WARTS AND ALL: ANOMALOUS PLUME BEHAVIOR IN A GLACIAL AQUIFER SYSTEM
Numerous examples of transport behavior that is inconsistent with simplified conceptual models of contaminant transport have been recognized at the site. These include: i) non-detect values in monitoring wells located in the direct path of a plume, ii) unexpected contaminant detection in distal monitoring wells; iii) apparent upgradient migration; iv) branching and lateral fingering of plumes; v) sporadic vertical and horizontal concentration gradients; and vi) temporal contaminant concentration fluctuations. Many of these anomalies are difficult to explain with a conventional advection-dispersion transport model, even when gross heterogeneities in aquifer/aquitard distribution are taken into account. Potential explanations for the observed behavior are: i) insufficient monitoring well spacing (horizontal and vertical); ii) large monitoring well screen intervals; iii) unrecognized preferential flow paths; iv) unrecognized barriers to flow; v) temporal variation in magnitude and direction of hydraulic gradients in response to seasonal recharge and remedial pumping; and vi) a complex loading history. This presentation will illustrate anomalous transport behavior and discuss potential explanations at the site.