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J Contam Hydrol. 2002 Mar;55(1-2):113-35.

Kinetic modeling of virus transport at the field scale.

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National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Microbiological Laboratory for Health Protection, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.


Bacteriophage removal by soil passage in two field studies was re-analyzed with the goal to investigate differences between one- and two-dimensional modeling approaches, differences between one- and two-site kinetic sorption models, and the role of heterogeneities in the soil properties. The first study involved removal of bacteriophages MS2 and PRDI by dune recharge, while the second study represented removal of MS2 by deep well injection. In both studies, removal was higher during the first meters of soil passage than thereafter. The software packages HYDRUS-ID and HYDRUS-2D, which simulate water flow and solute transport in one- and two-dimensional variably saturated porous media, respectively, were used. The two codes were modified by incorporating reversible adsorption to two types of kinetic sites. Tracer concentrations were used first to calibrate flow and transport parameters of both models before analyzing transport of bacteriophages. The one-dimensional one-site model did not fully describe the tails of the measured breakthrough curves of MS2 and PRD1 from the dune recharge study. While the one-dimensional one-site model predicted a sudden decrease in virus concentrations immediately after the peaks, measured data displayed much smoother decline and tailing. The one-dimensional two-site model simulated the overall behavior of the breakthrough curves very well. The two-dimensional one-site model predicted a more gradual decrease in virus concentrations after the peaks than the one-dimensional one-site model, but not as good as the one-dimensional two-site model. The dimensionality of the problem hence can partly explain the smooth decrease in concentration after peak breakthrough. The two-dimensional two-site model provided the best results. Values for k(att2) and k(det2) could not be determined at the last two of four monitoring wells, thus suggesting that either a second type of kinetic sites is present in the first few meters of dune passage and not beyond the second monitoring well, or that effects of soil heterogeneity and dimensionality of the problem overshadowed this process. Variations between single collector efficiencies were relatively small, whereas collision efficiencies varied greatly. This implies that the nonlinear removal of MS2 and PRD1 is mainly caused by variations in interactions between grain and virus surfaces rather than by physical heterogeneity of the porous medium. Similarly, a two-site model performed better than the one-site model in describing MS2 concentrations for the deep well injection study. However, the concentration data were too sparse in this study to have much confidence in the fitted parameters.

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