A finite element simulation of total nitrogen concentrations in ground water from spray irrigation versus sand bed filtration
Eddy, Christine M.
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Ground-water contamination by sewage waste is a major problem in the United States. A known technology for reducing this contamination is spray irrigation of wastewater instead of the more typical sand-bed filtration. This study involves the application of a ground-water flow and contaminant transport model to compare the ground-water contamination from spray irrigation versus sand bed filtration at the Otis Air National Guard Base on Cape Cod. To develop the ground-water flow model, site- specific parameters were input and the model was calibrated to observed water-level elevations. The transport model was developed by simulating known concentrations and loading rates and estimating values of dispersivity. In addition, data from the existing wastewater plume were used in the model calibration. The contaminant transport model predicts that, for the Cape Cod site, the spray irrigation method results in lower concentrations of contaminants over a smaller area. Even tertiary treatment of the wastewater discharged to a filter bed will result in greater contamination than spray irrigation of secondarily treated wastewater.