Passive Biobarrier for Treating Co-Mingled Perchlorate and RDX in Groundwater at an Active Range

ESTCP 2016 Project-of-the-Year Award for Environmental Restoration

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Perchlorate, hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX), and octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine (HMX) are common and often co-mingled contaminants in soils and groundwater at military ranges worldwide. While in situ biodegradation of RDX and HMX and perchlorate individually have been demonstrated, remediation of co-mingled plumes has not been reported.

Dr. Hatzinger from CB&I and his team led an ESTCP funded project that aimed to investigate the feasibility of using a passive emulsified oil biobarrier to remediate co-mingled perchlorate, RDX, and HMX at a contaminated site while minimizing impacts to ongoing range activities.

The study results suggest that an emulsified oil biobarrier is a viable alternative to reduce the migration of co-mingled perchlorate and explosives in groundwater at sites similar to the trial site at Dahlgren NSWC. Optimal areas for application of this technology include open burn/open detonation sites, munitions test ranges, explosive ordnance disposal training areas, target areas, munitions disposal sites, and other regions where high concentrations of munitions constituents are likely to occur.

This remediation technology proves to be a passive and sustainable method and requires no operation and maintenance other than injection and reinjection of the oil substrate. The approach also results in no impacts to ongoing range activities at operation DOD ranges.

For this significant work, Dr. Hatzinger and his team received the 2016 ESTCP Project-of-the-Year Award for Environmental Restoration for their project titled Passive Biobarrier for Treating Co-mingled Perchlorate and RDX in Groundwater at an Active Range.

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Project Team

  • Paul B. Hatzinger (CB&I Federal Services) 
  • Mark E. Fuller (CB&I Federal Services) 
  • Kung-Hui Chu (Texas A&M University)
  • Jeanne Hartzell (Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren)

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