Published in Ground Water, 40(3):258-265, 2002

A Field Demonstration of the Simulation-Optimization Approach for Remediation System Design

by Chunmiao Zheng and P. Patrick Wang


While significant progress has been made in the theoretical development of the simulation/optimization (S/O) approach for ground water remediation design, its application to large, field-scale problems has remained limited. To demonstrate the applicability and usefulness of the S/O approach under real field conditions, an optimization demonstration project was conducted at the Massachusetts Military Reservation in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, involving the design of a pump-and-treat system for the containment and cleanup of a large trichloroethylene (TCE) plume. The optimization techniques used in this study are based on evolutionary algorithms coupled with a response function approach for greater computational efficiency. The S/O analysis was performed parallel to a conventional trial-and-error analysis based on simulation alone. The results of this study demonstrate that not only would it be possible to remove more TCE mass under the same amount of pumping assumed in the trial-and-error design, but also substantial cost savings could be achieved by reducing the number of wells needed and adapting dynamic pumping. In spite of the large model size of more than 500,000 nodes and a long planning horizon of 30 years, the optimization modeling was carried out successfully on desktop PCs. This field demonstration project clearly illustrates the potential benefits of applying optimization techniques in remediation system design.


MMR and other optimization demonstration sites for the UA research team.