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A natural-gradient field tracer test for evaluation of pollutant-transport parameters in a porous-medium aquifer

Yang, Y.S. and Lin, X.Y. and Elliot, T. and Kalin, R.M. (2001) A natural-gradient field tracer test for evaluation of pollutant-transport parameters in a porous-medium aquifer. Hydrogeology Journal, 9 (3). pp. 313-320.

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This paper describes a natural-gradient field tracer test to characterise solute-transport properties in a sand and gravel aquifer in the Hebei Province, northern China. Some laboratory-scale column tests on aquifer material and a local-scale field borehole-dilution test have been conducted previously, but the field test reported herein represents the only large-scale tracer test in the aquifer, which is the sole water supply to the city of Shi Jiazhuang and which is threatened by urban pollution. The aim of the study was to quantify the transport behaviour of nonreactive pollutants in this aquifer. Little quantitative data are available concerning its solute-transport properties; thus, the results of the tracer test are significant and critical for understanding pollutant transport and fate. The in-situ tracer test was carried out in the aquifer using a slug injection of the geochemically conservative, radioactive iodine tracer I-131. Th, longitudinal (alpha (L)) and transverse (alpha (T)) hydrodynamic dispersivities for solute transport in the field are 1.72 and 0.0013 m, respectively. The ratio of longitudinal dispersivity alpha (L) and the flow length at the field scale is 1:10. The ratio between alpha (L) and alpha (T) from the in-situ test (similar to1,300:1) demonstrates a dominant longitudinal dispersion in this fluvial sand and gravel aquifer. The tracer test further indicates a relatively short transit time for the aquifer (linear velocities similar to 13 m/d) under natural-gradient conditions.