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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances

Crosscutting Topics

Site Remediation

Research associated with the monitoring or assessment of site remediation activities

A unifying theme of the USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology (Toxics) Program research on point-source contamination is the characterization of the natural response of hydrologic systems to contamination. A holistic approach combined with the long-term nature of the research enables the Toxics Program to assess the potential and limitations of natural-attenuation remediation alternatives and to develop remediation-performance monitoring protocols and methods. These remediation-performance monitoring methods can be applied to contaminated sites where engineered cleanup systems, such as enhanced bioremediation or chemical oxidation systems, have been installed. The results of the Toxics Program’s research investigations related to remediation are used to characterize contamination, to select and design remediation alternatives, and to evaluate performance of remediation and waste-disposal alternatives. The information presented on this page cuts across lines drawn by individual investigations and projects so that information from activities related to the remediation of contaminated sites can be presented in one place.

Investigations and Research Activities

"The characterization of processes relevant to the transport and fate of hazardous materials in soils and waters is a significant strength of the USGS. Long-term, field-based studies, for example, have been one of the agency's greatest strengths. This type of research should continue and be expanded to integrate methods to evaluate the effectiveness of remediation efforts. Such an approach will require continued dedication to research together with the development and implementation of new modeling capabilities and decision-support tools. The USGS should lead the effort to perform the long-term assessments that are essential to both technology refinement and informed policy decisions." -- National Research Council, 1996, Hazardous Materials in the Hydrologic Environment: The Role of the U.S. Geological Survey, National Academy Press, p. 2.

Fact Sheets

USGS scientist lowers a borehole radar antenna into a vegetable oil injection well
USGS scientist lowers a borehole radar antenna into a well that was used for vegetable oil injection at the Naval Industrial Reserve Ordinance Plant (NIROP), Fridley, Minnesota.

Injection of an oxygen compound for remediation of gasoline plume.
Injection of an oxygen compound for remediation of gasoline plume. USGS scientists have evaluated the performance of injecting oxygen compounds to remediate a gasoline plume at Laurel Bay, South Carolina.


Injecting a culture of bacteria was into fractured rock as part of a bioremediation pilot test.
As part of a pilot test of a bioremediation system a culture of bacteria was injected into fractured rock to augment the naturally occurring bacteria that are degrading trichloroethylene (TCE) at the Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) Research Site, West Trenton, New Jersey.

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Page Last Modified: Friday, 17-Jun-2016 14:22:56 EDT