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+34 93 401 18 60This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
UPC: C/ Jordi Girona 31, (08034 - Barcelona) - IDAEA: C/ Jordi Girona 18-26, (08034 - Barcelona)

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Training courses, events and seminars

Evaporitic aquifer structure identification: inverse stochastic approach





Lugar: UPC-Departamento de Ingeniería Civil y Ambiental (Módulo D2) Aula CIHS, Planta Baja

Horario: 12:15h

Días: 29 de noviembre





The characterization of the spatial variability of aquifer attributes is crucial in subsurface hydrology where well-organized geological bodies or structures with high permeabilities can form strong preferential channels that can potentially concentrate flow and drive contaminant migration. Such preferential channels dramatically control evaporitic geological systems with well developed wormholes at different scales. The identification of these features is seen crucial for instant in the aquifers of the Central Andes, where the hosted brine is susceptible to lithium exploitation for the generation of future car batteries. Stochastic inversion of the spatial variability of transmissivity in groundwater models can potentially identify geological structures depending on the type and quality of information provided. We investigate whether these methods are capable to describe wormholes as well as small and large high permeability structures in a Salar basin of the Central Andes. Data used come from a sequence of several large-scale pumping tests continuously monitored in numerous observation wells, leading to cross information. 


I will mainly focus on:

              -       The description of the long-term large-scale hydraulic test performed

-       The methodology applied for the data filtering process

-       The results of the stochastic inversion and the comparison with independent data

Seminar: Challenges in characterizing submarine groundwater discharge across scales




Professor: Holly Michael (University of Delaware)

Lugar: Aula CIHS. Departamento de Ing. Civil y ambiental (D2)

Horario: 12:30h

Días: 22 de noviembre




The physical and chemical processes of groundwater flow and solute transport in coastal systems are a primary control on chemical fluxes between land and sea. These fluxes sustain ecosystems and promote

biogeochemical cycling, they change the chemistry of the ocean over geologic time, and they contribute to worldwide problems such as seawater intrusion and estuarine eutrophication. Exchanges occur over

diverse scales, and often require a range of methods for quantification, across multiple disciplines. Examples of these exchange processes and approaches to quantification will be discussed. These include

hydrological-biological-geochemical linkages in a Delaware saltmarsh, dependence of salinity and SGD on geologic structure, and small-scale measurement to global-scale estimation of benthic exchange.



Geostadistics course

Professor: Xavier Sánchez Vila

Place: CIHS classroom. Department of Eng. Civil and Environmental (D2)

Hours: 15-17h

Days: November 19 to 21th


Syllabus Geostatistics Course

1) Natural variability. Introduction to Regionalized Variables

2) The variogram. Structural analysis. Sample variogram. Variogram estimation

3) Estimation methods: The krigeado. Punctual Krigeado: Simple and Ordinary. Krigeado by blocks, Krig. with external drift. Universal and Residual Krigeado. CoKrigeado

4) The Monte Carlo Method. Conditional simulation. Methods Simulation

SGEMS: Statistical Analysis and Variogram
SGEMS: Kriging, Xvalid


Physical, geochemical and microbial parameters driving the improvement of water quality in Managed Aquifer Recharge



Programa de Doctorado en Ingeniería del Terreno
Thesis in Geothecnical Engineering and Geo-Sciences will be defended

"Physical, geochemical and microbial parameters driving the improvement of water quality in Managed Aquifer Recharge".

Carme Barba Ferrer

Thesis advisors: Dr. Albert Folch / Dr. Francisco Javier Sánchez

The defense will take place:  friday, november 16th 2018, 11:00

UPC, Campus Nord
Building C1 . Classroom: 002
C/Jordi Girona, 1-3
08034 Barcelona



