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Berg S.J.,University of Waterloo | Berg S.J.,Aquanty Inc. | Illman W.A.,University of Waterloo
Groundwater | Year: 2015

Over the past several decades, different groundwater modeling approaches of various complexities and data use have been developed. A recently developed approach for mapping hydraulic conductivity (K) and specific storage (Ss) heterogeneity is hydraulic tomography, the performance of which has not been compared to other more "traditional" methods that have been utilized over the past several decades. In this study, we compare seven methods of modeling heterogeneity which are (1) kriging, (2) effective parameter models, (3) transition probability/Markov Chain geostatistics models, (4) geological models, (5) stochastic inverse models conditioned to local K data, (6) hydraulic tomography, and (7) hydraulic tomography conditioned to local K data using data collected in five boreholes at a field site on the University of Waterloo (UW) campus, in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The performance of each heterogeneity model is first assessed during model calibration. In particular, the correspondence between simulated and observed drawdowns is assessed using the mean absolute error norm, (L1), mean square error norm (L2), and correlation coefficient (R) as well as through scatterplots. We also assess the various models on their ability to predict drawdown data not used in the calibration effort from nine pumping tests. Results reveal that hydraulic tomography is best able to reproduce these tests in terms of the smallest discrepancy and highest correlation between simulated and observed drawdowns. However, conditioning of hydraulic tomography results with permeameter K data caused a slight deterioration in accuracy of drawdown predictions which suggests that data integration may need to be conducted carefully. © 2014, National Ground Water Association.


Frey S.K.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Frey S.K.,Aquanty Inc. | Gottschall N.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Wilkes G.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Environmental Quality | Year: 2015

When surface water levels decline, exposed streambed sediments can be mobilized and washed into the water course when subjected to erosive rainfall. In this study, rainfall simulations were conducted over exposed sediments along stream banks at four distinct locations in an agriculturally dominated river basin with the objective of quantifying the potential for contaminant loading from these often overlooked runoff source areas. At each location, simulations were performed at three different sites. Nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment, fecal indicator bacteria, pathogenic bacteria, and microbial source tracking (MST) markers were examined in both prerainfall sediments and rainfall-induced runoff water. Runoff generation and sediment mobilization occurred quickly (10-150 s) after rainfall initiation. Temporal trends in runoff concentrations were highly variable within and between locations. Total runoff event loads were considered large for many pollutants considered. For instance, the maximum observed total phosphorus runoff load was on the order of 1.5 kg ha-1. Results also demonstrate that runoff from exposed sediments can be a source of pathogenic bacteria. Campylobacter spp. and Salmonella spp. were present in runoff from one and three locations, respectively. Ruminant MST markers were also present in runoff from two locations, one of which hosted pasturing cattle with stream access. Overall, this study demonstrated that rainfall-induced runoff from exposed streambed sediments can be an important source of surface water pollution. © American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America.


Zhao Z.,University of Waterloo | Illman W.A.,University of Waterloo | Yeh T.-C.J.,University of Arizona | Berg S.J.,University of Waterloo | And 2 more authors.
Water Resources Research | Year: 2015

