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J Contam Hydrol. 2008 Nov 14;102(1-2):61-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jconhyd.2008.03.009. Epub 2008 Apr 9.

Dissolved plume attenuation with DNAPL source remediation, aqueous decay and volatilization--analytical solution, model calibration and prediction uncertainty.

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  • 1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-2010, USA.


A vertically-integrated analytical model for dissolved phase transport is described that considers a time-dependent DNAPL source based on the upscaled dissolution kinetics model of Parker and Park with extensions to consider time-dependent source zone biodecay, partial source mass reduction, and remediation-enhanced source dissolution kinetics. The model also considers spatial variability in aqueous plume decay, which is treated as the sum of aqueous biodecay and volatilization due to diffusive transport and barometric pumping through the unsaturated zone. The model is implemented in Excel/VBA coupled with (1) an inverse solution that utilizes prior information on model parameters and their uncertainty to condition the solution, and (2) an error analysis module that computes parameter covariances and total prediction uncertainty due to regression error and parameter uncertainty. A hypothetical case study is presented to evaluate the feasibility of calibrating the model from limited noisy field data. The results indicate that prediction uncertainty increases significantly over time following calibration, primarily due to propagation of parameter uncertainty. However, differences between the predicted performance of source zone partial mass reduction and the known true performance were reasonably small. Furthermore, a clear difference is observed between the predicted performance for the remedial action scenario versus that for a no-action scenario, which is consistent with the true system behavior. The results suggest that the model formulation can be effectively utilized to assess monitored natural attenuation and source remediation options if careful attention is given to model calibration and prediction uncertainty issues.

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