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Ecological Passport of a Territory

#4046


Development of the Aero-Hydro-Geo-Ecological Model of a Territory

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-MRA/Modelling and Risk Assessment/Environment

Status
3 Approved without Funding

Registration date
22.03.2010

Leading Institute
VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov

Supporting institutes

  • Kazan State University / Scientific Research Institute of Mathematics and Mechanics, Russia, Tatarstan, Kazan

Collaborators

  • Institut fur Meteorologie, Universitaet Leipzig, Germany, Leipzig

Project summary

Industrial safety and prevention of man-caused catastrophes in the environment has been being a challenge since the first fifty years of the past century because of very high industrialization rates all over the world and in Europe, the United States and Canada, in particular. In recent times some countries, including Russia, are faced with even higher risks of accidents because of actual wear-out of the old equipment, which is a legacy of the epoch of industrialization. Note also a higher risk of accidents caused by cataclysms in nature, for example, because of global climatic changes on the Earth.

Accidents resulting in the environment contamination, first of all, with oil products (NAPL), virulent chemicals and toxic agents are possible in regions having chemical industry enterprises and in mining regions, where hazardous materials are stored, as well as during transportation of such materials. The development of such accidents and their consequences depend on many various factors: physico-chemical properties of materials proper and products of their transformation in the environment; their intake duration and rates; storage and transportation conditions; the extent, to which the means used to eliminate consequences of such accidents are effective/ineffective, etc.

Accidents causing extensive damages to the environment often take place at the sites of storage facilities and during transportation of oil products, chemicals and toxic agents. There are two main scenarios of hypothetic accidents of such a type: a single (in one volley) release of materials to the environment and gradual long-term infiltration of escaped materials.

The contaminants that have got into the environment are transported and subjected to physico-chemical transformations. Here, several scenarios are also possible and they depend on the particular properties of materials, their amounts and rates of infiltration to the environment, as well as on interactions between such materials and various components of the environment. It is a well-known fact that water (along with the atmosphere air) is a key factor of material transport in the environment and this process also involves precipitations and the surface water, as well as the underground water. The most important factors of pollution transport are the lower atmosphere, regional landscape (first of all, relief), permeability of soils and rocks, as well as flow properties of the particular underground aquifers and the groundwater flow behavior (in case of contaminants got into groundwater).

Reservoir models operating with data on precipitations penetrating and spreading over large areas are used, as a rule, to distinguish groundwater recharge owing to surface runoffs and inflow seepage. Results of calculations using such models are some averaged values of the surface runoff and infiltration coefficient. However, detailed (local) data concerning the values above is very important to predict the dynamics of spreading contaminants from the surface. Such data could be obtained using results of observations during field experiments and pumping tests performed in the area of interest with methods of solving the inverse factor problems. Properly identified permeability coefficients and infiltration coefficients would allow passing from averaged values of water recharge by surface runoffs and infiltration to local (valid) values of these quantities. Further, it would become possible to solve direct predictive problems concerning the dynamics of contaminant transport through an unsaturated area (i.e. an area of non-absolute saturation with water) with regard to nonlinear features of buffer compounds in rocks and components of inflowing fluids. These efforts would focus on some important effects, such as soil shrinkage and swelling in the unsaturated area, nonlinear sorption of the solution components leading to the essentially different behavior of transported contaminants, accumulation of contaminants on the surface (artificial and natural water reservoirs, places with lower relief, etc.), turbulent transport of contaminants in the lower atmosphere with regard to energy and mass exchange with the soil surface. Thus, the approach described above would allow passing from the averaged and, therefore, inaccurate prediction of the intake of contaminants to soils and rocks and, further, to the groundwater to a higher-accuracy prediction of the pollution spread based on solving the direct and inverse factor problems.

Basing on the foregoing, we formulate the following main tasks of the project:

  1. Development of physico-mathematical models of the contaminant transport in the lower (turbulent) atmosphere and generation of a regional pollution plume with regard to the key parameters of the atmosphere and its interactions (energy and mass exchange) with the earth surface.
  2. Development of methods to solve the inverse factor problems of identifying hydrogeoecological parameters (filtration and infiltration factors for soils and rocks) using the simulation data on the surface runoff and infiltration obtained with reservoir models.
  3. Development of physico-mathematical models of the contaminant transport in areas of non-absolute water saturation (soils, rocks) with regard to nonlinear features (shrinkage, swelling, nonlinear adsorption) of rocks and chemical reactivity of the polluted fluid components.
  4. Numerical demo experiments using the published results of observations. Validation of the developed mathematical models.
  5. Working-out of the expert system designing methodology to assess the regional environmental risks.

The acquired data and methods used to study the multiple-phase flow mechanics in the underground and surface hydrosphere and atmosphere and their mathematical modeling to improve tools to be used for environmental predictions comprise the project basis.

It is expected that the project implementation will result in a set of codes that could be further used to achieve the following goals:

  1. prediction of the atmospheric air pollution due to a man-caused accident, or a natural cataclysm;
  2. prediction of the soil surface contamination due to a man-caused accident, or a natural cataclysm;
  3. prediction of the subsurface hydrosphere contamination due a man-caused accident, or a natural cataclysm.

The project efforts will rely upon extensive and perse experience and skills of the project participants in various aspects of the project and correspond to the current trends and the world science achievements in this field.

The project fully meets ISTC goals and objectives.

  1. The project is based on the present day knowledge of transport processes in porous media and modern numerical simulation methods used to solve the environmental problems.
  2. The project promotes the involvement of VNIIEF scientists and engineers (former developers of nuclear weapons) in advanced conversion works in geotechnical engineering and ecology.
  3. In case of its successful implementation, the developed code system would be of a high commercial potential and this would undoubtedly promote transition to the market economy.

Participation of foreign collaborators in the project implies consulting and joint discussions of the project work progress and results.


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