Numerical simulation of solute transport in southwestern Salt Lake Valley, Utah

Technical Publication 110-D
Prepared by the United States Geological Survey in cooperation with the Utah Department of Natural Resources Division of Water Rights
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Abstract

Contaminated ground water characterized by high concentrations of dissolved solids and dissolved sulfate, and in areas, by low pH and elevated concentrations of metals, is present near public-supply wells in the southwestern Salt Lake Valley. To provide State officials and water users with information concerning the potential movement of contaminated ground water to points of withdrawal in the area, an analysis of solute transport using computer models was done by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Utah Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water  Rights, and local municipalities and water users.

A three-dimensional solute-transport model was developed and couples with an existing ground-water flow model of Salt Lake Valley to simulate the movement of dissolved sulfate in ground water in southwestern Salt Lake Valley. Development and calibration of the transport model focused mainly on sulfate movement down-gradient from the Bingham Creek Reservoirs and the South Jordan evaporation ponds east of the mouth of Bingham Canyon. Estimates of transport parameters were adjusted during a calibration simulation representing conditions during 1965-93. After calibration, the transport model was used to simulate future sulfate movement for 1994-2043.

Because of uncertainty in estimated transport-parameter values, three projection transport simulations incorporating a range of probable parameter values were done to evaluate future sulfate movement and changes in sulfate concentrations at selected public-supply wells. These projection simulations produced a possible range of computed transport rates and patterns. In general, the projection simulations indicated movement of the sulfate plume east of the Bingham Creek reservoir toward public-supply wells northeast of the reservoirs and then eastward toward the Jordan River. Ground water with high concentrations of sulfate east of the South Jordan evaporation ponds is simulated as moving west to east under the Jordan River towards public-supply wells during the final 25 years of the simulation period. An increase in sulfate concentration from 200 mg/l in 2006 to 4,100 mg/l in 2022 was the largest simulated increase at public-supply wells northeast of the reservoirs. An increase in sulfate concentration from 150 mg/l in 2024 to 340 mg/l in 2043 was the largest simulated increase at public-supply wells in the south-central Salt Lake Valley just east of the Jordan River.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Other Government Series
Title Numerical simulation of solute transport in southwestern Salt Lake Valley, Utah
Series title Technical Publication
Series number 110-D
Year Published 1996
Language English
Publisher Utah Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water Rights
Publisher location Salt Lake City, UT
Contributing office(s) Utah Water Science Center
Description vi, 44 p.
Country United States
State Utah
County Salt Lake County
Other Geospatial Salt Lake Valley
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