2003 Progress Report: Evaluation of Hydrologic Models for Alternative Covers at Mine Waste Sites

EPA Grant Number: R829515C007
Subproject: this is subproject number 007 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R829515
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: HSRC - Rocky Mountain Regional Hazardous Substance Research Center for Remediation of Mine Waste Sites
Center Director: Shackelford, Charles D.
Title: Evaluation of Hydrologic Models for Alternative Covers at Mine Waste Sites
Investigators: Shackelford, Charles D. , Benson, Craig H.
Institution: Colorado State University , University of Wisconsin - Madison
EPA Project Officer: Lasat, Mitch
Project Period: October 1, 2002 through September 30, 2005
Project Period Covered by this Report: October 1, 2002 through September 30, 2003
Project Amount: Refer to main center abstract for funding details.
RFA: Hazardous Substance Research Centers - HSRC (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Land and Waste Management


The overall objective of this research project is to evaluate the accuracy of five different hydrologic models (HELP, UNSAT-H, Vadose/W, HYDRUS-2D, and LEACHM) commonly used for the design of cover systems using high-quality field data from large-scale test facilities of alternative covers, with the ultimate aim of developing an improved, easy-to-use, and field-verified model for long-term assessment of alternative covers at a variety of sites and climatic conditions. The research project has four supporting objectives: (1) a baseline assessment and comparison of the algorithms in existing hydrologic models when applied to a variety of meteorological conditions; (2) an unbiased, critical assessment of the predictive capabilities of existing hydrologic models for covers using field data from ALCD, ACAP, and RMA; (3) improvement of the hydrologic model (or models) that has the most promise, so that predictions made with the model are accurate; and (4) incorporation of additional algorithms in the model that can be used to assess the impact of long-term processes such as plant secession, pedogenesis, and climatic change.

Progress Summary:

The models used for cover analysis (HYDRUS-2D, UNSAT-H, HELP, SOILCOVER, LEACHM, and VADOSE/W) have been acquired at both the University of Wisconsin (UW) and Colorado State University (CSU), uploaded onto PCs, and tested for functionality. The algorithms used by the models are being reviewed and compared, and data sets to be used for the comparative analyses are being compiled. The two primary models to be evaluated at UW are HYDRUS-2D and UNSAT-H, and the two models to be evaluated at CSU are VADOSE/W and LEACHM. The HELP model will be evaluated at both UW and CSU. Four primary sites of field data have been identified on the basis of climatological considerations and representativeness of mine waste locations as follows: Polson, MT; Sacramento, CA; Albany, GA; and Omaha, NE. In addition, field data from the site at Altamont, CA, are being used to provide a basic comparison of the reproducibility of results between CSU and UW. At each site, two cover profiles (such as capillary barrier and monolithic barrier) are to be evaluated. The reproducibility of the simulations performed at both CSU and UW has been evaluated. For example, simulations using the VADOSE/W model with the same input data have been performed at both UW and CSU to assess the consistency in the results. Also, simulation results using field data have been compared using HYDRUS-2D and UNSAT-H, and field data from the field sites in Sacramento, Albany, and Omaha.

Future Activities:

The second year of research will be devoted to finalizing the first objective, and starting the second and third objectives. The activities will include continued assembly of input files, and then conducting further comparative simulations.

Supplemental Keywords:

hydrologic model, HELP, UNSAT-H, Vandose/W, HYDRUS-2D, LEACHM, alternative covers, mine waste site, ALCD, ACAP, RMA, plant secession, pedogenesis, climatic change, HELP, SOILCOVER., RFA, Industry Sectors, Scientific Discipline, Air, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, Waste, TREATMENT/CONTROL, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Waste Treatment, Remediation, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, climate change, Restoration, Mining - NAIC 21, Air Pollution Effects, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Hazardous Waste, Environmental Monitoring, Ecological Risk Assessment, Geology, Groundwater remediation, Hazardous, Environmental Engineering, Atmosphere, Risk Assessment, hydrogeology, monitoring, aquatic ecosystem, contaminated waste sites, contaminant transport, contaminated sites, acid mine drainage, remediation technologies, bioavailability, groundwater hydrology models, restoration strategies, mining, hydrology, leaching of toxic metals, alternative covers, treatment, ecological recovery, geochemistry, contaminated groundwater, acid mine discharge, aquatic ecosystems, environmental rehabilitation, water quality, contaminated aquifers, mining waste, extraction of metals, aquatic toxicology, ecological indicators, heavy metal contamination, heavy metals, mining wastes, stream ecosystem, acid mine runoff, groundwater pollution

Relevant Websites:

http://www.engr.colostate.edu/hsrc/ Exit

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 2004 Progress Report
  • Final

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R829515    HSRC - Rocky Mountain Regional Hazardous Substance Research Center for Remediation of Mine Waste Sites

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R829515C001 Redox Transformations, Complexation and Soil/Sediment Interactions of Inorganic Forms of As and Se in Aquatic Environments: Effects of Natural Organic Matter
    R829515C002 Fate and Transport of Metals and Sediment in Surface Water
    R829515C003 Metal Removal Capabilities of Passive Bioreactor Systems: Effects of Organic Matter and Microbial Population Dynamics
    R829515C004 Evaluating Recovery of Stream Ecosystems from Mining Pollution: Integrating Biochemical, Population, Community and Ecosystem Indicators
    R829515C005 Rocky Mountain Regional Hazardous Substance Research Center Training and Technology Transfer Program
    R829515C006 Technical Outreach Services for Communities and Technical Assistance to Brownfields
    R829515C007 Evaluation of Hydrologic Models for Alternative Covers at Mine Waste Sites
    R829515C008 Microbial Reduction of Uranium in Mine Leachate by Fermentative and Iron-Reducing Bacteria
    R829515C009 Development and Characterization of Microbial Inocula for High-Performance Passive Treatment of Acid Mine Drainage
    R829515C010 Reactive Transport Modeling of Metal Removal From Anaerobic Biozones
    R829515C011 Assessment of Electrokinetic Injection of Amendments for Remediation of Acid Mine Drainage
    R829515C012 Metal Toxicity Thresholds for Important Reclamation Plant Species of the Rocky Mountains
    R829515C013 An Improved Method for Establishing Water Quality Criteria for Mining Impacted Streams