Permeable Reactive Barriers
A permeable reactive barrier (PRB) is a zone of reactive material that extends below the water table to intercept and treat contaminated groundwater. EPA researchers investigate the geochemical, hydrogeological, and microbiological factors that govern the performance and functioning of PRBs. Understanding these factors is necessary in order to predict the longevity of PRB systems, conduct economic analysis, and optimize this groundwater cleanup technology for a wide variety of hazardous compounds.
This research supports EPA by providing technical expertise on the application of PRBs at waste sites. Documents provide regulators with a scientific and economic framework for technology selection at impacted sites. Expertise and guidance include the following:
EPA Published Reports
Field Application of a Permeable Reactive Barrier for Treatment of Arsenic in Ground Water (EPA/600/R-08/093) September 2008 – Abstract
Capstone Report on the Application, Monitoring, and Performance of Permeable Reactive Barriers for Ground-Water Remediation – Volume 2, Long-Term Monitoring of PRBs: Soil and Ground Water Sampling (EPA/600/R-03/045b) August 2003 – Abstract
Capstone Report on the Application, Monitoring, and Performance of Permeable Reactive Barriers for Ground Water Remediation – Volume 1, Performance Evaluations at Two Sites (EPA/600/R-03/045a) August 2003 – Abstract
This document provides detailed performance monitoring data on full-scale PRBs installed to treat contaminated groundwater at two different sites. It contains information needed by site managers and others who are faced with the need to remediate groundwater contaminated by chlorinated solvents, chromium, arsenic, nitrates, and other organic and inorganic compounds and who are considering the use of this cost-effective technology.
Wilkin, R.T., Acree, S., Ross, R., Lee, T., Puls, R., and Woods, L. (2014). Fifteen-year assessment of a Permeable Reactive Barrier for treatment of chromate and trichloroethylene in groundwater. Science of the Total Environment, v. 468-469, p. 186-194.
Ludwig, R.D., Smyth, D., Blowes, D.W., Spink, L.E., Wilkin, R.T., Jewett, D.J., and Wisener, C.J. (2009). “Treatment of Arsenic, Heavy Metals, and Acidity Using a Mixed ZVI-Compost PRB.” Environmental Science and Technology, 43: 1979–1976.
Wilkin, R.T., S.D. Acree, R.R. Ross, D.G. Beak, and T.R. Lee. (2009). “Performance of a Zero-Valent Iron Reactive Barrier for the Treatment of Arsenic in Groundwater: Part 1. Hydrogeochemical Studies.” Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 106: 1–14.
He, Y., J.T. Wilson, and R.T. Wilkin. (2008). “Transformation of Reactive Iron Minerals in a Permeable Reactive Barrier (Biowall) Used to Treat TCE in Groundwater.” Environmental Science and Technology, 42: 6690–6696.
Su, C. and R.W. Puls (2007). “Removal of Added Nitrate in the Single, Binary, and Ternary Systems of Cotton Burr Compost, Zero-Valent Iron, and Sediment: Implications for Groundwater Nitrate Remediation Using Permeable Reactive Barriers.” Chemosphere, 67: 1653–1662.
US EPA. Richard Wilkin, Weaver, Jim and Jewett, David. (2013) "Performance Assessment of a Permeable Reactive Barrier for Ground Water - Remediation Fifteen Years after Installation." (PDF) Publication No. EPA/600/F-13/324.
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