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UT researcher earns $1.3M grant to study toxic cleanup at DOD sites
Date:10/10/2007

KNOXVILLE -- Decades of weapons production and base operations have left the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) with a legacy of as many as 3,000 sites contaminated with highly toxic substances.

University of Tennessee Research Professor Jack Parker and Peter Kitanidis of Stanford University have been awarded $1.3 million over three years to find the best methods to analyze and clean up the sites effectively while keeping costs to a minimum.

Parker is a member of UT's Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment (ISSE) and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Their work will look specifically at substances known as dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs). DNAPLs are among the more troublesome -- and costly -- toxic substances to remediate, and contamination may be linked to human health effects, including birth defects and cancer.

Parker and Kitanidis received the award from DODs Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program. The methodology will be field-tested at Hill and Dover Air Force bases, located in Utah and Delaware, respectively.

Aleisa Bloom, group leader of the DOD Base Technical Support Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Kyle Gorder, project manager with the Hill Air Force Base Environmental Restoration Branch, will assist with the project.

Once the project is completed, the research group's cost-optimization methods can be applied at the nation's other DNAPL-contaminated sites, which include more than half of the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund sites.

"The history of DNAPL site remediation over the last 30 years can best be described as the history of serial underestimation of cleanup costs," said Parker.

The project aims to produce comprehensive methods and computational tools for making cost-effective decisions on how to understand a polluted site -- a process called characterization -- and meet the DOD's cleanup goals
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Contact: Jay Mayfield
jay.mayfield@tennessee.edu
865-974-9409
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Source:Eurekalert

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