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About this book

This book provides essential background knowledge on a wide range of hydrological processes governing contaminant transport from soil to surface water across a range of scales, from hillslope to watershed. The mathematical description of these processes is based on both well-known and unique analytical solutions of different initial and boundary problems (primarily using methods from the kinematic wave theory and the reservoir/lumped-parameter concept), supported by numerical modelling studies. Some research topics, in particular several case studies, are illustrated by monitoring and experimental data analysis to show the importance of the research’s applications in environmental practice and environmental education. Specific results concern the recognition of: (a) the effect of transient rainfall–runoff–infiltration partitioning on the chemical response of drainage areas to excess precipitation under certain field conditions related to the soil, hillslope characteristics, and contaminant properties; (b) soil erosion as a key factor that enhances the potential of adsorbed chemical transport in runoff; and (c) common tendencies in radionuclide behaviour in the near-surface environment contaminated by radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl (1986), Fukushima (2011) and the less known Kyshtym (1957) accidents, as well as from nuclear weapon tests in the atmosphere since 1952.

The book’s goal is to provide a conceptual foundation enabling readers to apply scientific knowledge to solve practical problems in environmental hydrology and radiology. More specifically, the book presents the state-of-the-art approaches that scientists and natural resources experts need in order to significantly improve the prediction of changes in the soil–water system chemistry due to human activities.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Response Mechanisms of Hydrological Processes in the Near-Surface Environment

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Surface Runoff Generation, Vertical Infiltration and Subsurface Lateral Flow

Abstract
In this and the following three chapters, we will focus explicitly on the dynamic (transient, short-time-scale) hydrological processes that determine the partitioning of rainfall into runoff and infiltration and control the flow and chemical response of a catchment or its segments to the anthropogenic impact. Two principal components of runoff, surface and subsurface, which differ remarkably in their response time to precipitation or snow-melting events, are considered; however we do not present here a general mathematical framework for coupling the surface and subsurface flow equations, relying instead on an approach based on the transfer of boundary conditions (from one model domain to another). Soil infiltration theory, as discussed here briefly, plays the central role in such approach as well as in the solution of various problems of the surface and subsurface hydrodynamics. With this in view, special attention will be paid to some nonlinear and threshold phenomena in structured (discontinued by macropores and cracks) soils having a major impact on hydrological processes as well.
Vyacheslav G. Rumynin

Chapter 2. Rainfall-Induced Runoff and Subsurface Stormflow at the Hillslope Scale

Abstract
Surface runoff (or overland flow), which is generated by the precipitation that falls within a drainage area (catchment, watershed), is governed by several factors and processes, including rainfall rate and duration, the characteristics of infiltration (capillary imbibition and gravity-driven) and the temperature regime of soil, landscape surface characteristics, vegetation type, and some others. Hillslopes are regarded as a basic element of catchments, therefore the mathematical and physical description of the hydrological processes that occur at the hillslope scale is the first step to designing more general hydrological models describing hydrological response at catchment/watershed scale.
Vyacheslav G. Rumynin

Chapter 3. Models of Dissolved Component Transport at the Hillslope Scale

Abstract
Rain water on the landscape of a drainage basin can be contaminated by substances that have accumulated on the surface of soil or in its top layer, thus making water flow the major transport and redistribution factor of chemicals (solutes, chemical components, contaminants) at the solid and air interphase. In the rain periods, the contamination hazard is the greatest for surface water streams and bodies. In agricultural regions, fertilizers and pesticides are washed out from fields. In urbanized areas, surface runoff supplies surface waters with dissolved oil products, combustion products of transport fuel, heavy metals, as well as bacteria-polluted waters from emergency sewage spills. A specific class of problems is associated with forecasting radionuclide washout from zones of radioactive pollution, i.e., the areas subject to fallouts of gas-aerosol emissions from facilities of nuclear industry or power engineering, primarily, during emergencies, as well as areas of emergency spills of liquid radioactive wastes.
Vyacheslav G. Rumynin

Chapter 4. Contaminant Sorption and Transport by Suspended Particles with Runoff

Abstract
The description of near-surface migration of absorbable chemicals requires more rigorous problem formulation, taking into account erosion phenomena, which always accompany runoff formation. Mobile fine material, which is a product of soil erosion, becomes an active transporter of components adsorbed on the surface of suspended particles. An analogy with the subsurface colloid-facilitated contaminant transport (Rumynin 2011) is appropriate here.
Vyacheslav G. Rumynin

Water Flow and Solute Transport Models at the Catchment Scale

Frontmatter

Chapter 5. A Short Review of Water Budget and Flow Models for a Lumped Catchment

Abstract
A rigorous and unambiguous classification of the lumped catchment (or watershed) models commonly faces objective difficulties, because similar approaches to mathematical formalization of processes with different physical nature can be used in different models. That is one of the main reasons why there is no universal method to characterize this category of the catchment models. For this review, four categories of models can be provisionally identified: (1) balance (budget) models, (2) reservoir models, (3) soil moisture accounting models (approach), and (4) combined models which synthesize some properties of the above models and empirical features of hydrological processes description. All of them, of course, are simplifications of reality and have a high degree of empiricism.
Vyacheslav G. Rumynin

Chapter 6. Lumped-Parameter Models for Solute Transport with Runoff

Abstract
The use of lumped-parameter models is justified when runoff solute content at a hillslope or catchment outlet is governed by the kinetics of soil solute release (or solute removal from the contaminated soil surface) into runoff, rather than overland flow dynamics (variations in the velocities and thickness). Such models allow the infiltration (rainwater flowing downwards into the soil) and capillary effects at the interphase between the soil and water flowing over its surface to be described in detail and soil column inhomogeneity to be taken into account. In such cases, the inertia of water flow, resulting in a time lag between rainfall excess and the slope or catchment outlet discharge can be accounted for in effective parameters in linear or nonlinear flow kinetic equations or such inertia can be neglected completely with the response of the outlet discharge to the rainfall event assumed instantaneous.
Vyacheslav G. Rumynin

Chapter 7. Prediction of the Impact of Severe Accidents at NPP on Radionuclide Contamination of the Near-Surface Environment

Abstract
The fission of uranium or plutonium isotopes normally used as the fuel in nuclear reactors generates radioactive fission products, radionuclides. For nuclear reactors under normal operation and in a number of events, these radionuclides are prevented from escaping to the environment by several physical barriers (Högberg 2013). However, as experience shows, it cannot be totally excluded that at any time events occur. If all barriers fail, there is a potential substantial release of radionuclides from the damaged reactor to the environment. These aerosol-bound radionuclides being widely dispersed in the atmosphere can be removed from the atmosphere and brought to the earth surface by dry or wet deposition. The other pathway for radionuclides is connected with radioactive wastewater leak directly from the damaged reactor to the subsurface environment.
Vyacheslav G. Rumynin

Backmatter

Additional information