A new analytical model for transport of multiple contaminants considering remediation of both NAPL source and downgradient contaminant plume in groundwater

Heejun Suk, Kai Wen Zheng, Zhong Yi Liao, Ching Ping Liang, Sheng Wei Wang, Jui Sheng Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The contamination of groundwater aquifers by chlorinated solvents is a water-resource issue of great importance worldwide. Such contaminants are difficult to treat because they are often released as dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs). Research shows that the application of remediation technologies to both the NAPL source and dissolved plume can lead to more efficient remediation, rather than to either alone. In these remediation efforts, analytical models that evaluate behavior and fate of contaminants do provide a better understanding of the performance of these remedial technologies. To the best of our knowledge, there exist no analytical model of simulating the plume migration of multiple contaminants with capabilities of accounting for both NAPL source and plume remediation simultaneously and different retardation for original chlorinated solvent contaminant and its degradation byproducts. In this study, we present a new analytical model for remediating both NAPL source and downgradient contaminant plume in groundwater at sites contaminated with chlorinated solvents and their degradation products with different retardation factors as well as considering both NAPL source and plume remediation simultaneously. A source model that accounts for the depletion of mass by the processes of dissolution or first-order decay reactions, corresponding with the removal or destruction of the source mass, is coupled to a plume reactive transport model. The source model is accounted for by relating source mass to the flux-averaged source discharge concentration through a power function. The developed analytical model considers 1-D advection, 3-D dispersion, first-order decay reactions and ingrowth as well as linear isothermal equilibrium sorption. The proposed analytical solution was derived through successive application of the Laplace transform in time and the double finite Fourier cosine transform regarding y and z. The correctness of the analytical model and its auxiliary FORTRAN computer program code are proved by showing excellent agreements between the simulated plume concentrations of all contaminants obtained from the derived analytical model and from a semi-analytical model available in the literature. Application of the proposed analytical solutions illustrates that the use of identical retardation factors for all contaminants may lead to underestimation or overestimation of the mobility of the contaminants, in cases when the retardation factors of the individual contaminants are greatly different from the identical retardation factor value adopted in all contaminants. From the experiments on six scenarios corresponding six remedial treatments, we found out that both the enhanced source decay and partial removal of source mass are main controlling factors at reducing the concentrations of all the contaminants, whereas plume decay leads to effective reduction in the concentrations of PCE, however, rather it causes unfavorable increases of the concentrations of the degradation byproducts. Ultimately, the developed model is used to better understand the impacts of various possible combinations of remedial efforts and management decisions on remediation of the subsurface contamination and quantify the benefit of a certain remediation decision.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104290
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Analytical model
  • Chlorinated solvent
  • Downgradient plume
  • NAPL source
  • Remediation
  • Retardation factor


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