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Open AccessArticle

Quantification of Uncertainties from Image Processing and Analysis in Laboratory-Scale DNAPL Release Studies Evaluated by Reflective Optical Imaging

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Department of Environmental Sciences, Institute of Groundwater Management, Technische Universität Dresden, Bergstraße 66, 01062 Dresden, Germany
2
Department Environmental Informatics, Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research—UFZ, Permoserstraße 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
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Department Monitoring and Exploration Technologies, Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research—UFZ, Permoserstraße 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
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Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, Bettie Margaret Smith Chair in Environmental Health Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, TX 78705, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(11), 2274; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11112274
Received: 27 September 2019 / Revised: 24 October 2019 / Accepted: 25 October 2019 / Published: 30 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Subsurface Multiphase Flow and Contamination Remediation)
Subsurface DNAPL (dense non-aqueous phase liquid) contamination from (un-) intentional spilling typically leads to severe environmental hazards. A large number of studies have demonstrated the relevance of DNAPL source zone geometry for the determination of contaminant plume propagation in groundwater. Optical imaging represents a promising non-invasive method for identifying DNAPL saturation without disturbing multiphase flow dynamics. However, workflow and image analysis methodologies have not been sufficiently developed or described for general application to related experimental efforts. For example, the choice of dye(s) used for phase colorization affects image processing and can bias final estimations of DNAPL saturations. In this study, we perform a series of DNAPL migration and entrapment studies in transparent tanks that are filled with three different types of porous media. Different dyes are used and raw images are acquired. Subsequently, these are used to evaluate a suite of image processing and analysis approaches, which are organized into a workflow. Our approach allows for us to identify key image processing and analysis steps that introduce the most error. Applicable dye configurations led to uncertainties of up to 41% depending on the selection of processing steps. Based on these findings, it was possible to delineate a flexible framework for image processing and analysis that has the potential for transfer and application in other tank experiment setups. View Full-Text
Keywords: DNAPL; source zone geometry; reflective optical imaging; image processing and analysis; contaminant hydrology DNAPL; source zone geometry; reflective optical imaging; image processing and analysis; contaminant hydrology
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Engelmann, C.; Schmidt, L.; Werth, C.J.; Walther, M. Quantification of Uncertainties from Image Processing and Analysis in Laboratory-Scale DNAPL Release Studies Evaluated by Reflective Optical Imaging. Water 2019, 11, 2274.

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