Evaluating four-dimensional time-lapse electrical resistivity tomography for monitoring DNAPL source zone remediation

Christopher Power, Jason Gerhard, Marios Karaoulis, Panagiotis Tsourlos, Antonios Giannopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Practical, non-invasive tools do not currently exist for mapping the remediation of dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs). Electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) exhibits significant potential but has not yet become a practitioner's tool due to challenges in interpreting the survey results at real sites. This study explores the effectiveness of recently developed four-dimensional (4D, i.e., 3D space plus time) time-lapse surface ERT tomonitor DNAPL source zone remediation. A laboratory experiment demonstrated the approach formapping a changing NAPL distribution over time. A recently developed DNAPL-ERT numerical model was then employed to independently simulate the experiment, providing confidence that the DNAPL-ERT model is a reliable tool for simulating real systems. The numerical model was then used to evaluate the potential for this approach at the field scale. Four DNAPL source zones, exhibiting a range of complexity, were initially simulated, followed by modelled time-lapse ERT monitoring of complete DNAPL remediation by enhanced dissolution. 4D ERT inversion provided estimates of the regions of the source zone experiencing mass reduction with time. Results show that 4D time-lapse ERT has significant potential to map both the outline and the center of mass of the evolving treated portion of the source zone towithin a fewmeters ineachdirection. Inaddition, the technique can provide a reasonable, albeit conservative, estimate of the DNAPL volume remediated with time: 25% underestimation in the upper 2 mand up to 50% underestimation at late time between 2 and 4 m depth. The technique is less reliable for identifying cleanup of DNAPL stringers outside the main DNAPL body. Overall, this study demonstrates that 4D time-lapse ERT has potential for mapping where and how quickly DNAPL mass changes in real time during site remediation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27 - 46
JournalJournal of Contaminant Hydrology
Volume162 - 163
Early online date5 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


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