[en] A reactive transport modeling study was carried out to assess the fate of a groundwater contamination by ammoniacal liquor from a former coking plant and the associated geochemical response. The simulations over a 45-year period provide a conclusive explanation and quantitative description of all measured data from observation wells down gradient of the contaminant source. It is shown that cation exchange exerts the main control on the fate of the ammonium plume as it strongly retards the migration of dissolved ammonium. The sorption of ammonium is accompanied by the elution of native cations, an effect that can be seen in some observation wells where ammonium is absent. While phenol has not been detected in the observation wells in recent years, the modeling results suggest that it has completely degraded in the aquifer, which is inferred from the agreement between the simulated and the observed geochemical fingerprint that the degradation of phenol imposes on groundwater composition.