Groundwater beneath the former Nebraska Ordnance Plant (NOP) is contaminated with the explosive hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX). The current pump and treat facility is preventing offsite migration but does not offer a short-term solution. Our objective was to quantify the effectiveness of permanganate to degrade RDX in situ. This was accomplished by performing laboratory treatability experiments, aquifer characterization, and a pilot-scale in situ chemical oxidation (ISCO) demonstration. Treatability experiments confirmed that permanganate could mineralize RDX in the presence of NOP aquifer solids. The pilot-scale ISCO demonstration was performed using an extraction-injection well configuration to create a curtain of permanganate between two injection wells. RDX destruction was then quantified as the RDX-permanganate plume migrated downgradient through a monitoring well field. Electrical resistivity imaging (ERI) was used to identify the subsurface distribution of permanganate after injection. Results showed that RDX concentrations temporally decreased in wells closest to the injection wells by 70% to 80%. Observed degradation rates (0.12 and 0.087/d) were lower than those observed under laboratory batch conditions at 11.5 °C (0.20/d) and resulted from lower than projected permanganate concentrations. Both ERI and spatial electrical conductivity measurements verified that permanganate distribution was not uniform throughout the 6.1-m (20 feet) well screens and that groundwater sampling captured both treated and nontreated groundwater during pumping. Although heterogeneous flow paths precluded a uniform permanganate distribution, pilot-scale results provided proof-of-concept that permanganate can degrade RDX in situ and support permanganate as a possible remedial treatment for RDX-contaminated groundwater.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Civil and Structural Engineering
- Water Science and Technology