Chlorinated Solvents in Fractured-Rock Aquifers—Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) Research Site, West Trenton, New Jersey
USGS scientists processed cores for later analysis of trichloroethylene (TCE), dichloroethylene (DCE), and vinyl chloride in the cores (circa 2005). A blue tarp was laid on the ground to capture any spills of potentially contaminated materials from the cores.
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Toxic chemicals such as chlorinated solvents in fractured rock aquifers pose a serious threat to the Nation's ground-water resources. Many industrial centers in America are located in the piedmont physiographic region where fractured rock aquifers are common. Improper disposal methods, leaking tanks and pipes, and chemical spills have contaminated fractured rock aquifers in and around many industrial centers. The restoration and protection of ground-water quality depend on knowledge of the physical, chemical, and microbiological processes that affect the fate of these toxic chemicals in fractured rock aquifers. The intent of this investigation is to help develop the knowledge needed to create practical and cost-effective methods to clean up and protect ground-water resources in fractured rock aquifers.
The NAWC Research Site, West Trenton, New Jersey, is located 4 miles north of Trenton, NJ. The fractured bedrock at the site has been contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE)--a chlorinated solvent. The plume of TCE was caused by leakage of TCE from aboveground service lines and storage tanks. The TCE was used as a heat transfer agent during jet engine tests. An estimated 100,000 gallons of TCE was lost through leakage and spills at the site. Dense nonaqueous phase liquids (DNAPL) have been identified at the site, and have flowed vertically downward and in the down-dip direction of the fractured sedimentary rocks. The aqueous phase plume of dissolved TCE has flowed along the strike and the up-dip directions of the sedimentary rocks. There is evidence of natural attenuation of TCE, probably and at least in part due to the presence of a jet-fuel oil spill that overlaps part of the plume.
Detail of TCE pipes that were cut during remedial activities at the NAWC Site. Through leakage and spills an estimated 100,000 gallons of TCE was lost.
Related Science Feature Articles
- For more information please contact Daniel J. Goode, USGS New Jersey Water Science Center or Claire Tiedeman, USGS National Research Program
- Naval Air Warfare Center Research Site Home Page -- The NAWC research team maintains its own home page that contains additional information about research at the site.
- Project Bibliography
- Photo Gallery
- Ground Water Flow and Transport in Fractured Rock -- Mirror Lake, New Hampshire
- Geophysical Research
- Continued Acquisition of Geophysical Logs for Characterization, 2004
- Integrated Borehole Geophysical Logging for Site Characterization, 2003
- Integrated Borehole Geophysical Logging for Characterization, 2002
- Borehole Radar Monitoring of a Steam-Injection Remediation Pilot Study, Loring Air Force Base, Limestone, Maine, 2004
- Borehole Radar Monitoring of a Steam-Injection Remediation Pilot Study, Loring Air Force Base, Limestone, Maine, 2003
- Radar and electrical-resistivity monitoring of landfill leachate, University of Connecticut landfill, Storrs, Connecticut
- Stable carbon isotope fractionation during bacterial acetylene fermentation : Miller, L.G., Baesman, S.M., and Oremland, R.S., Astrobiology (IN PRESS).
- Imaging pathways in fractured rock using three-dimensional electrical resistivity tomography: Robinson, J., Slater, L., Johnson, T., Shapiro, A., Tiedeman, C., Ntarlagiannis, D., Johnson, C., Day-Lewis, F., Lacombe, P., Imbrigiotta, T., and Lane, J., 2015, Groundwater, doi:10.1111/gwat.12356 (Advanced Web release).
- Interpretation of hydraulic conductivity in a fractured-rock aquifer over increasingly larger length dimensions: Shapiro, A., Ladderud, J., and Yager, R., 2015, Hydrogeology Journal, p. 1-21, doi:10.1007/s10040-015-1285-7.
- 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.
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