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  • Geochemical modeling of arsenic release from a deep natural solid matrix under alternated redox conditions

     Molinari, A.; Ayora Ibañez, Carlos; Marcaccio, M.; Guadagnini, Laura; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Guadagnini, Alberto
    Environmental science and pollution research
    Date of publication: 2014-02
    Journal article

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    Dissolved arsenic (As) concentrations detected in groundwater bodies of the Emilia-Romagna Region (Italy) exhibit values which are above the regulation limit and could be related to the natural composition of the host porous matrix. To support this hypothesis, we present the results of a geochemical modeling study reproducing the main trends of the dynamics of As, Fe, and Mn concentrations as well as redox potential and pH observed during batch tests performed under alternating redox conditions. The tests were performed on a natural matrix extracted from a deep aquifer located in the Emilia-Romagna Region (Italy). The solid phases implemented in the model were selected from the results of selective sequential extractions performed on the tested matrix. The calibrated model showed that large As concentrations have to be expected in the solution for low crystallinity phases subject to dissolution. The role of Mn oxides on As concentration dynamics appears significant in strongly reducing environments, particularly for large water-solid matrix interaction times. Modeled data evidenced that As is released firstly from the outer surface of Fe oxihydroxides minerals exhibiting large concentrations in water when persistent reducing conditions trigger the dissolution of the crystalline structure of the binding minerals. The presence of organic matter was found to strongly affect pH and redox conditions, thus influencing As mobility.

  • Apparent directional mass-transfer capacity coefficients in three-dimensional anisotropic heterogeneous aquifers under radial convergent transport

     Pedretti, D.; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Bolster, Diogo; Benson, David
    Water resources research
    Date of publication: 2014-02
    Journal article

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    Aquifer hydraulic properties such as hydraulic conductivity (K) are ubiquitously heterogeneous and typically only a statistical characterization can be sought. Additionally, statistical anisotropy at typical characterization scales is the rule. Thus, regardless of the processes governing solute transport at the local (pore) scale, transport becomes non-Fickian. Mass-transfer models provide an efficient tool that reproduces observed anomalous transport; in some cases though, these models lack predictability as model parameters cannot readily be connected to the physical properties of aquifers. In this study, we focus on a multirate mass-transfer model (MRMT), and in particular the apparent capacity coefficient (), which is a strong indicator of the potential of immobile zones to capture moving solute. We aim to find if the choice of an apparent can be phenomenologically related to measures of statistical anisotropy. We analyzed an ensemble of random simulations of three-dimensional log-transformed multi-Gaussian permeability fields with stationary anisotropic correlation under convergent flow conditions. It was found that apparent also displays an anisotropic behavior, physically controlled by the aquifer directional connectivity, which in turn is controlled by the anisotropic correlation model. A high hydraulic connectivity results in large values. These results provide new insights into the practical use of mass-transfer models for predictive purposes.; Key Points; Convergent radial transport is modeled in random anisotropic formations Apparent capacity coefficient follows the same anisotropic patterns of ln(K) This behavior is linked to transport connectivity and stratification

  • On the formation of localized peaks and non-monotonic tailing of breakthrough curves

     Siirila, Erica Rachel; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel
    European Geosciences Union General Assembly
    Presentation's date: 2014-04-28
    Presentation of work at congresses

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    While breakthrough curve (BTC) analysis is a traditional tool in hydrogeology to obtain hydraulic parameters, in recent years emphasis has been placed on analyzing the shape of the receding portion of the curve. A number of field and laboratory observations have found a constant BTC slope in log-log space, and thus it has been hypothesized that a power law behavior is representative of real aquifers. Usually, monotonicity of the late-time BTC slope is just assumed, meaning that local peaks in the BTC are not considered, and that a local (in time) increase or decrease of BTC slope is also not considered. We contend that local peaks may exist but are sometimes not reported for a number of reasons. For example, when BTCs are obtained from actual measurements, sub-sampling may mask non-monotonicity, or small peaks may be reported as measurement errors and thus smoothed out or removed. When numerical analyses of synthetic aquifers are performed, the simulation method may yield artificially monotonous curves as a consequence of the methods used. For example, Eulerian methods may suffer from numerical dispersion, where curves tend to become over-smoothed while Lagrangian methods may suffer from artificial BTC oscillations stemming from the reconstruction of concentrations from a limited number of particles. A paradigm shift in terms of the BTC shape must also accompany two major advancements within the hydrogeology field: 1) the increase of high frequency data and progression of data collection techniques that diminish the problems of undersampling BTCs and 2) advancements in supercomputing and numerical simulation allowing for higher resolution of flow and transport problems. As more information is incorporated into BTCs and/or they are obtained in more spatial locations, it is likely that classical definitions of BTC shapes will no longer be adequate descriptors for future treatment of contaminant transport problems. For example, the presence of localized peaks in BTCs (when, at what magnitude and duration) is imperative in accurately assessing environmental and human health risk, as discrepancies in the environmental concentration at a given time could potentially affect risk management decisions.

