In this work the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) is applied to investigate the flow and transport processes at the macro-dispersion experiment (MADE) site in Columbus, MS. The EnKF is a sequential data assimilation approach that adjusts the unknown model parameter values based on the observed data with time. The classic advection-dispersion (AD) and the dual-domain mass transfer (DDMT) models are employed to analyze the tritium plume during the second MADE tracer experiment. The hydraulic conductivity (K), longitudinal dispersivity in the AD model, and mass transfer rate coefficient and mobile porosity ratio in the DDMT model, are estimated in this investigation. Because of its sequential feature, the EnKF allows for the temporal scaling of transport parameters during the tritium concentration analysis. Inverse simulation results indicate that for the AD model to reproduce the extensive spatial spreading of the tritium observed in the field, the K in the downgradient area needs to be increased significantly. The estimated K in the AD model becomes an order of magnitude higher than the in situ flowmeter measurements over a large portion of media. On the other hand, the DDMT model gives an estimation of K that is much more comparable with the flowmeter values. In addition, the simulated concentrations by the DDMT model show a better agreement with the observed values. The root mean square (RMS) between the observed and simulated tritium plumes is 0.77 for the AD model and 0.45 for the DDMT model at 328 days. Unlike the AD model, which gives inconsistent K estimates at different times, the DDMT model is able to invert the K values that consistently reproduce the observed tritium concentrations through all times. ?? 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.