T. W. Wietsma

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington, United States

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Publications (78)70.94 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The use of non-Newtonian shear thinning fluids (STFs) containing xanthan is a potential enhancement for emplacing a solute amendment near the water table and within the capillary fringe. Most research to date related to STF behavior has involved saturated and confined conditions. A series of flow cell experiments were conducted to investigate STF emplacement in variable saturated homogeneous and layered heterogeneous systems. Besides flow visualization using dyes, amendment concentrations and pressure data were obtained at several locations. The experiments showed that injection of STFs considerably improved the subsurface distribution near the water table by mitigating preferential flow through higher permeability zones compared to no-polymer injections. The phosphate amendment migrated with the xanthan STF without retardation. Despite the high viscosity of the STF, no excessive mounding or preferential flow were observed in the unsaturated zone. The STOMP simulator was able to predict the experimentally observed fluid displacement and amendment concentrations well. Based on the observed pressure gradients and concentration data in layers of differing hydraulic conductivity, cross flow between layers was identified as the main mechanism transporting STFs into lower permeability layers.
    Environmental Processes. 12/2014; 1(4).
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    ABSTRACT: Wettability is a key parameter influencing capillary pressures, permeabilities, fingering mechanisms, and saturations in multiphase flow processes within porous media. Glass-covered silicon micromodels provide precise structures in which pore-scale displacement processes can be visualized. The wettability of silicon and glass surfaces can be modified by silanization. However, similar treatments of glass and silica surfaces using the same silane do not necessarily yield the same wettability as determined by the oil-water contact angle. In this study, surface cleaning pretreatments were investigated to determine conditions that yield oil-wet surfaces on glass with similar wettability to silica surfaces treated with the same silane, and both air-water and oil-water contact angles were determined. Borosilicate glass surfaces cleaned with standard cleaning solution 1 (SC1) yield intermediate-wet surfaces when silanized with hexamethyldisilazane (HMDS), while the same cleaning and silanization yields oil-wet surfaces on silica. However, cleaning glass in boiling concentrated nitric acid creates a surface that can be silanized to obtain oil-wet surfaces using HMDS. Moreover, this method is effective on glass with prior thermal treatment at an elevated temperature of 400°C. In this way, silica and glass can be silanized to obtain equally oil-wet surfaces using HMDS. It is demonstrated that pretreatment and silanization is feasible in silicon-silica/glass micromodels previously assembled by anodic bonding, and that the change in wettability has a significant observable effect on immiscible fluid displacements in the pore network.
    Water Resources Research 08/2013; 49(8):4724-4729. · 3.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The abiotic precipitation of uranium (U(VI)) was evaluated in a microfluidic pore network (i.e. micromodel) to assess the efficacy of using a phosphate amendment to immobilize uranium in groundwater. U(VI) was mixed transverse to the direction of flow with hydrogen phosphate (HPO42-), in the presence or absence of calcium (Ca2+) or sulfate (SO42-), in order to identify precipitation rates, morphology and types of minerals formed, and effects of mineral precipitates on pore blockage. Precipitation occurred over the time scale of hours to days. Relative to when only U(VI) and HPO42- were present, precipitation rates were 2.3X slower when SO42- was present, and 1.4X faster when Ca2+ was present; larger crystals formed in the presence of SO42-. Raman backscattering spectroscopy and micro X-ray diffraction (μ-XRD) results both showed that the only mineral precipitated was chernikovite, UO2HPO4•4H2O; energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy results indicate that Ca and S are not incorporated into the chernikovite lattice. A pore scale model was developed, and simulation results of saturation ratio (SR=Q/Ksp) suggest that chernikovite is the least thermodynamically favored mineral to precipitate (0<SR<1) compared to uranyl hydrogen phosphate and Na-Autunite (13<SR<40), and uranyl orthophosphate and Ca-autunite (when Ca2+ is present) (SR>105). Fluorescent tracer studies and laser confocal microscopy images showed that densely aggregated precipitates blocked pores and reduced permeability. The results suggest that uranium precipitation with phosphate as chernikovite is rapid on the time scale of remediation for the conditions considered, and can block pores, alter fluid flow paths, and potentially limit mixing and precipitation.
