Site investigation techniques for DNAPL source and plume zone characterisation

Dearden, Rachel; Chambers, Jonathan; Allen, Debbie; Wealthall, Gary. 2010 Site investigation techniques for DNAPL source and plume zone characterisation. CL:aire Bulletin, Sabre (SAB2). 6, pp.

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Establishing the location of the Source Area BioREmediation (SABRE) research cell was a primary objective of the site characterisation programme. This bulletin describes the development of a two-stage site characterisation methodology that combined qualitative and quantitative data to guide and inform an assessment of dense nonaqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) distribution at the site. DNAPL site characterisation has traditionally involved multiple phases of site investigation, characterised by rigid sampling and analysis programmes, expensive mobilisations and long decision-making timeframes (Crumbling, 2001a) , resulting in site investigations that are costly and long in duration. Here we follow the principles of an innovative framework, termed Triad (Crumbling, 2001a, 2001b; Crumbling et al., 2001, Crumbling et al. 2003), which describes a systematic approach for the characterisation and remediation of contaminated sites. The Triad approach to site characterisation focuses on three main components: a) systematic planning which is implemented with a preliminary conceptual site model from existing data. The desired outcomes are planned and decision uncertainties are evaluated; b) dynamic work strategies that focus on the need for flexibility as site characterisation progresses so that new information can guide the investigation in real-time and c) real-time measurement technologies that are critical in making dynamic work strategies possible. Key to this approach is the selection of suitable measurement technologies, of which there are two main categories (Crumbling et al., 2003). The first category provides qualitative, dense spatial data, often with detection limits over a preset value. These methods are generally of lower cost, produce real-time data and are primarily used to identify site areas that require further investigation. Examples of such "decisionquality" methods are laser induced fluorescence (Kram et al., 2001), membrane interface probing (McAndrews et al., 2003) and cone penetrometer testing (Robertson, 1990), all of which produce data in continuous vertical profiles. Because these methods are rapid, many profiles can be generated and hence the subsurface data density is greatly improved. These qualitative results are used to guide the sampling strategy for the application of the second category of technologies that generate quantitative, precise data that have low detection limits and are analyte-specific. These methods tend to be high cost with long turnaround times that preclude on-site decision making, hence applying them to quantify rather than produce a conceptual model facilitates a key cost saving. Examples include instrumental laboratory analyses such as soil solvent extractions (Parker et al., 2004)and water analyses (USEPA, 1996). Where these two categories of measurement technologies are used in tandem, a more complete and accurate dataset is achieved without additional site mobilisations. The aim of the site characterisation programme at the SABRE site was to delineate the DNAPL source zone rapidly and identify a location for the in situ research cell. The site characterisation objectives were to; a) test whether semi-quantitative measurement techniques could reliably determine geological interfaces, contaminant mass distribution and inform the initial site conceptual model; and b) quantitatively determine DNAPL source zone distribution, guided by the qualitative site conceptual model.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2010 > Groundwater Science
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This item is also available for download from URL above
Additional Keywords: GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater, Groundwater monitoring, Point source pollution
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
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Date made live: 08 Nov 2010 14:55 +0 (UTC)

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