  • Estimation of aquifers hydraulic parameters by three different tecniques: geostatistics, correlation and modeling.  Open access

     Barahona Palomo, Marco
    Defense's date: 2014-02-28
    Department of Geotechnical Engineering and Geo-Sciences, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
    Theses

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    La caracterización de parámetros hidráulicos en acuíferos es una tarea dificil que requiere información de campo. La mayoria de las veces el hidroge61ogo se basa en valores procedentes de diferentes pruebas para interpretar Ia configuraci6n hidrogeol6gica y posiblemente, generar un modele. Sin embargo, obtener lo mejor de esta informaci6n puede ser un reto.Esta tesis analiza tres casos. Primero, se analiza Ia conductividad hidráulica (K) asociada a una escala de medici6n del orden de 10 m"-1 y obtenida durante una campana de campo. Las estimaciones se obtuvieron en puntas coincidentes en el sitio, mediante: a formulación empírica de Kozeny-Carman, proporcionando valores de K, con base en Ia distribuci6n de tamaño de partículas y las pruebas del medidor de caudal de tipo impulsor en el pozo, el cual infiere las medidas de K a partir de los flujos verticales dentro de un pozo. La correlaci6n entre los dos conjuntos de estimaciones es prácticamente ausente. Sin embargo, las estadísticas de algoritmo natural de ambos conjuntos en el lugar son similares en términos de valores medidos difieren en terminas de rangos del vario grama y varianzas de muestra. Esto es consecuente con el hecho de que los dos tipos de estimaciones pueden estar asociadas con escalas de apoyo de medici6n diferentes (aunque comparables). También coincide con los resultados publicados sobre Ia interpretación de Ia variabilidad de los descriptores geo estadísticos de parámetros hidráulicos en multiplex escalas de observaci6n.El análisis refuerza Ia idea de que los valores de K y descriptores geo estadísticos clave asociadas al inferirse de diferentes metodologías yen las escalas de observaci6n similares (en el case del orden de decenas de en) no son fácilmente comparables y deben ser usados con cuidado en Ia modelaci6n de flujo (y eventualmente, el transporte) del agua subterránea.En segundo lugar, un método de regresión kemel adaptado a datos, originalmente desarrollado para el procesamiento yreconstrucci6n de imágenes se modifica y se utiliza para Ia delimitación de facies. Esta metodología no paramétrica utiliza tanto Ia distribuci6n espacial como el valor de Ia muestra, para producir en cada punto de datos una funci6n kernel de direcci6n localmente adaptativo, con ajuste automático del kernel a Ia direcci6n de mayor correlaci6n espacial local. Se demuestra que este metada supera el NNC (por su acr6nimo en Ingles nearest-neighbor classification) en varies cases de acuíferos sintéticos donde el numero de datos disponibles es pequeno y Ia distribuci6n es aleatoria. Sin embargo, en el caso limite, cuando hay un gran numero de muestras, tanto el metodo kernel adaptado a Ia direcci6n local como el metoda de NNC convergen a Ia soluci6n verdadera. Las simulaciones son finalmente utilizadas para explorar cuales parámetros de Ia funci6n kernel dan resultados 6ptimos en Ia reconstrucci6n de resultados en escenarios tipicos de campo. SeDemuestra que, en Ia practica, una regia general puede ser utilizada para obtener resultados casi 6ptimos, los cuales mejoran cuando se utiliza información clave como Ia proporci6n de facies.En tercer Iugar, se modela el efecto de Ia fluctuaci6n de Ia temperatura del agua sobre Ia K de sedimentos gruesos debajo de una instalaci6n de recarga artificial y se compara con datos de campo. Debido a Ia alta permeabilidad, el agua se desplaza a alta velocidad alta, y por lo tanto, agua con temperatura diferente esta presente en el sedimento bajo Ia balsa en diferentes mementos, esto se traduce en diferentes valores de K dentro de Ia misma capa. Se observaron diferencias de casi 79% en Ia K del modelo, para las temperaturas utilizadas (2°C-25°C}. Esta variaci6n de Ia Ken el sedimento por debajo de Ia balsa de infiltraci6n cuando el agua de temperatura variable entra en el sedimento, causa un cambio en Ia velocidad de infiltraci6n con el tiempo y produce las variaciones observadas en las mediciones de campo.

    Characterization of aquifers hydraulic parameters is a difficult task that requires field information. Most of the time the hydrogeologist relies on a group of values coming from different test to interpret the hydrogeological setting and possibly, generate a model. However, getting the best from this information can be challenging. In this thesis, three cases are explored. First, hydraulic conductivities associated with measurement scale of the order of 10−1 m and collected during an extensive field campaign near Tübingen, Germany, are analyzed. Estimates are provided at coinciding locations in the system using: the empirical Kozeny-Carman formulation, providing conductivity values, based on particle size distribution, and borehole impeller-type flowmeter tests, which infer conductivity from measurements of vertical flows within a borehole. Correlation between the two sets of estimates is virtually absent. However, statistics of the natural logarithm of both sets at the site are similar in terms of mean values and differ in terms of variogram ranges and sample variances. This is consistent with the fact that the two types of estimates can be associated with different (albeit comparable) measurement (support) scales. It also matches published results on interpretations of variability of geostatistical descriptors of hydraulic parameters on multiple observation scales. The analysis strengthens the idea that hydraulic conductivity values and associated key geostatistical descriptors inferred from different methodologies and at similar observation scales (of the order of tens of cm) are not readily comparable and should not be embedded blindly into a flow (and eventually transport) prediction model. Second, a data-adapted kernel regression method, originally developed for image processing and reconstruction is modified and used for the delineation of facies. This non-parametric methodology uses both the spatial and the sample value distribution, to produce for each data point a locally adaptive steering kernel function, self-adjusting the kernel to the direction of highest local spatial correlation. The method is shown to outperform the nearest-neighbor classification (NNC) in a number of synthetic aquifers whenever the available number of data is small and randomly distributed. Still, in the limiting case, when the domain is profusely sampled, both the steering kernel method and the NNC method converge to the true solution. Simulations are finally used to explore which parameters of the locally adaptive kernel function yield optimal reconstruction results in typical field settings. It is shown that, in practice, a rule of thumb can be used to get suboptimal results, which are best when key prior information such as facies proportions is used. Third, the effect of water temperature fluctuation on the hydraulic conductivity profile of coarse sediments beneath an artificial recharge facility is model and compared with field data. Due to the high permeability, water travels at a high rate, and therefore also water with different temperature is also present on the sediment under the pond at different moments, this translates into different hydraulic conductivity values within the same layer, even though all the other parameters are the same for this layer. Differences of almost 79% in hydraulic conductivity were observed for the model temperatures (2 °C – 25 °C). This variation of hydraulic conductivity in the sediment below the infiltration pond when water with varying temperature enters the sediment, causes the infiltration velocity to change with time and produces the observed fluctuation on the field measurements.

