Optimization of the Hydraulic Design and Performance of Iron-Based Permeable Reactive Barriers.

EPA Grant Number: F6A20657
Title: Optimization of the Hydraulic Design and Performance of Iron-Based Permeable Reactive Barriers.
Investigators: Henderson, Andrew D
Institution: University of Michigan
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: September 1, 2006 through September 1, 2009
Project Amount: $111,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2006) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Groundwater Geochemistry , Fellowship - Groundwater Remediation , Fellowship - Hydraulics , Hazardous Waste/Remediation


Permeable Reactive Barriers (PRBs) are a promising, though still relatively new approach to remediating groundwater contaminated with heavy metals or organics. However, there is still uncertainty about the longevity of these passive, in situ systems. This research aims to improve this technology by contributing to understanding of their geochemical performance and by extending their operational longevity.

To gain a fundamental understanding of the hydraulic changes in reduced metal media in the subsurface. Based on this mechanistic understanding, this research will aim to extend the longevity of PRBs by manipulating the particle size distribution of the reactive media, as well as the ratio of reactive to non-reactive media.


Task 1) Measurement of geochemical parameters in lab-scale PRB columns that accurately reflect field geochemical conditions.
Task 2) Analysis of the type and distribution of precipitated solids in the reactive media.
Task 3) Minimization of effects of precipitates via variation of a) the ratio of reactive to nonreactive media and b) particle size distribution.

Expected Results:

Design guidance to extend the operational lifespan of PRBs, based on new insights into the interplay of geochemical and hydraulic changes that occur in PRBs.

Supplemental Keywords:

groundwater remediation, Permeable Reactive Barriers (PRBs), reduced metal, precipitation, passivation, hydraulic conductivity, permeability, longevity, heavy metals, chlorinated organics,, Scientific Discipline, Waste, POLLUTANTS/TOXICS, Chemical Engineering, Remediation, Environmental Chemistry, Chemicals, Groundwater remediation, biodegradation, hazardous waste, chlorinated organic compounds, demonstration, permeable reaction barriers, treatment technologies, waste mixtures, permeable barrier technology, heavy metals, bioremediation

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2007
  • 2008
  • Final