A uranium bioremediation reactive transport benchmark


Yabusaki S. B. , Sengoer S. S. , Fang Y.

COMPUTATIONAL GEOSCIENCES, vol.19, no.3, pp.551-567, 2015 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 19 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10596-015-9474-y
  • Journal Name: COMPUTATIONAL GEOSCIENCES
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.551-567
  • Keywords: Reactive transport modeling, Bioremediation, Uranium, Benchmark, REDUCTION, GROUNDWATER, SULFATE, AQUIFER

Abstract

A reactive transport benchmark problem set has been developed based on in situ uranium bio-immobilization experiments that have been performed at a former uranium mill tailing site in Rifle, CO, USA. Acetate-amended groundwater stimulates indigenous microorganisms to catalyze the reduction of U(VI) to a sparingly soluble U(IV) mineral. The interplay between the flow, acetate loading periods and rates, and microbially mediated and geochemical reactions leads to dynamic behavior in metal- and sulfate-reducing bacteria, pH, alkalinity, and reactive mineral surfaces. The benchmark is based on an 8.5 m long one-dimensional model domain with constant saturated flow and uniform porosity. The 159-day simulation introduces acetate and bromide through the upgradient boundary in 14- and 85-day pulses separated by a 10 day interruption. Acetate loading is tripled during the second pulse, which is followed by a 50 day recovery period. Terminal electron-accepting processes for goethite, phyllosilicate Fe(III), U(VI), and sulfate are modeled using Monod-type rate laws. Major ion geochemistry modeled includes mineral reactions as well as aqueous and surface complexation reactions for UO, Fe2+, and H+. In addition to the dynamics imparted by the transport of the acetate pulses, U(VI) behavior involves the interplay between bioreduction, which is dependent on acetate availability, and speciation-controlled surface complexation, which is dependent on pH, alkalinity, and available surface complexation sites. The general difficulty of this benchmark is the large number of reactions (74), multiple rate law formulations, a multisite uranium surface complexation model, and the strong interdependency and sensitivity of the reaction processes. Results are presented for three simulators: HYDROGEOCHEM, PHT3D, and PHREEQC.