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Energy and Environment Directorate

Vicky Freedman

Vicky Freedman

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
Richland, WA 99352
(509) 372-4067


Dr. Freedman is the PNNL Soil and Groundwater Program Manager for the DOE Office of Environmental Management Sector. She leads the Deep Vadose Zone program, which leverages investments from basic science, applied research, and site contractors in a collaborative effort to address the complex region of the deep vadose zone at Hanford. The primary goal of this program is to develop innovative remediation alternatives for deep vadose zone challenges in characterization, prediction, remediation, and monitoring and ensure long-term protection of water resources through development and application of transformational remedial solutions. She has a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences from The Ohio State University, and specializes in hydrogeology and vadose zone hydrology. Dr. Freedman’s research activities have included theoretical and numerical studies of coupled hydrodynamics, contaminant transport, and geochemistry in environmental systems since joining PNNL in 2000. She has been involved in both forward prediction and inverse modeling of tank farm wastes at the Hanford Site, and has been a major contributor to the vadose zone modeling for field investigations of past leaks, as well as tank closure performance assessments (PA) investigating potential leak scenarios. She is particularly interested in solving real-world problems using high performance computation, and leads the development of the Platform software that is part of ASCEM (Advanced Simulation Capability for Environmental Management, a collection of next-generation toolsets for use in environmental applications). Through this work, she has demonstrated the use of supercomputers and to model subsurface discharges and evaluate potential remediation technologies in the deep vadose zone at Hanford.

Research Interests

  • Numerical modeling of flow and reactive mass transport in groundwater and the vadose zone
  • Development of permeability models for radioactive waste disposal sites
  • Parallel implementation of subsurface flow and reactive transport simulators
  • Uncertainty analysis and parameter identification

Education and Credentials

  • Ph.D., Environmental Sciences, Ohio State University, 2000
  • M.S., Watershed Management (Watershed Hydrology), University of Arizona, 1996
  • B.A., English Language & Literature, University of Michigan, 1985

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • American Geophysical Union
  • Geological Society of America

PNNL Publications


  • Freedman VL, MJ Truex, M Rockhold, DH Bacon, MD Freshley, and DM Wellman. 2017. "Elements of complexity in subsurface modeling, exemplified with three case studies." Hydrogeology Journal 25(6):1853-1870.  doi:10.1007/s10040-017-1564-6
  • Szecsody JE, BD Lee, AR Lawter, N Qafoku, CT Resch, SR Baum, II Leavy, and VL Freedman. 2017. Effect of Co-Contaminants Uranium and Nitrate on Iodine RemediationPNNL-26955, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 



  • Freedman VL, CS Lansing, EA Porter, KL Schuchardt, ZC Guillen, C Sivaramakrishnan, and I Gorton. 2015. "A Collaborative Extensible User Environment for Simulation and Knowledge Management." In International Conference on Collaboration Technologies and Systems (CTS 2015) June 1-5, 2015, Atlanta, Georgia, pp. 280-286.  IEEE, PISCATAWAY, NJ.  doi:10.1109/CTS.2015.7210435



  • Freedman VL, RD Mackley, SR Waichler, and JA Horner. 2013. "Evaluation of Analytical and Numerical Techniques for Defining the Radius of Influence for an Open-Loop Ground Source Heat Pump System." Journal of Hydrologic Engineering 18(9):1170-1179.  doi:10.1061/(ASCE)HE.1943-5584.0000720
  • Pierce EM, SN Kerisit, EJ Krogstad, SD Burton, BN Bjornstad, VL Freedman, KJ Cantrell, MMV Snyder, JV Crum, and JH Westsik, Jr. 2013. Integrated Disposal Facility FY 2012 Glass Testing Summary Report PNNL-21812 Rev. 1, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Rockhold ML, DH Bacon, VL Freedman, KR Parker, SR Waichler, and MD Williams. 2013. System-Scale Model of Aquifer, Vadose Zone, and River Interactions for the Hanford 300 Area - Application to Uranium Reactive TransportPNNL-22886;RPT-DVZ-AFRI-019, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Seitz R, MD Freshley, P Dixon, SS Hubbard, VL Freedman, GP Flach, B Faybishenko, I Gorton, SA Finsterle, JD Moulton, CI Steefel, and J Marble. 2013. "ADVANCED SIMULATION CAPABILITY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT - CURRENT STATUS AND PHASE II DEMONSTRATION RESULTS ." In Waste Management Symposia (WM2013): International Collaboration and Continuous Improvement, February 24-28, 2013, Phoenix, Arizona, p. Paper No. 13161.  WM Symposia , Tempe, AZ. 


