Remediation of heavy metal-contaminated aquifers is a challenging process because they cannot be degraded by microorganisms. Together with the usually limited effectiveness of technologies applied today for treatment of heavy metal contaminated groundwater, this creates a need for new remediation technologies. We therefore developed a new treatment, in which permeable adsorption barriers are established in situ in aquifers by the injection of colloidal iron oxides. These adsorption barriers aim at the immobilization of heavy metals in aquifers groundwater, which was assessed in a large-scale field study in a brownfield site. Colloidal iron oxide (goethite) nanoparticles were used to install an in situ adsorption barrier in a very het-erogeneous, contaminated aquifer of a brownfield in Asturias, Spain. The groundwater contained high concen-trations of heavy metals with up to 25 mg/L zinc, 1.3 mg/L lead, 40 mg/L copper, 0.1 mg/L nickel and other minor heavy metal pollutants below 1 mg/L. High amounts of zinc (>900 mg/kg), lead (>2000 mg/kg), nickel (>190 mg/kg) were also present in the sediment. Ca. 1500 kg of goethite nanoparticles of 461 ±266 nm diameter were injected at low pressure (<0.6 bar) into the aquifer through nine screened injection wells. For each injection well, a radius of influence of at least 2.5 m was achieved within 8 h, creating an in situ barrier of 22 ×3 ×9 m. Despite the extremely high heavy metal contamination and the strong heterogeneity of the aquifer, successful immobilization of contaminants was observed in the tested area. The contaminant concentrations were strongly reduced immediately after the injection and the abatement of the heavy metals continued for a total post- injection monitoring period of 189 days. The iron oxide particles were found to adsorb heavy metals even at pH-values between 4 and 6, where low adsorption would have been expected. The study demonstrated the applicability of iron oxide nanoparticles for installing adsorption barriers for containment of heavy metals in contaminated groundwater under real conditions.

Field-scale demonstration of in situ immobilization of heavy metals by injecting iron oxide nanoparticle adsorption barriers in groundwater / Mohammadian, Sadjad; Krok, Beate; Fritzsche, Andreas; Bianco, Carlo; Tosco, Tiziana; Cagigal, Ekain; Mata, Bruno; Gonzalez, Veronica; Diez-Ortiz, Maria; Ramos, Vanesa; Montalvo, Daniela; Smolders, Erik; Sethi, Rajandrea; Meckenstock, Rainer U.. - In: JOURNAL OF CONTAMINANT HYDROLOGY. - ISSN 0169-7722. - STAMPA. - 237:(2021), p. 103741. [10.1016/j.jconhyd.2020.103741]

Field-scale demonstration of in situ immobilization of heavy metals by injecting iron oxide nanoparticle adsorption barriers in groundwater

Bianco, Carlo;Tosco, Tiziana;Sethi, Rajandrea;
2021

Abstract

Remediation of heavy metal-contaminated aquifers is a challenging process because they cannot be degraded by microorganisms. Together with the usually limited effectiveness of technologies applied today for treatment of heavy metal contaminated groundwater, this creates a need for new remediation technologies. We therefore developed a new treatment, in which permeable adsorption barriers are established in situ in aquifers by the injection of colloidal iron oxides. These adsorption barriers aim at the immobilization of heavy metals in aquifers groundwater, which was assessed in a large-scale field study in a brownfield site. Colloidal iron oxide (goethite) nanoparticles were used to install an in situ adsorption barrier in a very het-erogeneous, contaminated aquifer of a brownfield in Asturias, Spain. The groundwater contained high concen-trations of heavy metals with up to 25 mg/L zinc, 1.3 mg/L lead, 40 mg/L copper, 0.1 mg/L nickel and other minor heavy metal pollutants below 1 mg/L. High amounts of zinc (>900 mg/kg), lead (>2000 mg/kg), nickel (>190 mg/kg) were also present in the sediment. Ca. 1500 kg of goethite nanoparticles of 461 ±266 nm diameter were injected at low pressure (<0.6 bar) into the aquifer through nine screened injection wells. For each injection well, a radius of influence of at least 2.5 m was achieved within 8 h, creating an in situ barrier of 22 ×3 ×9 m. Despite the extremely high heavy metal contamination and the strong heterogeneity of the aquifer, successful immobilization of contaminants was observed in the tested area. The contaminant concentrations were strongly reduced immediately after the injection and the abatement of the heavy metals continued for a total post- injection monitoring period of 189 days. The iron oxide particles were found to adsorb heavy metals even at pH-values between 4 and 6, where low adsorption would have been expected. The study demonstrated the applicability of iron oxide nanoparticles for installing adsorption barriers for containment of heavy metals in contaminated groundwater under real conditions.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11583/2854330