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Contaminant source identification in groundwater by means of artificial neural network

Secci, Daniele; Molino, Laura; Zanini, Andrea

In a desired environmental protection system, groundwater may not be excluded. In addition to the problem of over-exploitation, in total disagreement with the concept of sustainable development, another not negligible issue concerns the groundwater contamination. Mainly, this aspect is due to intensive agricultural activities or industrialized areas. In literature, several papers have dealt with transport problem, especially for inverse problems in which the release history or the source location are identified. The innovative aim of the paper is to develop a data-driven model that is able to analyze multiple scenarios, even strongly non-linear, in order to solve forward and inverse transport problems, preserving the reliability of the results and reducing the uncertainty. Furthermore, this tool has the characteristic of providing extremely fast responses, essential to identify remediation strategies immediately. The advantages produced by the model were compared with literature studies. In this regard, a feedforward artificial neural network, which has been trained to handle different cases, represents the data-driven model. Firstly, to identify the concentration of the pollutant at specific observation points in the study area (forward problem); secondly, to deal with inverse problems identifying the release history at known source location; then, in case of one contaminant source, identifying the release history and, at the same time, the location of the source in a specific sub-domain of the investigated area. At last, the observation error is investigated and estimated. The results are satisfactorily achieved, highlighting the capability of the ANN to deal with multiple scenarios by approximating nonlinear functions without the physical point of view that describes the phenomenon, providing reliable results, with very low computational burden and uncertainty.

This research is supported by the PRIMA programme under grant agreement No1923, project InTheMED. The PRIMA programme is supported by the European Union.
Embargoed Access

Files are currently under embargo but will be publicly accessible after June 12, 2024.

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