Jiang Wu

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Geological and Environmental Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Michael J. Barcelona

Second Advisor

Dr. Duane R. Hampton

Third Advisor

Dr. Alan Kehew

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Organic contaminant transport processes in subsurface systems have been paid increasing attention recently. Sorption of organic compounds on the aquifer solid matrix (retardation) is one of the most important processes influencing contaminant transport. The extent of sorption has been estimated by determination of organic carbon in aquifer materials and assumptions concerning sorption constants.

This paper focuses upon the sensitivity of organic contaminant transport to the total organic carbon (TOC) content in a natural aquifer. This study was composed of two phases. The first phase was methodology development and laboratory analysis of organic carbon contents in soil samples. Acidification and furnace combustion methods were used to determine carbon contents. Profiles of the TOC distribution in natural soil were also determined.

Based on the laboratory TOC data, a three-dimensional ground water flow/ solute transport computer model was constructed to evaluate the sensitivity of organic contaminant transport to varying TOC distributions. MODFLOW, MODPATH, and MT3D codes were used to perform the modeling simulations. A very sensitive and semi-logarithmic relation between organic transport and TOC level was observed from evaluation of the modeling results.

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Geology Commons