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SURFACE GEOPHYSICAL EXPLORATION - COMPENDIUM DOCUMENT

Description: This report documents the evolution of the surface geophysical exploration (SGE) program and highlights some of the most recent successes in imaging conductive targets related to past leaks within and around Hanford's tank farms. While it is noted that the SGE program consists of multiple geophysical techniques designed to (1) locate near surface infrastructure that may interfere with (2) subsurface plume mapping, the report will focus primarily on electrical resistivity acquisition and processing for plume mapping. Due to the interferences from the near surface piping network, tanks, fences, wells, etc., the results of the three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction of electrical resistivity was more representative of metal than the high ionic strength plumes. Since the first deployment, the focus of the SGE program has been to acquire and model the best electrical resistivity data that minimizes the influence of buried metal objects. Toward that goal, two significant advances have occurred: (1) using the infrastructure directly in the acquisition campaign and (2) placement of electrodes beneath the infrastructure. The direct use of infrastructure was successfully demonstrated at T farm by using wells as long electrodes (Rucker et al., 2010, 'Electrical-Resistivity Characterization of an Industrial Site Using Long Electrodes'). While the method was capable of finding targets related to past releases, a loss of vertical resolution was the trade-off. The burying of electrodes below the infrastructure helped to increase the vertical resolution, as long as a sufficient number of electrodes are available for the acquisition campaign.
Date: October 4, 2011
Creator: DF, RUCKER & DA, MYERS
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

PILOT-SCALE FIELD VALIDATION OF THE LONG ELECTRODE ELECTRICAL RESISTIVITY TOMOGRAPHY METHOD

Description: Field validation for the long electrode electrical resistivity tomography (LE-ERT) method was attempted in order to demonstrate the performance of the technique in imaging a simple buried target. The experiment was an approximately 1/17 scale mock-up of a region encompassing a buried nuclear waste tank on the Hanford site. The target of focus was constructed by manually forming a simulated plume within the vadose zone using a tank waste simulant. The LE-ERT results were compared to ERT using conventional point electrodes on the surface and buried within the survey domain. Using a pole-pole array, both point and long electrode imaging techniques identified the lateral extents of the pre-formed plume with reasonable fidelity, but the LE-ERT was handicapped in reconstructing the vertical boundaries. The pole-dipole and dipole-dipole arrays were also tested with the LE-ERT method and were shown to have the least favorable target properties, including the position of the reconstructed plume relative to the known plume and the intensity of false positive targets. The poor performance of the pole-dipole and dipole-dipole arrays was attributed to an inexhaustive and non-optimal coverage of data at key electrodes, as well as an increased noise for electrode combinations with high geometric factors. However, when comparing the model resolution matrix among the different acquisition strategies, the pole-dipole and dipole-dipole arrays using long electrodes were shown to have significantly higher average and maximum values than any pole-pole array. The model resolution describes how well the inversion model resolves the subsurface. Given the model resolution performance of the pole-dipole and dipole-dipole arrays, it may be worth investing in tools to understand the optimum subset of randomly distributed electrode pairs to produce maximum performance from the inversion model.
Date: July 14, 2011
Creator: DR, GLASER; DF, RUCKER; N, CROOK & MH, LOKE
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

DETECTION OF HISTORICAL PIPELINE LEAK PLUMES USING NON-INTRUSIVE SURFACE-BASED GEOPHYSICAL TECHNIQUES AT THE HANFORD NUCLEAR SITE WASHINGTON USA

Description: Historical records from the Department of Energy Hanford Nuclear Reservation (in eastern WA) indicate that ruptures in buried waste transfer pipelines were common between the 1940s and 1980s, which resulted in unplanned releases (UPRs) of tank: waste at numerous locations. A number of methods are commercially available for the detection of active or recent leaks, however, there are no methods available for the detection of leaks that occurred many years ago. Over the decades, leaks from the Hanford pipelines were detected by visual observation of fluid on the surface, mass balance calculations (where flow volumes were monitored), and incidental encounters with waste during excavation or drilling. Since these detection methods for historic leaks are so limited in resolution and effectiveness, it is likely that a significant number of pipeline leaks have not been detected. Therefore, a technology was needed to detect the specific location of unknown pipeline leaks so that characterization technologies can be used to identify any risks to groundwater caused by waste released into the vadose zone. A proof-of-concept electromagnetic geophysical survey was conducted at an UPR in order to image a historical leak from a waste transfer pipeline. The survey was designed to test an innovative electromagnetic geophysical technique that could be used to rapidly map the extent of historical leaks from pipelines within the Hanford Site complex. This proof-of-concept test included comprehensive testing and analysis of the transient electromagnetic method (TEM) and made use of supporting and confirmatory geophysical methods including ground penetrating radar, magnetics, and electrical resistivity characterization (ERC). The results for this initial proof-of-concept test were successful and greatly exceeded the expectations of the project team by providing excellent discrimination of soils contaminated with leaked waste despite the interference from an electrically conductive pipe.
Date: December 2, 2010
Creator: MB, SKORSKA; JB, FINK; DF, RUCKER & MT, LEVITT
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING OF LEAKS USING TIME LAPSED LONG ELECTRODE ELECTRICAL RESISTIVITY

