Polluted ground water poured into a model

Apr 18, 2006

Dutch researcher Phil Ham has developed mathematical models to calculate the natural degradation capacity of polluted groundwater. As a result of this, it can now be predicted whether a polluted area will become larger or smaller. In the latter case, expensive remediation methods can be avoided.

Groundwater under contaminated sites, such as waste disposal sites and industrial areas, is often polluted. Such a polluted groundwater plume can grow, shrink or remain stable due to an interplay between physical, chemical and biological processes.

Phil Ham has devised mathematical expressions to determine the size of a plume and to assess the natural degradation capacity of contaminated sites. His analytical models calculate the reactive transport of dissolved matter in water through porous soil and the characteristics of the mixing processes. Such a scientifically-supported method had not previously been available.

Within the world of engineering there is a high demand for mathematical models that allow accurate predictions to be made. If it can be calculated whether a plume will decrease in size or remain stable, invasive and expensive remediation methods can possibly be avoided.

The results of this study enable predictions to be made about the effectiveness of natural degradation as a responsible alternative to aquifer remediation.

Source: Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research

Explore further: The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope: Unlocking the secrets of dark matter and dark energy

Related Stories

Lack of oxygen in the groundwater

Apr 29, 2015

Spring has arrived in Europe with mild temperatures and sunshine. Where just a few weeks ago the ground was frozen and partly covered in snow and ice, it is now thawing. This doesn't only have an impact on ...

First invasive lionfish discovered in Brazil

Apr 22, 2015

A single fish caught with a hand spear off the Brazilian coast is making big waves across the entire southwestern Atlantic. In May 2014, a group of recreational divers spotted an adult lionfish—the voracious ...

Recipe for saving coral reefs: Add more fish

Apr 08, 2015

Fish are the key ingredients in a new recipe to diagnose and restore degraded coral reef ecosystems, according to scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science, WCS, James Cook University, and ...

Why you should celebrate World Sparrow Day

Mar 20, 2015

For the past five years there has been a growing movement to recognise March 20 as World Sparrow Day – a day to celebrate the house sparrow (Passer domesticus) with art, poems, stories and events like office ...

Recommended for you

What was here before the solar system?

14 hours ago

The solar system is old. Like, dial-up-fax-machine-old. 4.6 billion years to be specific. The solar system has nothing on the universe. It's been around for 13.8 billion years, give or take a few hundred ...

What is lunar regolith?

15 hours ago

When you're walking around on soft ground, do you notice how your feet leave impressions? Perhaps you've tracked some of the looser earth in your yard into the house on occasion? If you were to pick up some ...

Herschel's hunt for filaments in the Milky Way

15 hours ago

Observations with ESA's Herschel space observatory have revealed that our Galaxy is threaded with filamentary structures on every length scale. From nearby clouds hosting tangles of filaments a few light-years ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.