Characterization of Groundwater Contaminant Source Using Bayesian Method

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Contaminant source identification in groundwater system is critical for remediation strategy implementation, including gathering further samples and analysis, as well as implementing and evaluating different remediation plans. Such problem is usually solved with the aid of groundwater modeling with lots of uncertainty, e.g. existing uncertainty in hydraulic conductivity, measurement variance and the model structure error. Monte Carlo simulation of flow model allows the input uncertainty onto the model predictions of concentration measurements at monitoring sites. Bayesian approach provides the advantage to update estimation. This paper presents an application of a dynamic framework coupling with a three dimensional groundwater modeling scheme in contamination source identification of groundwater. Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) is being applied to infer the possible location and magnitude of contamination source. Uncertainty existing in heterogonous hydraulic conductivity field is explicitly considered in evaluating the likelihood function. Unlike other inverse-problem approaches to provide single but maybe untrue solution, the MCMC algorithm provides probability distributions over estimated parameters. Results from this algorithm offer a probabilistic inference of the location and concentration of released contamination. The convergence analysis of MCMC reveals the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm. Further investigation to extend this study is also discussed.