Simulating MODFLOW-Based Reactive Transport Under Radially Symmetric Flow Conditions
Article first published online: 17 AUG 2012
© 2012, The Author(s). Groundwater © 2012, National Ground Water Association
Volume 51, Issue 3, pages 398–413, May/June 2013
How to Cite
Wallis, I., Prommer, H., Post, V., Vandenbohede, A. and Simmons, C. T. (2013), Simulating MODFLOW-Based Reactive Transport Under Radially Symmetric Flow Conditions. Ground Water, 51: 398–413. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.2012.00978.x
- Issue published online: 23 APR 2013
- Article first published online: 17 AUG 2012
- Received January 2012, accepted July 2012.
Radially symmetric flow and solute transport around point sources and sinks is an important specialized topic of groundwater hydraulics. Analysis of radial flow fields is routinely used to determine heads and flows in the vicinity of point sources or sinks. Increasingly, studies also consider solute transport, biogeochemical processes, and thermal changes that occur in the vicinity of point sources/sinks. Commonly, the analysis of hydraulic processes involves numerical or (semi-) analytical modeling methods. For the description of solute transport, analytical solutions are only available for the most basic transport phenomena. Solving advanced transport problems numerically is often associated with a significant computational burden. However, where axis-symmetry applies, computational cost can be decreased substantially in comparison with full three-dimensional (3D) solutions. In this study, we explore several techniques of simulating conservative and reactive transport within radial flow fields using MODFLOW as the flow simulator, based on its widespread use and ability to be coupled with multiple solute and reactive transport codes of different complexity. The selected transport simulators are MT3DMS and PHT3D. Computational efficiency and accuracy of the approaches are evaluated through comparisons with full 2D/3D model simulations, analytical solutions, and benchmark problems. We demonstrate that radial transport models are capable of accurately reproducing a wide variety of conservative and reactive transport problems provided that an adequate spatial discretization and advection scheme is selected. For the investigated test problems, the computational load was substantially reduced, with the improvement varying, depending on the complexity of the considered reaction network.