    La caracterización de los parámetros hidráulicos de los acuíferos es una tarea difícil que requiere información de campo. La mayoría de las veces el hidrogeólogo se basa en un grupo de valores procedentes de diferentes pruebas para interpretar la configuración hidrogeológica y posiblemente , generar un modelo . Sin embargo, obtener lo mejor de esta información puede ser un reto. En esta tesis se analizan tres casos. Primero, se analizan las conductividades hidráulicas asociadas a una escala de medición del orden de 10 m− 1 y obtenidas durante una extensa campaña de campo cerca de Tübingen, Alemania. Las estimaciones se obtuvieron en puntos coincidentes en el sitio, mediante: la formulación empírica de Kozeny - Carman, proporcionando valores de conductividad, con base en la distribución de tamaño de partículas y las pruebas del medidor de caudal de tipo impulsor en el pozo, el cual infiere las medidas de conductividad a partir de los flujos verticales dentro de un pozo. La correlación entre los dos conjuntos de estimaciones es prácticamente ausente. Sin embargo, las estadísticas del logaritmo natural de ambos conjuntos en el lugar son similares en términos de valores medios y difieren en términos de rangos del variograma y varianzas de muestra. Esto es consecuente con el hecho de que los dos tipos de estimaciones pueden estar asociados con escalas de apoyo de medición diferentes (aunque comparables). También coincide con los resultados publicados sobre la interpretación de la variabilidad de los descriptores geoestadísticos de parámetros hidráulicos en múltiples escalas de observación . El análisis refuerza la idea de que los valores de conductividad hidráulica y descriptores geoestadísticos clave asociados al inferirse de diferentes metodologías y en las escalas de observación similares (en el caso del orden de decenas de cm) no son fácilmente comparables y debe ser utilizados con cuidado en la modelación de flujo (y eventualmente, el transporte) del agua subterránea. En segundo lugar, un método de regresión kernel adaptado a datos, originalmente desarrollado para el procesamiento y la reconstrucción de imágenes se modificó y se utiliza para la delimitación de las facies. Esta metodología no paramétrica utiliza tanto la distribución espacial como el valor de la muestra, para producir en cada punto de datos una función kernel de dirección localmente adaptativo, con ajuste automático del kernel a la dirección de mayor correlación espacial local. Se demuestra que este método supera el NNC (por su acrónimo en inglés nearest-neighbor classification) en varios casos de acuíferos sintéticos donde el número de datos disponibles es pequeño y la distribución es aleatoria. Sin embargo, en el caso límite, cuando hay un gran número de muestras, tanto en el método kernel adaptado a la dirección local como el método de NNC convergen a la solución verdadera. Las simulaciones son finalmente utilizadas para explorar cuáles parámetros de la función kernel localmente adaptado dan resultados óptimos en la reconstrucción de resultados en escenarios típicos de campo. Se demuestra que, en la práctica, una regla general puede ser utilizada para obtener resultados casi óptimos, los cuales mejoran cuando se utiliza información clave como la proporción de facies. En tercer lugar, se modela el efecto de la fluctuación de la temperatura del agua sobre la conductividad hidráulica de sedimentos gruesos debajo de una instalación de recarga artificial y se compara con datos de campo. Debido a la alta permeabilidad, el agua se desplaza a alta velocidad alta, y por lo tanto, agua con temperatura diferente también está presente en el sedimento bajo el estanque en diferentes momentos, esto se traduce en diferentes valores de conductividad hidráulica dentro de la misma capa, a pesar de que todos los demás parámetros son los mismos para esta capa. Se observaron diferencias de casi 79 % en la conductividad hidráulica en el modelo, para las temperaturas utilizadas (2 º C - 25 º C ). Esta variación de la conductividad hidráulica en el sedimento por debajo de la balsa de infiltración cuando el agua de temperatura variable entra en el sedimento, causa un cambio en la velocidad de infiltración con el tiempo y produce las fluctuacciones observadas en las mediciones de campo.

