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Sampling design for groundwater solute transport: Tests of methods and analysis of Cape Cod tracer test data

May 1, 1991

Tests of a one-dimensional sampling design methodology on measurements of bromide concentration collected during the natural gradient tracer test conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, demonstrate its efficacy for field studies of solute transport in groundwater and the utility of one-dimensional analysis. The methodology was applied to design of sparse two-dimensional networks of fully screened wells typical of those often used in engineering practice. In one-dimensional analysis, designs consist of the downstream distances to rows of wells oriented perpendicular to the groundwater flow direction and the timing of sampling to be carried out on each row. The power of a sampling design is measured by its effectiveness in simultaneously meeting objectives of model discrimination, parameter estimation, and cost minimization. One-dimensional models of solute transport, differing in processes affecting the solute and assumptions about the structure of the flow field, were considered for description of tracer cloud migration. When fitting each model using nonlinear regression, additive and multiplicative error forms were allowed for the residuals which consist of both random and model errors. The one-dimensional single-layer model of a nonreactive solute with multiplicative error was judged to be the best of those tested. Results show the efficacy of the methodology in designing sparse but powerful sampling networks. Designs that sample five rows of wells at five or fewer times in any given row performed as well for model discrimination as the full set of samples taken up to eight times in a given row from as many as 89 rows. Also, designs for parameter estimation judged to be good by the methodology were as effective in reducing the variance of parameter estimates as arbitrary designs with many more samples. Results further showed that estimates of velocity and longitudinal dispersivity in one-dimensional models based on data from only five rows of fully screened wells each sampled five or fewer times were practically equivalent to values determined from moments analysis of the complete three-dimensional set of 29,285 samples taken during 16 sampling times.

Publication Year 1991
Title Sampling design for groundwater solute transport: Tests of methods and analysis of Cape Cod tracer test data
DOI 10.1029/90WR02657
Authors Debra S. Knopman, Clifford I. Voss, Stephen P. Garabedian
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Water Resources Research
Index ID 70185490
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Toxic Substances Hydrology Program