Description: Highly industrialized areas pose significant challenges for surface based electrical resistivity characterization and monitoring due to the high degree of metallic infrastructure. The infrastructure is typically several orders of magnitude more conductive than the desired targets, preventing the geophysicist from obtaining a clear picture of the subsurface. These challenges may be minimized if steel-cased wells are used as long electrodes. We demonstrate a method of using long electrodes in a complex nuclear waste facility to monitor a simulated leak from an underground storage tank. The leak was simulated by injecting high conductivity fluid in a perforated well and the resistivity measurements were made before and after the leak test. The data were processed in four dimensions, where a regularization procedure was applied in both the time and space domains. The results showed a lowered resistivity feature develop south of the injection site. The time lapsed regularization parameter had a strong influence on the differences in inverted resistivity between the pre and post datasets, potentially making calibration of the results to specific hydrogeologic parameters difficult.
Date: November 5, 2009
Creator: DF, RUCKER; JB, FINK; MH, LOKE & DA, MYERS
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING OF LEAKS USING TIME LAPSED LONG ELECTRODE ELECTRICAL RESISTIVITY

Description: Highly industrialized areas pose challenges for surface electrical resistivity characterization due to metallic infrastructure. The infrastructure is typically more conductive than the desired targets and will mask the deeper subsurface information. These challenges may be minimized if steel-cased wells are used as long electrodes in the area near the target. We demonstrate a method of using long electrodes to electrically monitor a simulated leak from an underground storage tank with both synthetic examples and a field demonstration. The synthetic examples place a simple target of varying electrical properties beneath a very low resistivity layer. The layer is meant to replicate the effects of infrastructure. Both surface and long electrodes are tested on the synthetic domain. The leak demonstration for the field experiment is simulated by injecting a high conductivity fluid in a perforated well within the S tank farm at Hanford, and the resistivity measurements are made before and after the leak test. All data are processed in four dimensions, where a regularization procedure is applied in both the time and space domains. The synthetic test case shows that the long electrode ERM could detect relative changes in resistivity that are commensurate with the differing target properties. The surface electrodes, on the other hand, had a more difficult time matching the original target's footprint. The field results shows a lowered resistivity feature develop south of the injection site after cessation of the injections. The time lapsed regularization parameter has a strong influence on the differences in inverted resistivity between the pre and post injection datasets, but the interpretation of the target is consistent across all values of the parameter. The long electrode ERM method may provide a tool for near real-time monitoring of leaking underground storage tanks.
Date: December 16, 2009
Creator: DA, MYERS; DF, RUCKER; JB, FINK & MH, LOKE
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

AUTOMATED LEAK DETECTION OF BURIED TANKS USING GEOPHYSICAL METHODS AT THE HANFORD NUCLEAR SITE

Description: At the Hanford Nuclear Site in Washington State, the Department of Energy oversees the containment, treatment, and retrieval of liquid high-level radioactive waste. Much of the waste is stored in single-shelled tanks (SSTs) built between 1943 and 1964. Currently, the waste is being retrieved from the SSTs and transferred into newer double-shelled tanks (DSTs) for temporary storage before final treatment. Monitoring the tanks during the retrieval process is critical to identifying leaks. An electrically-based geophysics monitoring program for leak detection and monitoring (LDM) has been successfully deployed on several SSTs at the Hanford site since 2004. The monitoring program takes advantage of changes in contact resistance that will occur when conductive tank liquid leaks into the soil. During monitoring, electrical current is transmitted on a number of different electrode types (e.g., steel cased wells and surface electrodes) while voltages are measured on all other electrodes, including the tanks. Data acquisition hardware and software allow for continuous real-time monitoring of the received voltages and the leak assessment is conducted through a time-series data analysis. The specific hardware and software combination creates a highly sensitive method of leak detection, complementing existing drywell logging as a means to detect and quantify leaks. Working in an industrial environment such as the Hanford site presents many challenges for electrical monitoring: cathodic protection, grounded electrical infrastructure, lightning strikes, diurnal and seasonal temperature trends, and precipitation, all of which create a complex environment for leak detection. In this discussion we present examples of challenges and solutions to working in the tank farms of the Hanford site.
Date: March 30, 2011
Creator: S, CALENDINE; JS, SCHOFIELD; MT, LEVITT; JB, FINK & DF, RUCKER
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

SURFACE GEOPHYSICAL EXPLORATION DEVELOPING NONINVASIVE TOOLS TO MONITOR PAST LEAKS AROUND HANFORD TANK FARMS

Description: A characterization program has been developed at Hanford to image past leaks in and around the underground storage tank facilities. The program is based on electrical resistivity, a geophysical technique that maps the distribution of electrical properties of the subsurface. The method was shown to be immediately successful in open areas devoid of underground metallic infrastructure, due to the large contrast in material properties between the highly saline waste and the dry sandy host environment. The results in these areas, confirmed by a limited number of boreholes, demonstrate a tendency for the lateral extent of the underground waste plume to remain within the approximate footprint of the disposal facility. In infrastructure-rich areas, such as tank farms, the conventional application of electrical resistivity using small point-source surface electrodes initially presented a challenge for the resistivity method. The method was then adapted to directly use the buried infrastructure as electrodes for both transmission of electrical current and measurements of voltage. For example, steel-cased wells that surround the tanks were used as long electrodes, which helped to avoid much of the infrastructure problems. Overcoming the drawbacks of the long electrode method has been the focus of our work over the past seven years. The drawbacks include low vertical resolution and limited lateral coverage. The lateral coverage issue has been improved by supplementing the long electrodes with surface electrodes in areas devoid of infrastructure. The vertical resolution has been increased by developing borehole electrode arrays that can fit within the small-diameter drive casing of a direct push rig. The evolution of the program has led to some exceptional advances in the application of geophysical methods, including logistical deployment of the technology in hazardous areas, development of parallel processing resistivity inversion algorithms, and adapting the processing tools to accommodate electrodes of all shapes and locations. ...
Date: June 17, 2011
Creator: DA, MYERS; DF, RUCKER; MT, LEVITT; B, CUBBAGE; GE, NOONAN; M, MCNEILL et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department