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Newell C.J.,Gsi Environmental | Farhat S.K.,Gsi Environmental | Adamson D.T.,Gsi Environmental | Looney B.B.,Savannah River National Laboratory
Ground Water | Year: 2011

Estimation of mass discharge has become an increasingly valuable analysis technique at sites with contaminated groundwater plumes. We propose a simple plume magnitude classification system based on mass discharge comprised of 10 separate magnitude categories, such as a "Mag 7 plume." This system can be a useful tool for scientists, engineers, regulators, and stakeholders to better communicate site conceptual models, prioritize sites, evaluate plumes both spatially and temporally, and determine potential impacts. © 2011, GSI Environmental Inc. Ground Water © 2011, National Ground Water Association.

Hadley P.W.,800 Cal Center Drive | Newell C.,Gsi Environmental
Groundwater | Year: 2014

The groundwater remediation field has been changing constantly since it first emerged in the 1970s. The remediation field has evolved from a dissolved-phase centric conceptual model to a DNAPL-dominated one, which is now being questioned due to a renewed appreciation of matrix diffusion effects on remediation. Detailed observations about contaminant transport have emerged from the remediation field, and challenge the validity of one of the mainstays of the groundwater solute transport modeling world: the concept of mechanical dispersion (Payne et al. 2008). We review and discuss how a new conceptual model of contaminant transport based on diffusion (the usurper) may topple the well-established position of mechanical dispersion (the status quo) that is commonly used in almost every groundwater contaminant transport model, and evaluate the status of existing models and modeling studies that were conducted using advection-dispersion models. © 2013, National Ground Water Association.

Luo Y.,Nankai University | Mao D.,Shenyang Pharmaceutical University | Rysz M.,Gsi Environmental | Zhou Q.,Nankai University | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2010

The occurrence of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) was quantified in water and sediment samples collected from a 72 km stretch of the Haihe River, China. Tetracycline resistance genes (tetW, tetQ, tetO, tetT, tetM, tetB, and tetS) were not detected by quantitative PCR in many samples. In contrast, sul1 and sul2 (coding for sulfonamide resistance) were present at relatively high concentrations in all (38) samples. The highest ARG concentrations detected were (7.8 ± 1.0) × 109 copies/g for sul1 and (1.7 ± 0.2) × 1011 copies/g for sul2, in sediment samples collected during the summer. The corresponding total bacterial concentration (quantified with a universal 16S-rDNA probe) was (3.3 ± 0.4) × 1012 cells/g. Sul1 and sul2 concentrations in sediments were 120-2000 times higher than that in water, indicating that sediments are an important ARG reservoir in the Haihe River. Statistical analysis indicated a positive correlation between the relative abundance of these ARGs (i.e., sul1/16S-rDNA and sul2/16S-rDNA) and the total concentration of sulfamethoxazole, sulfadiazine, plus sulfachlororyridazine, suggesting that sulfonamides exerted selective pressure for these ARGs. A class 1 integron was implicated in the propagation of sul1. Overall, the widespread distribution of sulfonamide ARGs underscores the need to better understand and mitigate their propagation in the environment and the associated risks to public health. © 2010 American Chemical Society.

Farthing M.W.,U.S. Army | Seyedabbasi M.A.,Gsi Environmental | Imhoff P.T.,University of Delaware | Miller C.T.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Water Resources Research | Year: 2012

The utility of existing models for describing upscaled mass transfer from nonaqueous phase liquid (NAPL) were examined when preferential dissolution pathways form in NAPL-contaminated zones that extend over the scale of decimeters. Laboratory experiments were conducted in two well-characterized, heterogeneous packings. Using data from these experiments and simulations, existing methods for upscaling the mass transfer rate coefficient for NAPL dissolution based on dissolution front length growth (LDF), aquifer heterogeneity and spatial moments of NAPL distribution, and the ganglia-to-pool ratio (GTP) were evaluated along with an equilibrium stream tube (EST) model for predicting contaminant flux. When the correlation length of permeability perpendicular to the mean water flow direction was 6.0cm, greater than the scale of dissolution fingers, only 4.8% of the NAPL resided in pools. Dissolution fingers formed in this experiment, and the LDF, GTP, and EST models resulted in similar predictions of effluent concentrations, with root-mean-square errors (RMSEs) between 0.035 and 0.079 and the LDF-heterogeneous model best. When the correlation scale was smaller (1.0cm), 66.7% of the NAPL was in pools, and preferential dissolution pathways were dominated by channeling, preferential dissolution caused by spatial variations in aqueous phase permeability, and NAPL saturation. For this experiment the EST and GTP models performed well, with RMSEs of 0.055 and 0.103, respectively. Dissolution fingering was important when the permeability correlation length was sufficiently large that dissolution finger formation was not disrupted and NAPL pools were not dominant. © 2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

Seyedabbasi M.A.,Gsi Environmental | Newell C.J.,Gsi Environmental | Adamson D.T.,Gsi Environmental | Sale T.C.,Colorado State University
Journal of Contaminant Hydrology | Year: 2012

