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Specification of Matrix Cleanup Goals in Fractured Porous Media


Department of Civil Engineering, Queen's University, Ellis Hall, Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6;


Semianalytical transient solutions have been developed to evaluate what level of fractured porous media (e.g., bedrock or clay) matrix cleanup must be achieved in order to achieve compliance of fracture pore water concentrations within a specified time at specified locations of interest. The developed mathematical solutions account for forward and backward diffusion in a fractured porous medium where the initial condition comprises a spatially uniform, nonzero matrix concentration throughout the domain. Illustrative simulations incorporating the properties of mudstone fractured bedrock demonstrate that the time required to reach a desired fracture pore water concentration is a function of the distance between the point of compliance and the upgradient face of the domain where clean groundwater is inflowing. Shorter distances correspond to reduced times required to reach compliance, implying that shorter treatment zones will respond more favorably to remediation than longer treatment zones in which back-diffusion dominates the fracture pore water response. For a specified matrix cleanup goal, compliance of fracture pore water concentrations will be reached sooner for decreased fracture spacing, increased fracture aperture, higher matrix fraction organic carbon, lower matrix porosity, shorter aqueous phase decay half-life, and a higher hydraulic gradient. The parameters dominating the response of the system can be measured using standard field and laboratory techniques.

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