Julia Traylor, a senior civil engineering student, received first place in the Environmental and Water Resources Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers Student Technical Paper Competition, and she will present her paper at the 2013 World Environmental and Water Resources Congress May 22 in Cincinnati.
The paper, titled “Optimal Initial Configuration of Treatment Solution for In Situ Remediation of Contaminated Groundwater using Engineered Injection and Extraction,” examines a new method for in situ remediation of contaminated groundwater. With in situ remediation, a treatment solution is injected into the contaminated aquifer to react with and degrade the contaminant, creating a plume of treatment solution in the center of the contaminated area. The degradation reactions only occur where the treatment solution and the contaminant are in contact with each other.
Traylor is also involved with a research group under the direction of Associate Professor Roseanna M. Neupauer that is investigating engineered injection and extraction, a method that spreads the treatment solution throughout the contaminated region. The engineered injection and extraction method places wells around the contaminated area. In a preplanned sequence, clean water is injected into wells or extracted from the wells to stretch and fold the treatment solution plume to create a larger area of contact with the contaminant.
This provides more opportunities for degradation reactions to take place. When using the engineered injection and extraction method, the treatment solution in the middle of the plume has little to no contact with the contaminated groundwater, reducing the cost of remediation if clean water is injected in the center of the plume. As part of this research, Traylor studied the trade-off between various amounts of treatment solution, clean water and the contaminant’s amount of degradation occurring in each scenario.