November 5, 2019

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Michelle Cho and Felipe Solano Coauthored a Paper on Chaotic Advection in Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation

Michelle, Cho, Ph.D. and Felipe Solano (Ontario) coauthored a paper entitled "Field Trials of Chaotic Advection to Enhance Reagent Delivery" that was published in the journal Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation (GWMR) on Pages 23-29 in Volume 39 Issue three on May 23, 2019.

Their coauthors were Neil R. Thomson, Michael G. Trefry, Daniel R. Lester, and Guy Metcalfe.

Michelle is a Senior Staff Scientist based in Ontario, focused on the remediation of soil and groundwater systems. Michelle is focused on various site characterization and remediation projects across Canada, the U.S., and Australia, and has experience in data analysis and interpretation, field planning/support, and conceptual site model development.

Felipe is a Professional Scientist based in Ontario, focused on environmental site assessment and remediation projects. His experience includes the application of in situ chemical oxidation, feasibility studies, and conceptual site models. Felipe has also worked with compound-specific isotope analysis (CSIA) and developed a dipole resistivity probe to investigate underground reagent distribution in real time. His experience involves clients in Canada, the U.S., and multiples countries in Latin America.

GWMR is a resource for researchers and practitioners in the field. It offers application oriented, peer-reviewed papers together with insightful articles from the practitioner's perspective. Each issue features papers containing cutting-edge information on treatment technology, columns by industry experts, news briefs, and equipment news. GWMR plays a role in advancing the practice of the groundwater monitoring and remediation field by providing forward-thinking research with practical solutions.


Chaotic advection is a novel approach that has the potential to enhance contact between an injected reagent and target contaminants, and thereby improve the effectiveness of in situ treatment technologies. One configuration that is capable of generating chaotic advection is termed the rotated potential mixing (RPM) flow. A conventional RPM flow system involves periodically reoriented dipole flow driven by transient switching of pressures at a series of radial wells. To determine whether chaotic advection can be engineered using such an RPM flow system, and to assess the consequent impact on the spatial distribution of a conservative tracer, a series of field‐scale experiments were conducted. These experiments involved the injection of a tracer in the center of a circular array of wells followed by either mixing using an engineered RPM flow system to invoke chaotic advection, or by natural processes (advection and diffusion) as the control. Pressure fluctuations from the mixing tests using the RPM flow system showed consistent peak amplitudes during injection and extraction at a frequency corresponding to the switching time, suggesting that the target hydraulic behavior was achieved with the time‐dependent flow field. The tracer breakthrough responses showed oscillatory behavior at all monitoring locations during the mixing tests which indicated that the desired RPM flow was generated. The presence of chaotic advection was supported by comparisons to observations from a previous laboratory experiment using RPM flow, and the Fourier spectrum of the temporal tracer data. Results from several quantitative metrics adopted to demonstrate field‐scale evidence of chaotic advection showed that mixing led to improved lateral tracer spreading and approximately uniform concentrations across the monitoring network. The multiple lines of evidence assembled in this proof‐of‐concept study conclusively demonstrated that chaotic advection can be engineered at the field scale. This investigation is a critical step in the development of chaotic advection as a viable and efficient approach to enhance reagent delivery.

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