Role of numerical simulation in analysis of ground-water quality problems

Science of Total Environment



The increasing public awareness and concern about the hazards of toxic chemicals contaminating aquifers has created an increased need for predictive capabilities to analyze ground-water contamination problems. Several digital models to simulate the movement and concentration of ground-water contaminants have been documented recently. Most simulate the transport and dispersion of a nonreactive solute, but some include mathematically simple reaction terms to represent decay and sorption processes. For applications to field problems, these solute-transport models impose data requirements that, in general, exceed our practical capabilities to accurately describe the field properties and stresses of the hydraulic and chemical systems. Thus, interpretations based on model analyses must recognize the significance of uncertainties in input data. Models of ground-water systems should be regarded as just one tool among many that can be used in the analysis of a ground-water quality problem. Numerical simulation can help the analyst integrate available data, evaluate conceptual models, test hypotheses pertaining to flow and quality changes, and predict system responses to alternative stresses. The models do not replace field data, but they do offer a feedback mechanism that can help to guide the design of a more effective and more efficient data-collection program.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Role of numerical simulation in analysis of ground-water quality problems
Series title Science of Total Environment
DOI 10.1016/0048-9697(81)90163-7
Volume 21
Year Published 1981
Language English
Publisher Elseiver
Contributing office(s) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 14 p.
First page 299
Last page 312