Movement of Contaminants

How to use this module

Contaminant movement through the subsurface is different for each contaminant and for different subsurface conditions. This module provides a general overview to the term "fate and transport," which refers to what happens when a contaminant migrates and its mode of migration. This module provides tools to help students understand the complexity of subsurface migration of contaminants and relate these complexities to trial issues. The module introduces concepts related to effective flow, dispersion, diffusion, and migration of partially soluble contaminants. Specific references to trichloroethylene (TCE) are provided as this was the most significant contaminant linking the defendants' to the plaintiffs' claims.

Module design perspective

This module is for use after students have completed Modules 3 through 7 and have a mastery of the geology, groundwater flow, effects of pumping, and the interaction of the Aberjona River and groundwater caused by pumping. Students should have an understanding of geology and hydrologic principles so they can then integrate fate and transport to forecast the delivery of contaminated drinking water to the plaintiffs'homes. This known pathway, the transmission of TCE-contaminated water to the plaintiffs' homes, is intended to link Module 2 - Cancer issues to provide the "cause and effect" argument associating TCE contaminated groundwater to the cancer incidents.

Activity Page

Movement of Contaminants Activity Page

Student Assignment

Student Materials

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