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PHAST--a program for simulating ground-water flow, solute transport, and multicomponent geochemical reactions

January 1, 2004

The computer program PHAST simulates multi-component, reactive solute transport in three-dimensional saturated ground-water flow systems. PHAST is a versatile ground-water flow and solute-transport simulator with capabilities to model a wide range of equilibrium and kinetic geochemical reactions. The flow and transport calculations are based on a modified version of HST3D that is restricted to constant fluid density and constant temperature. The geochemical reactions are simulated with the geochemical model PHREEQC, which is embedded in PHAST.

PHAST is applicable to the study of natural and contaminated ground-water systems at a variety of scales ranging from laboratory experiments to local and regional field scales. PHAST can be used in studies of migration of nutrients, inorganic and organic contaminants, and radionuclides; in projects such as aquifer storage and recovery or engineered remediation; and in investigations of the natural rock-water interactions in aquifers. PHAST is not appropriate for unsaturated-zone flow, multiphase flow, density-dependent flow, or waters with high ionic strengths.

A variety of boundary conditions are available in PHAST to simulate flow and transport, including specified-head, flux, and leaky conditions, as well as the special cases of rivers and wells. Chemical reactions in PHAST include (1) homogeneous equilibria using an ion-association thermodynamic model; (2) heterogeneous equilibria between the aqueous solution and minerals, gases, surface complexation sites, ion exchange sites, and solid solutions; and (3) kinetic reactions with rates that are a function of solution composition. The aqueous model (elements, chemical reactions, and equilibrium constants), minerals, gases, exchangers, surfaces, and rate expressions may be defined or modified by the user.

A number of options are available to save results of simulations to output files. The data may be saved in three formats: a format suitable for viewing with a text editor; a format suitable for exporting to spreadsheets and post-processing programs; or in Hierarchical Data Format (HDF), which is a compressed binary format. Data in the HDF file can be visualized on Windows computers with the program Model Viewer and extracted with the utility program PHASTHDF; both programs are distributed with PHAST.

Operator splitting of the flow, transport, and geochemical equations is used to separate the three processes into three sequential calculations. No iterations between transport and reaction calculations are implemented. A three-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system and finite-difference techniques are used for the spatial and temporal discretization of the flow and transport equations. The non-linear chemical equilibrium equations are solved by a Newton-Raphson method, and the kinetic reaction equations are solved by a Runge-Kutta or an implicit method for integrating ordinary differential equations.

The PHAST simulator may require large amounts of memory and long Central Processing Unit (CPU) times. To reduce the long CPU times, a parallel version of PHAST has been developed that runs on a multiprocessor computer or on a collection of computers that are networked. The parallel version requires Message Passing Interface, which is currently (2004) freely available. The parallel version is effective in reducing simulation times.

This report documents the use of the PHAST simulator, including running the simulator, preparing the input files, selecting the output files, and visualizing the results. It also presents four examples that verify the numerical method and demonstrate the capabilities of the simulator. PHAST requires three input files. Only the flow and transport file is described in detail in this report. The other two files, the chemistry data file and the database file, are identical to PHREEQC files and the detailed description of these files is found in the PHREEQC documentation.

Publication Year 2004
Title PHAST--a program for simulating ground-water flow, solute transport, and multicomponent geochemical reactions
DOI 10.3133/tm6A8
Authors David L. Parkhurst, Kenneth L. Kipp, Peter Engesgaard, Scott R. Charlton
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Techniques and Methods
Series Number 6-A8
Index ID tm6A8
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Toxic Substances Hydrology Program