Electrical resistivity imaging of a permanganate injection during in situ treatment of RDX-contaminated groundwater

Todd Halihan, Jeffrey Albano, Steve D. Comfort, Vitaly A. Zlotnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Groundwater beneath the former Nebraska Ordnance Plant (NOP) is contaminated with the explosive hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) and trichloroethene (TCE). Previous treatability experiments confirmed that permanganate could mineralize RDX in NOP aquifer material. The objective of this study was to determine the efficacy of permanganate to transform RDX in the field by monitoring a pilot-scale in situ chemical oxidation (ISCO) demonstration. In this demonstration, electrical resistivity imaging (ERI) was used to create two-dimensional (2-D) images of the test site prior to, during, and after injecting sodium permanganate. The ISCO was performed by using an extraction-injection well configuration to create a curtain of permanganate. Monitoring wells were positioned downgradient of the injection zone with the intent of capturing the permanganate-RDX plume. Differencing between ERI taken preinjection and postinjection determined the initial distribution of the injected permanganate. ERI also quantitatively corroborated the hydraulic conductivity distribution across the site. Groundwater samples from 12 downgradient wells and 8 direct-push profiles did not provide enough data to quantify the distribution and flow of the injected permanganate. ERI, however, showed that the permanganate injection flowed against the regional groundwater gradient and migrated below monitoring well screens. ERI combined with monitoring well samples helped explain the permanganate dynamics in downgradient wells and support the use of ERI as a means of monitoring ISCO injections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-52
Number of pages10
JournalGround Water Monitoring and Remediation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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