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Title: River Stage Influences on Uranium Transport in a Hydrologically Dynamic Groundwater-Surface Water Transition Zone

A tightly spaced well-field within a groundwater uranium (U) plume in the groundwater-surface water transition zone was monitored for a three year period for groundwater elevation and dissolved solutes. The plume discharges to the Columbia River, which displays a dramatic spring stage surge resulting from mountain snowmelt. Groundwater exhibits a low hydrologic gradient and chemical differences with river water. River water intrudes the site in spring. Specific aims were to assess the impacts of river intrusion on dissolved uranium (Uaq), specific conductance (SpC), and other solutes, and to discriminate between transport, geochemical, and source term heterogeneity effects. Time series trends for Uaq and SpC were complex and displayed large temporal well-to well variability as a result of water table elevation fluctuations, river water intrusion, and changes in groundwater flow directions. The wells were clustered into subsets exhibiting common temporal behaviors resulting from the intrusion dynamics of river water and the location of source terms. Concentration hot spots were observed in groundwater that varied in location with increasing water table elevation. Heuristic reactive transport modeling with PFLOTRAN demonstrated that mobilized U was transported between wells and source terms in complex trajectories, and was diluted as river water entered and exited themore » groundwater system. While uranium time-series concentration trends varied significantly from year to year as a result of climate-caused differences in the spring hydrograph, common and partly predictable response patterns were observed that were driven by water table elevation, and the extent and duration of the river water intrusion event.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
48590; KP1702030
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Water Resources Research, 52(3):1568–1590
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
geochemical modeling; floodplain dynamics; groundwater quality; groundwater transport; Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory