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Modeling Variably Saturated Multispecies Reactive Groundwater Solute Transport with MODFLOW‐UZF and RT3D
- Bailey, Ryan T., Morway, Eric D., Niswonger, Richard G., Gates, Timothy K.
- Ground water 2013 v.51 no.5 pp. 752-761
- chemical reactions, chemical speciation, groundwater, mathematical models, porous media, reaction kinetics, solutes, unsaturated flow
- A numerical model was developed that is capable of simulating multispecies reactive solute transport in variably saturated porous media. This model consists of a modified version of the reactive transport model RT3D (Reactive Transport in 3 Dimensions) that is linked to the Unsaturated‐Zone Flow (UZF1) package and MODFLOW. Referred to as UZF‐RT3D, the model is tested against published analytical benchmarks as well as other published contaminant transport models, including HYDRUS‐1D, VS2DT, and SUTRA, and the coupled flow and transport modeling system of CATHY and TRAN3D. Comparisons in one‐dimensional, two‐dimensional, and three‐dimensional variably saturated systems are explored. While several test cases are included to verify the correct implementation of variably saturated transport in UZF‐RT3D, other cases are included to demonstrate the usefulness of the code in terms of model run‐time and handling the reaction kinetics of multiple interacting species in variably saturated subsurface systems. As UZF1 relies on a kinematic‐wave approximation for unsaturated flow that neglects the diffusive terms in Richards equation, UZF‐RT3D can be used for large‐scale aquifer systems for which the UZF1 formulation is reasonable, that is, capillary‐pressure gradients can be neglected and soil parameters can be treated as homogeneous. Decreased model run‐time and the ability to include site‐specific chemical species and chemical reactions make UZF‐RT3D an attractive model for efficient simulation of multispecies reactive transport in variably saturated large‐scale subsurface systems.