CONTAMINANTS IN THE SUBSURFACE

SOURCE ZONE ASSESSMENT AND REMEDIATION

Committee on Source Removal of Contaminants in the Subsurface

Water Science and Technology Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
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Contaminants in the Subsurface: Source Zone Assessment and Remediation CONTAMINANTS IN THE SUBSURFACE SOURCE ZONE ASSESSMENT AND REMEDIATION Committee on Source Removal of Contaminants in the Subsurface Water Science and Technology Board Division on Earth and Life Studies NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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Contaminants in the Subsurface: Source Zone Assessment and Remediation THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract Number DACA31-02-2-0001 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of the Army. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-09447-X (Book) International Standard Book Number 0-309-54664-8 (PDF) Library of Congress Control Number 2004118026 Contaminants in the Subsurface: Source Zone Assessment and Remediation is available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2005 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Contaminants in the Subsurface: Source Zone Assessment and Remediation THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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Contaminants in the Subsurface: Source Zone Assessment and Remediation COMMITTEE ON SOURCE REMOVAL OF CONTAMINANTS IN THE SUBSURFACE JOHN C. FOUNTAIN, Chair, North Carolina State University, Raleigh LINDA M. ABRIOLA, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts LISA M. ALVAREZ-COHEN, University of California, Berkeley MARY JO BAEDECKER, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia DAVID E. ELLIS, DuPont Engineering, Wilmington, Delaware THOMAS C. HARMON, University of California, Merced NANCY J. HAYDEN, University of Vermont, Burlington PETER K. KITANIDIS, Stanford University, Stanford, California JOEL A. MINTZ, Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida JAMES M. PHELAN, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico GARY A. POPE, University of Texas, Austin DAVID A. SABATINI, University of Oklahoma, Norman THOMAS C. SALE, Colorado State University, Fort Collins BRENT E. SLEEP, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada JULIE L. WILSON, EnviroIssues, Tualatin, Oregon JOHN S. YOUNG, Ministry of Health, Talpiot, Israel KATHERINE L. YURACKO, YAHSGS, Richland, Washington NRC Staff LAURA J. EHLERS, Study Director STEPHANIE E. JOHNSON, Program Officer ANITA A. HALL, Program Associate JON Q. SANDERS, Senior Project Assistant (through April 2004)

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Contaminants in the Subsurface: Source Zone Assessment and Remediation WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD RICHARD G. LUTHY, Chair, Stanford University, Stanford, California JOAN B. ROSE, Vice Chair, Michigan State University, East Lansing RICHELLE M. ALLEN-KING, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York GREGORY B. BAECHER, University of Maryland, College Park KENNETH R. BRADBURY, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, Madison JAMES CROOK, Water Reuse Consultant, Norwell, Massachusetts EFI FOUFOULA-GEORGIOU, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis PETER GLEICK, Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security, Oakland, California JOHN LETEY, JR., University of California, Riverside CHRISTINE L. MOE, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia ROBERT PERCIASEPE, National Audubon Society, Washington, D.C. JERALD L. SCHNOOR, University of Iowa, Iowa City LEONARD SHABMAN, Resources for the Future, Washington, D.C. R. RHODES TRUSSELL, Trussell Technologies, Inc., Pasadena, California KARL K. TUREKIAN, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut HAME M. WATT, Independent Consultant, Washington, D.C. JAMES L. WESCOAT, JR., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign NRC Staff STEPHEN D. PARKER, Director LAURA J. EHLERS, Senior Program Officer JEFFREY W. JACOBS, Senior Program Officer WILLIAM S. LOGAN, Senior Program Officer LAUREN E. ALEXANDER, Program Officer STEPHANIE E. JOHNSON, Program Officer M. JEANNE AQUILINO, Financial and Administrative Associate ELLEN A. DE GUZMAN, Research Associate PATRICIA JONES KERSHAW, Study/Research Associate ANITA A. HALL, Program Associate DOROTHY K. WEIR, Senior Program Assistant

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Contaminants in the Subsurface: Source Zone Assessment and Remediation Preface Remediation of contaminated groundwater sites has been the subject of thousands of research studies (bench experiments) and both pilot and full-scale field projects over the past two decades, consuming billions of dollars; however, the effectiveness of such efforts is largely unknown. A landmark 1994 National Research Council (NRC) study, Alternatives for Ground Water Cleanup, reviewed data on the performance of remediation projects available at that time and stated, “As a result of these studies, there is almost universal concern among groups with diverse interests in groundwater contamination…that the nation may be wasting large amounts of money on ineffective remediation efforts.” A number of more recent studies by the NRC and government agencies have concluded that while various technologies have been demonstrated to be effective at removing contaminant mass from the subsurface under certain conditions, their performance is so site specific that it is difficult to make meaningful generalizations. It has also been concluded that restoration to drinking water standards is unlikely to be achieved at complex sites in a reasonable period of time (e.g., 100 years), particularly when there is a source zone (a highly contaminated area that is defined in Chapter 1) present. Hence, it is currently difficult to determine when and if remediation of source zones is appropriate. The Army, like other branches of the military and many private industrial operations, has a large number of complex sites at which there is reason to expect that source zones are present. In view of the high cost of remediation of such sites (the Army’s remaining liability alone is estimated at almost $4 billion), the question of what source zone remediation can accomplish and whether it is appropriate for individual sites is critical.

