Gas flow to a barometric pumping well in a multilayer unsaturated zone Academic Article uri icon


  • When an open well is installed in an unsaturated zone, gas can flow between the subsurface and the well depending on the gas pressure gradient near the well. This well is called a barometric pumping well (BPW). Quantifying gas flow rate to and from a BPW is indispensable to optimize the passive soil vapor extraction in remediation of volatile organic compounds in the unsaturated zone. This study presents a two-dimensional (2-D) semianalytical solution for a multilayer unsaturated zone (ML solution) to determine gas flow rate to and from a BPW. The gas flow rate is approximated by a decomposing method frequently used in previous studies, that is, first solving the one-dimensional (1-D) vertical flow equation in response to the surface barometric pressure fluctuations and then superimposing this solution on that of the 1-D horizontally radial flow equation. The error induced by this approximation is quantified by a 2-D numerical simulation for the first time in this study. Results show that the maximum error induced is 20% at the peak flow rates. The ML solution is demonstrated to be sufficient for predicting subsurface gas pressure and gas flow rate in a multilayer unsaturated zone by the barometric pumping test at the Hanford site. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • You, K., Zhan, H., & Li, J.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • You, Kehua||Zhan, Hongbin||Li, Jian

publication date

  • January 1, 2011 11:11 AM