May 19, 2020

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Frederic Cosme Coauthors a Technical Paper on Contaminant Mass Flux Monitoring

Frederic Cosme, CPEng, Ir. (Australia) coauthored a paper entitled “Innovative Contaminant Mass Flux Monitoring in an Aquifer Subject to Tidal Effects” published in the journal Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation Spring 2020 issue.

Fred’s coauthors are a team from University of Liège including Pierre Jamin, Pierre Briers, Philippe Orban, and Serge Brouyère as well as Ken De Greene from Jacobs.

Fred is a Principal Engineer based in Melbourne, Australia, with more than 20 years of experience focused on environmental consulting and hydrogeology. Frederic has strength in converting scientific outcomes of investigations into practical remedial engineering design considerations and tangible risk-based results.

Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation is a publication of the National Groundwater Association that offers application oriented, peer-reviewed papers and articles from the practitioner's perspective. Each issue features papers containing information on treatment technology, columns by industry experts, news briefs, and equipment news. It advances the practice of groundwater monitoring and remediation by providing research and practical solutions


Exposure from groundwater contamination to aquatic receptors residing in receiving surface water is dependent upon the rate of contaminated groundwater discharge. Characterization of groundwater fluxes is challenging, especially in coastal environments where tidal fluctuations result in transient groundwater flows towards these receptors. This can also be further complicated by the high spatial heterogeneity of subsurface deposits enhanced by anthropogenic influences such as the mixing of natural sediments and backfill materials, the presence of subsurface built structures such as sheet pile walls or even occurrence of other sources of contaminant discharge. In this study, the finite volume point dilution method (FVPDM) was successfully used to characterize highly transient groundwater flows and contaminant mass fluxes within a coastal groundwater flow system influenced by marked tides. FVPDM tests were undertaken continuously for more than 48 h at six groundwater monitoring wells, in order to evaluate groundwater flow dynamics during several tide cycles. Contaminant concentrations were measured simultaneously which allowed calculating contaminant mass fluxes. The study highlighted the importance of the aquifer heterogeneity, with groundwater fluxes ranging from 10−7 to 10−3 m/s. Groundwater flux monitoring enabled a significant refinement of the conceptual site model, including the fact that inversion of groundwater fluxes was not observed at high tide. Results indicated that contaminant mass fluxes were particularly higher at a specific monitoring well, by more than three orders of magnitude, than at other wells of the investigated aquifer. This study provided crucial information for optimizing further field investigations and risk mitigation measures.

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