Publication: Simulating the fate and transport of TCE from groundwater to indoor air

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Title Simulating the fate and transport of TCE from groundwater to indoor air
Authors/Editors* Yu, S., A.J.A. Unger and B. Parker
Where published* Journal of Contaminant Hydrology
How published* Journal
Year* 2009
Volume 107
Pages 140-161
This work provides an exploratory analysis on the relative importance of various factors controlling the fate and transport of volatile organic contaminants (in this case, TCE) from a DNAPL source zone located below the water table and into the indoor air. The analysis is conducted using the multi-phase compositional model CompFlow Bio, with the base scenario problem geometry reminiscent of a field experiment conducted by Rivett (1995) at the Borden aquifer where groundwater was observed to transport a contaminant plume a substantial distance without vertical mass transport of the contaminant across the capillary fringe and into the vadose zone. Results for the base scenario model indicate that the structure of the permeability field was largely responsible for deflecting the groundwater plume upward towards the capillary fringe, permitting aqueous phase diffusion to transport the TCE into the vadose zone. Alternative permeability realizations, generated as part of a Monte Carlo simulation process, at times deflected the groundwater plume downwards causing the extended thickness of the saturated zone to insulate the vadose zone from exposure to the TCE by upward diffusive transport. Comparison of attenuation coefficients calculated using the CompFlow Bio and Johnson and Ettinger (1991) heuristic model exhibited fortuitous agreement for the base scenario problem geometry, with this agreement diverging for the alternative permeability realizations as well as when parameters such as the foundation slab fracture aperture, the indoor air pressure drop, the capillary fringe thickness, and the infiltration rate were varied over typical ranges.
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