Monitoring Groundwater Contaminants

EPA Contract Number: EPD04039
Title: Monitoring Groundwater Contaminants
Investigators: Gonzalez-Martin, Anuncia
Small Business: Lynntech Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2004 through August 31, 2004
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Waste , Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


Chlorinated hydrocarbons represent the most prevalent contaminants in the subsurface, threatening the quality of groundwater at aquifers. Existing technologies for monitoring these contaminants require expensive, labor-intensive methods of sample collection and analysis. The goal of this Phase I research project is to develop a low-cost, compact, reliable, automated, unattended, and long-term monitoring system for hydrocarbons in groundwater. Lynntech, Inc., also will use an innovative sampling system in the field test. The monitoring system consists of an array-based sensor composed of incrementally different electrically conducting polymer elements. It will allow the identification and quantification of organic pollutants present in groundwater. A preconcentrator with a microfluidic design will be incorporated into the sensing system. This will allow a resolution into the ppb and ppt levels. The effectiveness of the proposed system will be evaluated based on its ability to detect hydrocarbons in model and real groundwater samples. The proposed system will reduce the cost associated with sampling and contaminant monitoring and provide timely, continuous information. Also, it will provide the possibility for unattended monitoring of the migration of contaminant plumes, as well as for monitoring contaminants that breach containment operations.

There are several markets for this technology. The primary end-users will be agencies of the federal government (e.g., Department of Energy, Department of Defense, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) and private industries that are involved in the monitoring of chemical analytes in groundwater and subsurfaces. Similar sensors will find wide application in other environmental remediation processes (e.g., to gauge the effectiveness of remediation efforts; to effect waste minimization; and to detect the presence of toxic, hazardous, or otherwise regulated chemicals in waste effluents, drinking water, and other environmental systems) in the food, beverage, perfume (e.g., for the determination of odors, flavors, and aromas), agronomic, and clinical industries, as well as in many other areas, such as the gas and chemical industries and in regulatory agencies.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, chlorinated hydrocarbons, monitoring, groundwater contaminants, aquifers, polymer elements, preconcentrator, contaminant plumes, containment operation, EPA., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, RESEARCH, Environmental Chemistry, Monitoring/Modeling, Monitoring, Environmental Monitoring, Environmental Engineering, aquatic ecosystem, continuous monitoring, groundwater monitoring, chlorinated hydrocarbons, sampling

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report