  • Dynamic interactions between hydrogeological and exposure parameters in daily dose prediction under uncertainty and temporal variability

     Kumar, Vikas Jawahar Senthil; De Barros, Felipe P.J.; Schuhmacher, Marta; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier
    Journal of hazardous materials
    Date of publication: 2013-12
    Journal article

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    We study the time dependent interaction between hydrogeological and exposure parameters in daily dose predictions due to exposure of humans to groundwater contamination. Dose predictions are treated stochastically to account for an incomplete hydrogeological and geochemical field characterization, and an incomplete knowledge of the physiological response. We used a nested Monte Carlo framework to account for uncertainty and variability arising from both hydrogeological and exposure variables. Our interest is in the temporal dynamics of the total dose and their effects on parametric uncertainty reduction. We illustrate the approach to a HCH (lindane) pollution problem at the Ebro River, Spain. The temporal distribution of lindane in the river water can have a strong impact in the evaluation of risk. The total dose displays a non-linear effect on different population cohorts, indicating the need to account for population variability. We then expand the concept of Comparative Information Yield Curves developed earlier (see de Barros et al. [29]) to evaluate parametric uncertainty reduction under temporally variable exposure dose. Results show that the importance of parametric uncertainty reduction varies according to the temporal dynamics of the lindane plume. The approach could be used for any chemical to aid decision makers to better allocate resources towards reducing uncertainty. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

  • Mobility and interaction of heavy metals in a natural soil

     Bianchi Janetti, Emanuela; Ishai, Dror; Riva, Monica; Guadagnini, Alberto; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Berkowitz, Brian
    Transport in porous media
    Date of publication: 2013-04
    Journal article

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    We study the mobility and interaction under competing conditions observed for copper ( Cu2+) and zinc ( Zn2+) ions in the context of laboratory-scale experiments performed in natural soil columns. The experiments focus on the analysis of solute breakthrough curves (BTCs) obtained after injection of an aqueous solution containing similar concentrations of the two metal ions into a soil column fully saturated with double deionized water. Transport of the competing ions is tested for the same soil under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Measurements show that the species with lower affinity for the soil, Zn2+, migrates occupying all available adsorption sites, and is then progressively replaced by the ion with higher affinity, Cu2+. The two ions are displaced in the system with different effective retardation. The slowest species replaces the sorbed ions, resulting in observed Zn2+ concentrations that display a non-monotonic behavior in time and which, for a certain period, are larger than the concentration supplied continuously at the inlet. In the absence of a complete geochemical characterization of the system, we show that the measured concentrations of both metals can be interpreted through simple models based on a set of coupled partial differential and algebraic equations, involving a small subset of aqueous and adsorbed species that are present in the system. Depending on the model considered, the relationship between aqueous and adsorbed ion concentrations is described at equilibrium by a Gaines¿Thomas (GT) formulation, a competitive Sheindorf¿Rebhun¿Sheintuch (SRS) isotherm, or an Extended Langmuir (EL) isotherm, respectively. The GT formulation provides the best interpretation of the observed behavior among the models tested. We find that employing these simple models, which account only for the main governing reactive processes, allows reasonable estimation of the observed BTCs in experiments where only partial geochemical datasets are available.

    We study the mobility and interaction under competing conditions observed for copper (Cu2+) and zinc (Zn2+) ions in the context of laboratory-scale experiments performed in natural soil columns. The experiments focus on the analysis of solute breakthrough curves (BTCs) obtained after injection of an aqueous solution containing similar concentrations of the two metal ions into a soil column fully saturated with double deionized water. Transport of the competing ions is tested for the same soil under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Measurements show that the species with lower affinity for the soil, Zn2+, migrates occupying all available adsorption sites, and is then progressively replaced by the ion with higher affinity, Cu2+. The two ions are displaced in the system with different effective retardation. The slowest species replaces the sorbed ions, resulting in observed Zn2+ concentrations that display a non-monotonic behavior in time and which, for a certain period, are larger than the concentration supplied continuously at the inlet. In the absence of a complete geochemical characterization of the system, we show that the measured concentrations of both metals can be interpreted through simple models based on a set of coupled partial differential and algebraic equations, involving a small subset of aqueous and adsorbed species that are present in the system. Depending on the model considered, the relationship between aqueous and adsorbed ion concentrations is described at equilibrium by a Gaines–Thomas (GT) formulation, a competitive Sheindorf–Rebhun–Sheintuch (SRS) isotherm, or an Extended Langmuir (EL) isotherm, respectively. The GT formulation provides the best interpretation of the observed behavior among the models tested. We find that employing these simple models, which account only for the main governing reactive processes, allows reasonable estimation of the observed BTCs in experiments where only partial geochemical datasets are available.

  • A risk-based probabilistic framework to estimate the endpoint of remediation: concentration rebound by rate-limited mass transfer

     De Barros, Felipe P.J.; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel; Bolster, Diogo; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier
    Water resources research
    Date of publication: 2013-04
    Journal article

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    Aquifer remediation is a challenging problem with environmental, social, and economic implications. As a general rule, pumping proceeds until the concentration of the target substance within the pumped water lies below a prespecified value. In this paper we estimate the a priori potential failure of the endpoint of remediation due to a rebound of concentrations driven by back diffusion. In many cases, it has been observed that once pumping ceases, a rebound in the concentration at the well takes place. For this reason, administrative approaches are rather conservative, and pumping is forced to last much longer than initially expected. While a number of physical and chemical processes might account for the presence of rebounding, we focus here on diffusion from low water mobility into high mobility zones. In this work we look specifically at the concentration rebound when pumping is discontinued while accounting for multiple mass transfer processes occurring at different time scales and parametric uncertainty. We aim to develop a risk-based optimal operation methodology that is capable of estimating the endpoint of remediation based on aquifer parameters characterizing the heterogeneous medium as well as pumping rate and initial size of the polluted area.

