X. Sanchez-Vila

X. Sanchez-Vila
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya | UPC · Civil and Environmental Engineering

PhD

About

224
Publications
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5,322
Citations

Publications

Publications (224)
Article
We propose and exemplify a framework to assess Natural Background Levels (NBLs) of target chemical species in large-scale groundwater bodies based on the context of Object Oriented Spatial Statistics. The approach enables one to fully exploit the richness of the information content embedded in the probability density function (PDF) of the variables...
Article
Ultraviolet filters (UVFs) are emerging organic compounds found in most water systems. They are constituents of personal care products, as well as industrial ones. The concentration of UVFs in the water bodies in space and time is mostly determined by degradation and sorption, both processes being determinant of their bioavailability and toxicity t...
Article
The reconstruction of smooth density fields from scattered data points is a procedure that has multiple applications in a variety of disciplines, including Lagrangian (particle-based) models of solute transport in fluids. In random walk particle tracking (RWPT) simulations, particle density is directly linked to solute concentrations, which is norm...
Article
Bioclogging is a main concern in infiltration systems as it may significantly shorten the service life of these low-technology water treatment methods. In porous media, biofilms grow to clog partially or totally the pore network. Dynamics of biofilm accumulation (e.g., by attachment, detachment, advective transport in depth) and their impact on bot...
Preprint
Full-text available
The reconstruction of smooth density fields from scattered data points is a procedure that has multiple applications in a variety of disciplines, including Lagrangian (particle-based) models of solute transport in fluids. In random walk particle tracking (RWPT) simulations, particle density is directly linked to solute concentrations, which is norm...
Article
Subsurface microorganisms must deal with quite extreme environmental conditions. The lack of light, oxygen, and potentially nutrients are the main environmental stresses faced by subsurface microbial communities. Likewise, environmental disruptions providing an unbalanced positive input of nutrients force microorganisms to adapt to varying conditio...
Article
Full-text available
Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) is a technique used worldwide to increase the availability of water resources. We study how MAR modifies microbial ecosystems and its implications for enhancing biodegradation processes to eventually improve groundwater quality. We compare soil and groundwater samples taken from a MAR facility located in NE Spain duri...
Article
Full-text available
Contaminated sites pose a significant threat to groundwater resources. The resources that can be allocated by water regulators for site investigation and cleanup are limited compared to the large number of contaminated sites. Numerical transport models of individual sites require large amounts of data and are labor intensive to set up, and thus the...
Article
The editors of Water Resources Research express their appreciation to the reviewers of articles submitted to the journal in 2017.
Article
Full-text available
Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) can be affected by many risks. Those risks are related to different technical and non-technical aspects of recharge, like water availability, water quality, legislation, social issues, etc. Many other works have acknowledged risks of this nature theoretically; however, their quantification and definition has not been...
Article
Full-text available
Infiltration systems are treatment technologies based on water percolation through porous media where biogeochemical processes take place. Grain size distribution (GSD) acts as a driver of these processes and their rates, as well as it influences nutrient accumulation in sediments. Coarse sands inhibit anaerobic reactions such as denitrification an...
Article
Full-text available
Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) is a worldwide used technique to increase the availability of water resources. We study how MAR modifies microbial ecosystems, and its implications for enhancing biodegradation processes to eventually improve groundwater quality. We compare soil and groundwater samples taken from a MAR facility located in NE Spain dur...
Article
Two non-destructive techniques, confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) and planar optode (VisiSens imaging), were combined to relate the fine-scale spatial structure of biofilm components to real-time images of oxygen decay in aquatic biofilms. Both techniques were applied to biofilms grown for seven days at contrasting light and temperature (10...
Preprint
Full-text available
Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) activities can be affected by a combination of hazardous events. Those events are related to different aspects of recharge, water availability and quality, engineering issues, etc. Many other works have acknowledged risks of this nature, theoretically, however their quantification and definition has not been developed...
