Assessing the impact of source-zone remediation efforts at the contaminant-plume scale through analysis of contaminant mass discharge

M. L. Brusseau, J. Hatton, W. Diguiseppi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The long-term impact of source-zone remediation efforts was assessed for a large site contaminated by trichloroethene. The impact of the remediation efforts (soil vapor extraction and in-situ chemical oxidation) was assessed through analysis of plume-scale contaminant mass discharge, which was measured using a high-resolution data set obtained from 23 years of operation of a large pump-and-treat system. The initial contaminant mass discharge peaked at approximately 7 kg/d, and then declined to approximately 2 kg/d. This latter value was sustained for several years prior to the initiation of source-zone remediation efforts. The contaminant mass discharge in 2010, measured several years after completion of the two source-zone remediation actions, was approximately 0.2 kg/d, which is ten times lower than the value prior to source-zone remediation. The time-continuous contaminant mass discharge data can be used to evaluate the impact of the source-zone remediation efforts on reducing the time required to operate the pump-and-treat system, and to estimate the cost savings associated with the decreased operational period. While significant reductions have been achieved, it is evident that the remediation efforts have not completely eliminated contaminant mass discharge and associated risk. Remaining contaminant mass contributing to the current mass discharge is hypothesized to comprise poorly accessible mass in the source zones, as well as aqueous (and sorbed) mass present in the extensive lower-permeability units located within and adjacent to the contaminant plume. The fate of these sources is an issue of critical import to the remediation of chlorinated-solvent contaminated sites, and development of methods to address these sources will be required to achieve successful long-term management of such sites and to ultimately transition them to closure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-139
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Contaminant Hydrology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2011


  • Chlorinated solvent
  • Mass discharge
  • Mass flux
  • Pump and treat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessing the impact of source-zone remediation efforts at the contaminant-plume scale through analysis of contaminant mass discharge'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this