February 15, 2023
Journal Article

Predicting Future Well Performance for Environmental Remediation Design using Deep Learning


In this study, we developed a deep learning (DL) framework with a multi-channel three-dimensional convolutional neural network (MC3D-CNN) to predict well performance and thereby assist future environmental remediation design. Such prediction of extraction well performance at designated locations is critical for configuring pump-and-treat (P&T) well network design and operation, setting reasonable target closure dates for overall remedying, and estimating remedy costs. The framework is developed with operational and monitoring data routinely collected during P&T remedy operations, including well extraction and injection rates as well as in situ contaminant concentrations. Traditionally, the collected data were rarely used for purposes other than assessing past well performance and the accuracy of the conceptual site model. However, recent advances in data-driven computational approaches enable better use of the large datasets to inform future well performance, enhance site characterization, and improve remediation planning. In this study, we established a DL framework to integrate transient three-dimensional contaminant plumes and multiple aquifer properties (e.g., hydraulic conductivity and hydrostratigraphic maps) to identify characteristic patterns controlling and representing extraction well mass recovery, aiming at providing future mass recovery estimates for existing wells and candidate wells at any proposed locations. We evaluated our framework by using a realistic synthetic dataset generated from a well-calibrated flow and transport model used in the 200 West Area of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hanford Site in southeastern Washington state. The multi-channel feature in our framework allows integration of various types and temporal densities of training datasets for DL model development. Overall, we found that the trained DL model achieved an accuracy of over 90% in ranking extraction well performance in validation datasets, and over 80% in predicting high-performance-ranking well locations. This data-informed approach provides a flexible tool to support adaptive site management, streamline decision-making, and potentially reduce remediation time and costs. Our DL framework can be used as a filtering tool to improve the current P&T network optimization design by reducing the number of candidate well locations.

Published: February 15, 2023


Song X., H. Ren, Z. Hou, X. Lin, M. Karanovic, M.J. Tonkin, and V.L. Freedman, et al. 2023. Predicting Future Well Performance for Environmental Remediation Design using Deep Learning. Journal of Hydrology 617, no. Part C:Art. No. 129110. PNNL-SA-178074. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2023.129110

Research topics