This study employed experimental and numerical methods to assess the behavior of conservative solute transport for a selected temporary solid waste site in a reclamation area in western Taiwan. Calibrating a site-specific numerical model, finite element model of water flow through saturated-unsaturated media (FEMWATER), relies on observations from field- and laboratory-scale hydraulic tests and spatial-temporal monitoring. The field-scale experiment used a modified hydraulic tomography survey (MHTS) to identify near surface aquifer stratifications and estimate the distribution of saturated hydraulic conductivity. The pressure plate experiments provided parameters for the van Genuchten soil characteristic model. Sensitivity analyses were then conducted based on varied recharge rates and dispersivities applied to the calibrated model. Observations of groundwater levels and salinity in the wells indicated that the regional groundwater flow was from southeast to northwest. In addition, a shallow freshwater layer was noted in the study area. The tidal-induced amplitudes for water level fluctuation in the wells ranged from 2 to 20 cm, depending on their distance from the seawater body. MHTS showed clear stratification, similar to that of well loggings at the storage site. The hydraulic conductivity at the test site ranged from 8 to 10 m/day, which is close to that obtained from the laboratory falling head test. The results of particle-tracking modeling showed that the critical recharge rate for the site needed to enhance plume traveling is 1000 mm/year. The increase in dispersivity values induced a decrease in plume travel time of up to 1000 days from the site to the coastal line. A special case for pulse releasing solute at the site shows that the key factor in controlling plume migration is the recharge rate. This is due to the low natural head gradient in the reclamation area. The results therefore suggest that a land drainage system near the site can play an important role in contaminant transport in the reclamation area.
Keywords: Hydraulic tomography; Numerical model; Reclamation area; Solid waste site; Solute transport.