U.S. EPA Contaminated Site Cleanup Information (CLU-IN)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division




This section contains research and development information on technologies that are generally in the developmental or demonstration phase of their lifecycle.

Adobe PDF LogoBacterial and Benthic Community Response to Inorganic and Organic Sediment Amendments
Arias-Thode, Y.M., G. Rosen, and J. Leather, SPAWAR.
SERDP Project ER-1551, 59 pp, 2010

This project examined the effects on both the macro and micro biological benthic community after amendment additions of materials for remediation of mixed heavy metal contamination: apatite (an inorganic calcium phosphate amendment), chitin, and acetate, as well as geotextile mats containing apatite and the organoclay bentonite. All amendments were examined singly and in combination for their potential ecological impacts and for their capacity to sequester and immobilize metals. In the suggested concentrations, apatite, chitin, and geotextiles containing apatite and organoclay are considered non-toxic to marine invertebrates in marine sediments.

The Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology

Although the CICEET program at the University of New Hampshire concluded all operations at the end of 2012 owing to loss of funding, details of 170+ projects conducted 1997-2012, many of them focused on sediments, are available in the searchable online Project Explorer database.

Adobe PDF LogoIn Situ Sediment Treatment Using Activated Carbon: A Demonstrated Sediment Cleanup Technology
Patmont, C.R., U. Ghosh, P. LaRosa, C.A. Menzie, R.G. Luthy, M.S. Greenberg, G. Cornelissen, E. Eek, J. Collins, J. Hull, T. Hjartland, E. Glaza, J. Bleiler, and J. Quadrini.
Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, Vol 11 No 2,195-207, 2014

This paper reviews general approaches for applying AC amendments as an in situ sediment treatment remedy. As of 2014, pilot- or full-scale field sediment treatment projects using AC were completed or in progress at more than 25 field sites in the United States, Norway, and the Netherlands. Collectively, these field projects (along with numerous lab studies) have demonstrated the efficacy of AC for in situ treatment in a range of contaminated sediment conditions. Results indicate that in situ sequestration and immobilization treatment of hydrophobic organic compounds using either surface application or mixing in can reduce pore water concentrations and bio-uptake significantly, often becoming more effective over time due to progressive mass transfer. Certain conditions, such as use in unstable sediment environments, should be taken into account to maximize AC effectiveness over long time periods. In situ treatment is generally less disruptive and less expensive than traditional sediment cleanup technologies, such as dredging or isolation capping.

Measurement and Modeling of Ecosystem Risk and Recovery for In Situ Treatment of Contaminated Sediments
Luthy, R., Y.-M. Cho, Y. Choi, Y. Wu, and D. Werner.
SERDP Project ER-1552, 2015

The overarching objective of this project was to advance sediment in situ activated carbon (AC) treatment technologies. The work included an investigation of the potential repartitioning of contaminants in sediment following the removal of AC after stabilization treatment, standardization of field monitoring methods using polyethylene passive samplers, and development of a user-friendly, stand-alone program for an HOC mass transfer model to predict sequestration and pore-water concentrations. The SERDP project page hosts reports for phases 1, 2, and 3 of this effort; a desorption model in a zipped file; and a user manual.

Adobe PDF LogoNAVFAC Technology Transfer Review: Sediment Reactive Capping
Naval Facilities Engineering Command, 11 pp, 2015

This fact sheet was prepared to provide an overview of reactive capping as an emerging contaminated sediment remediation approach, with attention to capping approaches, materials, deployment, monitoring, and case study examples.

Adobe PDF LogoQuantifying Enhanced Microbial Dehalogenation Impacting the Fate and Transport of Organohalide Mixtures in Contaminated Sediments
Haggblom, M., D. Fennell, L. Rodenburg, L. Kerkhof, and K. Sowers.
SERDP Project ER-1492, 221 pp, 2012

The project investigated techniques and amendments to enhance microbial dehalogenation in sediments contaminated with organohalide mixtures and developed methods and tools to monitor the effectiveness of biostimulation processes. Organohalide-contaminated sediments were found to contain diverse communities of dehalogenating microorganisms. Results show that dechlorination of historical PCB and PCDD/F contaminant mixtures can be stimulated by addition of amendments and/or bioaugmentation with dechlorinating bacteria.

Trap & Treat: Patented Reactive Barrier
University of New Hampshire .

A University of New Hampshire research group developed a phosphate-based barrier for sediments deployment. USPTO granted the Barrierite(tm) technology U.S. Patent No. 6,290,637 on September 18, 2001 .

Case Studies

Federal Remediation Technologies Roundtable Cost and Performance Database

This searchable database contains case studies of both innovative and conventional sediment cleanups using in situ and ex situ technologies.

The Ashumet Pond Reactive Barrier
Massachusetts Military Reservation, Cape Cod.

