Diffusion Processes in Water Pollution and Remediation

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Quality and Contamination".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2022) | Viewed by 4305

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Geosciences & Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881, USA
Interests: remediation technologies; PFAS; NAPL; groundwater; riverbank filtration
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Guest Editor
Eastern Research Group, Lexington, MA 02421, USA
Interests: hydrogeology; contaminant transport; remediation; climate change adaptation; groundwater; stormwater; aquifer recharge

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue focuses on the diffusion of contaminants to and from low-permeability zones. These transport processes can significantly delay site remediation progress. Aqueous-phase contaminants or non-aqueous-phase liquids (NAPLs, e.g., chlorinated solvents of petroleum hydrocarbons) present in high-permeability zones such as porous unconsolidated media or fractures in bedrock force pollutants to diffuse into adjacent strata of lower permeability. Known as forward diffusion, this transport process is largely governed by Fick’s laws, and its magnitude is a function of the contaminant type, the concentration gradient, and time. The reverse process is back diffusion, which is the diffusive transport of pollutants out of layers of low hydraulic conductivity into zones where the contaminant transport is governed by advection and dispersion. Back diffusion in particular is a challenging problem for contaminant site remediation because limited options exist to manage or enhance this transport process. It has also been studied much less extensively than forward diffusion. In this SI, we encourage experimental studies at the laboratory and field scale as well as modeling studies of diffusion processes. Of great interest are manuscripts presenting innovative technologies to enhance back diffusion transport.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Boving
Dr. Julie Blue
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • transport by diffusion
  • back diffusion
  • forward diffusion
  • remediation
  • Fick’s Law
  • modeling
  • field studies
  • laboratory studies
  • low-permeability zones
  • NAPL
  • aqueous-phase contaminants

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Research

31 pages, 1951 KiB  
Article
Contaminant Back Diffusion from Low-Conductivity Matrices: Case Studies of Remedial Strategies
by Julie Blue, Thomas Boving, Mary Ellen Tuccillo, Jonathan Koplos, Jason Rose, Michael Brooks and David Burden
Water 2023, 15(3), 570; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15030570 - 1 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2952
Abstract
Recalcitrant groundwater contamination is a common problem at hazardous waste sites worldwide. Groundwater contamination persists despite decades of remediation efforts at many sites because contaminants sorbed or dissolved within low-conductivity zones can back diffuse into high-conductivity zones, and therefore act as a continuing [...] Read more.
Recalcitrant groundwater contamination is a common problem at hazardous waste sites worldwide. Groundwater contamination persists despite decades of remediation efforts at many sites because contaminants sorbed or dissolved within low-conductivity zones can back diffuse into high-conductivity zones, and therefore act as a continuing source of contamination to flowing groundwater. A review of the available literature on remediation of plume persistence due to back diffusion was conducted, and four sites were selected as case studies. Remediation at the sites included pump and treat, enhanced bioremediation, and thermal treatment. Our review highlights that a relatively small number of sites have been studied in sufficient detail to fully evaluate remediation of back diffusion; however, three general conclusions can be made based on the review. First, it is difficult to assess the significance of back diffusion without sufficient data to distinguish between multiple factors contributing to contaminant rebound and plume persistence. Second, high-resolution vertical samples are decidedly valuable for back diffusion assessment but are generally lacking in post-treatment assessments. Third, complete contaminant mass removal from back diffusion sources may not always be possible. Partial contaminant mass removal may nonetheless have potential benefits, similar to partial mass removal from primary DNAPL source zones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diffusion Processes in Water Pollution and Remediation)
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