Long-term tritium transport through field-scale compacted soil liner

Cécile Toupiol, Thomas W. Willingham, Albert J. Valocchi, Charles J. Werth, Ivan G. Krapac, Timothy D. Stark, David E. Daniel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A 13-year study of tritium transport through a field-scale earthen liner was conducted by the Illinois State Geological Survey to determine the long-term performance of compacted soil liners in limiting chemical transport. Two field-sampling procedures (pressure-vacuum lysimeter and core sampling) were used to determine the vertical tritium concentration profiles at different times and locations within the liner. Profiles determined by the two methods were similar and consistent. Analyses of the concentration profiles showed that the tritium concentration was relatively uniformly distributed horizontally at each sampling depth within the liner and thus there was no apparent preferential transport. A simple one-dimensional analytical solution to the advective-dispersive solute transport equation was used to model tritium transport through the liner. Modeling results showed that diffusion was the dominant contaminant transport mechanism. The measured tritium concentration profiles were accurately modeled with an effective diffusion coefficient of 6 × 10-4 mm2/s, which is in the middle of the range of values reported in the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)640-650
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2002


  • Clay liners
  • Compacted soils
  • Contaminants
  • Diffusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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