Screening level modeling of long-term impact of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination on fresh groundwater lenses in the Arabian Gulf region
The Gulf War in 1991 created an environmental catastrophe, one of the major consequences of which was setting several oil wells on fire in the Arabian Gulf area. The total oil spilled as a result of the damaged wells was about 3.5 × 106 m3. Out of these, 3.3 × 106 m3 of oil was recovered and exported. The rest was left behind as it was not economical to collect. The oil left behind was subject to severe weathering over the past ten years. Soil and subsurface contamination pose a serious risk to the quality of the already scarce fresh groundwater resources in the area which was subject to oil spill in the study region. This paper presents the computer modeling activities carried out towards simulating the transport of the hydrocarbon contamination of the fresh groundwater resources at a study area in the Arabian Gulf region, and predicting the contamination levels at the fresh groundwater lenses in the area in the future, should current contamination levels persist in the soil and groundwater. The modeling activities relied on both semi-analytical and numerical flow and transport models.