Contaminant Hydrology

Hydrogeology Department researchers address national and international needs for subsurface contaminant characterization and remediation across a spectrum of approaches—laboratory experiments, field tests, and theoretical and numerical investigations. They are investigating some of the nation’s most critical subsurface contamination issues, including the chemical evolution of highly alkaline radioactive waste in storage tanks; reduction, re-oxidation, and diffusion of uranium forms in sediments; hydraulic properties of unsaturated gravels; and the natural production of transport-enhancing mobile nanoparticles in the subsurface. Inverse modeling of reactive transport and joint hydrologic and geophysical inversion are investigated to develop new tools and approaches for estimating field-scale reactive transport parameters and characterizing contamination sites. Hydrogeology Department researchers also explore alternative approaches (such as continuum time random walk) to describe anomalous contaminant transport in the heterogeneous subsurface.