Preserving Our Natural Resources

Understanding the mobility of contaminants in the subsurface to assist decision-making for environmental remediation and long-term stewardship of contaminated sites

DOE Program Managers
Robert T. Anderson
DOE Office of
Biological & Environmental Research  
Lali Chatterjee
DOE Office of
Advanced Scientific Computing Research

One of the most challenging problems in environmental remediation involves hazardous materials which have leached into the subsurface and are at risk of being more widely dispersed by the flow of groundwater through contaminated areas. The result can be that contaminants located in a remote area may be carried by groundwater to more sensitive water resource areas such as rivers, lakes or wells.

DOE's efforts to contain and remediate contaminated sites challenges the state of the science in many areas. Scientifically rigorous models of subsurface reactive transport that accurately simulate the movement of contaminants across multiple length scales remain elusive. Under this new SciDAC science program, efforts in this area will provide more advanced models for better understanding the movement of subsurface contamination. This will benefit environmental cleanup efforts at DOE facilities, as well as improve the monitoring of contaminants in groundwater around existing and future radionuclide waste disposal and storage sites. These efforts will also assist the Department's research on using deep geological formations to store carbon dioxide taken from the atmosphere.

Groundwater Research Projects Announced in September 2006

Going with the Flow - Understanding how Contaminants Move Underground
Predicting the movement of subsurface contaminants using massively parallel, multiscale, multiphase, multicomponent reactive flow codes
    Principal Investigator: Peter C. Lichtner (
    Los Alamos National Laboratory

“Scaling” the Challenges in Subsurface Simulations
Integrating biogeochemical models across multiple time and spatial scales
    Principal Investigator: Timothy D. Scheibe (
    Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


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