An integrated Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm for upscaling hydrological and geochemical parameters from column to field scale
Science of the Total Environment, 512, pp 428-443, 2015-4-15
Predicting and controlling the concentrations of redox-sensitive elements are primary concerns for environmental remediation of contaminated sites. These predictions are complicated by dynamic flow processes as hydrologic variability is a governing control on conservative and reactive chemical concentrations. Subsurface heterogeneity in the form of layers and lenses further complicates the flow dynamics of the system impacting chemical concentrations including redox-sensitive elements. In response to these complexities, this study investigates the role of heterogeneity and hydrologic processes in an effective parameter upscaling scheme from the column to the landfill scale. We used a Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm to derive upscaling coefficients for hydrological and geochemical parameters, which were tested for variations across heterogeneous systems (layers and lenses) and interaction of flow processes based on the output uncertainty of dominant biogeochemical concentrations at the Norman landfill site, a closed municipal landfill with prevalent organic and trace metal contamination. The results from MCMC analysis indicated that geochemical upscaling coefficients based on effective concentration ratios incorporating local heterogeneity across layered and lensed systems produced better estimates of redox-sensitive biogeochemistry at the field scale. MCMC analysis also suggested that inclusion of hydrological parameters in the upscaling scheme reduced the output uncertainty of effective mean geochemical concentrations by orders of magnitude at the Norman Landfill site. This was further confirmed by posterior density plots of the scaling coefficients that revealed unimodal characteristics when only geochemical processes were involved, but produced multimodal distributions when hydrological parameters were included. The multimodality again suggests the effect of heterogeneity and lithologic variability on the distribution of redox-sensitive elements at the Norman Landfill site.
Scale; Landfill site; Sulfate reduction; Spatial variability