[en] groundwater modelling ; solute transport modelling ; tracer tests ; calibration of transport models ; interpretation of tracer tests ; injection conditions
[en] Calibration of ground water transport models is often performed using results of field tracer experiments. However, little attention is usually paid to the influence, on resulting breakthrough curves, of injection conditions and well-aquifer interactions, more particularly of the influence of the possible trapping of the tracer in the injection wellbore. Recently, a new mathematical and numerical approach has been developed to model injection conditions and well-aquifer interactions in a very accurate way. Using an analytical solution derived from this model, a detailed analysis is made of the evolution of the tracer input function in the aquifer. By varying injection conditions from one simulation to another, synthetic breakthrough curves are generated with the SUFT3D ground water flow and transport finite-element simulator. These tests show clearly that the shape of the breakthrough curves can be dramatically affected by injection conditions. Using generated breakthrough curves as "actual" field results, a calibration of hydrodispersive parameters is performed, neglecting the influence of injection conditions. This shows that neglecting the influence of actual injection conditions can lead to (1) errors on fitted parameters and (2) misleading identification of the active transport processes. Conclusions and guidelines are drawn in terms of proposed methodologies for better controlling the tracer injection in the field, in order to minimize risk of misinterpretation of results.