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Investigating the scale of structural controls on chlorinated hydrocarbon distributions in the fractured-porus unsaturated zone of a sandstone aquifer in the UK

Lawrence, Adrian R.; Stuart, Marianne; Cheney, Colin; Jones, Neil; Moss, Richard. 2006 Investigating the scale of structural controls on chlorinated hydrocarbon distributions in the fractured-porus unsaturated zone of a sandstone aquifer in the UK. Hydrogeology Journal, 14 (8). 1470-1482. 10.1007/s10040-006-0068-6

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Abstract/Summary

Contaminant migration behaviour in the unsaturated zone of a fractured porous aquifer is discussed in the context of a study site in Cheshire, UK. The site is situated on gently dipping sandstones, adjacent to a linear lagoon historically used to dispose of industrial wastes containing chlorinated solvents. Two cores of more than 100 m length were recovered and measurements of chlorinated hydrocarbons (CHCs), inorganic chemistry, lithology, fracturing and aquifer properties were made. The results show that selecting an appropriate vertical sampling density is crucial both to providing an understanding of contaminant pathways and distinguishing whether CHCs are present in the aqueous or non-aqueous phase. The spacing of such sampling should be on a similar scale to the heterogeneity that controls water and contaminant movement. For some sections of the Permo-Triassic aquifer, significant changes in lithology and permeability occur over vertical distances of less than 1 m and samples need to be collected at this interval, otherwise considerable resolution is lost, potentially leading to erroneous interpretation of data. At this site, although CHC concentrations were high, the consistent ratio of the two main components of the plume (tetrachloroethene and trichloroethene) provided evidence of movement in the aqueous phase rather than in dense non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL).

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1007/s10040-006-0068-6
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Groundwater Management
ISSN: 14312174
Additional Keywords: Sandstones, Cheshire, Aquifers, Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated solvents, Sampling, Fractured rocks, Unsaturated zone, Dual-porosity, GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater, Point source pollution
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Related URLs:
Date made live: 28 Jul 2009 09:23
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/1474

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