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U.S. Geological Survey Toxic Substances Hydrology Program--Proceedings of the Technical Meeting, Colorado Springs, Colorado, September 20-24, 1993, Water-Resources Investigations Report 94-4015

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Simulation of Trichloroethylene Volatilization in the Unsaturated Zone during a Field Infiltration Experiment at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey

by

H. Jean Cho (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Box 1658-B, Nashville, TN 37235), James A. Smith (Department of Civil Engineering, University of Virginia, Thornton Hall, Charlottesville, VA 22903--2442), and Peter R. Jaffé (Department of Civil Engineering and Operations Research, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544)

Abstract

A field experiment was conducted at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, to study the dynamics of trichloroethylene as it volatilizes from contaminated ground water to land surface during infiltration. It was found that the gas- and water-phase concentrations of TCE were not in equilibrium in the unsaturated zone during infiltration. A mathematical model was developed to simulate the volatilization of TCE in the unsaturated zone. Gas--water mass-transfer-rate constants were calibrated to the data. The mass-transfer limitations of a volatile organic compound between the gas and liquid phases were described explicitly in the model. The water-infiltration rate was 0.34 centimeters per hour, and TCE desorption from the soil matrix was significant. Slow desorption of TCE from the soil matrix was incorporated in the mathematical model.

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