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Monitoring waste in groundwater (without all the waste)
Date:3/7/2011

The U.S. spends around 2 billion dollars a year on remediation at hazardous waste sites, with a large portion of this used for groundwater monitoring. Yet according to Rolf Halden, a researcher at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute, the information gathered is often of limited value.

Under a new three-year, $1.15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, Halden, assistant director at the Institute's Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, is pursuing a novel method to conduct these vital tests. His team's efforts are part of a quest to provide more accurate results at lower cost and produce fewer harmful byproducts during the monitoring process.

When considering techniques suitable for groundwater monitoring, three components are key: the quality of data provided, the cost of the procedure and the environmental impact. Conventional monitoring typically accounts for at least 20 percent of the total cleanup costs incurred during site remediation. From a project management standpoint, however, the analyses and acquired data can often be misleading and unsatisfactory, as well as environmentally damaging.

Normally, groundwater is extracted from the earth for testing and then sent to a lab for detailed analysis. The method is financially and environmentally costly, because the water must be transported and the process can generate significant amounts of hazardous waste at the surface.

Halden's technique involves monitoring groundwater while it is still in place in the subsurface, using a device known as the in situ sampler or IS2, which may be custom fit into groundwater monitoring wells. The IS2 is deployed downhole, where its integrated pumps draw up ambient groundwater at milliliter per day rates. Analytes of interest are concentrated onto solid adsorption media for analysis. One of the advantages of this in situ approach is that effluent from the device remains in the subsurface. Only the devic
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Contact: Joseph Caspermeyer
Joseph.Caspermeyer@asu.edu
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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Monitoring waste in groundwater (without all the waste)
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