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Contamination from Sources with Mixed Wastes

A USGS scientist used an all-terrain vehicle to tow a device to measure the electrical resistivity of the subsurface.
A USGS scientist used an all-terrain vehicle to tow a device to measure the electrical resistivity of the subsurface. The system consists of five receivers that measure resistivity and one transmitter that sends an electrical signal into the ground (photo taken from Lucius and others, 2008) -- from the Amargosa Desert Research Site

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Many contaminant sources introduce a diverse and complex mixture of organic and inorganic contaminants into the subsurface, which can complicate characterizations of contaminant transport, fate and effects. These sources include landfills and wastewater discharges. The resulting contaminant plumes are difficult to characterize, manage, and remediate. Reactions among dissolved chemicals, reactions between dissolved chemicals and the aquifer material, and microbial reactions can significantly accelerate or retard contaminant movement and complicate natural and engineered cleanup. Ongoing research focuses on defining source mixtures, developing field methods for characterization, quantifying transport processes and development of simulation modeling capabilities. Current research focuses on the following three areas:

Landfill Leachate in Alluvial Aquifers -- Norman, Oklahoma

Sewage Contamination in Sand and Gravel Aquifers -- Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Mixed, Low-level Radioactive and Other Wastes -- Amargosa Desert Research Site, Nevada

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