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: Mars, Saturn and the claws of Scorpius

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A major study of all penguin populations

Aug 06, 2014

A major study of all penguin species suggests the birds are at continuing risk from habitat degradation. Writing in the journal, Conservation Biology, a group of internationally renowned scientists recomm ...

Great Barrier Reef in danger, scientists say

Jul 03, 2014

Scientists at a coral reef symposium in Canberra this week are examining degraded reefs off the Northwest Australian coast in an effort to determine what lies ahead for the Great Barrier Reef.

Making progress on deforestation

Jun 24, 2014

In 2005, Brazil was losing more forest each year than any other country. The good news is that today, Brazil has reduced deforestation in the Amazon rainforest by 70 percent, according to a recent study. ...

Recommended for you

Mars, Saturn and the claws of Scorpius

1 hour ago

Look up at the night sky this week and you'll find Mars and Saturn together in the west. Mars stands out with its reddish colouring and you might just be able to detect a faint yellow tinge to Saturn. ...

Electric sparks may alter evolution of lunar soil

4 hours ago

The moon appears to be a tranquil place, but modeling done by University of New Hampshire and NASA scientists suggests that, over the eons, periodic storms of solar energetic particles may have significantly ...

User comments : 0