  • On the formation of breakthrough curves tailing during convergent flow tracer tests in three-dimensional heterogeneous aquifers

     Pedretti, Daniele; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel; Bolster, Diogo; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier
    Water resources research
    Date of publication: 2013-07
    Journal article

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    Anomalous transport in advection-dominated convergent flow tracer tests can occurs due to small-scale heterogeneities in aquifer hydraulic properties. These result in fluctuations of the groundwater velocity field and complex connectivity patterns between injection and extraction wells. While detailed characterization of heterogeneity is often not possible in practice, a proper understanding of what fundamental physical mechanisms can give rise to macroscopic behaviors that are measurable is essential for proper upscaling of solute transport processes. We analyze here how heavy-tailed breakthrough curves can arise in radially convergent flow to a well. The permeability fields are three-dimensional multi-Gaussian fields with varying statistical geometry and degrees of heterogeneity. We consider transport of conservative tracers from multiple injection locations by varying distance and angle from the extraction well. Anomalous power law tailing in breakthrough curves is attributed to a variety of features including the initial vertical stratification of the solute that arises due to a flux-weighted injection, the injection distance to the well relative to the depth of the aquifer, and the statistics of the heterogeneity field as defined by the correlation length and variance of the permeability. When certain conditions cooccur for a given injection, such as strong connectivity contrasts between aquifer layers, injection distances comparable to the horizontal heterogeneity integral scales, and large global variances, breakthrough curves tend to scale as a PL with unit slope at late time. These findings offer new insights to understand what physical processes must be understood to develop and choose appropriate upscaling approaches that might reproduce such anomalous transport in heterogeneous advection-dominated systems.

  • Controlling scaling metrics for improved characterization of well-head protection regions

     De Barros, Felipe P.J.; Guadagnini, Alberto; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel; Riva, Monica; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier
    Journal of hydrology
    Date of publication: 2013-06
    Journal article

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    We addressed the value of hydrogeological information on the assessment of the risk that an operating pumping well is polluted. The work considered a heterogeneous aquifer and focused on the statistical characterization of the contaminant mass fraction from a diffused source recovered at the well and the solute arrival times. We explored the role of the key length scales that characterize and control the well capture region and its probabilistic delineation with respect to the contaminant source location and size. The impact of augmenting the data-base of hydraulic information on the reduction of uncertainty associated with the environmental scenario analyzed was then investigated. It was found that obtaining a robust characterization of the target Environmental Performance Metrics (EPMs) depends on the length scale considered. For the sampling scheme considered, the importance of conditioning on the probability distributions of solute mass fraction and travel times is strongly affected by the location of the contaminant source within the probabilistic well catchment. With reference to the characterization of the travel time distribution associated with the recovery of a given mass fraction, the worth of augmenting the hydraulic parameter data-sets tends to decrease with decreasing solute residence time within the well catchment.

  • Arsenic release from deep natural solid matrices under experimentally controlled redox conditions

     Molinari, Antonio; Guadagnini, Laura; Marcaccio, Marco; Straface, S.; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Guadagnini, Alberto
    Science of the total environment
    Date of publication: 2013-02
    Journal article

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  • An analytical solution to study substrate-microbial dynamics in soils

     Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Rubol, Simonetta; Carles Brangari, Albert; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel
    Advances in water resources
    Date of publication: 2013-04
    Journal article

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    We provide an approximate analytical solution for the substrate-microbial dynamics of the organic carbon cycle in natural soils under hydro-climatic variable forcing conditions. The model involves mass balance in two carbon pools: substrate and biomass. The analytical solution is based on a perturbative solution of concentrations, and can properly reproduce the numerical solutions for the full non-linear problem in a system evolving towards a steady state regime governed by the amount of labile carbon supplied to the system. The substrate and the biomass pools exhibit two distinct behaviors depending on whether the amount of carbon supplied is below or above a given threshold. In the latter case, the concentration versus time curves are always monotonic. Contrarily, in the former case the C-pool concentrations present oscillations, allowing the reproduction of non-monotonic small-scale biomass concentration data in a natural soil, observed so far only in short-term experiments in the rhizosphere. Our results illustrate the theoretical dependence of oscillations from soil moisture and temperature and how they may be masked at intermediate scales due to the superposition of solutions with spatially variable parameters.

    We provide an approximate analytical solution for the substrate-microbial dynamics of the organic carbon cycle in natural soils under hydro-climatic variable forcing conditions. The model involves mass balance in two carbon pools: substrate and biomass. The analytical solution is based on a perturbative solution of concentrations, and can properly reproduce the numerical solutions for the full non-linear problem in a system evolving towards a steady state regime governed by the amount of labile carbon supplied to the system. The substrate and the biomass pools exhibit two distinct behaviors depending on whether the amount of carbon supplied is below or above a given threshold. In the latter case, the concentration versus time curves are always monotonic. Contrarily, in the former case the C-pool concentrations present oscillations, allowing the reproduction of non-monotonic small-scale biomass concentration data in a natural soil, observed so far only in short-term experiments in the rhizosphere. Our results illustrate the theoretical dependence of oscillations from soil moisture and temperature and how they may be masked at intermediate scales due to the superposition of solutions with spatially variable parameters.

  • Quantifying the influence of scaling metrics and hydrogeological data in the statistical characterization of model predictions inwell-catchment regions

     De Barros, Felipe P.J.; Guadagnini, Alberto; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel; Riva, Monica; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier
    European Geosciences Union General Assembly
    Presentation's date: 2013-04-07
    Presentation of work at congresses

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  • What controls apparent field capacity coefficients obtained from convergent flow tracer tests in anisotropic randomly heterogeneous formations?

