Evaluation of Spill Response System for Mammoth Cave National Park Using Quantitative Dye Tracer Studies
This research examines the effectiveness of check dams as containment basins using quantitative tracer studies. The focus of this study is to understand transport mechanisms from the surface into the caves and to ensure that the materials and size of the dams are sturdy enough to hold back a spill. The study included tracer studies originating from potential sources of contamination on the surface, along the water flow path and into the cave system. A known amount of Rhodamine-WT20 dye was released during storms. The flow path was monitored by portable fluorometers in the cave at different locations. The result of placing two small check dams along the surface flow path resulted in lengthening the time-of-travel from 2 hours to 16 hours. It also reduced the amount of dye entering the cave by 90%. This research will help provide options to emergency responders of spills.
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