Flow Modeling of a Syncrude North East In-Pit Hummock for the Sandhill Fen in Fort McMurray, Alberta Preston, Ryan
The groundwater flow of a reclamation site in Alberta’s Oil Sands was modeled using the MODFLOW 3D code. The site was simulated to determine the flow characteristics of a reclamation hummock. Such hummocks are required to maintain a mounded water table to sustain plant life placed on top as a part of reclamation. Sensitivity analysis was conducted initially by varying the water table depth. The hydraulic conductivity of the material, and recharge were then varied, in addition to adding a low conductivity cover layer, in order to monitor the water table response. Modeling found that a lower than predicted hydraulic conductivity value would be required to maintain a desired mounded water table at 1.5m depth. Additionally the hummock was found to be sensitive to flooding and drought conditions. Design topography such as swales and ridges were found to function as desired, by acting as areas of discharge and recharge respectively.
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