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Ten year performance evaluation of a field-scale zero-valent iron permeable reactive barrier installed to remediate trichloroethene contaminated groundwater

Phillips, D.H. and Van Nooten, T. and Bastiaens, L. and Russell, M. I. and Dickson, K. and Plant, S. and Ahad, J. M. E. and Newton, T. and Elliot, T. and Kalin, R. M. (2010) Ten year performance evaluation of a field-scale zero-valent iron permeable reactive barrier installed to remediate trichloroethene contaminated groundwater. Environmental Science and Technology, 44 (10). pp. 3861-3869. ISSN 0013-936X

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Abstract

The Monkstown zero-valent iron permeable reactive barrier (ZVI PRB), Europe's oldest commercially-installed ZVI PRB, had been treating trichloroethene (ICE) contaminated groundwater for about 10 years on the Nortel Network site in Northern Ireland when cores from the reactive zone were collected in December, 2006. Groundwater data from 2001-2006 indicated that TCE is still being remediated to below detection limits as the contaminated groundwater flows through the PRB. Ca and Fe carbonates, crystalline and amorphous Fe sulfides, and Fe (hydr)oxides have precipitated in the granular ZVI material in the PRB. The greatest variety of minerals is associated with a similar to 1-2 cm thick, slightly cemented crust on top (up-gradient influent entrance) of the ZVI section of the PRB and also with the discontinuous cemented ZVI material (similar to 23 cm thick) directly below it. The greatest presence of microbial communities also occurred in the up-gradient influent portion of the PRB compared to its down-gradient effluent section, with the latter possibly due to less favorable conditions (i.e., high pH, low oxygen) for microbial growth. The ZVI filings in the down-gradient effluent section of the PRB have a projected life span of >10 years compared with ZVI filings from the continuous to discontinuous cemented up-gradient ZVI section (upper similar to 25 cm) of the PRB, which may have a life span of only similar to 2-5 more years. Supporting Information from applied, multi-tracer testing indicated that restricted groundwater flow is occurring in the upper similar to 25 cm of the ZVI section and preferential pathways have also formed in this PRB over its 10 years of operation.