Dutch researcher Phil Ham has developed mathematical models to calculate the natural degradation capacity of polluted ground water. As a result, it can now be predicted whether a polluted area will become larger or smaller.
Ground water under contaminated sites often is polluted. Such a polluted ground water plume can grow, shrink or remain stable due to an interplay between physical, chemical and biological processes.
Phil Ham has devised mathematical expressions to determine the size of a plume and to assess the natural degradation capacity of contaminated sites. His analytical models calculate the reactive transport of dissolved matter in water through porous soil and the characteristics of the mixing processes. Such a scientifically-supported method had not previously been available, and there is a high demand for mathematical models that allow accurate predictions to be made. If it can be calculated whether a plume will decrease in size or remain stable, remediation methods can possibly be avoided.