Subsurface Contamination Modeling and Remediation Techniques

More than half of the US population consumes groundwater for drinking. Thus, introducing any type of contaminants into the groundwater table can risk the lives of more than half of the population. Contaminants from multiple sources can impact the drinking water wells and other receptors. When contaminants are transferred to the groundwater, they will make their way to water wells and drinking water supplies. Soluble contaminants, such as road salts, can easily migrate into the ground, reach the groundwater, and negatively affect the shallow groundwater and freshwater systems. An increase in road salts will have a negative effect on groundwater. Recently, several private wells in the town of Orleans in New York State reported the presence of road salts that were transferred through the groundwater flow. However, non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPLs) that are not highly soluble may have considerably longer residence times in the soil zone. NAPLs are hydrocarbons and are classified into two categories: (i) light non-aqueous phase liquids (LNAPLs), which have less density than water, and (ii) dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs), which are denser than water. In either case, a physical interface between the water and NAPLs prevents the mixing of groundwater and contaminants. In this proposed study, a finite element model (FEM) will be developed to analyze contaminant transport within the vadose zone and saturated zone. The developed multiphase fluid flow models will be used to study the movement of soluble contaminants, such as road salts, as they precipitate downward to the groundwater table. Additionally, the FEM model will be further modified to capture the flow of NAPL contaminants through the soil medium. The proposed research project consists of three phases: (1) Developing and validating an FEM that can simulate the movement of precipitation and rainfall from the ground surface and unsaturated zone into the groundwater. (2) Modifying the developed FEM model to analyze the contaminants flow in the soil medium by considering the advection and the interplay of diffusion limitation, adsorption, and partitioning between contaminants and soil. (3) Reviewing and proposing several remediation techniques for various contaminants, depending on the specific job site, to be employed in practical sites selected by local and state level departments of transportation (DOTs).


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $109002
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      Environmentally Responsible Transportation Center for Communities of Concern

      University of Missouri Kansas City
      Kansas City, Missouri  United States  64110
    • Project Managers:

      Kline, Robin

    • Performing Organizations:

      University of Louisville

      Department of Civil Engineering
      Louisville, KY  United States  40292
    • Principal Investigators:

      Ghasemi-Fare, Omid

    • Start Date: 20230601
    • Expected Completion Date: 20240531
    • Actual Completion Date: 0
    • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01895592
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Environmentally Responsible Transportation Center for Communities of Concern
    • Contract Numbers: 69A3552348335
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: Oct 6 2023 7:00PM