Ground Water Remediation Powered with Renewable Energy

EPA Grant Number: SU831829
Title: Ground Water Remediation Powered with Renewable Energy
Investigators: Elmore, Curt , Crow, Mariesa
Current Investigators: Elmore, Curt , Cable, John W. , Dilly, Rachel , Gallagher, Ron , Seabaugh, Ryan
Institution: University of Missouri - Rolla
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: September 30, 2004 through May 30, 2005
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Water , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Technical challenge: Resource conservation has become a critical concept in the remediation of contaminated ground water supplies. Ground water remedies which include surface discharge of treated ground water are often viewed as wasteful and non-sustainable. A more appealing remedial technology involves the construction of a permeable reactive barrier (to contamination) in the subject aquifer. These barriers typically consist of granular zero valent iron which creates a highly reductive environment that destroys some common types of contamination with little or no annual O&M costs. The iron is a recycled material which adds to the appeal of this technology. However, available construction techniques limit the feasibility of these permeable reactively barriers to relative shallow aquifers. The available construction costs may also limit the economic feasibility of these barriers to relatively "wealthy" sites.

Innovative design: A recent student design project at the University of Missouri-Rolla has demonstrated that it is possible to use wind energy to partially power a ground water remediation project. It is proposed to combine submersible water pumps directly powered by renewable energy, either solar or wind, with an ex-situ version of a permeable reactive barrier. This treatment unit will basically be a vessel containing zero valent iron that permits treated ground water to recharge directly back to the aquifer.

P3 sustainability, measuring results, & educational tools: A project site in the central U.S. will be identified for the project. A design-build work plan will be developed by an interdisciplinary capstone design class to identify acceptable hydrogeologic conditions, pump and renewable energy components, treatment vessel design, system monitoring, and economic comparison to traditional remediation systems. Of particular interest is the mass removal rate for a system which is operated intermittently based on the availability of the renewable energy source. It is expected that the system will be appropriate for mass removal or source zone treatment, but there is a potential that the transient capture zone created by the intermittent pumping may be appropriate for hydraulic control of contamination. The final objective for the class will be the construction of a physical or digital model of the subject system.

Supplemental Keywords:

groundwater, VOC, sustainable development, renewable, clean technologies, cost-benefit, engineering, geology, hydrology, Midwest, EPA Region 7., Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Waste, Water, POLLUTANTS/TOXICS, Contaminated Sediments, Remediation, Environmental Chemistry, Water Pollutants, Groundwater remediation, Environmental Engineering, EPA Region, energy conservation, predictive understanding, contaminated sediment, remediation technologies, reductive treatment, chlorinated organic compounds, zero valent iron, Region 7, permeable reactive barriers, contaminated groundwater, ecology assessment models, wind energy

Relevant Websites:

Project Description

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report