Large scale experiment on transport of trichloroethylene in a controlled aquifer

Salah Jellali, Paul Muntzer, Olivier Razakarisoa, Gerhard Schäfer

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Pollution by dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs) represents a major threat to groundwater resources. In a real case of site contamination, the efficiency of remediation techniques is often limited by a lack of knowledge of both the extent of the pollution and the behavior of the different phases of the pollutant in the subsurface. An experiment simulating pollution of an aquifer by a chlorinated solvent (Trichloroethylene: TCE) was conducted on a large controlled experimental site called SCERES. The experiment consisted of an injection of 8.9 liters of TCE under controlled conditions at 35 cm below the soil surface with an appropriate set up. The goal was to study the behavior of the three phases of the pollutant (trapped TCE phase forming the impregnation body, vapors in the vadose zone, and dissolved traces in the aquifer) in order to better comprehend the mechanisms which govern the propagation and the transfer of this type of pollution underground. The SCERES experimental data indicate that mass transfer from the saturated zone to the vadose zone is important, affecting the repartition of the vapor plume and causing a significant decrease of dissolved TCE concentrations in the groundwater. Furthermore, vertical leaching of TCE vapors due to rainfall strongly influences the degree of groundwater pollution and its lateral extent. The transient mass balance of the experiment is very satisfactory and shows that the main part of the spilled quantity is lost to the atmosphere.

Original languageEnglish
Article number324642
Pages (from-to)145-163
Number of pages19
JournalTransport in Porous Media
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Dissolution
  • Experimental site
  • Groundwater
  • Mass balance
  • Mass transfer
  • Pollution
  • Rainfall
  • Trichloroethylene
  • Vapor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemical Engineering(all)

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