Groundwater flow model and its implications for contaminant behavior
What sets hydrogeology apart from many of the other geosciences is an emphasis on treating problems mathematically. The mathematical approach involves representing a groundwater process by an equation and solving that equation. These equations are fundamental to the quantitative treatment of flow and provide the basis for calculating hydraulic heads, giving an idealization of some hydrogeologic system, boundary and initial conditions. Almost any information on the groundwater system of interest will improve the ability to determine the intrinsic susceptibility of the groundwater system to contamination. Of particular importance, however, is information that directly relates to the movement of groundwater through the system. In this paper, the differential equations, which are general formulations that govern flow systems, are presented such that unique solutions to the equations applicable to specific flow systems are obtained when their known boundary conditions are substituted in them. More importantly, it was observed from the derivation of solutions from general flow equations that given the large number of ways of contaminating groundwater, evaluating the extent to which advection and dispersion were important in controlling contaminant spread in any given area calls for understanding of the basic advection – dispersion equation. These equations explain and quantify the physical forces acting in the subsurface and the geologic environment as related to groundwater, particularly the processes affecting contaminant fate and transport.
Keyword: Groundwater flow, model, contaminant, hydrogeology