Worldwide water demand has been increasing over time, mainly due to population growth and society development. In addition, climate change is causing a significant alteration of the periodicity and intensity of precipitation and climate related events. All this implies significant challenges for a sustainable exploitation of water resources specially during water scarcity periods.
Therefore, Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) represents a feasibly solution to deal with future water management challenges through the storage of available water in aquifers.
The present dissertation is focused on the study of microbial, biogeochemical and physical processes related to MAR ponds, regarding both quantity and quality aspects. The knowledge about these processes has allowed to identify key issues affecting the correct operation of infiltration ponds, laying the foundations for the optimization of quantity and quality targets.
Two different sites in Llobregat River Basin were chosen as a investigation framework.
The first part of this thesis was developed in Sant Vicenç dels Horts MAR system (Barcelona), where an innovative treatment for emerging contaminants had been proved successfully. A reactive layer was put in the bottom of infiltration pond, promoting different redox conditions below the pond and enhancing the removal of dissolved organic matter as well as emergent organic contaminants. In this thesis, further work has been carried out, by investigating the role of microbial community in this removal, by means of a microbial fingerprinting study between two different scenarios. Which were (1) when no-recharge was present and (2) during a long recharge period. The microbial fingerprinting study confirmed that microbial diversity during recharge period fitted in Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis approach. Furthermore, sequencing of prominent bands evidenced the presence of principally degradative-like microorganisms during recharge. A multivariate statistical analysis including hydrochemical, soil grain-size distribution, operational and microbial variables was also performed. Most relevant variables affecting microbial populations were identified. Likewise, the correlations between some microbial prints in the system revealed the presence of some classes and species involved in biodegradation pathways.
The second investigation was focused on the study of redox processes from the infiltration pond to the aquifer, passing through the vadose zone. The study was placed in Castellbisbal MAR system (Barcelona). This facility has a conventional surface infiltration pond without the effect of the reactive layer. The infiltration path was widely monitored and four sampling campaigns were carried out in four different moments along a one-year study.  Results from in situ redox potential measurements, temperature evolution, operating conditions (water levels, flow rate and infiltration rate), characterization of the organic matter and hydrochemical composition of water were collected and analyzed. Especially, operating conditions and redox potential, where it was observed that evolution in the first meter of the infiltration profile had been related to clogging development in the pond bottom.
Finally, results from monitoring tasks were used as the basis to construct a flow and heat transport model simulating recharge process. The flow model included the decrease of hydraulic conductivity caused by clogging periods. In addition, a heat transport model was capable to calculate the modifications of hydraulic conductivity due to temporal temperature evolution. Taking into account results of heat transport model, two batch-type biogeochemical models were suggested to explain redox processes in winter and summer scenarios.  Furthermore, models were capable to explain the fate of the different fractions of dissolved organic matter, and the corresponding change of degradation rates due to temperature changes amongst different scenarios.

 Urban groundwater quality. Update of the Barcelona city 





Barcelona is one of the densest cities in Europe (UE, 2016) and together with the climate change the water stress in the city is rising. Regarding groundwater resources, last studies found that groundwater bodies in the city suffer pollution from many recharge sources such as leakage of sewage systems, seepage from rivers, seawater intrusion, losses from water supply network, among others (Vázquez-Suñé, E., 2003; Jurado, A., 2013). 
Some drought episodes affected the city since 2008. For that reason the Barcelona city Council prepare the water management alternative plan (WMAP) each 5 years to guarantee optimizing water uses management in the city (its quantity, quality and spatial distribution). 
A new study updated the condition of the groundwater in the city. To improve this analysis, we connected the Barcelona city Council databases with HYDORGIS platform (Velasco, 2013). HYDORGIS is a software platform developed in a Geographic Information System (GIS) environment. These GIS-based tools give support to the users for storing, managing, and analysing geological, hydrogeological and hydrochemical data in 2D and in a 3D context. 
The analysis with HYDORGIS tools shows that the most stressed zone in the city is close to the Besòs river and the sea. This zone has been affected by an important dewatering because of the construction of new underground infrastructures. This impact increased the seawater intrusion in the city, measuring values of electric conductivity close to 55000 uS/cm. Some measures will be taken to control the seawater intrusion in the zone. 


Modeling anomalous dispersion in heterogeneous porous media using spatial Markov models for Lagrangian velocities. 

A cargo de: Vivien Hakoun

Fecha:jueves 18 de Octubre a las 12:15h en el Modulo D2-Aula Cihs, Planta Baja


Understanding and predicting solute transport in porous media is important for environmental applications such as the remediation of contaminated aquifers and for the purpose of risk assessment. Porous aquifers often have heterogeneous hydraulic properties which impact the groundwater flow field, resulting in complex solute transport behaviors. In this context, performing accurate transport predictions is a challenge: advection-dispersion models based on effective transport parameters cannot be applied; perturbation theories are limited to hydraulic conductivity fields with log-variance smaller than 1; these models do not account for (non-Fickian) solute behaviors such as early and late breakthrough times and the non linear growth of solute dispersion. Here, we study direct numerical simulations of solute transport at Darcy-scale in correlated heterogeneous hydraulic conductivity fields with broad point distributions. We characterize the stochastic dynamics of Lagrangian velocities that are sampled along streamlines in an isochrone and equidistant fashion. We propose a Markov-chain continuous time random walk (CTRW) approach to quantify the evolution of the statistics of Lagrangian velocities under different injection conditions. Comparing two models to reproduce velocity transitions, we find that Lagrangian statistics are best reproduced using a mean-reverting Ornstein-Uhlenbeck model which parameter can be estimated from geostatistical properties of the hydraulic conductivity field. On the basis of this CTRW approach, we discuss a stochastic model based on flow and medium properties only. We apply this model to predict non-Fickian transport behaviors obtained by direct numerical simulations of transport in synthetic heterogeneous hydraulic conductivity fields. Our predictions are in close agreement with the direct numerical simulations. 


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