     Fernandez Garcia, Daniel; Pedretti, Daniele; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Benson, David; Bolster, Diogo
    European Geosciences Union General Assembly
    Presentation's date: 2013-04-07
    Presentation of work at congresses

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  • Breakthrough curves tailing development during convergent flow tracer tests in 3D heterogeneous aquifers

     Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Pedretti, Daniele; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel; Bolster, Diogo
    European Geosciences Union General Assembly
    Presentation's date: 2013-04-07
    Presentation of work at congresses

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  • Modeling precipitation-dissolution patterns in dedolomitization high-resolution laboratory experiments

     Ayora Ibáñez, Carlos; Serra Prat, Gemma; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier
    IAHS International Groundwater Quality Conference
    Presentation's date: 2013-04-21
    Presentation of work at congresses

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  • DEMONSTRATING MANAGER AQUIFER RECHARGE AS A SOLUTION TO WATER SCARCITY AND DROUGHT

     Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier
    Participation in a competitive project

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  • Assessing and forecasting the impacts of global change on Mediterranean rivers: the SCARCE Consolider project on Iberian basins

     Navarro Ortega, A.; Acuña, Vicenç; Batalla, R.J.; Blasco, J.; Conde, C.; Elorza, Francisco Javier; Elosegi, A.; Frances, F.; La-Roca, Francesc; Muñoz, I.; Petrovic, Mira; Picó, Y.; Sabater, Sergi; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Schumacher, Marta; Barceló Culleres, Damià
    Environmental science and pollution research
    Date of publication: 2012-05
    Journal article

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  • Fate of beta-blockers in aquifer material under nitrate reducing conditions: Batch experiments

     Barbieri, Manuela; Licha, Tobias Walter; Carrera Ramírez, Jesús; Noedler, Karsten; Ayora Ibáñez, Carlos; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier
    Chemosphere
    Date of publication: 2012
    Journal article

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  • A bayesian approach to integrate temporal data into probabilistic risk analysis of monitored NAPL remediation

     Fernandez Garcia, Daniel; Bolster, Diogo; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Tartakovsky, Daniel
    Advances in water resources
    Date of publication: 2012-02
    Journal article

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  • Probabilistic analysis of groundwater-related risks at subsurface excavation sites

     Jurado Elices, Anna; De Gaspari, Francesca; Vilarrasa Riaño, Victor; Bolster, Diogo; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel; Tartakovsky, Daniel
    Engineering geology
    Date of publication: 2012-01-27
    Journal article

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  • Probabilistic analysis of maintenance and operation of artificial recharge ponds

     Pedretti, Daniele; Barahona Palomo, Marco; Bolster, Diogo; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Tartakovsky, Daniel
    Advances in water resources
    Date of publication: 2012-02
    Journal article

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  • A quick and inexpensive method to quantify spatially variable infiltration capacity for artificial recharge ponds using photographic images

     Pedretti, Daniele; Barahona Palomo, Marco; Bolster, Diogo; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel
    Journal of hydrology
    Date of publication: 2012-04-02
    Journal article

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  • Fate of ß-blockers in aquifer material under nitrate reducing conditions: Batch experiments

     Barbieri, Manuela; Licha, Tobias Walter; Nödler, Karsten; Ayora Ibañez, Carlos; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Carrera Ramírez, Jesús
    Chemosphere
    Date of publication: 2012-11
    Journal article

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    The fate of the three environmentally relevant β-blockers atenolol, metoprolol and propranolol has been studied in batch experiments involving aquifer material and nitrate reducing conditions. Results from the about 90 d long tests indicate that abiotic processes, most likely sorption, jointly with biotransformation to atenololic acid were responsible for the 65% overall removal observed for atenolol. Zero order kinetics, typical of enzyme-limited reactions, controlled the transformation of this beta blocker to its corresponding carboxylic acid. The mass balance evidences that no mineralization of atenolol occurs in the biotic experiment and that atenololic acid is more stable than its parent compound under the studied conditions. This finding stresses the importance of considering atenololic acid as target compound in the environmental studies on the fate of atenolol. For metoprolol and propranolol the results from the experiment suggest a slower sorption to be the dominant removal process, which led to final decreases in concentrations of 25–30% and 40–45%, respectively. Overall, the removals observed in the experiments suggest that subsurface processes potentially constitute an alternative water treatment for the target beta-blockers, when compared to the removals reported for conventional wastewater treatment plants.

  • Formation of diclofenac and sulfamethoxazole reversible transformation products in aquifer material under denitrifying conditions: batch experiments

     Barbieri, Manuela; Ayora Ibáñez, Carlos; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Licha, Tobias Walter; Nödler, Karsten; Osorio, Victoria; Pérez, Sandra; Köck Schulmeyer, Marianne; López de Alda, Miren; Barceló Culleres, Damià; Carrera Ramírez, Jesús
    Science of the total environment
    Date of publication: 2012-06-01
    Journal article

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  • Experiments and modeling of mobility and interaction of heavy metals in a natural soil

     Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Bianchi Janetti, Emanuela; Ishai, Dror; Riva, Monica; Guadagnini, Alberto; Berkowitz, Brian
    American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting
    Presentation's date: 2012-12-03
    Presentation of work at congresses

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  • Role of length scales on environmental performance metrics for statistical characterization of well-head

