1887
Volume 8, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 1569-4445
  • E-ISSN: 1873-0604

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Strategies available to evaluate the performance of permeable reactive barriers are currently not well developed and often rely on fluid and media sampling directly from the permeable reactive barrier (PRB). Here, we investigate the utility of the self‐potential method as a technique to monitor PRB performance. Our field study was conducted at biological PRB in Portadown, Northern Ireland, UK, which was emplaced to assist in the remediation of groundwater contamination (e.g., hydrocarbons, ammonia) that resulted from the operations and waste disposal practices of a former gasworks. Borehole measurements were collected during the injection of contaminant groundwater slugs in an attempt to monitor/detect the response of the microbial activity associated with the breakdown of the added contaminants into the PRB. In addition, an uncontaminated groundwater slug was injected into a different portion of the PRB as a ‘control’ and measurements were collected for comparison to the response of the contaminant slugs. The results of the signals due to the contaminant injections show that the magnitude of the response was relatively small (<10 mV) yet showed a consistent decrease during both contaminant injections. The net decrease in recorded during the contaminant injections slowly rebounded to near background values through ~44 hours post‐injection. The response during the uncontaminated injection showed a slight, albeit negligible (within the margin of error), 1 mV increase in the measured signals, in contrast to the contaminant injections. The results of the signals recorded from the uncontaminated groundwater injection also persisted through a period of ~47 hours after injection but show a net increase in relative to pre‐injection values. Based on the difference in response between the contaminated and uncontaminated injections, we suggest that the responses are likely to be the result of differences in the chemistry of the injection types (contaminated versus uncontaminated) and groundwater. We argue that the signals associated with the contaminated injections are dominated by diffusion (electrochemical) potential, possibly enhanced by a microbial effect. While the results of our investigation show a consistent response associated with the contaminant injections that is dominated by diffusional effects, further studies are required in order to better understand the effect of microbial activity on signals and the potential utility for the method to detect/monitor changes that may be indicative of biological PRB performance.

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2010-07-01
2020-04-02
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