    Water Resources Research 01/2013; 49. · 3.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Super-absorbent polymers (SAPs) have the potential to remove water and associated contaminants from unsaturated sediments in the field. Column and flow cell experiment were conducted to test the ability of four types of SAPs to remove water from unsaturated porous media. Column experiments, with emplacement of a layer of polymer on top of unsaturated porous media, showed the ability of the SAPs to extract up to 80% of the initially emplaced water against gravity into the sorbent over periods up to four weeks. In column experiments where the sorbent was emplaced between layers of unsaturated porous media, gel formation was observed at both the sorbent-porous medium interfaces. The extraction percentages over four weeks of contact time were similar for both column configurations and no obvious differences were observed for the four tested SAPs. Two different flow cells were used to test the wicking behavior of SAPs in two dimensions using three configurations. The largest removal percentages occurred for the horizontal sorbent layer configuration which has the largest sorbent-porous medium interfacial area. In a larger flow cell, a woven nylon “sock” was packed with sorbent and subsequently placed between perforated metal plates, mimicking a well configuration. After one week of contact time the sock was removed and replaced by a fresh sock. The results of this experiment showed that the sorbent was able to continuously extract water from the porous media, although the rate decreased over time. The declining yield during both periods is associated with the sharp reduction in water saturation and relative permeability near the sorbent. It was also observed that the capillary pressure continued to increase over the total contact time of 14 days, indicating that the sorbent remained active over that period. This work has demonstrated the potential of soil moisture wicking using SAPs at the proof-of-principle level.
    11/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: Soil desiccation (drying), involving water evaporation induced by dry gas injection, is a potentially robust vadose zone remediation process to limit contaminant transport through the vadose zone. A series of four intermediate-scale flow cell experiments was conducted in homogeneous and simple layered heterogeneous porous medium systems to investigate the effects of heterogeneity on desiccation of unsaturated porous media. The permeability ratios of porous medium layers ranged from about five to almost two orders of magnitude. The insulated flow cell was equipped with twenty humidity and temperature sensors and a dual-energy gamma system was used to determine water saturations at various times. The multiphase code STOMP was used to simulate the desiccation process. Results show that injected dry gas flowed predominantly in the higher permeability layer and delayed water removal from the lower permeability material. For the configurations tested, water vapor diffusion from the lower to the higher permeability zone was considerable over the duration of the experiments, resulting in much larger relative humidity values of the outgoing air than based on permeability ratios alone. Acceptable numerical matches with the experimental data were obtained when an extension of the saturation-capillary pressure relation below the residual water saturation was used. The agreements between numerical and experimental results suggest that the correct physics are implemented in the simulator and that the thermal and hydraulic properties of the porous media, flow cell wall and insulation materials were properly represented.
    11/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: Carbon sequestration in saline aquifers involves displacing brine from the pore space by supercritical CO(2) (scCO(2)). The displacement process is considered unstable due to the unfavorable viscosity ratio between the invading scCO(2) and the resident brine. The mechanisms that affect scCO(2)-water displacement under reservoir conditions (41 °C, 9 MPa) were investigated in a homogeneous micromodel. A large range of injection rates, expressed as the dimensionless capillary number (Ca), was studied in two sets of experiments: discontinuous-rate injection, where the micromodel was saturated with water before each injection rate was imposed, and continuous-rate injection, where the rate was increased after quasi-steady conditions were reached for a certain rate. For the discontinuous-rate experiments, capillary fingering and viscous fingering are the dominant mechanisms for low (logCa ≤ -6.61) and high injection rates (logCa ≥ -5.21), respectively. Crossover from capillary to viscous fingering was observed for logCa = -5.91 to -5.21, resulting in a large decrease in scCO(2) saturation. The discontinuous-rate experimental results confirmed the decrease in nonwetting fluid saturation during crossover from capillary to viscous fingering predicted by numerical simulations by Lenormand et al. (J. Fluid Mech.1988, 189, 165-187). Capillary fingering was the dominant mechanism for all injection rates in the continuous-rate experiment, resulting in monotonic increase in scCO(2) saturation.
