• contaminants;
  • groundwater flow;
  • stream-aquifer system;
  • finite elements;
  • recharge.

ABSTRACT. Transient, two-dimensional solutions are developed which describe the movement and distribution of a conservative substance in a stream-aquifer system. The solutions are obtained by solving sequentially the groundwater flow and mass transport equations. A variational approach in conjunction with the finite element method is used to solve the groundwater flow equation. Galerkin's approach coupled with the finite element method is used to solve the mass transport equation. Linear approximated triangular elements and a centered scheme of numerical integration are employed to calculate the hydraulic head distribution and the concentration of solute in the flow region. The linear approximation used to define the concentration function within each element is not appropriate for cases involving steep concentration gradients. For such cases, higher order approximations are necessary to assure the continuity of gradients across interelemental boundaries. Numerical examples that illustrate the applicability of the model are presented.