Navigation Links
UNH researchers test sediment-scrubbing technology in NH river
Date:6/17/2008

DURHAM, N.H. In a mud flat at the edge of the Cocheco River, just outside downtown Dover, scientists from the University of New Hampshire's Contaminated Sediments Center are testing an innovative way to treat polluted sediment in coastal waterways.

Rather than dredging up the problem, or burying it under several feet of sand, they've created a patch black geotextile mats designed to cap and stabilize pollution in place. Over the next two years, UNH associate professor Kevin Gardner, research assistant professor Jeffrey Melton, and a team of UNH students will monitor these mats to evaluate the effectiveness of this new approach.

"We need to know how these mats behave when they're buried under mud for a few years, compared to how they performed in the lab," says Melton. "What will happen to them in this intertidal zone with boats, waves, birds, and weather? How will they impact bugs and other aquatic life in the sediment?"

The mats are six feet square and one inch thick. They consist of a mixture of reactive materials sandwiched between two layers of geotextile fabric, creating a sort of quilt that traps pollutants but allows water to flow through. The reactive "filling" of this quilt contains three different substances that bind and stabilize different pollutants. One such substance a UNH-patented technology based on a natural form of phosphorus treats toxic heavy metals associated with industrial pollution such as lead, copper, zinc and cadmium.

"But you don't just find one pollutant at a site," says Melton. "Everything is all mixed up in the sediment." So he and his colleagues added organoclay and activated charcoal ("like in your Brita filter," he says), which adhere to and treat toxic chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polyaromatic hydrocarbons, (PAHs), and petroleum products that routinely enter waterways through stormwater runoff.

The project is funded by the Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET), a partnership of UNH and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and NH Sea Grant.

"Polluted sediment is a nationwide problem," says Richard Langan, CICEET's UNH co-director. "We need better tools to identify and treat areas where this pollution has the potential to threaten human and ecosystem health. Technology demonstrations like these, that take advantage of cutting-edge science, are key to making that happen."

The mats present an alternative approach to remediating contaminated sediment; more common responses include dredging or capping sediment beneath several feet of sand. But dredging is expensive, disrupts habitats and poses the problem of how to move and where to put all that toxic sediment. Sand caps have questionable long-term effectiveness and can hinder boat traffic and impact aquatic life. "There's no silver bullet. What we are exploring is potentially a great tool to add to the tool box," says Melton.

Melton admits that even as Americans grow increasingly aware of environmental woes, sediment pollution does not score high on the "green glamour" scale. Yet, he points out, everyone is already feeling its impact through regular advisories that close shellfish beds or warn of eating fish contaminated by heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants like PCBs or PAHs.

"You can enjoy a great day of fishing, but if you can't eat the catch, there's a problem," says Melton. It's estimated that 20 percent of the top six inches of all sediment in U.S. rivers, lakes, streams and estuaries is contaminated. In 2004, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported there were 3,221 fish consumption advisories in state waters.

Melton and Gardner chose the Cocheco not because its sediment is especially polluted, but rather because its characteristics as a well-used tidal river and its proximity to UNH make it an ideal laboratory. They plan to compare the performance of the mats in the Cocheco to those they've laid in Cottonwood Bay in Grand Prairie, Texas, adjacent to the Dallas National Air Station, in a demonstration funded by the Department of Defense's Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP).

Moving forward, researchers from the Contaminated Sediments Center, part of UNH's Environmental Research Group, plan to test new sampling technologies that measure the scope and potential threat of contamination in sediment. In addition, they're always on the lookout for new test sites.


'/>"/>

Contact: Beth Potier
beth.potier@unh.edu
603-862-1566
University of New Hampshire
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Florida researchers receive JDRF Excellence in Clinical Research Award
2. LIAI researchers discover new cellular mechanism that will significantly advance vaccine development
3. Stem cell researchers give old muscle new pep
4. UT Southwestern researchers create molecule that nudges nerve stem cells to mature
5. Researchers reveal insights into hidden world of protein folding
6. U of M researchers discover gene linked to adult-onset obesity
7. Livermore researchers use carbon nanotubes for molecular transport
8. UCLA researchers develop new PET scanning probe that will allowing monitoring of the immune system
9. Researchers observe spontaneous ratcheting of single ribosome molecules
10. At Boston symposium, NARSAD researchers report on genes and family traits
11. Fruits, vegetables and teas may protect smokers from lung cancer, UCLA researchers report
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/21/2016)... 21, 2016 NuData Security announced today that ... of principal product architect and that Jon ... customer development. Both will report directly to ... moves reflect NuData,s strategic growth in its product ... customer demand and customer focus values. ...
(Date:6/15/2016)... ALBANY, New York , June 15, 2016 ... published a new market report titled "Gesture Recognition Market ... Trends and Forecast, 2016 - 2024". According to the ... at USD 11.60 billion in 2015 and is ... and reach USD 48.56 billion by 2024.  ...
(Date:6/7/2016)... , June 7, 2016  Syngrafii Inc. and ... business relationship that includes integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ ... project. This collaboration will result in greater convenience ... credit union, while maintaining existing document workflow and ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2016)... , November 30, 2016 The global ... few players hold a dominant share in the overall ... Laboratories International, Inc., and Merck KGaA, held a lion,s ... Transparency Market Research observes that these companies are expected ... development products that are do not require rabbit pyrogen ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... VANCOUVER , Nov. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -  Equicare ... coordination solutions, has been recognized as one of the ... 100, an annual international listing that distinguishes the top ... "We,ve pushed a great step forward this year continually ... growing our own customer base and team," says ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... -- Part of 5m$ Investment in Integrated Drug ... , ... today announced that it had successfully completed the expansion of ... increased the Screening Collection to over 400,000. The new compounds ... the company. This expansion, complemented by new robotics and compound ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... Triangle Park, NC (PRWEB) , ... November 30, ... ... development company engaged in the development of a new orally administered treatment for ... testing and neuroimaging results of a Phase 2a clinical trial of T3D-959 in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: