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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances

Investigations

Contamination in Fractured Rock Aquifers

USGS scientist with equipment used to inject fluids for a bioaugmentation experiment.
The set up and equipment used for a bioaugmentation experiment at the USGS Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) Research Site, West Trenton, New Jersey. The bladders contain the solutions that were injected into the subsurface. The injection well is right in front of the blue barrel. Photo credit: Daniel J. Goode, USGS -- from the Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) Research Site

Bibliography 291 Publications

Fractured-rock aquifers are widely distributed near land surface and are highly susceptible to contamination from human activities. Researchers are developing an improved understanding of the movement of water and contaminants in fractured-rock aquifers, methods for characterization of field conditions, and modeling tools. Contaminant transport and fate is fundamentally different in fractured rock than in unconsolidated (sand and gravel) aquifers. Significantly more uncertainty exists as to the direction and rate of contaminant migration, as well as the processes and factors that control chemical and microbial transformations. At many contaminated sites across the Nation, remedial action is delayed or stymied by the complexity of contaminated fractured-rock aquifers. Long-term research on contamination in fractured-rock aquifers has been conducted at the Program’s two field research sites:

Chlorinated Solvents in Fractured Sedimentary Rock -- Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) Research Site, West Trenton, New Jersey

Multidisciplinary Characterization of Contaminant Transport in Fractured Rock -- Mirror Lake, New Hampshire [Completed]

Other Program Fractured Rock Research

Program Science Feature Articles on Fractured Rock Research

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  • Stable carbon isotope fractionation during bacterial acetylene fermentation : Miller, L.G., Baesman, S.M., and Oremland, R.S., Astrobiology (IN PRESS).

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