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Using chloride and chlorine-36 as soil-water tracers to estimate deep percolation at selected locations on the U.S. Department of Energy Hanford site, Washington

Open-File Report 94-514
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Abstract

Long-term average deep-percolation rates of water from precipitation on the U.S. Department of Energy Hanford Site in semiarid south-central Washington, as estimated by a chloride mass-balance method, range from 0.008 to 0.30 mm/yr (millimeters per year) at nine locations covered by a variety of fine-grain soils and vegetated with sagebrush and other deep-rooted plants plus sparse shallow-rooted grasses. Deep-percolation rates estimated using a chlorine-36 bomb-pulse method at three of the nine locations range from 2.1 to 3.4 mm/yr. Because the mass-balance method may underestimate percolation rates and the bomb-pulse method probably overestimates percolation rates, estimates by the two methods probably bracket actual rates. These estimates, as well as estimates by previous investigators who used different methods, are a small fraction of mean annual precipitation, which ranges from about 160 to 210 mm/yr at the different test locations. Estimates by the mass-balance method at four locations in an area that is vegetated only with sparse shallow-rooted grasses range from 0.39 to 2.0 mm/yr. Chlorine-36 data at one location in this area were sufficient only to determine that the upper limit of deep percolation is more than 5.1 mm/yr. Although estimates for locations in this area are larger than the estimates for locations with deep-rooted plants, they are at the lower end of the range of estimates for this area made by previous investigators.

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Using chloride and chlorine-36 as soil-water tracers to estimate deep percolation at selected locations on the U.S. Department of Energy Hanford site, Washington
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 94-514
DOI 10.3133/ofr94514
Edition -
Year Published 1995
Language ENGLISH
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey ; U.S.G.S. Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section [distributor],
Description viii, 125 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.
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