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Title: Evaluation of multiple tracer methods to estimate low groundwater flow velocities

Abstract

Here, four different tracer methods were used to estimate groundwater flow velocity at a multiple-well site in the saturated alluvium south of Yucca Mountain, Nevada: (1) two single-well tracer tests with different rest or “shut-in” periods, (2) a cross-hole tracer test with an extended flow interruption, (3) a comparison of two tracer decay curves in an injection borehole with and without pumping of a downgradient well, and (4) a natural-gradient tracer test. Such tracer methods are potentially very useful for estimating groundwater velocities when hydraulic gradients are flat (and hence uncertain) and also when water level and hydraulic conductivity data are sparse, both of which were the case at this test location. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the first three methods for their ability to provide reasonable estimates of relatively low groundwater flow velocities in such low-hydraulic-gradient environments. The natural-gradient method is generally considered to be the most robust and direct method, so it was used to provide a “ground truth” velocity estimate. However, this method usually requires several wells, so it is often not practical in systems with large depths to groundwater and correspondingly high well installation costs. The fact that a successful natural gradient testmore » was conducted at the test location offered a unique opportunity to compare the flow velocity estimates obtained by the more easily deployed and lower risk methods with the ground-truth natural-gradient method. The groundwater flow velocity estimates from the four methods agreed very well with each other, suggesting that the first three methods all provided reasonably good estimates of groundwater flow velocity at the site. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the different methods, as well as some of the uncertainties associated with them.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (RW); USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
OSTI Identifier:
1351225
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1397070
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-16-24505
Journal ID: ISSN 0169-7722
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC52-06NA25396; AC04-94AL85000
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Contaminant Hydrology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 199; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0169-7722
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; Earth Sciences

Citation Formats

Reimus, Paul W., and Arnold, Bill W. Evaluation of multiple tracer methods to estimate low groundwater flow velocities. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1016/j.jconhyd.2017.02.003.
Reimus, Paul W., & Arnold, Bill W. Evaluation of multiple tracer methods to estimate low groundwater flow velocities. United States. doi:10.1016/j.jconhyd.2017.02.003.
Reimus, Paul W., and Arnold, Bill W. Mon . "Evaluation of multiple tracer methods to estimate low groundwater flow velocities". United States. doi:10.1016/j.jconhyd.2017.02.003. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1351225.
@article{osti_1351225,
title = {Evaluation of multiple tracer methods to estimate low groundwater flow velocities},
author = {Reimus, Paul W. and Arnold, Bill W.},
abstractNote = {Here, four different tracer methods were used to estimate groundwater flow velocity at a multiple-well site in the saturated alluvium south of Yucca Mountain, Nevada: (1) two single-well tracer tests with different rest or “shut-in” periods, (2) a cross-hole tracer test with an extended flow interruption, (3) a comparison of two tracer decay curves in an injection borehole with and without pumping of a downgradient well, and (4) a natural-gradient tracer test. Such tracer methods are potentially very useful for estimating groundwater velocities when hydraulic gradients are flat (and hence uncertain) and also when water level and hydraulic conductivity data are sparse, both of which were the case at this test location. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the first three methods for their ability to provide reasonable estimates of relatively low groundwater flow velocities in such low-hydraulic-gradient environments. The natural-gradient method is generally considered to be the most robust and direct method, so it was used to provide a “ground truth” velocity estimate. However, this method usually requires several wells, so it is often not practical in systems with large depths to groundwater and correspondingly high well installation costs. The fact that a successful natural gradient test was conducted at the test location offered a unique opportunity to compare the flow velocity estimates obtained by the more easily deployed and lower risk methods with the ground-truth natural-gradient method. The groundwater flow velocity estimates from the four methods agreed very well with each other, suggesting that the first three methods all provided reasonably good estimates of groundwater flow velocity at the site. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the different methods, as well as some of the uncertainties associated with them.},
doi = {10.1016/j.jconhyd.2017.02.003},
journal = {Journal of Contaminant Hydrology},
number = C,
volume = 199,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Feb 20 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Mon Feb 20 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

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