Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Geological Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences

Advisor 1

John S. Gierke

Committee Member 1

Melanie Kueber Watkins

Committee Member 2

Nathan Manser


Located in Antrim County, Michigan between the coasts of Torch Lake and Lake Michigan is a hydrocarbon plume that has impacted surrounding residential wells. The plume is comprised of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) and primarily resides in the shallowest groundwater aquifer. The plume is suspected of having originated from an underground storage container that was removed in 1979. A conceptual model was developed for the site, comprising of a simplified hydrogeological model. Groundwater modeling was performed using Aquaveo's groundwater modeling software (GMS). PEST parameter calibration was performed on the hydraulic conductivity and recharge values using data from surrounding wells. These values were then used to create a reasonable steady-state regional flow model. The groundwater flow code MODFLOW was used to simulate the steady-state flow model. The use of MT3DMS simulated the fate and transport of the BTEX to inform remediation design. The model simulated natural attenuation, air injection, and enhanced microbial bioremediation (EMB) to project aquifer behavior and contaminant degradation for each remediation technique. Results showed that EMB degraded the plume the lowest, to 2 mg/L after 91 days. While modeling can be a time-efficient and cost-saving technique, it should be coupled with value engineering and site investigation when designing a remediation system.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.