     Pereira Jorge de Barros, Felipe; Guadagnini, Alberto; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel; Riva, Monica; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier
    American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting
    Presentation's date: 2012-12-03
    Presentation of work at congresses

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  • Facies reconstruction through the exploitation of a locally adaptive kernel regression: implications in risk evaluations

     Barahona Palomo, Marco; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier
    European Geosciences Union General Assembly
    Presentation's date: 2012-04
    Presentation of work at congresses

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  • Controlling scaling metrics towards improved characterization of well-head protection regions

     Pereira Jorge de Barros, Felipe; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Guadagnini, Alberto; Riva, Monica
    European Geosciences Union General Assembly
    Presentation's date: 2012-04
    Presentation of work at congresses

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  • Interactions between hydrogeological and health parameters in probabilistic risk assessment: application to the Ebro River, Spain

     Kumar, V.; Pereira Jorge de Barros, Felipe; Schumacher, Marta; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel
    SCARCE International Conference
    Presentation's date: 2012-11-26
    Presentation of work at congresses

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  • Modeling multicomponent reactive transport with particle tracking and smoothing techniques

     Fernandez Garcia, Daniel; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Henri, Christopher
    International Conference on Porous Media & Annual Meeting of the International Society for Porous Media
    Presentation's date: 2012-04
    Presentation of work at congresses

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  • Estimating concentration rebounds in pumping wells and their impact on aquifer remediation and risk analysis

     Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Pereira Jorge de Barros, Felipe; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel; Bolster, Diogo
    European Geosciences Union General Assembly
    Presentation's date: 2012-04
    Presentation of work at congresses

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  • Well capture zone delineation under uncertainity: the value of information for risk assessment

     Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Pereira Jorge de Barros, Felipe; Guadagnini, Alberto; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel; Riva, Monica
    IAHR International Groundwater Symposium
    Presentation's date: 2012-11
    Presentation of work at congresses

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  • An analytical solution to study substrate-bacterial dynamics in soils

     Carles Brangari, Albert; Rubol, Simonetta; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel
    American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting
    Presentation's date: 2012-12-03
    Presentation of work at congresses

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  • Model reduction and multi-scale simulation for solute transport in fractured porous media

     Leube, Philipp; Nowak, Wolfgang; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier
    American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting
    Presentation's date: 2012-12-03
    Presentation of work at congresses

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  • Numerical analysis of anomalous tailing on breakthrough curves during a typical convergent-flow tracer tests

     Pedretti, Daniele; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Bolster, Diogo
    American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting
    Presentation's date: 2012-12-03
    Presentation of work at congresses

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  • A novel approach to investigate the link between natural biofilm growth and soil physical properties in a saturated porous media

     Rubol, Simonetta; Carles Brangari, Albert; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel; Freixa, A.; Romaní, Anna M.; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier
    SCARCE International Conference
    Presentation's date: 2012-11-26
    Presentation of work at congresses

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  • Numerical evaluation of apparent transport parameters from forced-gradient tracer tests in statistically anisotropic heterogeneous formations

     Pedretti, Daniele; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel; Bolster, Diogo; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Benson, David
    European Geosciences Union General Assembly
    Presentation's date: 2012-04
    Presentation of work at congresses

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  • Uncertainty and risk evaluation in a truly pluri-disciplinary framework, or when you are asked to provide exact solutions with virtually none information and you fail miserably

     Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier
    European Geosciences Union General Assembly
    Presentation's date: 2012-04
    Presentation of work at congresses

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  • Facies reconstruction through the exploitation of a locally adaptive kernel regression: implications in risk evaluations

     Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Barahona Palomo, Marco; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel
    International Conference on Porous Media & Annual Meeting of the International Society for Porous Media
    Presentation's date: 2012-04
    Presentation of work at congresses

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  • Upscaling reactive transport using multi-rate mass transfer

     Willmann, Mathias; Carrera Ramírez, Jesús; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Dentz, Marco; Kinzelbach, Wolfgang
    International Conference on Porous Media & Annual Meeting of the International Society for Porous Media
    Presentation's date: 2012-04
    Presentation of work at congresses

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  • Premi ICREA Acadèmia

     Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier
    Award or recognition

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  • Tools and analysis of spatio-temporal dynamics in heterogeneous aquifers: Applications to artificial recharge and forced-gradient solute transport  Open access

     Pedretti, Daniele
    Defense's date: 2012-12-21
    Department of Geotechnical Engineering and Geo-Sciences, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
    Theses

