A unifying theme of USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program investigations is the characterization of the natural response of hydrologic systems to contamination. This makes the sites where the investigations are conducted ideally suited to assessing potential long-term impacts, evaluating the potential and the limitations of remediation by monitored natural attenuation, and designing systems to monitor the performance of remediation where monitored natural attenuation is being relied upon. The information presented on this page cuts across lines drawn by individual investigations and projects so that information on the natural attenuation of contaminants can be presented in one place.
Investigations and Research Activities
- Natural Attenuation Remediation-Related Activities
USGS scientists installing diffusion samplers
and microcosms to study subsurface bacteria that degrade trichloroethylene
at the Naval Air Warfare Center
Research Site, West Trenton, NJ (circa 2005). The samplers will
help USGS and U.S. Navy scientists evaluate the performance of a
biostimulation and bioaugmentation experiment.
USGS scientists assisted the U.S. Navy with the design and assessment of an innovative remediation system that involved the injection of an oxygen-release compound in the source area of a chlorobenzene and benzene plume at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida. The two transects are along ground-water flow paths.
Collecting ground-water samples anaerobically in a glove bag as part of a study of the biogeochemistry of a landfill leachate plume at the Norman Landfill Research Site, OK. The glove bag helps preserve sensitive redox species so an accurate determination of the processes that control the natural attenuation of the leachate can be made.
Collecting pore water from cores to identify natural attenuation processes in ground water at the Bemidji Crude Oil Spill Site, MN. The scientists are withdrawing water with a syringe from a core encased in polycarbonate tubing. The bottom of the core was frozen to prevent fluid from escaping the core. This technique allows for closely spaced samples that enable scientists to study the biogeochemical heterogeneity of contaminant plumes.
Science Feature Articles
- Stable carbon isotope fractionation during bacterial acetylene fermentation : Miller, L.G., Baesman, S.M., and Oremland, R.S., Astrobiology (IN PRESS).
- Crude oil metabolites in groundwater at two spill sites: Bekins, B.A., Cozzarelli, I.M., Erickson, M.L., Steenson, R.A., and Thorn, K.A., 2016, Groundwater, doi:10.1111/gwat.12419 (Advanced Web release).
- Biogeochemical aspects of uranium mineralization, mining, milling, and remediation: Campbell, K.M., Gallegos, T.J., and Landa, E.R., 2014, Applied Geochemistry, v. 57, p. 206-235, doi:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2014.07.022.
- Rates of As and trace element mobilization caused by Fe-reduction in mixed BTEX-ethanol experimental plumes: Ziegler, B.A., McGuire, J.T., and Cozzarelli, I.M., 2015, Environmental Science and Technology, v. 49, no. 22, p. 13179-13189, doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b02341.
- Comparison of source zone natural attenuation rates at crude oil and ethanol-blended fuel release sites: Sihota, N.J., and Mayer, K.U., 2015, Bioremediation Journal, v. 19, no. 3, p. 218-230, doi:10.1080/10889868.2014.995373.
- A physical explanation for the development of redox microzones in hyporheic flow: Briggs, M.A., Day-Lewis, F.D., Zarnetske, J.P., and Harvey, J.W., 2015, Geophysical Research Letters, v. 42, no. 11, p. 4402-4410, doi:10.1002/2015GL064200.
- Microbial communities associated with zones of elevated magnetic susceptibility in hydrocarbon-contaminated sediments: Beaver, C.L., Williams, A.E., Atekwana, E.A., Mewafy, F.M., Aal, G.A., Slater, L.D., and Rossbach, S., 2015, Geomicrobiology Journal, p. 00-00, doi:10.1080/01490451.2015.1049676.
- Influence of hardness on the bioavailability of silver to a freshwater snail after waterborne exposure to silver nitrate and silver nanoparticles: Stoiber, T., Croteau, M.N., Römer, I., Tejamaya, M., Lead, J.R., and Luoma, S.N., 2015, Nanotoxicology, v. 9, no. 7, p. 918-927, doi:10.3109/17435390.2014.991772.
- Tracing the cycling and fate of the explosive 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene in coastal marine systems with a stable isotopic tracer, 15N-[TNT]: Smith, R.W., Vlahos, P., Böhlke, J.K., Ariyarathna, T., Ballentine, M., Cooper, C., Fallis, S., Groshens, T.J., and Tobias, C., 2015, Environmental Science and Technology, doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b02907 (Advanced Web release).
- Relating subsurface temperature changes to microbial activity at a crude oil-contaminated site: Warren, E., and Bekins, B.A., 2015, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, doi:10.1016/j.jconhyd.2015.09.007.
- Effects of natural organic matter properties on the dissolution kinetics of zinc oxide nanoparticles: Jiang, C., Aiken, G.R., and Hsu-Kim, H., 2015, Environmental Science and Technology, v. 49, no. 19, p. 11476-11484, doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b02406.
- Influence of a chlor-alkali Superfund site on mercury bioaccumulation in periphyton and low-trophic level fauna: Buckman, K.L., Marvin-DiPasquale, M., Taylor, V.F., Chalmers, A., Broadley, H.J., Agee, J., Jackson, B.P., and Chen, C.Y., 2015, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, v. 34, no. 7, p. 1649-1658, doi:10.1002/etc.2964.
- Reactive transport modeling of geochemical controls on secondary water quality impacts at a crude oil spill site near Bemidji, MN: Ng, G.H.C., Bekins, B.A., Cozzarelli, I.M., Baedecker, M.J., Bennett, P.C., Amos, R.T., and Herkelrath, W.N., 2015, Water Resources Research, v. 51, no. 6, p. 4156-4183, doi:10.1002/2015WR016964.
- Organic contaminant transport and fate in the subsurface--Evolution of knowledge and understanding: Essaid, H.I., Bekins, B.A., and Cozzarelli, I.M., 2015, Water Resources Research, v. 51, no. 7, p. 4861-4902, doi:10.1002/2015WR017121.
- 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.
- Experimental dosing of wetlands with coagulants removes mercury from surface water and decreases mercury bioaccumulation in fish: Ackerman, J.T., Kraus, T.E.C., Fleck, J.A., Krabbenhoft, D.P., Horwath, W.R., Bachand, S.M., Herzog, M.P., Hartman, C.A., and Bachand, P.A.M., 2015, Environmental Science and Technology, v. 49, no. 10, p. 6304-6311, doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b00655.
USGS scientist collecting an unsaturated-zone gas sample with a syringe from a vapor sampling well at the Bemidji Crude Oil Spill Research Site, Bemidji, MN. The sample was used to study the natural attenuation of hydrocarbon vapors in the unsaturated zone.