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ABSTRACT: This paper investigates the effects of pore-water velocity on chemical nonequilibrium during transport of Cd, Zn, and Pb through alluvial gravel columns. Three pore-water velocities ranging from 3 to 60 m/day were applied to triplicate columns for each metal. Model results for the symmetric breakthrough curves (BTCs) of tritium (3H2O) data suggest that physical nonequilibrium components were absent in the uniformly packed columns used in these studies. As a result, values of pore-water velocity and dispersion coefficient were estimated from fitting 3H2O BTCs to an equilibrium model. The BTCs of metals display long tailing, indicating presence of chemical nonequilibrium in the system, which was further supported by the decreased metal concentrations during flow interruption. The BTCs of the metals were analysed using a two-site model, and transport parameters were derived using the CXTFIT curve-fitting program. The model results indicate that the partitioning coefficient (beta), forward rate (k1), and backward rate (k2) are positively correlated with pore-water velocity (V); while the retardation factor (R), mass transfer coefficient ((omega), and ratio of k1/k2 are inversely correlated with V. There is no apparent relationship between the fraction of exchange sites at equilibrium (f) and V. The influence of Von k2 is much greater than on R, beta, omega, and k1. A one-order-of-magnitude change in V would cause a two-order-of-magnitude change in k2 while resulting in only a one order-of-magnitude change in R, beta, omega, and k1. The forward rates for the metals are found to be two to three orders-of-magnitude greater than the corresponding backward rate. However, the difference between the two rates reduces with increasing pore-water velocity. Model results also suggest that Cd and Zn behave similarly, while Pb is much more strongly sorbed. At input concentrations of about 4 mg/l and pore-water velocities of 3-60 m/day in the groundwater within alluvial gravel, this study suggests retardation factors of 26-289 for Cd, 24-255 for Zn, and 322-6377 for Pb.
Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 09/2002; 57(3-4):241-58. · 2.89 Impact Factor