School of Engineering
Natural source zone depletion (NSZD) of light non-aqueous phase liquids (LNAPLs) includes partitioning, transport and degradation of LNAPL components. NSZD is being considered as a site closure option during later stages of active remediation of LNAPL contaminated sites, and where LNAPL mass removal is limiting. To ensure NSZD meets compliance criteria and to design enhanced NSZD actions if required, residual risks posed by LNAPL and its long term behaviour require estimation. Prediction of long-term NSZD trends requires linking physicochemical partitioning and transport processes with bioprocesses at multiple scales within a modelling framework. Here we expand and build on the knowledge base of a recent review of NSZD, to establish the key processes and understanding required to model NSZD long term. We describe key challenges to our understanding, inclusive of the dominance of methanogenic or aerobic biodegradation processes, the potentially changeability of rates due to the weathering profile of LNAPL product types and ages, and linkages to underlying bioprocesses. We critically discuss different scales in subsurface simulation and modelling of NSZD. Focusing on processes at Darcy scale, 36 models addressing processes of importance to NSZD are investigated. We investigate the capabilities of models to accommodate more than 20 subsurface transport and transformation phenomena and present comparisons in several tables. We discuss the applicability of each group of models for specific site conditions.
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