INEEL Subregional Conceptual Model Report; Volume 1 - Summary of Existing Knowledge of Natural and Anthropogenic Influences Governing Subsurface Contaminant Transport in the INEEL Subregion of the Eastern Snake River Plain

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The National Research Council has defined a conceptual model as ''an evolving hypothesis identifying the important features, processes, and events controlling fluid flow and contaminant transport of consequence at a specific field site in the context of a recognized problem''. Presently, several subregional conceptual models are under development at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL). Additionally, facility-specific conceptual models have been described as part of INEEL environmental restoration activities. Compilation of these models is required to develop a comprehensive conceptual model that can be used to strategically plan for future groundwater research activities at the INEEL. Conceptual models ... continued below

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Wichlacz, Paul Louis & Orr, Brennan August 1, 2002.

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Description

The National Research Council has defined a conceptual model as ''an evolving hypothesis identifying the important features, processes, and events controlling fluid flow and contaminant transport of consequence at a specific field site in the context of a recognized problem''. Presently, several subregional conceptual models are under development at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL). Additionally, facility-specific conceptual models have been described as part of INEEL environmental restoration activities. Compilation of these models is required to develop a comprehensive conceptual model that can be used to strategically plan for future groundwater research activities at the INEEL. Conceptual models of groundwater flow and contaminant transport at the INEEL include the description of the geologic framework, matrix hydraulic properties, and inflows and outflows. They also include definitions of the contaminant source term and contaminant transport mechanisms. The geologic framework of the INEEL subregion is described by the geometry of the system, stratigraphic units within the system, and structural features that affect groundwater flow and contaminant transport. These elements define geohydrologic units that make up the Snake River Plain Aquifer (SRPA). The United States Geological Survey (USGS) conceptual model encompasses approximately 1,920 mi2 of the eastern Snake River Plain. The Waste Area Group (WAG)-10 model includes the USGS area and additional areas to the northeast and southeast. Both conceptual models are bounded to the northwest by the Pioneer Mountains, Lost River Range, and Lemhi Mountains. They are bounded to the southeast by groundwater flow paths determined from aquifer water-level contours. The upgradient extent of the USGS model is a water-level contour that includes the northeastern boundary of the INEEL. The WAG-10 model includes more of the Mud Lake area to utilize previous estimates of underflow into the subregion. Both conceptual models extend approximately 25 miles to the southwest of the INEEL, a distance sufficient to include known concentrations of contaminant tracers. Several hypotheses have been developed concerning the effective thickness of the SRPA at the INEEL. The USGS model has defined the effective thickness from electrical resistivity and borehole data to be as much as 2,500 ft in the eastern part of the subregion and as much as 4,000 ft in the southwestern part. The WAG-10 model has developed two alternatives using aquifer-temperature and electrical resistivity data. The ''thick'' aquifer interpretation utilizes colder temperature data and includes a northtrending zone in which the thickness exceeds 1,300 ft and with a maximum thickness of 1,700 ft. The ''thin'' aquifer interpretation minimizes aquifer thickness, with thickness ranging from 328 to 1,300 ft. Facility-specific models generally have focused efforts on the upper 250 ft of saturation. Conceptual models have utilized a stratigraphic data set to define geohydrologic units within the INEEL subregion. This data set, compiled from geophysical logs and cores from boreholes, correlates the thick, complex stack of basalt flows across the subregion. Conceptual models generally concur that the upper geohydrologic unit consists of a section of highly fractured, multiple, thin basalt flows and sedimentary interbeds. Beneath this unit is an areally extensive, thick, unfractured basalt flow that rises above the water table southwest of the INEEL. The bottom unit consists of a thick section of slightly- to moderately-altered basalt. A key objective of the DOE water-integration project at the INEEL is to coordinate development of a subregional conceptual model of groundwater flow and contaminant transport that is based on the best available understanding of geologic and hydrologic features. The first step in this process is to compile and summarize the current conceptual models of groundwater flow and contaminant transport at the INEEL that have been developed from extensive geohydrologic studies conducted during the last 50 years.

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  • Report No.: INEEL/EXT-02-00987
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-99ID-13727
  • DOI: 10.2172/911887 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 911887
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc890150

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  • August 1, 2002

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Nov. 7, 2016, 7:54 p.m.

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Wichlacz, Paul Louis & Orr, Brennan. INEEL Subregional Conceptual Model Report; Volume 1 - Summary of Existing Knowledge of Natural and Anthropogenic Influences Governing Subsurface Contaminant Transport in the INEEL Subregion of the Eastern Snake River Plain, report, August 1, 2002; [Idaho Falls, Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc890150/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.