A geochemical barrier was applied in the groundwater discharge zone of a kettle-hole pond to address the well-defined discharge of a dissolved phosphorus plume. In August 2004, ZVI was mixed into near-shore pond-bottom sediment (3% by weight) to a depth of about 0.6 m, extending 12.2 m offshore along 91.4 m of shoreline in the area of highest observed pond-bottom phosphorus. The sediment mixture was created by excavating the pond-bottom material while the pond was locally dewatered using a cofferdam and large pumps. An excavator mixing bucket blended the pond-bottom sediment and iron filings prior to placement of the mixture on the pond bottom. The ZVI barrier is ~300 ft long, 40 ft wide, and 3 ft thick. Excavation of the dewatered pond bottom provided a unique opportunity to install instrumentation for barrier performance monitoring. Monitoring the performance of a remediation system at this interface required adapting sampling strategies similar to those used in groundwater/surface-water interaction studies. Additional information: McCobb et al. 2009a, McCobb et al. 2009b

Adobe PDF LogoCase Study: Sediment Remediation, Bangor Landing, Bangor, Maine
Howatt, K.
Remediation of Contaminated Sediments Workshop, 29-30 April 2010, Westford, MA. Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association. 14 slides, 2010

RMT, Inc., the Bangor project consultant, completed a remediation project in August 2010 to dredge and cap about 1.5 acres of riverbed heavily contaminated with MGP tar. RMT's NAPL Trapping Cap (patent pending) is designed to control tar migration from sediment permanently and predictably by redirecting migrating tar to a controlled accumulation area, where the tar NAPL is trapped and the gas is vented to the atmosphere. The first full-scale application of the NAPL Trapping Cap was installed at the Bangor Landing site. The cap is constructed of a clay layer, a layer that is impermeable to liquids but allows gases through, and a stone layer that resembles the shoreline. U.S. Patent Application 20090110486, dated April 30, 2009, has been filed for the NAPL Trapping Cap. A brief article about this cleanup is available in the April 2010 issue of Civil Engineering. Although MGP tar is a DNAPL, tar globs at this site have been observed to float on the river's surface. The phenomenon is explained in a paper by E.L. McLinn and T.R. Stolzenburg, "Ebullition-Facilitated Transport of Manufactured Gas Plant Tar from Contaminated SedimentAdobe PDF Logo," Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 28(11):2298-2306(2009)

Adobe PDF LogoDemonstration of In Situ Treatment with Reactive Amendments for Contaminated Sediments in Active DoD Harbors
Kirtay, V., G. Rosen, M. Colvin, J. Guerrero, L. Hsu, E. Arias, R.K. Johnston, B. Chadwick, et al.
ESTCP Project ER-201131, 884 pp, 2017

In situ remediation of PCB-contaminated surface sediment was demonstrated by placing a reactive amendment (powdered activated carbon, or PAC) at a site located at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility, Bremerton, Wash. The PAC was placed successfully on the seafloor of a half-acre target site to sorb PCBs in sediments, thereby reducing bioavailability and limiting bioaccumulation of contaminants into the tissues of benthic invertebrates. The sorbent material, AquaGate+PAC, was manufactured by coating an aggregate core with PAC held in a bentonite clay binder. The AquaGate, which is denser than water, sinks rapidly through the water column directly to the surface of the sediment. Over a short period of time (days), the PAC coating of the AquaGate releases from the aggregate, and bioturbation incorporates the PAC into the surface sediments over time. This project demonstrated the placement and quantitative integration of a suite of common and novel monitoring tools to evaluate amendment stability and performance in deep water (15 m) at an active Naval shipyard with high vessel traffic.

Demonstration Testing and Full-Scale Operation of the BiogenesisSM Sediment Decontamination Process: Keasbey, New Jersey
BioGenesis Washing BGW, LLC, Springfield, VA. 1,019 pp, 2009

A full-scale demonstration of the BioGenesisSM Sediment Decontamination Technology was performed on 15,000 cubic yards of dredged material for the New Jersey Department of Transportation, Office of Maritime Resources. The technology is a patented, low-temperature decontamination process for fine-grained sediment that uses impact forces and proprietary washing chemicals to remove organic and inorganic contamination. The resulting material can be used to create high-end topsoil or other construction products. Full-scale cost projections were $51.00 to $59.00 per cubic yard.

Design of a Reactive Cap Remedy for Soft, NAPL-Impacted Sediments
Carroll, S. and W. Haswell.
Abstracts: Manufactured Gas Plant Conference 2015.

