Groundwater Flow Modeling at Santa Susana Field Laboratory Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/0g354k86r

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  • Understanding groundwater flow in faulted and fractured rock is an important frontier in the field of environmental remediation and in the management of water resources. One example of a site where this is particularly evident is the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) in Ventura County, CA where environmental remediation activities have been underway for decades. A major challenge at the SSFL is accounting for the influences of various geological structures at the local scale. To support this effort, this study employs numerical modeling as a method to understand groundwater flow at one area of the SSFL where a well transect through a fault zone exhibits anomalous water levels. For this study, a two-dimensional cross-section continuum model was constructed along the well transect to simulate flow at the area. Several simulations were run to investigate several combinations of fault hydraulic character and fracture network connectivity. Water levels measured at wells in the transect were used as criteria for calibrating the simulation scenarios. Results suggests that at least the upper part of the fault zone is a barrier to groundwater flow. However, head matching alone was not sufficient to be able to say with certainty if the low-conductivity condition extends deeper along the fault zone or if there is significant connectivity in the fracture network to overprint rock matrix anisotropy. Simulation results were also viewed in light of which ones would be most likely to produce the shape of the existing contamination plume. These observations most strongly support a system with strong bedding parallel anisotropy. Some evidence seemed to suggest that the fault.
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