NAPL Source Zone Depletion Model and Its Application to Railroad-Tank-Car Spills

Amanda Marruffo, Hongkyu Yoon, David J. Schaeffer, Christopher P.L. Barkan, Mohd Rapik Saat, Charles J. Werth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We developed a new semi-analytical source zone depletion model (SZDM) for multicomponent light nonaqueous phase liquids (LNAPLs) and incorporated this into an existing screening model for estimating cleanup times for chemical spills from railroad tank cars that previously considered only single-component LNAPLs. Results from the SZDM compare favorably to those from a three-dimensional numerical model, and from another semi-analytical model that does not consider source zone depletion. The model was used to evaluate groundwater contamination and cleanup times for four complex mixtures of concern in the railroad industry. Among the petroleum hydrocarbon mixtures considered, the cleanup time of diesel fuel was much longer than E95, gasoline, and crude oil. This is mainly due to the high fraction of low solubility components in diesel fuel. The results demonstrate that the updated screening model with the newly developed SZDM is computationally efficient, and provides valuable comparisons of cleanup times that can be used in assessing the health and financial risk associated with chemical mixture spills from railroad-tank-car accidents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)627-632
Number of pages6
JournalGround Water
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences

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