Key attributes of the source zone and the expanding dissolved plume at a trichloroethene (TCE) site in Australia were evaluated using trends in groundwater monitoring data along with data from on-line volatile organic compound (VOC) samplers and passive flux meters (PFMs) deployed in selected wells. These data indicate that: (1) residual TCE source mass in the saturated zone, estimated using two innovative techniques, is small ( 10 kg), which is also reflected in small source mass discharge ( 3 g/day); (2) the plume is disconnecting, based on TCE concentration contours and TCE fluxes in wells along a longitudinal transect; (3) there is minimal biodegradation, based on TCE mass discharge of 6 g/day at a plume control plane 175 m from source, which is also consistent with aerobic geochemical conditions observed in the plume; and (4) residual TCE in the vadose zone provides episodic inputs of TCE mass to the plume during infiltration/recharge events. TCE flux data also suggest that the small residual TCE source mass is present in the low-permeability zones, thus making source treatment difficult. Our analysis, based on a synthesis of the archived data and new data, suggests that source treatment is unwarranted, and that containment of the large TCE plume ( 1.2 km long, 0.3 km wide; 17 m deep; 2000–2500 kg TCE mass) or institutional controls, along with a long-term flux monitoring program, might be necessary. The flux-based site management approach outlined in this paper provides a novel way of looking beyond the complexities of groundwater contamination in heterogeneous domains, to make intelligent and informed site decisions based on strategic measurement of the appropriate metrics.