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Contaminants in the Subsurface: Source Zone Assessment and Remediation This report, the result of a study undertaken at the request of the Army, develops a logical basis on which to evaluate source zone remediation on a site-specific basis. It puts the technical questions of technology selection and probable performance in the context of site characteristics, remediation objectives, and metrics. This structure reflects the fact that whether a remediation project “works” or not is a function of the objectives of the project, the technology selected, and the site characteristics. The report discusses how the diverse aspects of stakeholder and regulatory concerns, site hydrogeology, technology selection, and performance monitoring can be incorporated in the decision-making process, and thus is intended to inform decision makers within the Army, the rest of the military, and many other government agencies and the private sector about potential options for their sites contaminated with dense nonaqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs) and chemical explosives. The necessity of using a formal decision-making process derives from the influence of site-specific parameters on remediation performance, the public’s desire for aggressive remediation, the high cost of remediation, and the implausibility of complete restoration in most cases, as emphasized in earlier studies. In developing this report, the committee benefited greatly from the input of Army liaisons and remedial project managers (RPMs) who provided valuable information on Army cleanup efforts and assisted the committee in collecting relevant data and information. In particular, we would like to thank Laurie Haines of the Army Environmental Center, who gave two presentations to the committee, helped distribute and collate a survey for Army RPMs, and collected a significant amount of information for the committee’s perusal over the last two years. The committee was fortunate to have received presentations from Susan Abston, Joe Petrasek, and Terry Delapaz, U.S. Army; Corinne Shia, SAIC; Greg Daloisio, Weston; Ken Goldstein, Malcolm Pirnie; Doug Rubingh and Tom Zondlo, Shaw E&I; John Blandamer, RSA; Wes Smith and Kira Lynch, Army Corps of Engineers; Ira May, Army Environmental Center; Hans Stroo, The Retec Group, Inc.; Erica Becvar, Air Force Center for Environmental Excellence; Robert Siegrist, Colorado School of Mines; James Spain, U.S. Air Force; Hans Meinardus, INTERA; Charles Newell, Groundwater Services, Inc.; Suresh Rao, Purdue University; Lawrence Lemke, University of Michigan; and Tissa Illangasekare, Colorado School of Mines. Doug Karas of the Air Force Real Property Agency organized and ran a field trip of Kelly Air Force Base during the committee’s second meeting. The committee was ably served by the staff of the Water Science and Technology Board, including study directors Laura Ehlers and Stephanie Johnson and project assistants Jon Sanders and Anita Hall. This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with the procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC

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Contaminants in the Subsurface: Source Zone Assessment and Remediation in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards of objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The reviews and draft manuscripts remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Elizabeth Anderson, Sciences International, Inc.; John Hopkins, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Michael Kavanaugh, Malcolm Pirnie, Inc.; Douglas Mackay, UC Davis; Jeffrey Marquesee, SERDP/ESTCP Program Office; Richard Martel, Université du Québec; Suresh Rao, Purdue University; William Walsh, Pepper Hamilton LLP; and Charles Werth, University of Illinois. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Randall Charbeneau, University of Texas. Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee. John Fountain, Chair

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Contaminants in the Subsurface: Source Zone Assessment and Remediation Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1 1   INTRODUCTION   16      The Status of Cleanup in the United States,   18      Army Cleanup Challenges and the Army’s Request for the Study,   20      Characteristics and Distribution of DNAPLs and Chemical Explosives,   24      Defining the Source Zone,   26      Report Roadmap,   29      References,   32 2   SOURCE ZONES   34      Hydrogeologic Settings,   34      DNAPLs,   46      Chemical Explosives,   65      Summary,   74      References,   75 3   SOURCE ZONE CHARACTERIZATION   79      Key Parameters of Source Zone Characterization and the Tools to Measure Them,   81      Approach to Source Zone Characterization,   102      Repercussions of Inadequate Source Characterization,   113      Conclusions and Recommendations,   118      References,   119

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Contaminants in the Subsurface: Source Zone Assessment and Remediation 4   OBJECTIVES FOR SOURCE REMEDIATION   125      Formulating Objectives,   127      Commonly Used Objectives,   130      Existing Frameworks, Their Objectives, and Associated Metrics,   159      Conclusions and Recommendations,   173      References,   174 5   SOURCE REMEDIATION TECHNOLOGY OPTIONS   178      Conventional Technologies,   180      Extraction Technologies,   187      Chemical Transformation Technologies,   206      Soil Heating Technologies,   223      Biological Technologies,   250      Integration of Technologies,   269      Comparison of Technologies,   273      Explosives Removal Technologies,   288      Technology Cost Considerations,   291      Conclusions and Recommendations,   292      References,   295 6   ELEMENTS OF A DECISION PROTOCOL FOR SOURCE REMEDIATION   306      Review Existing Site Data and Preliminary Site Conceptual Model,   311      Identify Absolute Objectives,   311      Identify Functional Objectives and Performance Metrics,   312      Identify Potential Technologies,   319      Select Among Technologies and Refine Metrics,   324      Design and Implement Chosen Technology,   329      Conclusions and Recommendations,   330      References,   332     APPENDIXES     A   Tables on Contaminants at Army and Other Facilities   335 B   Abbreviations and Acronyms   349 C   Biographical Sketches of Committee Members and NRC Staff   352