Hydrodynamics in a sandy beach polluted with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

X. L. Geng, M. C. Boufadel, A. Abdollahi-Nasab

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper investigates the hydrodynamics in a tidally influenced sandy beach polluted by the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill. The oil was brought to the beach during a storm, and subsequent wave activity buried it under about 0.15 m of clean sand. We obtained field measurements of water table, pore water salinity, and soil moisture at a transect, and we used the two-dimensional finite element model MARUN (Boufadel et al. 1999) to simulate water flow below and above the transient water table while taking into account the effect of salt concentration on water density. The model was calibrated by fitting to the observed data and numerical simulations demonstrated the following: As the water was approximately one meter below ground surface, the physical washout of the buried oil by groundwater flow seems impossible. High salinity was observed in both landward well (~25 g/l) and seaward well (~39 g/l). This was probably because the beach is bounded on the landward side by Pensacola Bay, which has a salinity comparable to that of the Gulf of Mexico. The soil moisture in the oil-contaminated layer of the beach was around 20%~30%, indicating the oiled sediment was unsaturated. This range appears to be sufficient for the biodegradation of oil based on the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWorld Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2013
Subtitle of host publicationShowcasing the Future - Proceedings of the 2013 Congress
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Pages460-467
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9780784412947
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013
EventWorld Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2013: Showcasing the Future - Cincinnati, OH, United States
Duration: May 19 2013May 23 2013

Publication series

NameWorld Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2013: Showcasing the Future - Proceedings of the 2013 Congress

Other

OtherWorld Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2013: Showcasing the Future
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityCincinnati, OH
Period5/19/135/23/13

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology

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