Reactive contaminant transport modeling using analytic element flow solutions
Craig, James R
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A new approach to modeling reactive contaminant transport in groundwater is developed and evaluated. The approach is unique in that it uses a grid- or mesh-independent representation of model input parameters, including continuous velocities, dispersion coefficients, and saturated thickness values obtained directly from analytic element groundwater flow solutions. The approach is realized within a suite of revised finite element, finite difference, and characteristic methods that are designed to improve the accuracy and reduce the computational costs of complex reactive vertically-averaged transport simulations in surficial aquifers. These methods are implemented in a fully object-oriented parallel-friendly software framework, benchmarked against existing analytic and numerical solutions, tested against traditional discrete methods, and applied to a set of difficult field-scale test problems. It was found that the majority of the methods benefited from continuous representation, and that the use of the analytic element method can facilitate the development of computationally efficient multi-scale reactive transport models. Importantly, this work represents the first thorough implementation of a linkage between reactive contaminant transport models and the analytic element method for modeling groundwater flow, and the first detailed analysis of such a linkage.