Article
https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1W~Jt16J1mlPA9 . A better understanding of microbial dynamics in porous media may lead to improvements in the design and management of a number of technological applications, ranging from the degradation of contaminants to the optimization of agricultural systems. To this aim, there is a recognized need for predicting...
Article
In recent years a large body of literature has been devoted to study reactive transport of solutes in porous media based on pure Lagrangian formulations. Such approaches have also been extended to accommodate second-order bimolecular reactions, in which the reaction rate is proportional to the concentrations of the reactants. Rather, in some cases,...
Article
Multicomponent reactive transport involves the solution of a system of nonlinear coupled partial differential equations. A number of methods have been developed to simplify the problem. In the case where all reactions are in instantaneous equilibrium and the mineral assemblage is constant in both space and time, de Simoni et al. (2007) provide an a...
Article
On behalf of the journal, the American Geophysical Union, and the scientific community, the editors would like to sincerely thank those who reviewed manuscripts for Water Resources Research in 2016. Their time spent reading and commenting on manuscripts not only improves the manuscripts themselves but also increases the scientific rigor of future r...
Article
Full-text available
Physical heterogeneity determines interstitial fluxes in porous media. Nutrients and organic matter distribution in depth influence physicochemical and microbial processes occurring in subsurface. Columns 50 cm long were filled with sterile silica sand following 5 different setups combining fine and coarse sands or a mixture of both mimicking poten...
Article
Water Resources Research (WRR) continues to evolve as the team of international editors begins a new 4-year term of service. In this Editorial we summarize the importance of WRR in the hydrologic sciences, the challenges ahead, and the plans for the future of the journal.
Article
Improving degradation rates of emerging organic compounds (EOCs) in groundwater is still a challenge. Although their degradation is not fully understood, it has been observed that some substances are preferably degraded under specific redox conditions. The coupling of Managed Aquifer Recharge with soil aquifer remediation treatment, by placing a re...
Article
Estimating the statistical parameters (mean, variance, and integral scale) that define the spatial structure of the transmissivity or hydraulic conductivity fields is a fundamental step for the accurate prediction of subsurface flow and contaminant transport. In practice, the determination of the spatial structure is a challenge because of spatial...
Article
The accumulation of biofilms in porous media is likely to influence the overall hydraulic properties and, consequently, a sound understanding of the process is required for the proper design and management of many technological applications. In order to bring some light into this phenomenon we present a mechanistic model to study the variably satur...
Article
Most methods for hydraulic test interpretation rely on a number of simplified assumptions regarding the homogeneity and isotropy of the underlying porous media. This way, the actual heterogeneity of any natural parameter, such as transmissivity (T), is transferred to the corresponding estimates in a way heavily dependent on the interpretation metho...
Article
We address modern topics of Stochastic Hydrogeology from their potential relevance to real modeling efforts at the field scale. While the topics of stochastic hydrogeology and numerical modelling have become routine in hydrogeological studies, non-deterministic models have not yet permeated into practitioners. We point out a number of limitations o...
Article
Degradation of emerging organic compounds in saturated porous media is usually postulated as following simple low-order models. This is a strongly oversimplified, and in some cases plainly incorrect model, that does not consider the fate of the different metabolites. Furthermore, it does not account for the reversibility in the reaction observed in...
Article
We present an investigation of the scale dependence of hydraulic parameters in fractured media based on the concept of transfer functions (TF). TF methods provide an inexpensive way to perform aquifer parameter estimation, as they relate the fluctuations of an observation time series (hydraulic head fluctuations) to an input function (aquifer recha...
Article
Enhanced In situ Biodenitrification (EIB) is a capable technology for nitrate removal in subsurface water resources. Optimizing the performance of EIB implies devising an appropriate feeding strategy involving two design parameters: carbon injection frequency and C:N ratio of the organic substrate nitrate mixture. Here we model data on the spatial...
