Unique groundwater pollution forecasting system for modeling contaminant plumes - nonpoint sources


Little Data? Need Quick Answers on Where the Spill Will Go? Run the Easy Model First!
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KYSPILL New Release V 2.0
KYSPILL Introduction
Other Features of KYSPILL
KYSPILL Intended Users
KYSPILL Applications
KYSPILL Modeler Requirements
KYSPILL Assumptions
KYSPILL Hardware Requirements

KYSPILL New Release V 2.0

A Unique Groundwater Pollution Forecasting System for
Today's Environmental Professional



KYSPILL is a fast, graphics-oriented, menu-driven, and easy-to-use collection of sophisticated mathematical models capable of predicting groundwater pollution in the unsaturated zone (the soil) or the saturated zone (below the water table) following a chemical spill of a liquid or dissolved contaminant released in the soil or directly in the saturated zone. KYSPILL is interactively managed by an executive program of bar menus, exhibiting simple data entry windows with numerous on-line context-sensitive Help windows and output color graphics.

KYSPILL is the most effective way to model containment plumes generated by:

While existing codes are written for either the unsaturated or the saturated zone, KYSPILL offers a complete prediction package for both the soil and the underlying aquifer. KYSPILL is the easiest model to implement. First you select the appropriate source type from the data menu. Then you input relevant aquifer and spill data. For most spills, you need only one data entry screen; you have detailed data diagnosis and on-line Help. Finally you may select a variety of contour maps and breakthrough curves from the Run Menu. Within seconds KYSPILL generates graphs that allow you to predict the containment pathway, locate regions of noncompliance, estimate contaminated volumes, plan monitoring networks, or design cleaning operations.


KYSPILL eliminates the need of domain discretization with its usual grid definition, element and or node data entry, and their associated massive data and matrix input and computer usage time. The result is a model which is easier to use and with substantially fewer data requirements than the corresponding numerical models.

KYSPILL converges years of scientific research about dispersion phenomena in porous media. It was developed based on the latest techniques of semi-analytical solutions of stochastic differential equations. It implements new stable solutions of the coupled flow and contaminant transport equations in heterogeneous aquifers. In addition to computational speed and few data requirements, KYSPILL generates solutions continuous in time and space thus rendering a more stable and more accurate prediction than a corresponding matrix numerical solution with its associated instability.

KYSPILL considers aquifer heterogeneity in a statistical fashion. It handles the aquifer spatial variability in the hydrogeological properties in a statistical fashion. It accounts for the reported enhancement in the dispersion parameters (scale-dependent parameters) based on the aquifer's physical properties rather than empirical calibration rules. However, the user does not have to be concerned with the theory behind dispersion modeling or its mathematics.

KYSPILL is the only commercially-available scale-dependent groundwater pollution model capable of predicting 3D dispersion in soils and the subsequent 2D propagation in unconfined heterogeneous aquifers. It also considers reactive or degradable contaminants.


The creators of KYSPILL attempted to demystify the field of groundwater pollution modeling and to make it available to the average groundwater hydrologist and environmental professional. KYSPILL in intended to be used by consulting engineers, groundwater hydrologists or hydrogeologists, water resources planners and policy makers, and graduate and undergraduate students in engineering and geology. Because it does not require any knowledge of differential or integral equations, matrix algebra or numerical modeling, computer science or computer programming, KYSPILL is an excellent tool to be used by the groundwater practitioner. The only knowledge required by KYSPILL is of that related to the principles of aquifer and containment hydrology. The creators of KYSPILL believe that the average user of groundwater models is one concerned with specific site remedial actions or field hydrologic problems and not with the mathematical or computational aspects of modeling. Unlike many existing groundwater models, KYSPILL does not require a Master's degree or a three-day total immersion course before using it.


KYSPILL may be used in a variety of tasks. The typical application includes the assessment of the present extent of soil and aquifer contamination, the forecasting of the future extent of a particular contamination scenario, and the prediction of the plume pathway in the soil and underlying aquifer. Given the size and strength of an initial concentration of a spill at a particular point in an aquifer and at a particular time and some aquifer characteristics, the model can be used to predict the general direction of movement of the plume; the velocity of movement; the concentration at a particular point of interest in the aquifer at a given time in the future; the evolution of concentration with time and its maximum concentration at a well or a sensitive point; the spatial distribution of the contaminant along its most critical axis at a given time in the future; the areal distribution of the plume at a given time; the relation between the unsaturated zone plume and the saturated zone plume, etc. Thus KYSPILL is primarily a forecasting tool to be used as diagnosis for subsequent more detailed modeling or more detailed field measurement or as a basis to decide and plan for a remedial action.

KYSPILL can be used as a preliminary prediction tool when scarce information is available. Because of its simplicity and few data requirements, KYSPILL will provide the modeler with a conservative estimate on the effects of a contamination problem.

KYSPILL may help the modeler plan a more detailed set of concentration or aquifer parameter measurements. Since an effective measurement device installation strategy requires an initial knowledge on the location of the plume and passage time during the life of the instrument, KYSPILL may prove invaluable in the design of a network of monitoring piezometers.

KYSPILL can be used as a means to design a site remedial action or as a way to investigate the worst possible contamination scenario. Predicting concentration values at certain sensitive points (at water supply wells) is a crucial step in deciding whether or not there will be a cleaning action and perhaps the type of remedial action to employ.

KYSPILL can be used to calibrate certain aquifer parameters given a known concentration field at a certain time. Most groundwater pollution cases are discovered long after the initial spill when the contaminant has spread to the aquifer. At that time, hydrogeologic investigations aim at the determination of the size of the contamination. Knowing the actual characteristics of a plume and the approximate time at which the spill occurred, KYSPILL can be used to tentatively obtain the magnitude of a certain aquifer parameter, i.e., by observing how well the model reproduces the measured plume with a trial value of the parameter.

KYSPILL may be used to estimate the volumes of contaminated soil or contaminated groundwater which constitute important information for the cleaning contractor.

KYSPILL can also be used to learn and illustrate the principles of groundwater pollution, the migration of contaminants in the unsaturated and the saturated zones, the inherent differences in contaminant propagation between a soil spill and a saturated zone source, and the comparative features of a point source versus a nonpoint source. Because the software is graphical and interactive, it is easy to implement in a computer lab environment at the undergraduate level.


KYSPILL does not require a modeler to be well-versed in mathematics, differential equations, numerical analysis or computer programming. Instead, it assumes some familiarity with the basic principles of aquifer hydrology, groundwater flow and contaminant propagation. An understanding of the mechanism of recharge, the ability to identify the regional direction of groundwater flow from water table elevation measurements, and the ability to provide good quality soil and aquifer parameters (porosity, dry bulk density, hydraulic conductivity, and dispersivity) are all essential. It is also important to know the physico-chemical properties of the contaminant to model. This will help in the determination of the degree of mobility and potential contaminant degradation in the subsurface environment. Finally, the modeler needs to provide KYSPILL with contaminant soil and aquifer initial concentrations. This implies the ability to sample and determine contaminant concentrations with the aid of appropriate field and laboratory instrumentation.


KYSPILL predicts contaminant propagation under the following physical conditions:

1. The soil is characterized by a random variability in its soil-water properties. Layering is erratic and no particular pattern dominates.

2. The unsaturated zone is not too deep (less than 20 meters), and the underlying aquifer is unconfined.

3. The water table in the unconfined aquifer has moderate slopes, and the Dupuit simplifications to describe the groundwater flow are valid.

4. The aquifer may be homogeneous or heterogeneous. Aquifer heterogeneity in the hydraulic conductivity varies erratically in space (randomly), and no particular pattern exists. The aquifer heterogeneity is characterized by the statistical properties of the hydraulic conductivity, in particular by its mean, its standard deviation, and an exponentially-decaying correlation structure.

5. Contamination sources were originated by a point spill or leak in the soil or in the aquifer. Nonpoint sources were originated and generated by a point source in an unknown distant past in the soil or in the aquifer.

6. Chemical reactions between the contaminant and the soil particles are governed by a linear kinetic adsorption isotherm.

7. Biological, radioactive or chemical decay are governed by a first-order degradation process.

8. Scale dependency in the dispersion parameters (increase with distance or time) is primarily explained by the aquifer heterogeneity at the field scale.

9. Contaminant volatilization is negligible compared to advection, dispersion, adsorption and decay.

10. The most important processes in contaminant propagation are advection (due to recharge from rainfall in the unsaturated zone and regional hydraulic gradients in the saturated zone), mechanical dispersion due to aquifer heterogeneity, adsorption and decay.

11. Contaminant propagation is essentially a three-dimensional process in the unsaturated zone. This implies that the vertical component of flow is neglected in the aquifer and that the concentration values reported by the model are average over the vertical concentration magnitudes.

Thus KYSPILL models the most common and the most sensitive soil and aquifer. The vast majority of spills do not offer the detailed data required by numerical models. KYSPILL is the tool for fast environmental response!

KYSPILL Hardware Requirements: IBM-PC or compatible with 640K RAM and math coprocessor.

Incredible NetworksΤελευταία Ενημέρωση 27 Ιουλίου 2004 - Last Revised on July 27th 2004
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