-km section of the Aberjona River in Massachusetts, USA. This river flows through Woburn and Winchester (Massachusetts, USA), an area that is highly urbanized, has a long history of industrial activities dating to the early 1800s, and has gained national attention because of contamination from chlorinated solvent compounds in Woburn wells G and H. The river study section is in Winchester and begins approximately five stream kilometers downstream from the Woburn wells superfund site. Approximately 300 toxic release sites are documented in the watershed upstream from the terminus of the study section. The inflow to the river study section is considered one source of contamination. Other sources are the atmosphere, a tributary flow, and groundwater flows entering the river; the latter are categorized according to stream zone (1, 2, 3, etc.). Loss processes considered include outflows to groundwater and water-to-atmosphere transfer of volatile compounds. For both trichloroethylene and methyl-rerf-butyl ether, degradation is neglected over the timescale of interest. Source apportionment fractions with assigned values ??inflow, ??1, ??2, ??3, etc. are tracked by a source apportionment model. The strengths of the groundwater and tributary sources serve as fitting parameters when minimizing a reduced least squares statistic between water concentrations measured during a synoptic study in July 2001 versus predictions from the model. The model fits provide strong evidence of substantial unknown groundwater sources of trichloroethylene and methyl-tert-butyl ether amounting to tens of grams per day of trichloroethylene and methyl-tert-butyl ether in the river along the study section. Modeling in a source apportionment manner can be useful to water quality managers allocating limited resources for remediation and source control. ?? 2007 SETAC.
Additional publication details
Application of a source apportionment model in consideration of volatile organic compounds in an urban stream