    Environmental Science & Technology 06/2012; · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The use of air-water, θ(wa), or air-liquid contact angles is customary in surface science, while oil-water contact angles, θ(ow), are of paramount importance in subsurface multiphase flow phenomena including petroleum recovery, nonaqueous phase liquid fate and transport, and geological carbon sequestration. In this paper we determine both the air-water and oil-water contact angles of silica surfaces modified with a diverse selection of silanes, using hexadecane as the oil. The silanes included alkylsilanes, alkylarylsilanes, and silanes with alkyl or aryl groups that are functionalized with heteroatoms such as N, O, and S. These silanes yielded surfaces with wettabilities from water wet to oil wet, including specific silanized surfaces functionalized with heteroatoms that yield intermediate wet surfaces. The oil-water contact angles for clean and silanized surfaces, excluding one partially fluorinated surface, correlate linearly with air-water contact angles with a slope of 1.41 (R = 0.981, n = 13). These data were used to examine a previously untested theoretical treatment relating air-water and oil-water contact angles in terms of fluid interfacial energies. Plotting the cosines of these contact angles against one another, we obtain the relationship cos θ(wa) = 0.667 cos θ(ow) + 0.384 (R = 0.981, n = 13), intercepting cos θ(ow) = -1 at -0.284, which is in excellent agreement with the linear assumption of the theory. The theoretical slope, based on the fluid interfacial tensions σ(wa), σ(ow), and σ(oa), is 0.67. We also demonstrate how silanes can be used to alter the wettability of the interior of a pore network micromodel device constructed in silicon/silica with a glass cover plate. Such micromodels are used to study multiphase flow phenomena. The contact angle of the resulting interior was determined in situ. An intermediate wet micromodel gave a contact angle in excellent agreement with that obtained on an open planar silica surface using the same silane.
    Langmuir 03/2012; 28(18):7182-8. · 4.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Soil desiccation, in conjunction with surface infiltration control, is considered at the Hanford Site as a potential technology to limit the flux of technetium and other contaminants in the vadose zone to the groundwater. An intermediate-scale experiment was conducted to test the response of a series of instruments to desiccation and subsequent rewetting of porous media. The instruments include thermistors, thermocouple psychrometers, dual-probe heat pulse sensors, heat dissipation units, and humidity probes. The experiment was simulated with the multifluid flow simulator STOMP, using independently obtained hydraulic and thermal porous medium properties. All instrument types used for this experiment were able to indicate when the desiccation front passed a certain location. In most cases the changes were sharp, indicating rapid changes in moisture content, water potential, or humidity. However, a response to the changing conditions was recorded only when the drying front was very close to a sensor. Of the tested instruments, only the heat dissipation unit and humidity probes were able to detect rewetting. The numerical simulation results reasonably match the experimental data, indicating that the simulator captures the pertinent gas flow and transport processes related to desiccation and rewetting and may be useful in the design and analysis of field tests.
    Vadose Zone Journal 01/2012; 11(1). · 2.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Wettability is a critical parameter influencing immiscible fluid displacements relevant to geological carbon sequestration. Fully water-wet clean silica surfaces can be modified with silanes to alter the wettability, with the majority of such efforts to date related to conversions of water-wet to oil-wet systems. While a sizable literature exist on contact angles obtained on silanized surfaces, these are by and large air-water contact angle data, not the oil-water contact angles needed. We have investigated a large range of silanes to modify silica surfaces over a range of wettabilities, measuring both air-water and oil-water contact angles. We have identified surface modifications to produce intermediate wet surfaces. We have found a linear correlation between air-water contact angles and oil-water contact angles, enabling literature data on air-water contact angles to be interpreted in terms of likely oil-water contact angles. In addition, we have found that while glass and silica surfaces modified by the same chemistry give the same contact angles in terms of air water contact angles, the surfaces are not as similar in terms of oil-water contact angles. These studies are being carried out in conjunction with immiscible displacements of water by liquid and supercritical CO2 in microfabricated pore network micromodels in silicon with oxidized silica surfaces and glass cover plates.
    AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. 12/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: Permeability contrasts exist in multilayer geological formations under consideration for carbon sequestration. To improve our understanding of immiscible displacements in heterogeneous formations at the pore-scale, liquid and supercritical CO2 (LCO2 and scCO2) - water displacement was imaged in real-time in a pore network micromodel with two distinct permeability zones, under 9 MPa pressure, and temperatures up to 41 °C. Due to the low viscosity ratio (logM = -1.1, -1.2), unstable displacement occurred at all injection rates over two orders of magnitude. CO2 displaced water only in the high permeability zone at low injection rates with the mechanism shifting from capillary fingering to viscous fingering with increasing flow rate. At high injection rates, CO2 displaced water in the low permeability zone with capillary fingering as the dominant mechanism. CO2 saturation (SCO2) as a function of injection rate was quantified using fluorescent microscopy. In all experiments, more than 50% of CO2 resided in the active flowpaths, and this fraction increased as displacement transitioned from capillary to viscous fingering. A continuum-scale two-phase flow model with independently determined fluid and hydraulic parameters was used to predict liquid CO2 saturation (SCO2) in the dual-permeability field. Agreement with the micromodel experiments was obtained for low injection rates. However, the numerical model does not account for the unstable viscous fingering processes observed experimentally at higher rates and hence overestimated SCO2.
    AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. 12/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: The abiotic precipitation of uranium (U(VI)) was evaluated in a microfluidic pore structure (i.e. micromodel) to assess the efficacy of using a phosphate amendment to immobilize uranium in groundwater and mitigate the risk of this contaminant to potential down-gradient receptor sites. U(VI) was mixed transverse to the direction of flow with hydrogen phosphate (HPO42-), in the presence or absence of calcium (Ca2+) or sulfate (SO42-), in order to identify precipitation rates, the morphology and types of minerals formed, and the stability of these minerals to dissolution with and without bicarbonate (HCO3-) present. Raman backscattering spectroscopy and micro X-ray diffraction (μ-XRD) results both showed that the only mineral precipitated was chernikovite (also known as hydrogen uranyl phosphate; UO2HPO4), even though the formation of other minerals were thermodynamically favored depending on the experimental conditions. Precipitation and dissolution rates varied with influent conditions. Relative to when only U(VI) and HPO42- were present, precipitation rates were 2.3 times slower when SO42- was present, and 1.4 times faster when Ca2+ was present. These rates were inversely related to the size of crystals formed during precipitation. Dissolution rates for chernikovite increased with increasing HCO3- concentrations, consistent with formation of uranyl carbonate complexes in aqueous solution, and they were the fastest for chernikovite formed in the presence of SO42-, and slowest for the chernikovite formed in the presence of Ca2+. These rates are related to the ratios of mineral-water interfacial area to mineral volume. Fluorescent tracer studies and laser confocal microscopy images showed that densely aggregated precipitates blocked pores and reduced permeability. The results suggest that changes in the solute conditions evaluated affect precipitation rates, crystal morphology, and crystal stability, but not mineral type.
    AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. 12/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: Permeability contrasts exist in multilayer geological formations under consideration for carbon sequestration. To improve our understanding of heterogeneous pore-scale displacements, liquid CO(2) (LCO(2))-water displacement was evaluated in a pore network micromodel with two distinct permeability zones. Due to the low viscosity ratio (logM = -1.1), unstable displacement occurred at all injection rates over 2 orders of magnitude. LCO(2) displaced water only in the high permeability zone at low injection rates with the mechanism shifting from capillary fingering to viscous fingering with increasing flow rate. At high injection rates, LCO(2) displaced water in the low permeability zone with capillary fingering as the dominant mechanism. LCO(2) saturation (S(LCO2)) as a function of injection rate was quantified using fluorescent microscopy. In all experiments, more than 50% of LCO(2) resided in the active flowpaths, and this fraction increased as displacement transitioned from capillary to viscous fingering. A continuum-scale two-phase flow model with independently determined fluid and hydraulic parameters was used to predict S(LCO2) in the dual-permeability field. Agreement with the micromodel experiments was obtained for low injection rates. However, the numerical model does not account for the unstable viscous fingering processes observed experimentally at higher rates and hence overestimated S(LCO2).
    Environmental Science & Technology 08/2011; 45(17):7581-8. · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The effectiveness of in situ treatment using zero-valent iron (ZVI) for nonaqueous phase or significant sediment-associated contaminant mass can be limited by relatively low rates of mass transfer to bring contaminants in contact with the reactive media. For a field test in a trichloroethene (TCE) source area, combining moderate-temperature subsurface electrical resistance heating with in situ ZVI treatment was shown to accelerate TCE treatment by a factor of about 4 based on organic daughter products and a factor about 8 based on chloride concentrations. A mass-discharge-based analysis was used to evaluate reaction, dissolution, and volatilization processes at ambient groundwater temperature (~10 °C) and as temperature was increased up to about 50 °C. Increased reaction and contaminant dissolution were observed with increased temperature, but vapor- or aqueous-phase migration of TCE out of the treatment zone was minimal during the test because reactions maintained low aqueous-phase TCE concentrations.
