Designing optimal strategies for contaminated groundwater remediation

David P. Ahlfeld, John M. Mulvey, George F. Pinder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The problem of locating pumps and setting pump rates to most effectively stabilize and remove a plume of contaminated groundwater at a hazardous waste site is examined. Nonlinear optimization methods are combined with convective-disperisve transport simulation in a unit response matrix type of optimization formulation. Constraints are used which guarantee that the contaminant plume is removed by limiting the concentrations at nodal points in the domain at a future time. Additional constraints explicitly require that concentrations not increase in the area outside the initial plume boundary. The effectiveness of alternative formulations are examined by performing numerical experiments using a hypothetical aquifer. The experiments show that computational costs are dominated by the repeated simulations required for computation of constraint gradients and are proportional to the number of pump sites under consideration. This characteristic of the formulation and algorithm used, limits the use of the approach to problems where the number of potential pump sites is relatively small.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-84
Number of pages8
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1986

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology


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