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    This thesis deals with the development of tools and analysis to characterize and predict artificial recharge and radial convergent solute transport processes in heterogeneous media. The goal is to provide new insights to understand how heterogeneity, which is the main natural source of uncertainty in decision-making processes related with groundwater applications, can be controlled and its effects predicted for practical purposes in these topics. For hydrogeological applications, accurate modeling of phenomena is needed, but it is uncertain. Uncertainty is derived from the spatio-temporal random distribution of hydrodynamic (physical, chemical and biological) variables affecting groundwater processes, which is translated into random distribution of modeling parameters and equations. Such randomness is of two types: epistemic, when it can be reduced increasing the sample frequency of an experiment; aleatory, when it cannot be reduced when more information is analyzed. Sometimes hydrodynamic processes occur at so small scales that they become impossible to characterize with traditional methods, and from a practical perspective, this is analogous to deal with aleatoric model parameters. However, if some constitutive relationship (either empirically, theoretically or physically based) can be built between processes across different scales, then small-scale processes can be reproduced by equivalent large-scale model parameters. Uncertainty becomes amenable to be treated as epistemic randomness, and large-scale characterization techniques can be used to improve the description, interpretation or prediction of these processes. This thesis deals with these topics. The manuscript is composed by two main parts (the first on artificial recharge and the second on solute transport), each of them divided into three chapters. In chapter 1 of each part, a tool is developed to obtain quantitative information to model a selected variable at coarse grid resolutions. In the case of artificial recharge, satellite images are used to model the spatial variability of the infiltration capacity on top soils with a metric-scale detail. In the case of solute transport, a new method to estimate density from particle distribution is shown. In chapters 2, it is explored what processes occurring at the fine scales can affect the interpretation of artificial recharge and solute transport processes at larger scales. In the first part, a combined method that joins satellite images and field data along with a simple clogging model is used to display the equally-possible spatio-temporal mapping of the infiltration capacity of topsoil during artificial pond flooding activities. In the second part, numerical three-dimensional models are used to simulate transport in heterogeneous media under convergent radial flow to a well at fine scale. It is shown that an appropriate model framework can reproduce similar observations on contaminant temporal distribution at controlling section similar to those obtained in the field tracer tests. It is also provided a physical explanation to describe the so-called anomalous late-time behavior on breakthrough curves which is sometimes observed in the reality at larger scales. In the chapters 3, models are used to define the uncertainty around operating parameters in the optic of prediction and management on artificial recharge and solute transport. In the first case, a probability framework is built to define the engineering risk of management of artificial recharge ponds due to random variability of the initial distribution of infiltration, which controls several important clogging factors based on theoretical approaches. In the case of solute transport, it is discussed how equivalent parameters based on mass-transfer models can be related with the geometrical distribution of hydraulic parameters in anisotropic formation, when convergent flow tracer tests are used.

  • AJUT ICREA ACADEMIA 2011

     Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier
    Participation in a competitive project

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  • Assessing preferential flow through an unsaturated waste rock pile using spectral analysis

     Trinchero, Paolo; Beckie, Roger; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Nichol, Craig
    Water resources research
    Date of publication: 2011-07-19
    Journal article

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  • Quantitative comparison of impeller-flowmeter and particle-size-distribution techniques for the characterization of hydraulic conductivity variability

     Barahona Palomo, Marco; Riva, Monica; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Vázquez Suñé, Enric; Guadagnini, Alberto
    Hydrogeology journal
    Date of publication: 2011-02-19
    Journal article

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  • Optimal reconstruction of concentrations, gradients and reaction rates from particle distributions

     Fernandez Garcia, Daniel; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier
    Journal of contaminant hydrology
    Date of publication: 2011
    Journal article

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  • Combining physical-based models and satellite images for the spatio-temporal assessment of soil infiltration capacity

     Pedretti, Daniele; Fernandez Garcia, Daniel; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Barahona Palomo, Marco; Bolster, Diogo
    Stochastic environmental research and risk assessment
    Date of publication: 2011-05-29
    Journal article

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    The performance of managed artificial recharge (MAR) facilities by means of surface ponds (SP) is controlled by the temporal evolution of the global infiltration capacity Ic of topsoils. Cost-effective maintenance operations that aim to maintain controlled infiltration values during the activity of the SP require the full knowledge of the spatio-temporal variability of Ic. This task is deemed uncertain. The natural reduction in time of Ic depends on complex physical, biological and chemical reactions that clog the soil pores and has been observed to decay exponentially to an asymptotic non-zero value. Moreover, the relative influence of single clogging processes depend on some initial parameters of the soil, such as the initial infiltration capacity (Ic,0). This property is also uncertain, as aquifers are typically heterogeneous and scarcely characterized in practical situations. We suggest a method to obtain maps of Ic using a geostatistical approach, which is suitable to be extended to engineering risk assessment concerning management of SP facilities. We propose to combine geostatistical inference and a temporally-lumped physical model to reproduce non-uniform clogging in topsoils of a SP, using field campaigns of local and large scale tests and additionally by means of satellite images as secondary information. We then postulate a power-law relationship between the parameter of the exponential law, k, and Ic,0. It is found that calibrating the two parameters of the power law model it is possible to fit the temporal evolution of total infiltration rate at the pond scale in a MAR test facility. The results can be used to design appropriate measures to selectively limit clogging during operation, extending the life of the infiltration pond.

  • Inferring spatial distribution of the radially integrated transmissivity from pumping tests in heterogeneous confined aquifers

     COPTY, N.K.; Trinchero, Paolo; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier
    Water resources research
    Date of publication: 2011
    Journal article

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  • Microcosm experiments to control anaerobic redox conditions when studying the fate of organic micropollutants in aquifer material

     Barbieri, Manuela; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Ayora Ibañez, Carlos; Cama Robert, Jordi; Carrera Ramírez, Jesús; Koeck Schulmeyer, Marianne; López de Alda, Miren; Barceló Culleres, Damià; Tobella Brunet, Joana; Hernández García, Marta
    Journal of contaminant hydrology
    Date of publication: 2011-11-01
    Journal article

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  • A divide and conquer approach to cope with uncertainty, human health risk, and decision making in contaminant hydrology

     Pereira Jorge de Barros, Felipe; Bolster, Diogo; Sanchez Vila, Francisco Javier; Nowak, Wolfgang
    Water resources research
    Date of publication: 2011-05-10
    Journal article

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