Heterogeneous granular sediments—sands and gravels —form the most important water-supply aquifers in many areas of North America. In the past 60 years many such aquifers have become contaminated with non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPLs) and the dissolved phases associated with them. These include glacial outwash deposits in New England, Ohio, and Ontario, the floodplain alluvium along the Columbia and Fraser rivers, the buried channel aquifers beneath the U.S. Midwest and the Canadian prairies, and the huge coalescing alluvial-fan aquifers of the U.S. Southwest basin-and-range province. These heterogeneous granular sediments are referred to in this article as ‘alluvial geosystems' when contaminated by...

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