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Fifteen-year assessment of a permeable reactive barrier for treatment of chromate and trichloroethylene in groundwater

Wilkin, Richard T., Acree, Steven D., Ross, Randall R., Puls, Robert W., Lee, Tony R., Woods, Leilani L.
The Science of the total environment 2014 v.468-469 pp. 186-194
chromium, dechlorination, ethane, ethylene, geochemistry, groundwater, hydraulic conductivity, iron, longevity, trichloroethylene, vinyl chloride, North Carolina
The fifteen-year performance of a granular iron, permeable reactive barrier (PRB; Elizabeth City, North Carolina) is reviewed with respect to contaminant treatment (hexavalent chromium and trichloroethylene) and hydraulic performance. Due to in-situ treatment of the chromium source zone, reactive and hydraulic longevity of the PRB has outlived the mobile chromate plume. Chromium concentrations exceeding 3μg/L have not been detected in regions located hydraulically down-gradient of the PRB. Trichloroethylene treatment has also been effective, although non-constant influent concentrations of trichloroethylene have at times resulted in incomplete dechlorination. Daughter products: cis-1,2-dichloroethylene, vinyl chloride, ethene, and ethane have been observed within and down-gradient of the PRB at levels <10% of the influent trichloroethylene. Analysis of potentiometric surfaces up-gradient and across the PRB suggests that the PRB may currently represent a zone of reduced hydraulic conductivity; however, measurements of the in-situ hydraulic conductivity provide values in excess of 200m/d in some intervals and indicate no discernible loss of bulk hydraulic conductivity within the PRB. The results presented here are particularly significant because they provide the longest available record of performance of a PRB. The longevity of the Elizabeth City PRB is principally the result of favorable groundwater geochemistry and hydrologic properties of the site.