The relative contribution of dense non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) dissolution versus matrix diffusion processes to the longevity of chlorinated source zones was investigated. Matrix diffusion is being increasingly recognized as an important non-DNAPL component of source behavior over time, and understanding the persistence of contaminants that have diffused into lower permeability units can impact remedial decision-making. In this study, a hypothetical DNAPL source zone architecture consisting of several different sized pools and fingers originally developed by Anderson et al. (1992) was adapted to include defined low permeability layers. A coupled dissolution-diffusion model was developed to allow diffusion into these layers while in contact with DNAPL, followed by diffusion out of these same layers after complete DNAPL dissolution. This exercise was performed for releases of equivalent masses (675 kg) of three different compounds, including chlorinated solvents with solubilities ranging from low (tetrachloroethene (PCE)), moderate (trichloroethene (TCE)) to high (dichloromethane (DCM)). The results of this simple modeling exercise demonstrate that matrix diffusion can be a critical component of source zone longevity and may represent a longer-term contributor to source longevity (i.e., longer time maintaining concentrations above MCLs) than DNAPL dissolution alone at many sites. For the hypothetical TCE release, the simulation indicated that dissolution of DNAPL would take approximately 38 years, while the back diffusion from low permeability zones could maintain the source for an additional 83 years. This effect was even more dramatic for the higher solubility DCM (97% of longevity due to matrix diffusion), while the lower solubility PCE showed a more equal contribution from DNAPL dissolution vs. matrix diffusion. Several methods were used to describe the resulting source attenuation curves, including a first-order decay model which showed that half-life of mass discharge from the matrix-diffusion dominated phase is in the range of 13 to 29 years for TCE. Because the mass discharge rate shifts significantly over time once DNAPL dissolution is complete, a Power-Law model was shown to be useful, especially at later stages when matrix diffusion dominates. An assessment of mass distribution showed that while relatively small percentages of the initial source mass diffused into the low permeability compartment, this mass was sufficient to sustain concentrations above drinking water standards for decades. These data show that relatively typical conditions (e.g., 50-year-old release, moderate to high solubility contaminant) are consistent with late stage sources, where mass in low permeability matrices serves as the primary source, and fit the conceptual model that mass in low permeability zones is important when evaluating source longevity. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Devices and methods for measuring subsurface thermal fluxes and for estimating a rate of change in the amount of a reactive material within a subsurface formation using the measured thermal fluxes are described herein. The methods of measuring subsurface thermal fluxes may use at least one array of temperature sensors distributed along a vertical transect projecting from the surface and into the subsurface of a region of interest. Methods of estimating a rate of change in the amount of a reactive material within a portion of the region of interest based on perturbations of the thermal profile within the subsurface due to an endothermic or exothermic degradation of the reactive material within the portion of the region of interest are also described herein.

Molofsky L.J.,Gsi Environmental | Connor J.A.,Gsi Environmental | Wylie A.S.,Cabot Corporation | Wagner T.,Cabot Corporation | Farhat S.K.,Gsi Environmental
GroundWater | Year: 2013

Testing of 1701 water wells in northeastern Pennsylvania shows that methane is ubiquitous in groundwater, with higher concentrations observed in valleys vs. upland areas and in association with calcium-sodium-bicarbonate, sodium-bicarbonate, and sodium-chloride rich waters-indicating that, on a regional scale, methane concentrations are best correlated to topographic and hydrogeologic features, rather than shale-gas extraction. In addition, our assessment of isotopic and molecular analyses of hydrocarbon gases in the Dimock Township suggest that gases present in local water wells are most consistent with Middle and Upper Devonian gases sampled in the annular spaces of local gas wells, as opposed to Marcellus Production gas. Combined, these findings suggest that the methane concentrations in Susquehanna County water wells can be explained without the migration of Marcellus shale gas through fractures, an observation that has important implications for understanding the nature of risks associated with shale-gas extraction. © 2013, National GroundWater Association.

Eklund B.,URS Corporation | Beckley L.,Gsi Environmental | Yates V.,Gsi Environmental | Mchugh T.E.,Gsi Environmental
Remediation | Year: 2012

A large number of states have issued guidance addressing the vapor intrusion pathway making it difficult to keep up with various policies and requirements. We have compiled and reviewed guidance from 35 states, half of which have issued documents within the last three years. A comparison of policies among states shows reasonable consistency in some areas-for example, 20 of 23 states that provide an exclusion distance for subsurface sources of chlorinated volatile organic compounds (VOCs) use a distance of 100 feet. However, more commonly, the policy decisions vary widely. Among states, indoor air screening concentrations for the same VOC vary by more than 2,000 times and subsurface screening concentrations vary by more than 2,000,000 times. These wide discrepancies suggest a need for communication and consensus building in order to increase consistency in the management of the vapor intrusion pathway. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Hadley P.W.,Gsi Environmental | Newell C.J.,Gsi Environmental
Ground Water | Year: 2012

Groundwater remediation technologies are designed, installed, and operated based on the conceptual models of contaminant hydrogeology that are accepted at that time. However, conceptual models of remediation can change as new research, new technologies, and new performance data become available. Over the past few years, results from multiple-site remediation performance studies have shown that achieving drinking water standards (i.e., Maximum Contaminant Levels, MCLs) at contaminated groundwater sites is very difficult. Recent groundwater research has shown that the process of matrix diffusion is one key constraint. New developments, such as mass discharge, orders of magnitude (OoMs), and SMART objectives are now being discussed more frequently by the groundwater remediation community. In this paper, the authors provide their perspectives on the existing "reach MCLs" approach that has historically guided groundwater remediation projects, and advocate a new approach built around the concepts of OoMs and mass discharge. © 2012, California Department of Toxic Substances Control. Ground Water © 2012, National GroundWater Association.

Gsi Environmental | Date: 2016-05-17

A system, device, and method quantitatively measure average concentrations of target constituents (e.g., volatile organic compounds (VOCs)) in an ambient fluid (e.g., groundwater, surface water, air, etc.) over an extended period of time. The system uses a passive device having an outer equilibration chamber and an inner kinetic sampler. The device is placed in an ambient fluid for a specified period of time, wherein the target constituent(s) rapidly diffuse through a high-permeability membrane into the fluid-filled equilibration chamber. From there, the target constituents are taken up by an uptake rate the kinetic sampler that is configured to be less than an equilibration rate of the equilibration chamber.

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