Article
On behalf of the journal, AGU, and the scientific community, the editors would like to sincerely thank those who reviewed manuscripts for Water Resources Research in 2015. The hours reading and commenting on manuscripts not only improves the manuscripts themselves but it also increases the scientific rigor of future research in the field. Many of t...
Article
We analyze drawdown reciprocity gaps emerging in interference tests performed in a confined fissured karstic formation. Modeling the system as a dual porosity continuum allows characterizing the dynamics of the relative contribution of the connected fractures and the rock matrix to the total flow rate extracted at the pumping wells. Observed lack o...
Article
A GIS-based software platform was developed to arrange all the available hydrogeochemical data into a comprehensive structure and provide support for its proper storage, management, analysis and interpretation. This platform is composed of a geospatial database and a set of analytical instruments integrated in a graphical user interface that coordi...
Chapter
In this chapter we take a look at the presence of emerging organic compounds (EOCs) in groundwater, with emphasis in sources of pollution, processes affecting the spatial and temporal concentration of these compounds as they move through the aquifer and interact with the soil. Emphasis is placed on the combination of transport mechanisms and physic...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Resumen. Las variaciones espaciales de los parámetros hidráulicos tienen un papel singular en los mecanismos de mezcla de aguas en acuíferos. Adicionalmente, la mezcla contra la reacción de especies no conservativas. Se presenta una solución analítica de las tasas de reacción para describir los fenómenos de mezcla en medios porosos heterogéneos par...
Article
Random walk particle tracking methods are a computationally efficient family of methods to solve reactive transport problems. While the number of particles in most realistic applications is in the order of 106-109, the number of reactive molecules even in diluted systems might be in the order of fractions of the Avogadro number. Thus, each particle...
Article
Facies delineation is defined as the separation of geological units with distinct intrinsic characteristics (grain size, hydraulic conductivity, mineralogical composition). A major challenge in this area stems from the fact that only a few scattered pieces of hydrogeological information are available to delineate geological facies. Several methods...
Article
While particle tracking techniques are often used in risk frameworks, the number of particles needed to properly derive risk metrics such as average concentration for a given exposure duration is often unknown. If too few particles are used, error may propagate into the risk estimate. In this work, we provide a less error-prone methodology for the...
Article
We monitored oxygen concentration through the unsaturated zone in a mid-scale (1 m high) laboratory soil lysimeter subject to short wetting and drying cycles simulating a high permeable shallow aquifer recharged by river water. Ten cycles of different duration were performed during a period of 85 days. Measurements of oxygen in the liquid and the g...
Article
The often observed tailing of tracer breakthrough curves is caused by a multitude of mass transfer processes taking place over multiple scales. Yet, in some cases it is convenient to fit a transport model with a single-rate mass transfer coefficient that lumps all the non-Fickian observed behavior. Since mass transfer processes take place at all ch...
Article
The analysis of breakthrough curves (BTCs) is of interest in hydrogeology as a way to parameterize and explain processes related to anomalous transport. Classical BTCs assume the presence of a single peak in the curve, where the location and size of the peak and the slope of the receding limb has been of particular interest. As more information is...
Article
A software platform (QUIMET) was developed to improve the sorting, analysis, calculations, visualizations, and interpretations of hydrogeochemical data in a GIS environment. QUIMET is composed of a geospatial database plus a set of tools specially designed for graphical and statistical analysis of hydrogeochemical data. The geospatial database has...
Article
We introduce a methodology to include uncertainty into DRASTIC (Aller et al., 1987), the most commonly used method to define aquifer vulnerability. For this purpose, we explore separately all seven DRASTIC indices, and analyze how uncertainty can be introduced into each one of them, by proposing a simple decision tree to select the most appropriate...
Article
We derive analytical relationships between the spatial covariance of the (natural) logarithm of hydraulic conductivity (K) and that of representative soil particle sizes and porosity. The latter quantities can be directly measured during routine sedimentological analyses of soil samples and provide a way of incorporating K estimates into groundwate...
