EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Reactive transport of dichloromethane in porous media under dynamic hydrogeological conditions: from experiments to modelling

Maria Prieto Espinoza1, Sylvain Weill1, Raphaël Di chiara1, Benjamin Belfort1, François Lehmann1, Emilie Müller Muller2, Stéphane Vuilleumier2, Jérémy Masbou1, and Gwenaël Imfeld1
Maria Prieto Espinoza et al.
  • 1Laboratory of Hydrology and Geochemistry of Strasbourg, (LHyGeS UMR 7517), University of Strasbourg, CNRS, ENGEES, Strasbourg 67000, France
  • 2University of Strasbourg, CNRS, (GMGM - UMR 7156), Strasbourg 67000, France

Reactive transport in porous media involves a complex interplay of multiple processes relative to flow of water and gases, transport of elements, chemical reactions and microbial activities. In surface-groundwater interfaces, the role of the capillary fringe is of particular interest as water table variations can strongly impact the transfer of gases (e.g. oxygen), the evolution of redox conditions and the evolution/adaptation of bacterial/microbial populations that control biodegradation pathways of contaminants. Although the understanding of individual processes is advanced, their interactions are not yet fully understood challenging the development of efficient reactive transport models (RTM) for predictive applications. In this context, the combination of microbial approaches with isotope measurements and modelling may be useful to understand reactive transport of halogenated pollutants in hydrogeological dynamic systems, to improve processes representation in RTMs, and to reduce model equifinality. Dichloromethane (DCM) is a toxic and volatile halogenated compound frequently detected in multi-contaminated aquifers. Although mechanisms of DCM microbial degradation under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions have been described, little is known about the relationships between the hydrogeochemical variations caused by water table fluctuations, as well as their effects on the diversity and distribution of bacterial communities and degradation pathways.
            In this study, two laboratory aquifers fed by contaminated groundwater from the industrial site Thermeroil (France) were designed to collect water samples at high-resolution to investigate the reactive transport of DCM in porous media under steady and dynamic hydrogeological conditions. The effect of water table variations on hydrochemical, microbial and isotopic composition (δ13C and δ37Cl) was examined to derive DCM mass removal and potential changes in degradation pathways. For the latter, Compound-Stable Isotope Analysis (CSIA) has been used as a tool to evaluate natural degradation of halogenated hydrocarbons. A RTM model (CubicM) is currently being developed to include dual-element CSIA and biological processes - such as growth, decay, attachment, detachment or dormancy – and relate changes in redox conditions with the evolution of DCM degrading populations. A two-phase flow model (i.e. water and gas) has been developed to account for the volatilization and the associated transport processes of halogenated volatile compounds in porous media. Currently, the model is tested on the experimental results to assist in the interpretation of DCM dissipation and the observed biogeochemical and microbial processes to determine the best-suited formalism to address the effect of water table fluctuations on DCM reactive transport in porous media. Such model will enable to assess natural attenuation of DCM at contaminated sites accounting for dynamic hydrogeological conditions.

How to cite: Prieto Espinoza, M., Weill, S., Di chiara, R., Belfort, B., Lehmann, F., Muller, E. M., Vuilleumier, S., Masbou, J., and Imfeld, G.: Reactive transport of dichloromethane in porous media under dynamic hydrogeological conditions: from experiments to modelling , EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-21997,, 2020


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