Contamination from Sources with Mixed Wastes
Belowground and aboveground features and processes being evaluated at the Amargosa Desert Research Site--soil properties, root distribution, transpiration, and evaporation. USGS scientists are quantifying the movement of soil moisture and tritium from the shallow unsaturated zone to the atmosphere.
-- from the Amargosa Desert Research Site
Bibliography 784 Publications
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 --
Sewage Contamination in Sand and Gravel
Aquifers -- Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Mixed, Low-level Radioactive and Other Wastes
-- Amargosa Desert Research Site, Nevada
Program Science Feature Articles on Mixed Waste Contamination Research
- Heat as a groundwater tracer in shallow and deep heterogeneous Media--Analytical solution, spreadsheet Tool, and field applications: Kurylyk, B.L., Irvine, D.J., Carey, S.K., Briggs, M.A., Werkema, D.D., and Bonham, M., 2017, Hydrological Processes, doi:10.1002/hyp.11216 (Advanced Web release).
- Geochemical and hydrologic factors controlling subsurface transport of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances, Cape Cod, Massachusetts: Weber, A.K., Barber, L.B., LeBlanc, D.R., Sunderland, E.M., and Vecitis, C.D., 2017, Environmental Science and Technology, doi:10.1021/acs.est.6b05573.
- Anoxic nitrate reduction coupled with iron oxidation and attenuation of dissolved arsenic and phosphate in a sand and gravel aquifer: Smith, R.L., Kent, D.B., Repert, D.A., and Böhlke, J.K., 2017, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 196, p. 102-120, doi:10.1016/j.gca.2016.09.025.