An analytical model for predicting LNAPL distribution and recovery from multi-layered soils Academic Article uri icon


  • An analytical model was developed for estimating the distribution and recovery of light nonaqueous phase liquids (LNAPL) in heterogeneous aquifers. Various scenarios of LNAPL recovery may be simulated using LDRM for LNAPL recovery systems such as skimmer wells, water-enhanced wells, air-enhanced wells, and trenches from heterogeneous aquifers. LDRM uses multiple horizontal soil layers to model a heterogeneous aquifer. Up to three soil layers may be configured with unique soil properties for each layer. Simulation results suggest that LNAPL distribution and its recovery volume are highly affected by soil properties. In sandy soils LNAPL can be highly mobile and the recovery efficiency can be high. In contrast, even at high LNAPL saturations, LNAPL mobility is typically low in fine-grained soils. This characteristic of LNAPL with respect to soil texture has to be carefully accounted for in the model to better predict the recovery of LNAPL from heterogeneous soils. The impact of vertical hydraulic gradient in fine grain zone was assessed. A sensitivity analysis suggests that the formation LNAPL volume can be significantly affected by a downward vertical hydraulic gradient if the magnitude is near a critical amount (=ρr-1). Sensitivity of input parameters with respect to LNAPL formation in soils and LNAPL recovery volume were identified through a sensitivity analysis. The performance of LDRM on predicting the distribution and recovery of LNAP was reasonably accurate for a short-term analysis as demonstrated in a case study. However, further validation is needed to ascertain the model's performance in long-term simulations.

author list (cited authors)

  • Jeong, J., & Charbeneau, R. J.

citation count

  • 23

publication date

  • January 2014