Modeling of Groundwater Contaminant Fate and Transport

Groundwater can become contaminated from a wide variety of natural and anthropogenic activities. Using Visual MODFLOW, and a combination of MODFLOW and MT3DMS, or RT3D, or PHT3D, you can simulate the movement of contaminants in the groundwater.

MT3D models dissolved solutes in groundwater including the following common problems:

  • dissolved plumes
  • simple reactive transport
  • injection wells
  • waste lagoon, landfills, contaminant spills
  • non-point source pollution


Simulating contaminant transport requires an understanding of three concepts:

  1. Principles of natural attenuation: the physical processes within the hydrogeologic environment that affect solute concentration along flowpaths through the system
  2. Principles of modeling solute transport: how MT3D and RT3D implement each of these principles
  3. Solution techniques for the transport equation: techniques for solving the mathematical equation that is defined within MT3D/RT3D; for example, UFD, MOC, TVD, …

Once you have simulated the historical movement of contaminants to present-day, you may be interested in evaluating various remediation alternatives. Learn more about how Visual MODFLOW can be used for assessing a wide variety of groundwater remediation techniques.

Online References using Visual MODFLOW for Contaminant Fate and Transport

A Case Study in the Use of 3-Dimensional Ground Water Modeling and Solute Transport Engines as a Tool in Site Assessment
Keywords: contaminants from industrial site, underground tanks, BTEX, heavy metals (Cd and Cr), 
Published in: Environment and Pollution
Human risk assessment of benzene after a gasoline station fuel leak, Basilia, Brazil.Brazil
Impact of the Urban and Industrial Waste Water on Surface and Groundwater, in the Region of Annaba, (Algeria)

Keywords: Stream, industrial contaminants, Chromium
Published in: Energy Procedia – Technologies and Materials for Renewable Energy, Environment and Sustainability

Estimation of Groundwater Recharge of Sewage Effluent Using a Coupled Water- Solute Transport Model
Published In: ISMAR7 Proceedings
Modelling of chemical migration under the overlapping impact of multiple and diverse pollution sources in the area of the
“Zachem” Chemical Plant (Bydgoszcz, northern Poland)
Keywords: organic and inorganic contamination
Published in: Bulletin of Geography. Physical Geography Series
Responsible Groundwater Management in Kuwait’s Oil Fields
eywords: oilfield water resource, brine storage
Application of Visual MODFLOW to simulation of migration in Cr6+ contaminated site
eywords: Chromium, heavy metals
Published in: Journal of Groundwater Science and Engineering
Impact of Hydro Remediation In Dilution of Contaminant In Groundwater System in Ambur, Sub Basin, Tamil Nadu, India
Published in: Journal of Industrial Pollution Control
Simulation of the transfer of organochlorine pollutants in an alluvial aquifer in an alpine valley: the case of tetrachloroethene
eywords: PCE, industrial contaminants
Assessment of Groundwater Vulnerability to Pollution Using Modflow
ublished in: The Asian Review of Civil Engineering
Keywords: TDS, textile industrial effluent

Note: Waterloo Hydrogeologic does not imply endorsement of software from the authors of these publications/reports.

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