Upscaling Transport of Bacillus subtilis Endospores and Coliphage phiX174 in Heterogeneous Porous Media from the Column to the Field Scale

Thomas J Oudega, Gerhard Lindner, Julia Derx, Andreas H Farnleitner, Regina Sommer, Alfred P Blaschke, Margaret E Stevenson

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Groundwater contamination and transport of viruses and bacteria in aquifers are a major concern worldwide. To ascertain the ability of these aquifers to remove pathogens, tracer tests with microbial surrogates are carried out. These tests are laborious and may require special permits, and therefore, column tests are often done instead. Unfortunately, results from column tests tend to grossly overestimate removal rates when compared to the field scale, which can lead to an underestimation of groundwater contamination risks. Scale is an important consideration when examining pathogen transport through porous media, as pathogen removal is rarely a linear process. In this study, field tests were carried out with endospores of Bacillus subtilis and coliphage phiX174 over a distance of 25 m in an alluvial gravel aquifer near Vienna, Austria. The sandy gravel material from the field site was also used in column tests with the same tracers. Both attachment-detachment and colloid filtration theory were used to model these tests, as well as log-removal rates per meter. The results show that the spatial removal rate (log/m) is approximately 2 orders of magnitude higher on the column scale, when compared to the field. A comparison with the literature showed a correlation between the heterogeneity of the porous media and the difference in removal rates between the column and field scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11060-11069
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Volume55
Issue number16
Early online date28 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2021

Keywords

  • 3D colloidal transport modeling
  • microbial tracer tests
  • upscaling column to field

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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