Pumping or Slurry Walls—Which Works Best for Groundwater Containment?

by James D. Bowen, ENSR Consulting and Engineering, Acton, United States,
Kevin D. Johnson, ENSR Consulting and Engineering, Acton, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering Hydrology


Results of a numerical optimization model capable of designing containment systems for sites with three-dimensional groundwater flow indicate that site hydrogeology and economic considerations are both important factors in deciding whether slurry wall installation is advantageous. The optimization model selects the lowest cost combination of slurry walls and groundwater pumping. The analysis includes consideration of optimal well location and pumping rate as well as installation and operating costs for wells and slurry walls. The optimization system was applied to a test site with relatively shallow head gradients and soils of low conductivity. For this case, the optimal design called for a small number of pumping wells and no slurry walls. A sensitivity analysis was then performed to investigate the tradeoffs between slurry walls and groundwater pumping. In general, for low groundwater flow velocities, the optimal solution includes only pumping. As groundwater flow velocities increase, the most efficient solution includes both pumping and slurry walls.

Subject Headings: Pumps | Groundwater depletion | Groundwater flow | Optimization models | Diaphragm walls | Numerical models | Sensitivity analysis | Wells (water)

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