  • Freedman VL, SR Waichler, RD Mackley, and JA Horner. 2012. "Assessing the Thermal Environmental Impacts of an Groundwater Heat Pump in Southeastern Washington State." Geothermics 42:65-77.  doi:10.1016/j.geothermics.2011.10.004
  • Oostrom M, VL Freedman, TW Wietsma, JH Dane, and MJ Truex. 2012. "Effects of Porous Medium Heterogeneity on Vadose Zone Desiccation: Intermediate-scale Laboratory Experiments and Simulations." Vadose Zone Journal 11(4):, doi:10.2136/vzj2011.0168
  • Oostrom M, TW Wietsma, CE Strickland, VL Freedman, and MJ Truex. 2012. "Sensor and numerical simulator evaluation for porous medium desiccation and rewetting at the intermediate laboratory scale." Vadose Zone Journal 11(1):Article No. 0089.  doi:10.2136/vzj2011.0089
  • Rockhold ML, DH Bacon, VL Freedman, MJ Lindberg, and RE Clayton. 2012. Numerical Modeling of 90Sr and 137Cs Transport from a Spill in the B-Cell of the 324 Building, Hanford Site 300 Area PNNL-21214, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Truex MJ, M Oostrom, CE Strickland, TC Johnson, VL Freedman, CD Johnson, WJ Greenwood, AL Ward, RE Clayton, MJ Lindberg, JE Peterson, S Hubbard, GB Chronister, and MW Benecke. 2012. Deep Vadose Zone Treatability Test for the Hanford Central Plateau: Soil Desiccation Pilot Test ResultsPNNL-21369, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 



  • Fayer MJ, AL Ward, and VL Freedman. 2010. Technical Basis for Evaluating Surface Barriers to Protect Groundwater from Deep Vadose Zone ContaminationPNNL-18661 Final, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Freedman VL, RD Mackley, SR Waichler, JA Horner, TW Moon, DR Newcomer, DJ DeSmet, KA Lindsey, and JJ Porcello. 2010. Hydrogeologic Evaluation of a Ground-Source Cooling System at the BSF/CSF on the Battelle Campus: Final ReportPNNL-18463 Final, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Guin A, R Ramanathan, RW Ritzi, JR, DF Dominic, IA Lunt, TD Scheibe, and VL Freedman. 2010. "Simulating the Heterogeneity in Braided Channel Belt Deposits: 2. Examples of Results and Comparison to Natural Deposits." Water Resources Research 46:Article Number: W04516. 
  • Ramanathan R, A Guin, RW Ritzi, JR, DF Dominic, VL Freedman, TD Scheibe, and IA Lunt. 2010. "Simulating the Heterogeneity in Braided Channel Belt Deposits: Part 1. A Geometric-Based Methodology and Code." Water Resources Research 46():Article Number: W04515 . 
  • Schuchardt KL, K Agarwal, JM Chase, ML Rockhold, VL Freedman, TO Elsethagen, TD Scheibe, G Chin, Jr, and C Sivaramakrishnan. 2010. "Task parallel sensitivity analysis and parameter estimation of groundwater simulations through the SALSSA framework." In Proceedings of the 2010 Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) Conference, July 11-15, 2010, Cattanooga, Tennessee, pp. 233-237.  Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN. 





