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Numerical model for the uptake of groundwater contaminants by phreatophytes

January 1, 2008

Conventional solute transport models do not adequately account for the effects of phreatophytic plant systems on contaminant concentrations in shallow groundwater systems. A numerical model was developed and tested to simulate threedimensional reactive solute transport in a heterogeneous porous medium. Advective-dispersive transport is coupled to biodegradation, sorption, and plantbased attenuation processes including plant uptake and sorption by plant roots. The latter effects are a function of the physical-chemical properties of the individual solutes and plant species. Models for plant uptake were tested and evaluated using the experimental data collected at a field site comprised of hybrid poplar trees. A non-linear equilibrium isotherm model best represented site conditions.