Geographic Information Systems Integrated Groundwater Flow and Contaminant Fate and Transport Modeling

Dr. Mustafa M. Aral and Abdul F. Babar Sani
Multimedia Environmental Simulations Laboratory
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, Georgia 30332

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Groundwater flow and contaminant fate and transport modeling is an important component of most aquifer remediation studies. This task becomes extremely time consuming, when the modeler is required to analyze complex heterogeneous aquifers and faces manipulation of large amounts of input and output data structures, which are model specific. Geographic Information Systems (GIS), on the other hand, provide a platform in which layered, spatially distributed databases can be manipulated with ease, thereby simplifying the implementation of data management tasks of model building and model calibration significantly. In the present work, in an effort to aid modelers, a GIS integrated groundwater flow and contaminant fate and transport modeling platform is developed using ArcView 3.0a software. The GIS platform facilitates the time consuming task of preparation of data input and output structures for multilayer groundwater flow and contaminant fate and transport simulation codes. The simulation codes used in this application are Steady multiLayer Aquifer Model (SLAM), Unsteady multiLayer Aquifer Model (ULAM) and Contaminant transport in multiLayer Aquifers Model (CLAM). These models have been tested extensively and used in numerous field applications since 1990 [Aral, 1990a,b]. These three codes were originally developed for personnel computer (IBM/PC) applications under DOS environment. In later revisions these programs were upgraded to WINDOWS 3.1 (MS/Windows) and WINDOWS’95 platform, while significantly increasing the graphics capabilities and the capacity of the software. Under standard WINDOWS’95 environment these codes were modified such that they would handle very large aquifer problems with relative ease on an IBM/PC platform. In the present work we have moved the graphics platform of these three codes to the ArcView environment. Under the ArcView platform, these codes will now be identified as SLAM/GIS, ULAM/GIS and CLAM/GIS.

Utilizing the ArcView GIS platform, the user may develop groundwater flow and contaminant fate and transport modeling applications with relative ease. In this interface all standard functions of the ArcView environment is available to the user in a menu driven graphical user interface (GUI). This platform renders the complex data input entry and output analysis tasks of groundwater modeling effortlessly simple. Using this tool, boundary condition data, multilayered aquifer field property data, aquifer base elevation data, infiltration data, layered extraction and injection well data, diffusion dispersion data and other hydrogeologic and geochemical data, which are required for multilayer aquifer analysis, may be entered to the models as fields in the theme feature tables (databases) through menu based GUI operations. Through ArcView programing paradigm, the user may update these databases and may perform spatial and temporal analysis required in model calibration and model application phases of groundwater flow and contaminant fate and transport analysis, with relative ease. Publication ready graphical presentation of the numerical results can be prepared utilizing the special templates, which are prepared under the ArcView environment. The user has also the option of using standard templates of the ArcView software to present their results or develop their own templates. The Spatial Analysis INTerface Software developed for this platform is identified as the SAINTS interface.

In order to implement the groundwater flow and contaminant fate and transport simulation codes and the SAINTS interface, the user must have access to, preferably, a high end IBM/PC computer operating under WINDOWS’95 platform and the ArcView 3.0a software. A high end Pentium/IBM/PC computer, with at least 32M RAM, is necessary to analyze complex aquifer problems, which may require thousands of nodes and elements per aquifer layer to idealize the solution domain. Although smaller versions of the simulation codes are available for users, who may not have access to computers with the above specifications, it is highly recommended that the SAINTS interface and the accompanying executable codes should be used on high end computer platforms, in order to make full use of the capabilities of the software.

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