In the present work, the migration of chemicals through the unsaturated zone of the aquifers has been analysed, with particular reference to the infiltration of petrol and diesel oil. According to the flow and transport basic equations for the vadose zone, we have investigated the relationship between the hydro-geological characteristics of the porous formation, the physical/chemical properties of the contaminant and its fate after release.We have focused on a simple model [GroundWater 25 (1990)] which needs a limited number of parameters and allows to derive very practical remediation criteria. Even though the method analysed in this paper was tested in laboratory for homogeneous porous media, the results of its application to a real case of contamination, here presented, shows that it is able to provide very useful information also for heterogeneous media allowing to estimate the time of transition of contaminants that could be classified as non-aqueous phase liquids through the vadose zone.
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