Article
Infiltration through sediments is linked to complex biogeochemical processes occurring at small spatial scales, often leading to a progressive reduction in infiltration rates due to microbial growth and/or mechanical clogging. Unraveling the linkage between microbial dynamics and water infiltration in a heterogeneous medium is of concern in artific...
Article
Aquifer hydraulic properties such as hydraulic conductivity (K) are ubiquitously heterogeneous and typically only a statistical characterization can be sought. Additionally statistical anisotropy at typical characterization scales is the rule. Thus, regardless of the processes governing solute transport at the local (pore) scale, transport becomes...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Southern Europe and the Mediterranean region are facing the challenge of managing its water resources under conditions of increasing scarcity and concerns about water quality. Already, the availability of fresh water in sufficient quality and quantity is one of the major factors limiting socio-economic development. Innovative water management strat...
Article
Construction of underground structures (e.g., subway lines, railways and highway tunnels) is inherently hazardous, posing risks to both workers and machinery at the site and to surrounding buildings. The presence of groundwater may increase these risks. We develop a general probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) framework to quantify risks driven by g...
Article
We study the time dependent interaction between hydrogeological and exposure parameters in daily dose predictions due to exposure of humans to groundwater contamination. Dose predictions are treated stochastically to account for an incomplete hydrogeological and geochemical field characterization, and an incomplete knowledge of the physiological re...
Article
Dissolved arsenic (As) concentrations detected in groundwater bodies of the Emilia-Romagna Region (Italy) exhibit values which are above the regulation limit and could be related to the natural composition of the host porous matrix. To support this hypothesis, we present the results of a geochemical modeling study reproducing the main trends of the...
Article
[1] Anomalous transport in advection-dominated convergent flow tracer tests can occurs due to small-scale heterogeneities in aquifer hydraulic properties. These result in fluctuations of the groundwater velocity field and complex connectivity patterns between injection and extraction wells. While detailed characterization of heterogeneity is often...
Article
We study the mobility and interaction under competing conditions observed for copper () and zinc () ions in the context of laboratory-scale experiments performed in natural soil columns. The experiments focus on the analysis of solute breakthrough curves (BTCs) obtained after injection of an aqueous solution containing similar concentrations of the...
Article
Breakthrough curves (BTCs) usually show asymmetric shapes, with marked tailing. This is particularly relevant in convergent-flow tracer tests (CFTTs). It is found that late-time BTCs frequently scales as a power-law function with a slope of -1 in a log-log plot. In tests performed in heterogeneous sandy aquifers with conservative tracers, the key l...
Article
Memory functions and mass transfer models have been widely used to simulate non-Fickian transport in naturally occurring heterogeneous formations. Yet, the link between the heterogeneous structure and the memory function parameters is largely unknown under convergent flow conditions driven by a pumping well. In this work we evaluate the impact of a...
Article
Full-text available
In this work, we evaluate the value of hydrogeological information on the assessment of the risk of contamination of a pumping well operating in a heterogeneous aquifer. Our aim is to statistically characterize the mass fraction of the contaminant recovered at the well and its corresponding arrival time. We do so by investigating the role of the ke...
Article
Aquifer remediation is a challenging problem with environmental, social, and economic implications. As a general rule, pumping proceeds until the concentration of the target substance within the pumped water lies below a prespecified value. In this paper we estimate the a priori potential failure of the endpoint of remediation due to a rebound of c...
Article
We investigated the role of iron (Fe) on arsenic (As) release from two samples of a natural deep soil collected in an aquifer body in the Emilia-Romagna Region, Italy. Each sample is representative of a different solid matrix, i.e., sand and vegetal matter. Batch experiments were performed by applying alternating aerobic/anaerobic conditions to the...
