Simulation of the Probabilistic Plume Extent for a Potential Replacement Wastewater-Infiltration Lagoon, and Probabilistic Contributing Areas for Supply Wells for the Town of Lac du Flambeau, Vilas County, Wisconsin

Open-File Report 2020-1032
Prepared in cooperation with the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and Indian Health Service
By:  and 

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Abstract

An existing two-dimensional, steady-state groundwater-flow model of the shallow groundwater-flow system of the Lac du Flambeau Reservation in Vilas County, Wisconsin, originally developed by the U.S. Geological Survey, was used to simulate the potential for wastewater from a proposed relocation of a wastewater lagoon to contaminate the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa’s drinking-water-supply wells. This simulation was completed by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and Indian Health Service. The simulated scenarios consisted of removing wastewater infiltration from existing lagoons and re-applying that infiltration at the proposed location. Two analyses were performed for the scenarios. First, the probable extent of the plume discharging from the proposed infiltration lagoons was mapped with a Monte Carlo algorithm that used uncertainty identified during the calibration process to simulate thousands of possible outcomes. Second, the Monte Carlo method was again used to simulate a probabilistic contributing area for the Tribe’s nearby “Main Pumphouse” supply wells. The purpose of the simulations was to evaluate the potential for infiltrated wastewater to be captured by the public-supply wells.

Most features of the previously developed model remained unchanged, including calibrated parameters such as hydraulic conductivity and recharge. Thus, the same covariance distributions that were generated during calibration of the regional model (Juckem and others, 2014) remained unchanged and were used to inform the Monte Carlo simulations for the scenario simulations described in this report. The reader is encouraged to read the full report by Juckem and others (available at https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20145020) for a detailed description of the model design and calibration, as well as a description of the Monte Carlo method, its limitations, and the original results.

Results for these new scenarios indicate that the probabilistic plume extent for the proposed infiltration lagoons does not reach the Main Pumphouse wells using pumping rates and wastewater volumes estimated for 2010. Similarly, the contributing area for the Main Pumphouse wells does not capture water from within the proposed infiltration lagoon footprint. However, at higher pumping rates and wastewater volumes, as projected by the Tribe for about 2035, the contributing area for the Main Pumphouse wells do include particles that originated within the proposed lagoon footprint, albeit at low probabilities. That is, for a few of the thousands of simulations that represented a range of calibration-informed parameter covariances, some amount of infiltrated wastewater was captured by the Main Pumphouse wells under projected 2035 conditions.

Suggested Citation

Juckem, P.F., and Fienen, M.N., 2020, Simulation of the probabilistic plume extent for a potential replacement wastewater-infiltration lagoon, and probabilistic contributing areas for supply wells for the Town of Lac du Flambeau, Vilas County, Wisconsin: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020–1032, 10 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20201032.

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Simulation of the Wastewater Plume Extent from Proposed Infiltration Lagoons
  • Simulation of Areas Contributing Recharge to the Main Pumphouse Wells
  • Assumptions and Limitations
  • Summary
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Simulation of the probabilistic plume extent for a potential replacement wastewater-infiltration lagoon, and probabilistic contributing areas for supply wells for the Town of Lac du Flambeau, Vilas County, Wisconsin
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2020-1032
DOI 10.3133/ofr20201032
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Upper Midwest Water Science Center
Description Report: vi, 10 p.; Data Release
Country United States
State Wisconsin
County Vilas County
City Lac du Flambeau
Online Only (Y/N) Y
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