A contaminated historic sand pit lake in Hebei province, China. Storm water, industrial effluent (in background), and agricultural runoff ( foreground) enter the lake, which overlies the region's most important drinking water aquifer (photo by M. Schulmeister, 2004)

GO 572/ES 767

Contaminant Hydrogeology

Course Syllabus

Learning Outcomes

  • To practice the application of basic hydrogeologic principles to problems of environmental and water resource significance.

  • To understand and identify the origins and types of contaminants that can occur in groundwater, surface water, and soil environments.

  • To understand and use the chemical characteristics and behavoir of contaminants in natural ground-water, surface water, and soil environments to predict contaminant fate.

  • To apply analytical solutions to problems in contaminant movement and degradation in groundwater and soil systems.

  • To construct groundwater flow and transport models using semi-qualitative and spreadsheet methods

  • To understand and apply numerical methods to problems in contaminant movement and degradation in groundwater and soil water systems.

  • To become familiar with and use commerically available computer programs (e.g. Modflow) to predict the fate of groundwater contaminants.


The following is a tentative schedule for GO 572 with weekly reading assignments. Lectures will be given in web-page format can be accessed on the class Canvas page. Weekly homework assignments and instructions are given at the end of each lecture.

On-campus students will meet on Mondays and/or Wednesdays from 11:00 AM-12:00 PM for an introduction to the material in SH 110. Since there are no classes at ESU on Labor Day and Veterans Day we may meet Wed of that week instead. Shorter lectures and fewer homework problems are likely to be assigned during the weeks of Fall Break, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving Break

Week Lecture Topic Web Lecture Reading Assignment

AUg 21

Practice Lecture and The Hydrologic Cycle, Contaminants and their Sources

Lecture 0 and lecture 1

Chapter 1, Chapter 4 (p 75-97)

Aug. 28

Properties of Organic Contaminants


Chapter 4 (p.98-111), Table 7.2

Sept. 4

The Chemical Fate of Organic Contaminants

Lecture 3

Chapter 7 (203-218)

Sept. 11

Sources and properties of inorganic contaminants

Lecture 4

Chapter 4 (85-98, 107-111)

Sept. 18

Review of hydrogeologic processes

Ground water flow

Lecture 5

Chapter 2 (p. 15-30,34-36)

Sept. 25

Exam 1

Exam 1

OCt. 2

Contaminants + Hydrogeology = Contaminant Hydrogeology

Lecture 6

Chapter 6

Oct. 9

Introduction to Groundwater modeling

Lecture 7

Chapter 3(30-34),Chapter 10


Fall break. Characterization of contaminated ground-water


Oct. 23

Ground-water flow modeling continued

Lecture 8

Chapter 10

Oct. 30

Contaminant Transport Modeling

Lecture 9

Chapter 10 (esp.371-381)

Nov. 6

Exam 2

Exam 2

Nov. 13

Contaminants in the Vadose Zone

Lecture 10

Chapter 9

Nov. 20

Soil and Ground Water Remediation

Lecture 11

Chapter 9

Nov. 27

Video presentation


Dec 4

Regulations and Policies, Final exam to be posted on sometime the week of Dec 7.

Lecture 12, Final Exam

Chapter 14


3 Exams -- 50%

Homework Exercises - 50%

A* 90-100%, B 80-89%, C 70-79%, D 60-69% F <60%

*+’s and –’s will be assigned in special borderline cases to be determined based on class attendance (for on campus students), participation in discussions (via email correspondence for distance learners), and demonstrated efforts to excel in the class.

**Exams will be similar in scope to the homework problems and may include some short-answer essay questions. You may be tested on materials presented on homework assignments in addition to all topics discussed in lectures and reading assignments.


Academic Dishonesty: Academic dishonesty, a basis for disciplinary action, includes but is not limited to activities such as cheating and plagiarism (presented as one’s own the intellectual of creative accomplishments of another with giving credit to the source or sources). The faculty member in whose course or under whose tutelage an act of academic dishonesty occurs has the option of failing the student for the academic hours in question.

Accommodations for Disabilities: Emporia State University will make reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Students need to contact the Director of Disability Services and the instructor as early in the semester as possible to ensure that classroom and academic accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion. All communication between students, the Office of Disability Services, and the instructor will be strictly confidential.

Return to GO 572/ES 767 homepage.

GO 572/ES767 © M. K. Schulmeister (2019).

Earth Science notes





August 21

Practice Lecture and The Hydrologic Cycle, Contaminants and their Sources
Lecture 0 and Lecture 1
Chapter 1, Chapter 4 (p 75-97)

August 28

Properties of Organic Contaminants

Aug. 28

Properties of Organic Contaminants


Chapter 4 (p.98-111), Table 7.2