    Environmental Science & Technology 06/2011; 45(12):5346-51. · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Deep Vadose Zone Treatability Test Plan for the Hanford Central Plateau includes testing of the desiccation technology as a potential technology to be used in conjunction with surface infiltration control to limit the flux of technetium and other contaminants in the vadose zone to the groundwater. Laboratory and modeling efforts were conducted to investigate technical uncertainties related to the desiccation process and its impact on contaminant transport. This information is intended to support planning, operation, and interpretation of a field test for desiccation in the Hanford Central Plateau.
    02/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: Unstable immiscible fluid displacement in porous media affects geological carbon sequestration, enhanced oil recovery, and groundwater contamination by nonaqueous phase liquids. Characterization of immiscible displacement processes at the pore-scale is important to better understand macroscopic processes at the continuum-scale. A series of displacement experiments was conducted to investigate the impacts of viscous and capillary forces on displacement stability and fluid saturation distributions in a homogeneous water-wet pore network micromodel with precisely-microfabricated pore structures. Displacements were studied using seven wetting-nonwetting fluid pairs with viscosity ratios M (viscosity of the advancing nonwetting fluid divided by the viscosity of the displaced wetting fluid) ranging four orders of magnitude from logM = -1.95 to 1.88. The micromodel was initially saturated with either polyethylene glycol 200 (PEG200) or water as a wetting fluid, which was then displaced by a nonwetting alkane fluid under different flow rates. Capillary numbers (Ca) ranged over four orders of magnitude for the reported experiments, from logCa = -5.88 to -1.02. Fluorescent microscopy was used to visualize displacement and measure nonwetting fluid saturation distributions. These experiments extend the classical work by Lenormand et al. by using water-wet micromodels, high-precision fabrication, and enhanced image analysis of the saturation distributions. In the micromodel experiments initially saturated with PEG200, a viscous wetting fluid, unstable displacement occurred by viscous fingering over the whole range of imposed capillary numbers. For the experiments initially saturated with water, unstable displacement occurred by capillary fingering at low capillary numbers. When the viscous forces were increased by increasing the injection rate, crossover into stable displacement was observed for the fluid pairs with M > 0. For unstable displacement experiments applying the same capillary number for the various fluid pairs, nonwetting fluid saturations were higher when capillary fingering was the dominant fingering process compared to viscous fingering. Our saturation distributions are consistent with other published experimental work and confirm the numerical results obtained by Lenormand et al.
    Energy & Fuels 01/2011; 25(8):3493-3505. · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A series of flow cell experiments was conducted to demonstrate the process of water removal through pore-water extraction in unsaturated systems. In this process, a vacuum (negative pressure) is applied at the extraction well establishing gas and water pressure gradients towards the well. The gradient may force water and dissolved contaminants, such as 99Tc, to move towards the well. The tested flow cell configurations consist of packings, with or without fine-grained well pack material, representing, in terms of particle size distribution, subsurface sediments at the SX tank farm. A pore water extraction process should not be considered to be equal to soil vapor extraction because during soil vapor extraction, the main goal may be to maximize gas removal. For pore water extraction systems, pressure gradients in both the gas and water phases need to be considered while for soil vapor extraction purposes, gas phase flow is the only concern. In general, based on the limited set (six) of flow experiments that were conducted, it can be concluded that pore water extraction rates and cumulative outflow are related to water content, the applied vacuum, and the dimensions of the sediment layer providing the extracted water. In particular, it was observed that application of a 100-cm vacuum (negative pressure) in a controlled manner leads to pore-water extraction until the water pressure gradients towards the well approach zero. Increased cumulative outflow was obtained with an increase in initial water content from 0.11 to 0.18, an increase in the applied vacuum to 200 cm, and when the water-supplying sediment was not limited. The experimental matrix was not sufficiently large to come to conclusions regarding maximizing cumulative outflow.
