Hydrogeologic assessment of in situ natural attenuation in a controlled field experiment
Devlin, John F.
Barker, J. F.
Scholarly/refereed, publisher version
MetadataShow full item record
An experiment to investigate the natural attenuation of three volatile organic compounds, toluene, carbon tetrachloride, and tetrachloroethene (∼1–10 mg L−1) was performed in a 3 m deep, sandy aquifer isolated within a 24 m long, 2 m wide, three-sided sheet pile alleyway (hereafter referred to as the gate). A constant flow was maintained in the test volume by pumping a well at the closed end of the gate at 130 mL min−1. The test compounds were introduced to the aquifer using diffusive emitters installed inside 25 cm diameter wells located at the open end of the gate. Monitoring was performed by sampling along six multilevel fences (consisting of 12 sampling points each) ranging in distance from 1 to 22 m from the source wells. A bromide tracer experiment established that there were no significant hydraulic leaks, nor was there any continuous channeling through the gate. Degradation of the test compounds was assessed by mass balance calculations between fences located 1 and 7 m from the source, and the results were compared with degradation rate estimates from snapshot analyses and the analysis of fluxes. There was reasonably good agreement between rates estimated by these different methods. Toluene degraded with a half-life of 58–62 days, carbon tetrachloride degraded with a half-life of ∼11–13 days, and tetrachloroethene degraded too slowly for a reliable estimate of rate to be made. Transformation products identified in the gate included acetate, possibly from toluene degradation, chloroform, trichloroethene, and cis-1,2, dichloroethene. The latter two compounds only appeared in trace quantities and could not be assessed for continuing degradation. However, chloroform degradation was assessed with the snapshot data and using the flux estimates and was found to degrade with a half-life in the range of 10–34 days. No additional chlorinated methanes were detected in the gate, suggesting that the carbon tetrachloride was completely dechlorinated by natural processes within 10 m of the source wells. This experiment demonstrated that degradation of chlorinated solvents occurs naturally at the Borden site but that the ethenes are more resistant to biodegradation than the methanes. In addition, the flux calculations were found to be the most robust in terms of estimating degradation rates.
- Geology Scholarly Works 
3. Devlin, J.F., McMaster, M., and Barker, J.F. 2002. Hydrogeologic assessment of in situ natural attenuation in a controlled field experiment. Water Resources Research, v. 38, no. 1, 3-1 to 3-11. doi:10.1029/2000WR000148
Items in KU ScholarWorks are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.
We want to hear from you! Please share your stories about how Open Access to this item benefits YOU.