The identification of groundwater contamination source parameters is an important prerequisite for the control and risk assessment of groundwater contamination. This study developed an innovative approach for the optimal design of observation well locations and the high-precision identification of groundwater contamination source parameters. The approach involves Bayesian theory and integrates Markov Chain Monte Carlo, Bayesian design, information entropy, machine learning, and surrogate modeling. The optimal observation well locations are determined by information entropy, which is adopted to mine valuable information about unknown groundwater contamination source parameters from measurements of contaminant concentration according to Bayesian design. After determining the optimal observation well locations, the identification of groundwater contamination source parameters is implemented through a Bayesian-based Differential Evolution Adaptive Metropolis with Discrete Sampling–Markov Chain Monte Carlo approach. However, the processes of both determination and identification are time-consuming because the original simulation model (that is, the contaminant transport model) needs to be invoked multiple times. To overcome this challenge, a machine learning approach, that is, Multi-layer Perceptron, is used to build a surrogate model for the original simulation model, which can greatly accelerate the determination and identification processes. Finally, two hypothetical numerical case studies involving homogeneous and heterogeneous cases are used to verify the performance of the proposed approach. The results show that the optimal design of observation well locations and high-precision identification of groundwater contamination source parameters can be implemented accurately and effectively by using the proposed approach. In summary, this study highlights that the integrated Bayesian and machine learning approach provides a promising solution for high-precision identification of groundwater contamination source parameters.
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