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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R3F60Z

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Theses and Dissertations

Probabilistic modeling of natural attenuation of petroleum hydrocarbons Open Access

Descriptions

Other title
Subject/Keyword
inverse modeling
geostatistics
parameter uncertainty
contaminant transport
parameter estimation
natural attenuation
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Hosseini, Amir Hossein
Supervisor and department
Biggar, Kevin (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Sego, David (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Mendoza, Carl (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Deutsch, Clayton (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Gómez-Hernández, Jaime (Universidad Politécnica de Valencia)
Chan, Dave (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Mendoza, Carl (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Biggar, Kevin (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Deutsch, Clayton (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Sego, David (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Department
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Specialization

Date accepted
2009-10-01T17:06:00Z
Graduation date
2009-11
Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Doctoral
Abstract
Natural attenuation refers to the observed reduction in contaminant concentration via natural processes as contaminants migrate from the source into environmental media. Assessment of the dimensions of contaminant plumes and prediction of their fate requires predictions of the rate of dissolution of contaminants from residual non-aqueous-phase liquids (NAPLs) into the aquifer and the rate of contaminant removal through biodegradation. The available techniques to estimate these parameters do not characterize their confidence intervals by accounting for their relationships to uncertainty in source geometry and hydraulic conductivity distribution. The central idea in this thesis is to develop a flexible modeling approach for characterization of uncertainty in residual NAPL dissolution rate and first-order biodegradation rate by tailoring the estimation of these parameters to distributions of uncertainty in source size and hydraulic conductivity field. The first development in this thesis is related to a distance function approach that characterizes the uncertainty in the areal limits of the source zones. Implementation of the approach for a given monitoring well arrangement results in a unique uncertainty band that meets the requirements of unbiasedness and fairness of the calibrated probabilities. The second development in this thesis is related to a probabilistic model for characterization of uncertainty in the 3D localized distribution of residual NAPL in a real site. A categorical variable is defined based on the available CPT-UVIF data, while secondary data based on soil texture and groundwater table elevation are also incorporated into the model. A cross-validation study shows the importance of incorporation of secondary data in improving the prediction of contaminated and uncontaminated locations. The third development in this thesis is related to the implementation of a Monte Carlo type inverse modeling to develop a screening model used to characterize the confidence intervals in the NAPL dissolution rate and first-order biodegradation rate. The development of the model is based on sequential self-calibration approach, distance-function approach and a gradient-based optimization. It is shown that tailoring the estimation of the transport parameters to joint realizations of source geometry and transmissivity field can effectively reduce the uncertainties in the predicted state variables.
Language
English
DOI
doi:10.7939/R3F60Z
Rights
License granted by Amir H. Hosseini (amirh@ualberta.ca) on 2009-09-30T16:38:12Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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