Assessing contaminant-removal conditions and plume persistence through analysis of data from long-term pump-and-treat operations

Mark L. Brusseau, Zhilin Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Historical groundwater-withdrawal and contaminant-concentration data collected from long-term pump-and-treat operations were analyzed and used to examine contaminant mass discharge (CMD) and mass-removal behavior for multiple sites. Differences in behavior were observed, and these differences were consistent with the nature of contaminant distributions and subsurface properties of the sites. For example, while CMD exhibited a relatively rapid decline during the initial stage of operation for all three sites, the rate of decline varied. The greatest rate was observed for the PGN site, whereas the lowest rate was observed for the MOT site. In addition, the MOT site exhibited the lowest relative reduction in CMD. These results are consistent with the actuality that the MOT site likely contains the greatest proportion of poorly accessible contaminant mass, given that it comprises a combined alluvium and fractured-bedrock system in which solvent and dissolved mass are present directly in the bedrock. The relative contributions of the source zones versus the plumes to total CMD were determined. Constrained contaminant mass removal was observed to influence the plumes for all three sites, and was attributed to a combination of uncontrolled (or imperfectly controlled) sources, back diffusion, and well-field hydraulics. The results presented herein illustrate that detailed analysis of operational pump-and-treat data can be a cost-effective method for providing value-added characterization of contaminated sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-24
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Contaminant Hydrology
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Mass flux
  • Source depletion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology


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