  • Saripalli KP, VL Freedman, BP McGrail, and PD Meyer. 2006. "Characterization of the specific solid-water interfacial area-water saturation relationship and its import to reactive transport ." Vadose Zone Journal 5(2):777-783.  doi:10.2136/vzj2005.0145
  • Freedman VL, Y Chen, A Gilca, CR Cole, and SK Gupta. 2006. CFEST Coupled Flow, Energy & Solute Transport Version CFEST005 User’s Guide PNNL-15915 Rev. 1, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Thorne PD, MP Bergeron, MD Williams, and VL Freedman. 2006. Groundwater Data Package for Hanford AssessmentsPNNL-14753 Rev. 1, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Ward AL, ME Conrad, WD Daily, JB Fink, VL Freedman, GW Gee, GM Hoversten, JM Keller, EL Majer, CJ Murray, MD White, SB Yabusaki, and ZF Zhang. 2006. Vadose Zone Transport Field Study: Summary Report PNNL-15443, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 


  • Freedman VL, KP Saripalli, DH Bacon, and PD Meyer. 2005. "Implementation of Biofilm Permeability Models for Mineral Reactions in Saturated Porous Media." Computers & Geosciences 31(8):968-977. 
  • Freedman VL, SR Waichler, CR Cole, VR Vermeul, and MP Bergeron. 2005. "Identifying the Potential Loss of Monitoring Wells Using an Uncertainty Analysis." Ground Water 43(6):916-925.  doi:10.1111/j.1745-6584.2005.00047.x
  • Freedman VL, Y Chen, and SK Gupta. 2005. CFEST Coupled Flow, Energy & Solute Transport Version CFEST005 Theory Guide PNNL-15452 Rev. 1, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Freedman VL, ZF Zhang, SR Waichler, and SK Wurstner. 2005. 2005 Closure Assessments for WMA-C Tank Farms: Numerical Simulations PNNL-15377, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 



  • Freedman VL, and M Ibaraki. 2003. "Coupled reactive mass transport and fluid flow: Issues in model verification." Advances in Water Resources 26(2003):117-127. 
  • Zhang ZF, VL Freedman, and MD White. 2003. 2003 Initial Assessments of Closure for the C Tank Farm Field Investigation Report (FIR):Numerical Simulations PNNL-14334, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Freedman VL, KP Saripalli, and PD Meyer. 2003. "Influence of Mineral Precipitation and Dissolution on Hydrologic Properties of Porous Media in Static and Dynamic Systems." Applied Geochemistry 18(2003):589-606. 


  • Freedman VL, and M Ibaraki. 2002. "Effects of chemical reactions on density-dependent fluid flow: On the numerical formulation and the development of instabilities." Advances in Water Resources 25(4):439-453. 
  • Freedman VL, MD Williams, CR Cole, MD White, and MP Bergeron. 2002. 2002 Initial Assessments for B-BX-BY Field Investigation Report (FIR): Numerical Simulations PNNL-13949, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Bacon DH, BP McGrail, VL Freedman, G Ventura, PN Risoluti, and KM Krupka. 2002. "Performance Assessment of Low-Level Waste Disposal Facilities Using Coupled Unsaturated Flow and Reactive Transport Simulators." In Scientific basis for nuclear waste management XXV : symposium held November 26-29, 2001, Boston, Massachusetts; Materials Research Society symposium proceedings , vol. 713, ed. McGrail, B. P.; Cragnolino, G. A., pp. 267-274.  Materials Research Society, Warrendale, PA. 


  • Saripalli KP, PD Meyer, DH Bacon, and VL Freedman. 2001. "Changes in hydrologic properties of aquifer media due to chemical reactions: A review." Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology 31(4):311-349. 

Energy and Environment

Core Research Areas