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The management and ultimate disposal of residual waste is subject to stringent programs, many of which were established by enactment of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976. Federal and state regulations are now requiring operators of waste disposal sites to minimize environmental impact.
Among the most critical areas of concern is groundwater quality. Previous practices of waste disposal have resulted in many serious episodes of water resource contamination (such as polychlorinated biphenyl disposal in the upper Hudson, arsenic burial in Minnesota, Kepone disposal in Hopewall, Va., the Love Canal, Niagara Falls, N.Y., contamination, and so on). The potential for groundwater contamination could have been reduced if disposal facilities had been located on the basis of their hydrogeologic suitability.
Understanding mass transport mechanisms that influence migration and attenuation of contaminants is a key element in disposal site selection, and design of monitoring and contaminant migration potential are essential in the evaluation of disposal sites and anticipation of groundwater pollution potential.
Among the predictive tools discussed in this paper are mathematical and computer simulation, criteria listing and criteria ranking methods, matrix analysis, and decision tree analysis. This report will include an analysis of the advantages, limitations, and applicability of different tools.
models, groundwater, contamination, prediction, attenuation, diffusion, dispersion, soils, simulation, permeability
Vice president, Roy F. Weston, Westchester, Pa.