In this study, we demonstrate the effectiveness of hydraulic tomography (HT) that considers variably saturated flow processes in mapping the heterogeneity of both the saturated and unsaturated zones in a laboratory unconfined aquifer. The successive linear estimator (SLE) developed by Mao et al. (2013c) for interpreting HT in unconfined aquifers is utilized to obtain tomograms of hydraulic conductivity (K), specific storage (Ss), and the unsaturated zone parameters (pore size parameter (α) and saturated water content (θs)) for the Gardner-Russo's model. The estimated tomograms are first evaluated by visually comparing them with stratigraphy visible in the sandbox. Results reveal that the HT analysis is able to accurately capture the location and extent of heterogeneity including high and low K layers within the saturated and unsaturated zones, as well as reasonable distribution patterns of α and θs for the Gardner-Russo's model. We then validate the estimated tomograms through predictions of drawdown responses of pumping tests not used during the inverse modeling effort. The strong agreement between simulated and observed drawdown curves obtained by pressure transducers and tensiometers demonstrates the robust performance of HT that considers variably saturated flow processes in unconfined aquifers and the unsaturated zone above it. In addition, compared to the case using the homogeneous assumption, HT results, as expected, yield significantly better predictions of drawdowns in both the saturated and unsaturated zones. This comparison further substantiates the unbiased and minimal variance of HT analysis with the SLE algorithm. Key Points: Hydraulic tomography can characterize the unconfined aquifer quite well Estimated tomograms accurately predict the drawdown responses Considering unconfined aquifer heterogeneity yields improved prediction © 2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


Hwang H.-T.,Aquanty Inc. | Hwang H.-T.,University of Waterloo | Jeen S.-W.,Chonbuk National University | Sudicky E.A.,University of Waterloo | Illman W.A.,University of Waterloo
Journal of Contaminant Hydrology | Year: 2015

Abstract The applicability of a newly-developed chain-decay multispecies model (CMM) was validated by obtaining kinetic rate constants and branching ratios along the reaction pathways of trichloroethene (TCE) reduction by zero-valent iron (ZVI) from column experiments. Changes in rate constants and branching ratios for individual reactions for degradation products over time for two columns under different geochemical conditions were examined to provide ranges of those parameters expected over the long-term. As compared to the column receiving deionized water, the column receiving dissolved CaCO3 showed higher mean degradation rates for TCE and all of its degradation products. However, the column experienced faster reactivity loss toward TCE degradation due to precipitation of secondary carbonate minerals, as indicated by a higher value for the ratio of maximum to minimum TCE degradation rate observed over time. From the calculated branching ratios, it was found that TCE and cis-dichloroethene (cis-DCE) were dominantly dechlorinated to chloroacetylene and acetylene, respectively, through reductive elimination for both columns. The CMM model, validated by the column test data in this study, provides a convenient tool to determine simultaneously the critical design parameters for permeable reactive barriers and natural attenuation such as rate constants and branching ratios. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Frey S.K.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Frey S.K.,Aquanty Inc. | Hwang H.-T.,Aquanty Inc. | Park Y.-J.,Aquanty Inc. | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Hydrology | Year: 2016

Tile drainage management is considered a beneficial management practice (BMP) for reducing nutrient loads in surface water. In this study, 2-dimensional dual permeability models were developed to simulate flow and transport following liquid swine manure and rhodamine WT (strongly sorbing) tracer application on macroporous clay loam soils under controlled (CD) and free drainage (FD) tile management. Dominant flow and transport characteristics were successfully replicated, including higher and more continuous tile discharge and lower peak rhodamine WT concentrations in FD tile effluent; in relation to CD, where discharge was intermittent, peak rhodamine concentrations higher, and mass exchange from macropores into the soil matrix greater. Explicit representation of preferential flow was essential, as macropores transmitted >98% of surface infiltration, tile flow, and tile solute loads for both FD and CD. Incorporating an active 3rd type lower boundary condition that facilitated groundwater interaction was imperative for simulating CD, as the higher (relative to FD) water table enhanced water and soluble nutrient movement from the soil profile into deeper groundwater. Scenario analysis revealed that in conditions where slight upwards hydraulic gradients exist beneath tiles, groundwater upwelling can influence the concentration of surface derived solutes in tile effluent under FD conditions; whereas the higher and flatter CD water table can restrict groundwater upwelling. Results show that while CD can reduce tile discharge, it can also lead to an increase in surface-application derived nutrient concentrations in tile effluent and hence surface water receptors, and it can promote NO3 loading into groundwater. This study demonstrates dual permeability modeling as a tool for increasing the conceptual understanding of tile drainage BMPs. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

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