The influence of aquifer property correlation on multiphase fluid migration and entrapment was explored through the use of correlated and uncorrelated porosity, permeability, and capillary pressure-saturation (Pc-Sat) parameter fields in a crosssectional numerical multiphase flow model. Data collected from core samples in a nonuniform sandy aquifer were used to generate three-dimensional aquifer parameter fields. Porosity was assumed to be uniform or simulated using sequential Gaussian simulation (SGS). Permeability (k) was modeled independently of porosity using SGS as well as simulated geostatistical indicator classes derived from measured grain size distribution curves. Retention characteristics were assigned employing Leverett scaling of a representative Pc-Sat curve to the geostatistical k fields or, alternatively, on the basis of simulated indicator classes and porosity values. Ensemble dense nonaqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) infiltration and entrapment behavior for a hypothetical tetrachloroethylene (PCE) spill was simulated in four sets of two-dimensional profiles extracted from these realizations. Comparisons of saturation profiles and spatial moments from point source DNAPL infiltration simulations suggest that choices involving the geostatistical algorithm used to model k and the incorporation of variable versus uniform porosity have a smaller influence than choices involving the scaling of capillary retention properties to k. From these simulations it is apparent that the degree of spatial correlation in Pc-Sat parameters exerts a controlling influence on predicted DNAPL spreading and redistribution in saturated aquifers. The resultant distribution of mass within a DNAPL source zone will have implications for DNAPL recovery and subsequent mass fluxes in remediation operations.
Geology | Hydrology
Lemke, L. D., L. M. Abriola, and P. Goovaerts (2004), Dense nonaqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) source zone characterization: Influence of hydraulic property correlation on predictions of DNAPL infiltration and entrapment, Water Resour. Res., 40, W01511, doi:10.1029/2003WR001980.