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Remediation Alternatives for Low-Level Herbicide Contaminated Groundwater
Robert Mark Conger
In early 1995, an evaluation of alternatives for remediation of a shallow groundwater plume containing low-levels of an organic herbicide was conducted at BASF Corporation, a petrochemical facility located in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. The contaminated site is located on an undeveloped portion of property within 400 meters of the east bank of the Mississippi River near the community of Geismar. Environmental assessment data indicated that about 4 to 5 hectares of the approximate 12 hectare site were impacted with the herbicide bentazon from past waste management practices. Shallow soils and groundwater between 0.5 to 6 meters in depth were affected. Maximum concentrations of bentazon in groundwater were less than 7 milligrams per liter.
The remedial alternatives reviewed were devised based on ex-situ, in-situ, and isolation strategies. Groundwater pumping and treatment, vegetative transpiration, and hydraulic barrier construction were alternatives selected for screening. Screening was based on environmental and economic feasibility with equal weighting given to each alternative. Vegetative transpiration with phreatophyte species of trees had environmental and economic advantages that far outweighed the other alternatives. Natural transpiration could provide the biological process to degrade, mineralize, or polymerize the herbicide contaminant. Before a final determination of feasibility could be made, an experiment to test the critical factors that may affect the success of full scale remediation with the vegetative transpiration alternative was recommended.
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