Model Simulations of a Field Experiment on Cation Exchange-affected Multicomponent Solute Transport in a Sandy Aquifer

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A large-scale and long-term field experiment on cation exchange in a sandy aquifer has been modelled by a three-dimensional geochemical transport model. The geochemical model includes cation-exchange processes using a Gaines-Thomas expression, the closed carbonate system and the effects of ionic strength. Information on geology, hydrogeology and the transient conservative solute transport behaviour was obtained from a dispersion study in the same aquifer. The geochemical input parameters were carefully examined. CEC and selectivity coefficients were determined on the actual aquifer material by batch experiments and by the composition of the cations on the exchange complex. Potassium showed a non-ideal exchange behaviour with K&z.sbnd;Ca selectivity coefficients indicating dependency on equivalent fraction and K+ concentration in the aqueous phase. The model simulations over a distance of 35 m and a period of 250 days described accurately the observed attenuation of Na and the expelled amounts of Ca and Mg. Also, model predictions of plateau zones, formed by interaction with the background groundwater, in general agreed satisfactorily with the observations. Transport of K was simulated over a period of 800 days due to a substantially attenuation in the aquifer. The observed and the predicted breakthrough curves showed a reasonable accordance taking the duration of the experiment into account. However, some discrepancies were observed probably caused by the revealed non-ideal exchange behaviour of K+.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Contaminant Hydrology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)291-311
Publication statusPublished - 1993

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