Modeling contaminant transport and remediation at an acrylonitrile spill site in Turkey

Sengor, S. Sevinc
Ünlü, Kahraman
The August 1999 earthquake in Turkey damaged three acrylonitrile (AN) storage tanks at a plant producing synthetic fiber by polymerization. A numerical modeling study was carried out to analyze the groundwater flow and contaminant (AN) transport at the spill site. This study presents the application of a numerical groundwater model to determine the hydrogeological parameters of the site, where such data were not available during the field surveys prior to the simulation studies. The two- and three-dimensional transient flow and transport models were first calibrated using the first 266 days of observed head and concentration data and then verified using the remaining 540-day observed data set. Off-site migration of the contaminant plume was kept under control within the site boundaries owing to the favorable geology of the site, the characteristics of the local groundwater flow regime and the pumping operations. As expected, the applied pump-and-treat system was effective at high-permeability zones, but not fully effective at low-permeability zones. The results of long-term simulations for unconfined aquifer showed that the size of the plume in the high permeability zone shrank significantly due to the dilution by natural recharge. However, in the low permeability zone, it was not significantly affected. The study showed that accurate and sufficient data regarding the, source characteristics, concentration and groundwater level measurements, groundwater pumping rates and their durations at each of the extraction points involved in the pump-and-treat system along with the hydrogeological site characterization are the key parameters for successful flow and transport model calibrations.

Citation Formats
S. S. Sengor and K. Ünlü, “Modeling contaminant transport and remediation at an acrylonitrile spill site in Turkey,” JOURNAL OF CONTAMINANT HYDROLOGY, vol. 150, pp. 77–92, 2013, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: