Advantages of using adaptive remeshing and parallel processing for modelling biodegradation in groundwater

Biodegrading plumes in groundwater are often typified by relatively reactive zones around the fringes and less reactive zones in the core. A high degree of refinement is required at the fringes if a model is to be of use in improving the conceptual understanding of plumes. Two strategies for dealing with the potentially high computational demands are (i) parallel processing, where the workload is shared between multiple processors, and (ii) locally adaptive remeshing, where a refined area of the grid tracks the moving plume fringes through the domain. The partial differential equation toolbox, UG (Unstructured Grids) offers advanced numerical tools including adaptive remeshing, sparse matrix storage schemes, and multigrid solvers. It embraces many of these features within a parallel processing environment. This paper reports on a recent development of UG to simulate field scale reactive biogeochemistry including Monod kinetics, NAPL dissolution, mineral precipitation/dissolution and ion exchange. The non-linear multicomponent reactive transport system is solved with the fully coupled method. Test cases have been used for verification of the new capability. The paper illustrates an application to a 3D field site. It is demonstrated that both adaptive remeshing and parallel processing can improve efficiency and in turn facilitate the incorporation of a more complex set of species and reactions such that understanding of plume processes is enhanced.

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