As facilities look for permanent storage of toxic materials, they are forced to address the long-term impacts to the environment as well as any individuals living in affected area. As these materials are stored underground, modeling of the contaminant transport through the ground is an essential part of the evaluation. The contaminant transport model must address the long-term degradation of the containment system as well as any movement of the contaminant through the soil and into the groundwater. In order for disposal facilities to meet their performance objectives, engineered and natural barriers are relied upon. Engineered barriers include things like the design of the disposal unit, while natural barriers include things like the depth of soil between the disposal unit and the water table. The Saltstone Disposal Facility (SDF) at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina is an example of a waste disposal unit that must be evaluated over a timeframe of thousands of years. The engineered and natural barriers for the SDF allow it to meet its performance obejective over the long time frame.

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