The problem of identifying an unknown pollution source in polluted aquifers, based on known contaminant concentration measurements, is part of the broader group of issues called inverse problems. This paper investigates the feasibility of solving the groundwater pollution inverse problem by using artificial neural networks (ANNs). The approach consists first in training an ANN to solve the direct problem, in which the pollutant concentration in a set of monitoring wells is calculated for a known pollutant source. Successively, the trained ANN is frozen and is used to solve the inverse problem, where the pollutant source is calculated which corresponds to a set of concentrations in the monitoring wells. The approach has been applied for a real case which deals with the contamination of the Rhine aquifer by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) due to a tanker accident. The obtained results are compared with the solution obtained with a different approach retrieved from literature. The results show the suitability of ANN-based methods for solving inverse non-linear problems.
- ANN inversion
- groundwater pollution source identification
- inverse problems
- First received 19 January 2015.
- Accepted in revised form 9 June 2015.
- © IWA Publishing 2015