Contaminant plumes were derived for constant and variable loading functions at locations within a landfill. Annually, the alternative loading functions injected the same volume of contaminated water. Mass transport modeling was used to evaluate the detection efficiencies of 25 monitoring transects, spaced evenly between the landfill and a downgradient compliance boundary. Respectively, the most efficient transects (requiring the fewest monitoring wells) for constant and variable loading were located at 60–64 and 40 percent of the distance to the compliance boundary. The mean detection efficiency was 29 percent higher for variable loading, but the variation in detection efficiency was similar for constant and variable loading. At the most efficient transects, the minimum number of detection wells was 20 percent lower for variable loading. Given the influence of source loading on monitoring efficiency, alternative loading functions should be considered when designing detection monitoring networks in aquifers.