Roux Complimentary Webinar – Heavy Metals in Groundwater: Understanding the Big Picture

Heavy Metals in Groundwater: Understanding the Big Picture

Thursday, August 31st • 3:00pm (EST) • Walt McNab Jr., Ph.D., P.G.

Heavy metals represent a unique class of groundwater contaminants at certain types of industrial sites. Aquifer contamination can occur from direct anthropogenic input (e.g., improper handling and disposal). However, in addition, metals such as chromium, nickel, copper, zinc, and other elements occur naturally at trace levels in many different environmental settings. Consequently, indirect contamination of groundwater can also occur when the chemical environment of the aquifer is altered in such a way that mobilizes these elements. The complex behavior of heavy metals in groundwater environments requires an accurate conceptual model of the contaminants’ sources and the processes impacting their fate.

This webinar, presented by Walt McNab Jr., Ph.D., P.G., will introduce the topic of heavy metal behavior in groundwater through an example problem involving multiple metals that were mobilized at a site as a result of changes in aquifer acidity. A multi-process numerical model was employed to posit and test a conceptual model for the site and, subsequently, to help evaluate remedial design options. Application of such models requires careful consideration of the questions at hand, the quantity and quality of available data, and judgement calls by the modeling expert. The lessons learned provide insights into possible conceptual model development for similar sites, in both remediation and environmental forensics contexts.

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