Vadose Zone Transport Field Study: Summary Report

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From FY 2000 through FY 2003, a series of vadose zone transport field experiments were conducted as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Groundwater/Vadose Zone Integration Project Science and Technology Project, now known as the Remediation and Closure Science Project, and managed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The series of experiments included two major field campaigns, one at a 299-E24-11 injection test site near PUREX and a second at a clastic dike site off Army Loop Road. The goals of these experiments were to improve our understanding of vadose zone transport processes; to develop data sets to ... continued below

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Ward, Andy L.; Conrad, Mark E.; Daily, William D.; Fink, James B.; Freedman, Vicky L.; Gee, Glendon W. et al. July 31, 2006.

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  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (U.S.)
    Publisher Info: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
    Place of Publication: Richland, Washington

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Description

From FY 2000 through FY 2003, a series of vadose zone transport field experiments were conducted as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Groundwater/Vadose Zone Integration Project Science and Technology Project, now known as the Remediation and Closure Science Project, and managed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The series of experiments included two major field campaigns, one at a 299-E24-11 injection test site near PUREX and a second at a clastic dike site off Army Loop Road. The goals of these experiments were to improve our understanding of vadose zone transport processes; to develop data sets to validate and calibrate vadose zone flow and transport models; and to identify advanced monitoring techniques useful for evaluating flow-and-transport mechanisms and delineating contaminant plumes in the vadose zone at the Hanford Site. This report summarizes the key findings from the field studies and demonstrates how data collected from these studies are being used to improve conceptual models and develop numerical models of flow and transport in Hanford’s vadose zone. Results of these tests have led to a better understanding of the vadose zone. Fine-scale geologic heterogeneities, including grain fabric and lamination, were observed to have a strong effect on the large-scale behavior of contaminant plumes, primarily through increased lateral spreading resulting from anisotropy. Conceptual models have been updated to include lateral spreading and numerical models of unsaturated flow and transport have revised accordingly. A new robust model based on the concept of a connectivity tensor was developed to describe saturation-dependent anisotropy in strongly heterogeneous soils and has been incorporated into PNNL’s Subsurface Transport Over Multiple Phases (STOMP) simulator. Application to field-scale transport problems have led to a better understanding plume behavior at a number of sites where lateral spreading may have dominated waste migration (e.g. BC Cribs and Trenches). The improved models have been also coupled with inverse models and newly-developed parameter scaling techniques to allow estimation of field-scale and effective transport parameters for the vadose zone. The development and utility of pedotransfer functions for describing fine-scale hydrogeochemical heterogeneity and for incorporating this heterogeneity into reactive transport models was explored. An approach based on grain-size statistics appears feasible and has been used to describe heterogeneity in hydraulic properties and sorption properties, such as the cation exchange capacity and the specific surface area of Hanford sediments. This work has also led to the development of inverse modeling capabilities for time-dependent, subsurface, reactive transport with transient flow fields using an automated optimization algorithm. In addition, a number of geophysical techniques investigated for their potential to provide detailed information on the subtle changes in lithology and bedding surfaces; plume delineation, leak detection. High-resolution resistivity is now being used for detecting saline plumes at several waste sites at Hanford, including tank farms. Results from the field studies and associated analysis have appeared in more than 46 publications generated over the past 4 years. These publications include test plans and status reports, in addition to numerous technical notes and peer reviewed papers.

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  • Report No.: PNNL-15443
  • Grant Number: AC05-76RL01830
  • DOI: 10.2172/889068 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 889068
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc884573

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Creation Date

  • July 31, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Dec. 2, 2016, 6:04 p.m.

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Ward, Andy L.; Conrad, Mark E.; Daily, William D.; Fink, James B.; Freedman, Vicky L.; Gee, Glendon W. et al. Vadose Zone Transport Field Study: Summary Report, report, July 31, 2006; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc884573/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.