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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Jun 5;15(6). pii: E1177. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15061177.

Assessment of Groundwater Susceptibility to Non-Point Source Contaminants Using Three-Dimensional Transient Indexes.

Author information

1
Department of Engineering Mechanics, Institute of Soft Matter Mechanics, Hohai University, 1 XiKang Road, Nanjing 210098, Jiangsu, China. yzhang264@ua.edu.
2
Department of Geological Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, USA. yzhang264@ua.edu.
3
Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, MSCO3 2040, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, MN 87131, USA. weissman@unm.edu.
4
Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources, One Shields Avenue, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA. gefogg@ucdavis.edu.
5
Department of Geological Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, USA. blu5@crimson.ua.edu.
6
Department of Engineering Mechanics, Institute of Soft Matter Mechanics, Hohai University, 1 XiKang Road, Nanjing 210098, Jiangsu, China. shg@hhu.edu.cn.
7
School of Environmental Science & Engineering, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen 518055, Guangdong, China. zhengcm@sustc.edu.cn.

Abstract

Groundwater susceptibility to non-point source contamination is typically quantified by stable indexes, while groundwater quality evolution (or deterioration globally) can be a long-term process that may last for decades and exhibit strong temporal variations. This study proposes a three-dimensional (3-d), transient index map built upon physical models to characterize the complete temporal evolution of deep aquifer susceptibility. For illustration purposes, the previous travel time probability density (BTTPD) approach is extended to assess the 3-d deep groundwater susceptibility to non-point source contamination within a sequence stratigraphic framework observed in the Kings River fluvial fan (KRFF) aquifer. The BTTPD, which represents complete age distributions underlying a single groundwater sample in a regional-scale aquifer, is used as a quantitative, transient measure of aquifer susceptibility. The resultant 3-d imaging of susceptibility using the simulated BTTPDs in KRFF reveals the strong influence of regional-scale heterogeneity on susceptibility. The regional-scale incised-valley fill deposits increase the susceptibility of aquifers by enhancing rapid downward solute movement and displaying relatively narrow and young age distributions. In contrast, the regional-scale sequence-boundary paleosols within the open-fan deposits "protect" deep aquifers by slowing downward solute movement and displaying a relatively broad and old age distribution. Further comparison of the simulated susceptibility index maps to known contaminant distributions shows that these maps are generally consistent with the high concentration and quick evolution of 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP) in groundwater around the incised-valley fill since the 1970s'. This application demonstrates that the BTTPDs can be used as quantitative and transient measures of deep aquifer susceptibility to non-point source contamination.

KEYWORDS:

backward travel time probability density; groundwater susceptibility; non-point source

PMID:
29874842
PMCID:
PMC6025647
DOI:
10.3390/ijerph15061177
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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