Environmental Health - Toxic Substances Hydrology Program

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

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

Improper disposal methods, leaking tanks and pipes, and chemical spills have contaminated fractured-rock aquifers in and around many industrial centers across the Nation. The restoration and protection of groundwater quality depend on knowledge of the physical, chemical, and microbiological processes that affect the fate of these chemicals in fractured-rock aquifers.

Long-term field experiments are currently conducted at a former aircraft engine test facility in West Trenton, New Jersey, where high concentrations of trichloroethene persist in sedimentary rocks despite two decades of groundwater pumping and treatment.

This investigation provides the science and tools to understand the actual versus perceived health risks due to anthropogenic chemical contaminants that have persisted for decades in fractured-rock aquifers, and to provide the science needed to economically and effectively minimize exposure and actual health risks.

News

USGS scientist at a laboratory fume hood preparing experiments

Enhancement of Trichloroethene (TCE) Biodegradation in a Simulated Groundwater System

This laboratory-based study provides information for understanding enhancement of trichloroethene (TCE) biodegradation in a simulated groundwater system. ...

USGS scientist with equipment used to inject fluids for a bioaugmentation experiment

Improving Bioaugmentation Strategies for Remediating Contaminated Fractured Rocks

A groundwater bioaugmentation field experiment demonstrated the effectiveness and potential weaknesses of this cleanup technology ...

Aerial photo of Naval Air Warfare Center, West Trenton, NJ, showing trichloroethylene plumes

Natural Attenuation Accelerates Pump-and-Treat Cleanup of TCE in Fractured Rock

Natural biodegradation of trichloroethylene (TCE) in a contaminated fractured rock aquifer in New Jersey contributes substantially to site cleanup operations. ...

More Science Features

Aerial photo of Naval Air Warfare Center, West Trenton, NJ, showing trichloroethylene plumes
An aerial photograph of the former Naval Air Warfare Center, West Trenton, New Jersey, showing the major (red, on the left) and minor (yellow, on the right) trichloroethylene (TCE) contamination plumes and the location of active pump-and-treat recovery wells (gold circles). USGS scientists found that natural attenuation accelerates pump-and-treat cleanup of TCE in fractured rock. Photo credit: U.S. Navy.

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USGS scientist with equipment used to inject fluids for a bioaugmentation experiment

Photo Gallery

A collection of photos illustrating this investigation's activities.

Detail of TCE pipes that were cut during remedial activities at the NAWC Site
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.

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USGS scientists installing diffusion samplers and microcosms on drill pipe

More Information on this Investigation

The NAWC research team maintains its own home page that contains additional information about research at the site.

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Page Last Modified: June 16 2017