    01/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: Soil desiccation (drying), involving water evaporation induced by dry air injection and extraction, is a potentially robust remediation process to slow migration of inorganic or radionuclide contaminants through the vadose zone. The application of gas-phase partitioning tracer tests has been proposed as a means to estimate initial water volumes and to monitor the progress of the desiccation process at pilot-test and field sites. In this paper, tracer tests have been conducted in porous medium columns with various water saturations using sulfur hexafluoride as the conservative tracer and tricholorofluoromethane and difluoromethane as the water-partitioning tracers. For porous media with minimal silt and/or organic matter fractions, tracer tests provided reasonable saturation estimates for saturations close to zero. However, for sediments with significant silt and/or organic matter fractions, tracer tests only provided satisfactory results when the water saturation was at least 0.1 - 0.2. For dryer conditions, the apparent tracer retardation increases due to air soil sorption, which is not included in traditional retardation coefficients derived from advection-dispersion equations accounting only for air water partitioning and water soil sorption. Based on these results, gas-phase partitioning tracer tests may be used to determine initial water volumes in sediments, provided the initial water saturations are sufficiently large. However, tracer tests are not suitable for quantifying moisture content in desiccated sediments.
    Vadose Zone Journal 01/2011; 10(2):634-641. · 2.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Approximately 190 kg of 2 μm-diameter zero-valent iron (ZVI) particles were injected into a test zone in the top 2 m of an unconfined aquifer within a trichloroethene (TCE) source area. A shear-thinning fluid was used to enhance ZVI delivery in the subsurface to a radial distance of up to 4 m from a single injection well. The ZVI particles were mixed in-line with the injection water, shear-thinning fluid, and a low concentration of surfactant. ZVI was observed at each of the seven monitoring wells within the targeted radius of influence during injection. Additionally, all wells within the targeted zone showed low TCE concentrations and primarily dechlorination products present 44 d after injection. These results suggest that ZVI can be directly injected into an aquifer with shear-thinning fluids to induce dechlorination and extends the applicability of ZVI to situations where other emplacement methods may not be viable.
    Ground Water Monitoring and Remediation 12/2010; 31(1):50 - 58. · 1.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An unlined disposal pond in the 300 Area of the Hanford Site received uranium-bearing liquid effluents associated with nuclear reactor fuel rod processing from 1943 to 1975. Contaminated sediments from the base and sides of the former pond were excavated and removed from the site in the early 1990s, but a uranium plume has persisted in the groundwater at concentrations exceeding the drinking water standard. The former process pond is located adjacent to the Columbia River and seasonal fluctuations in the river stage and water table provide a mechanism for resupplying residual uranium from the vadose zone to the groundwater when the lower vadose zone is periodically rewetted. Intact cores were collected from the site for measurements of physical, hydraulic, and geochemical properties. Multistep outflow experiments were also performed on the intact cores to determine permeability-saturation-capillary pressure relations. Pore water displaced during these experiments for two of the vadose zone cores was also analyzed for uranium. For a core containing finer-textured sediment classified as muddy sandy gravel, and a core containing coarser-textured sediment classified as gravel, the relative aqueous uranium concentrations increased by factors of 8.3 and 1.5, respectively, as the cores were desaturated and progressively smaller pore-size classes were drained. Aqueous concentrations of uranium in the extracted pore waters were up to 115 times higher than the current drinking water standard of 30 ppb. These results confirm that there is a continuing source of uranium in the vadose zone at the site, and are consistent with a hypothesis that the persistence of the groundwater uranium plume is also associated, in part, with rate-limited mass transfer from finer-textured sediments. The data from these and several other intact cores from the site are evaluated to explore relationships between physical and hydraulic properties and uranium desorption characteristics.
    AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. 12/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: Soil desiccation is a potentially robust remediation process to slow migration of inorganic or radionuclide contaminants through the unsaturated zone. The application of gas-phase partitioning tracer tests has been proposed as a means to estimate initial water volumes and to monitor the progress of the desiccation process at field sites. Tracer tests have been conducted in porous medium columns with various water saturations using sulfur hexafluoride as the conservative tracer and tricholorofluoromethane and difluoromethane as the water-partitioning tracers. For porous media with minimal silt and/or organic matter fractions, tracer tests provided reasonable saturation estimates for water contents in dry materials. However, for sediments with considerable silt and/or organic matter fractions, tracer tests only provided satisfactory results when water contents were at least 0.03 - 0.05, depending on the porous medium. For dryer conditions, the apparent tracer retardation increases due to direct air - soil sorption, which is not included in traditional retardation coefficients derived from advection-dispersion equations accounting only for air - water partitioning and water - soil sorption. Based on these results, it is suggested that gas-phase partitioning tracer tests may be used to determine initial water contents in sediments, provided the initial water saturations are sufficiently large. However, tracer tests are not suitable for quantifying moisture content during and after the desiccation process when water contents are expected to be low.
    AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. 12/2010;