Article
The fate of the three environmentally relevant β-blockers atenolol, metoprolol and propranolol has been studied in batch experiments involving aquifer material and nitrate reducing conditions. Results from the about 90d long tests indicate that abiotic processes, most likely sorption, jointly with biotransformation to atenololic acid were responsib...
Article
The Consolider-Ingenio 2010 project SCARCE, with the full title "Assessing and predicting effects on water quantity and quality in Iberian Rivers caused by global change" aims to examine and predict the relevance of global change on water availability, water quality, and ecosystem services in Mediterranean river basins of the Iberian Peninsula, as...
Chapter
The area involving the Lower Valley and Delta of the Llobregat River has a long-standing tradition in Managed Artificial Recharge (MAR) activities. For more than 50 years different MAR activities have taken place, and at present the area provides a catalog of methodologies put into practice. This chapter provides an overview of artificial recharge...
Article
Soil-aquifer processes have proven to work as a natural treatment for the attenuation of numerous contaminants during artificial recharge of groundwater. Nowadays, significant scientific effort is being devoted to understanding the fate of pharmaceuticals in subsurface environments, and to verify if such semipersistent organic micropollutants could...
Article
We addressed the value of hydrogeological information on the assessment of the risk that an operating pumping well is polluted. The work considered a heterogeneous aquifer and focused on the statistical characterization of the contaminant mass fraction from a diffused source recovered at the well and the solute arrival times. We explored the role o...
Article
For risk assessment and adequate decision making regarding remediation strategies in contaminated aquifers, solute fate in the subsurface must be modeled correctly. In practical situations, hydrodynamic transport parameters are obtained by fitting procedures, that aim to mathematically reproduce solute breakthrough (BTC) observed in the field durin...
Article
Facies delineation or reconstruction is defined as the separation of geological units with distinct intrinsic characteristics (i.e. grain size, hydraulic conductivity, mineralogical composition, etc.). It is a major challenge (for scientists, technicians, stake holders, among others) when just a few scattered pieces of information are available. Se...
Article
Capturing the effects of aquifer heterogeneity is key to evaluating risk in groundwater related problems. In this work we analyze the potential failure of remediation due to the rebound of concentrations driven by back diffusion. Withdrawing polluted water from a contaminated aquifer by pumping is one of the most common components of many remediati...
Article
Hydrogeology has had an interesting evolution. In the early 20th century professionals faced the challenges of flow in porous media and well hydraulics; the emphasis was on quantity. Then in the second part of the century quality issues took over, and hydrogeologists faced geochemistry and transport of conservative solutes. Late in the 1980's the w...
Article
The efficiency of artificial surface ponds (SPs) for managed aquifer recharge (MAR) is mostly controlled by the topmost portion of the soil. The most significant soil property controlling recharge is the infiltration capacity (I-c), which is highly variable in space. Assessing its spatial distribution in detail is prohibitive in practice due to hig...
Article
Aquifer artificial recharge from surface infiltration ponds is often conducted to replenish depleted aquifers in arid and semi-arid zones. Physical and bio-geochemical clogging decreases the host soil’s infiltration capacity, which has to be restored with periodic maintenance activities. We develop a probabilistic modeling framework that quantifies...
Article
Upon their release into the subsurface, non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPLs) dissolve slowly in groundwater and/or volatilize in the vadose zone threatening the environment and public health over extended periods of time. The failure of a treatment technology at any given site is often due to the unnoticed presence of dissolved NAPL trapped in low per...
Article
The performance of managed artificial recharge (MAR) facilities by means of surface ponds (SP) is controlled by the temporal evolution of the global infiltration capacity I c of topsoils. Cost-effective maintenance operations that aim to maintain controlled infiltration values during the activity of the SP require the full knowledge of the spatio-...
Article
Despite the fact that the prognoses on the availability of resources related to different climate scenarios have been already formulated, the complex hydrological and biogeochemical reactions taking place in different compartments in natural environmental media are poorly understood, especially regarding the interactions between water bodies, and t...