Proceedings, International Containment Technology Conference and Exhibition
St. Petersburg, Florida, February 9-12, p. 438-444, 1997

Mathematical modeling of permeation grouting and subsurface barrier performance

S. Finsterle, C. M. Oldenburg, A. L. James, K. Pruess, and G. J. Moridis

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Earth Sciences Division
University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720


Abstract. The injection of solution grouts into the subsurface can be used to form underground barriers for the containment of contaminants. The technology requires identifying suitable grout materials, specifically fluids which exhibit a large increase in viscosity after injection and eventually solidify after a controllable period, thus sealing permeable zones. We have developed a new fluid property module for the reservoir simulator TOUGH2 to model grout injection, taking into account the increase of liquid viscosity as a function of time and gel concentration. We have also incorporated into the simulator a model which calculates soil hydraulic properties after solidification of the gel within the pore space. The new fluid property module has been used to design and analyze laboratory experiments and field pilot tests in saturated and unsaturated formations under a variety of subsurface conditions. These applications include modeling barrier emplacement in highly heterogeneous soils in the vadose zone, grout injection into the saturated zone in combination with extraction wells for flow control, the design of verification strategies, and the analysis of barrier performance. In this paper we discuss the modeling approach and present simulation results of multiple grout injections into a heterogeneous, unsaturated formation.