Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2011NM126B

Computational Fluid Dynamics Modeling of Karst Conduit-Matrix Exchanges with Relevance in Contaminant Transport, and Chemical Reactions

Institute: New Mexico
Year Established: 2011 Start Date: 2011-03-01 End Date: 2012-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $30,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $30,203

Principal Investigators: John Wilson

Abstract: This project focuses on conduit to matrix exchanges to describe the transport of contaminates in karst aquifers. Contaminant storage and transport in karst is a poorly understood process. Part of the difficulty in describing contaminant transport in karst is due to a lack of understanding of the karst water cycle. This project seeks to describe conduit to matrix exchanges in the karst water cycle, leading to improved predictive ability of contaminant transport ad sequestration. This project will produce descriptive Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models of conduit matrix exchanges during floods and hyporheic exchange. These models are intended to be quantitative descriptive models, rather than predictive, with the goal of describing contaminant transport in karst aquifers. Specific questions the models seek to answer are: 1) What is the residence time of conduit flood water and accompanying contaminants in thematrix of both confined and unconfined aquifers? 2) Where is the zone of greatest chemical reaction in the matrix caused by flood waters? 3) What is the pattern of hyporheic flow at the margin of a karst conduit? 4) What is the residence time and scaling of hyporheic exchange, including timescales of sequestration of contaminants and nutrients in the hyporheic zone? These issues are of concern to water supply, water quality, and environmental agencies and interest groups at the local, state, and federal level.