Numerical analysis of biological clogging in two-dimensional sand box experiments
Kildsgaard, J.; Engesgaard, P.
Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 50(3-4): 261-285
Two-dimensional models for biological clogging and sorptive tracer transport were used to study the progress of clogging in a sand box experiment. The sand box had been inoculated with a strip of bacteria and exposed to a continuous injection of nitrate and acetate. Brilliant Blue was regularly injected during the clogging experiment and digital images of the tracer movement had been converted to concentration maps using an image analysis. The calibration of the models to the Brilliant Blue observations shows that Brilliant Blue has a solid biomass dependent sorption that is not compliant with the assumed linear constant K (sub d) behaviour. It is demonstrated that the dimensionality of sand box experiments in comparison to column experiments results in a much lower reduction in hydraulic conductivity (factor of 100) and that the bulk hydraulic conductivity of the sand box decreased only slightly. However, in the central parts of the clogged area, the observations and simulations clearly show a complex picture of flow diverting the injected nutrients around the clogged area as fingers. The calibration of the model demonstrates that the physical and microbiological processes (advection, dispersion, attachment-detachment, growth-decay) are all needed to capture the progress of clogging.