Screening tool to evaluate the vulnerability of down-gradient receptors to groundwater contaminants from uncapped landfills

Waste Management
By: , and 



A screening tool for quantifying levels of concern for contaminants detected in monitoring wells on or near landfills to down-gradient receptors (streams, wetlands and residential lots) was developed and evaluated. The tool uses Quick Domenico Multi-scenario (QDM), a spreadsheet implementation of Domenico-based solute transport, to estimate concentrations of contaminants reaching receptors under steady-state conditions from a constant-strength source. Unlike most other available Domenico-based model applications, QDM calculates the time for down-gradient contaminant concentrations to approach steady state and appropriate dispersivity values, and allows for up to fifty simulations on a single spreadsheet. Sensitivity of QDM solutions to critical model parameters was quantified. The screening tool uses QDM results to categorize landfills as having high, moderate and low levels of concern, based on contaminant concentrations reaching receptors relative to regulatory concentrations. The application of this tool was demonstrated by assessing levels of concern (as defined by the New Jersey Pinelands Commission) for thirty closed, uncapped landfills in the New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve, using historic water-quality data from monitoring wells on and near landfills and hydraulic parameters from regional flow models. Twelve of these landfills are categorized as having high levels of concern, indicating a need for further assessment. This tool is not a replacement for conventional numerically-based transport model or other available Domenico-based applications, but is suitable for quickly assessing the level of concern posed by a landfill or other contaminant point source before expensive and lengthy monitoring or remediation measures are taken. In addition to quantifying the level of concern using historic groundwater-monitoring data, the tool allows for archiving model scenarios and adding refinements as new data become available.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Screening tool to evaluate the vulnerability of down-gradient receptors to groundwater contaminants from uncapped landfills
Series title Waste Management
DOI 10.1016/j.wasman.2015.04.009
Volume 43
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Pergamon
Publisher location New York, NY
Contributing office(s) New Jersey Water Science Center
Description 16 p.
First page 363
Last page 375
Country United States
State New Jersey
Other Geospatial New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N