Chlorinated Solvents Contamination
The syringes strapped to the sided of the packer pipe rod are for measuring concentrations of dissolved hydrogen gas. USGS scientists are testing two different syringe materials in order to determine which is best suited for long-term diffusion sampling in trichloroethylene-contaminated fractured rock aquifers -- from the Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) Site
Bibliography 293 Publications
Chlorinated solvents have properties that make them useful for degreasing fats, oils, waxes, and
resins. They are used widely and have been manufactured in large quantities. Some chlorinated
solvents are dichloromethane, tetrachloroethene, trichloroethane, and tricholoroethene. The U.S.
production of these compounds in 1980 were 255,000, 347,000, 314,000, and 121,000 metric tons,
Chlorinated solvents in general are harmful to human and ecological health. They can cause or are
suspected of causing cancer, and are toxic or harmful to aquatic organisms.
Spills and leaks of chlorinated solvents have caused widespread subsurface contamination in the
environment. Commonly these contaminants are present in the subsurface in the form of non-aqueous
phase liquids (NAPL, the bulk chemical product), as dissolved contaminants in ground water,
associated with aquifer sediments, and as vapors in the unsaturated zone. Because the density of
these NAPL’s is greater than water, they tend to sink in ground water systems, which results
in a complex dispersal and plume patterns, long-term sources in the subsurface, and difficult
clean-up. Under the proper conditions, biodegradation and volatilization can contribute
significantly to the removal of chlorinated solvents from the subsurface, making natural attenuation
a potentially important remediation alternative.
The project activities undertaken fall into 2 general categories: Plume-scale research at
representative contamination sites, and research on microbial degradation pathways for chlorinated
solvents. More information is provided on these activities as follows:
Plume-Scale Research at Representative Contamination Sites
Chlorinated Solvents in Fractured
Sedimentary Rock -- Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) Research Site, West Trenton, New
Field Investigation of Natural Attenuation of
Chlorinated Solvents -- Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey
Microbial Degradation Pathways for Chlorinated Solvents
Microbial Degradation of
Chloroethenes in Ground Water Systems
Application of Molecular Methods in
Microbial Ecology to Understand the Natural Attenuation of Chlorinated Solvents
Program Headlines Related to Chlorinated Solvents Contamination
- High-resolution delineation of chlorinated volatile organic compounds in a dipping, fractured mudstone--Depth- and strata-dependent spatial variability from rock-core sampling: Goode, D.J., Imbrigiotta, T.E., and Lacombe, P.J., 2014, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, v. 171, p. 1-11, doi:10.1016/j.jconhyd.2014.10.005.
- Modeling long-term trends of chlorinated ethene contamination at a public supply well: Chapelle, F.H., Kauffman, L.J., and Widdowson, M.A., 2014, JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association, doi:10.1111/jawr.12230 (Advanced Web release).
- Integration of stable carbon isotope, microbial community, dissolved hydrogen gas, and 2HH2O tracer data to assess bioaugmentation for chlorinated ethene degradation in fractured rocks: Révész, K.M., Sherwood Lollar, B., Kirshtein, J.D., Tiedeman, C.R., Imbrigiotta, T.E., Goode, D.J., Shapiro, A.M., Voytek, M.A., Lacombe, P.J., and Busenberg, E., 2014, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, v. 156, p. 62-77, doi:10.1016/j.jconhyd.2013.10.004.
- Evaluation of known-boundary and resistivity constraints for improving cross-borehole DC electrical resistivity imaging of discrete fractures: Robinson, J., Johnson, T., and Slater, L., 2013, Geophysics, v. 78, no. 3, p. D115-D127, doi:10.1190/geo2012-0333.1.
- Abiotic dechlorination in rock matrices impacted by long-term exposure to tce: Schaefer, C.E., Towne, R.M., Lippincott, D.R., Lacombe, P.J., Bishop, M.E., and Dong, H., 2015, Chemosphere, v. 119, p. 744-749, doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.08.005.