A reactive cap was designed to address very soft sediments in the Grand Calumet River in Hammond, Indiana, that contain coal tar NAPL and elevated PAH and BTEX constituents. The design proposed two different cap sections for different reaches of the river: organoclay to address NAPL migration and dissolved-phase flux of PAHs, and bulk granular activated carbon to address dissolved-phase BTEX contaminants. The design was completed in 2014, and remedial construction is planned for winter 2015. The design process was a weight-of-evidence approach, incorporating a wide array of inputs, such as hydraulic gradients; groundwater to surface water flux measurements; sorbed-phase sediment and dissolved-phase pore water contaminant concentrations; NAPL saturation measurements; and gas ebullition rates as a result of microbial decay, including field and lab measurements of gas generation rates to quantify potential upward gas-driven NAPL flux. Several innovative technologies and methods were used to characterize conditions in the sediments, including laser-induced fluorescence Darts® (Dakota Technologies Inc.) to measure NAPL content in sediments, sorbent samplers to measure contaminant concentrations in pore water, and an instrumented pilot-scale test cap, installed in a wooden cell constructed in the river in 2012 and monitored for a year to obtain predesign data. The collection of similar types of data using different methods (e.g., quantification of contaminant concentrations in pore water by conventional pore water sampling and analysis; pore water extraction from sediment cores coupled with solid-phase microextraction analysis; and AGI sorbent samplers) has allowed comparison of results obtained by the various methods. Additional Resources:

Electrochemical Remediation Technologies (ECRTS): In Situ Remediation of Contaminated Marine Sediments. Innovative Technology Evaluation Report
EPA 540-R-04-507, 74 pp, 2007

In the demonstration, a DC/AC current was passed between an electrode pair (anode and cathode) in sediment to mineralize organic contaminants (PAHs, phenols) through an electrochemical geooxidation process or to complex, mobilize, and remove metal contaminants (mercury) deposited at the electrodes through induced complexation. The system did not perform as well as anticipated, due in part to system operational problems, resulting in an early shutdown of the system.

Adobe PDF LogoEvaluating the Efficacy of a Low-Impact Delivery System for In situ Treatment of Sediments Contaminated with Methylmercury and Other Hydrophobic Chemicals
Menzie, C., B. Amos, S.K. Driscoll, U. Ghosh, and C. Gilmour.
ESTCP Project ER-200835, 122 pp, 2016

Field demonstrations of in situ treatment of PCBs and mercury with activated carbon (AC) delivered using the SediMite(r) delivery system were conducted at two sites within Canal Creek at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Edgewood, Maryland. The application of SediMite to a third site--Bailey Creek at Fort Eustis in Virginia--is described for comparison along with data for a fourth site where SediMite was used to treat PCBs within a Phragmites (reed) marsh. PCBs bioavailability typically declined by >80% across these sites, with values >90% achievable. Efficacy was related to the presence of target doses of AC. Results were equivocal for treatment of mercury. Effects of treatment on native biota were judged to be negligible. Additional information: ESTCP Cost & Performance ReportAdobe PDF Logo

FY02 Final Report on Phytoremediation of Chlorinated Ethenes in Southern Sector Seepline Sediments of the Savannah River Site
R.L. Brigmon, F.M. Saunders, D. Altman, E. Wilde, C.J. Berry, M. Franck, P. McKinsey, S. Burdick, F. Loeffler, S. Harris. WSRC-TR-2002-00557, 171 pp., 2003.

This final report details the operations and results of a 3-year phytoremediation project involving plantings of loblolly pines, hybrid poplars, sterile Vetiver grass, and a wetland system to remediate TCE-contaminated sediment.

Adobe PDF LogoField Testing of Activated Carbon Mixing and In Situ Stabilization of PCBs in Sediment
ESTCP Project ER-0510, 288 pp, 2009

A field-scale project was conducted to demonstrate that activated carbon (AC) sorbent mixed with sediment is a cost-effective, nonremoval, in situ management strategy for reducing risk and the bioavailability of PCBs in offshore sediments at the Hunters Point Shipyard site. The demonstration also compared the effectiveness, in terms of AC application and ease of use, of two available large-scale mixing technologies. Uptake studies showed 50 to 66% reductions in PCB uptakes in AC-amended areas, depending on AC dose. Field-exposed AC retained a strong stabilization capability to reduce aqueous equilibrium PCB concentrations by as much as 95%, depending on AC dose, effective up to at least 18 months. See also the ESTCP Cost and Performance ReportAdobe PDF Logo.

Adobe PDF LogoInnovative In-Situ Remediation of Contaminated Sediments for Simultaneous Control of Contamination and Erosion
Knox, A.S., D.D. Reible, M.H. Paller, and I.G. Petrisor.
WSRC-RP-2007-00666, 103 pp, 2007

This report describes an investigation of the use of combinations of sequestering agents to develop in situ active sediment caps that stabilize mixtures of contaminants and act as a barrier to mechanical disturbance under a broad range of environmental conditions. The investigators determined the most effective active cap materials, cap composition, and the effects of active components on metal bioavilability, retention, and toxicity.

In-Situ Solidification of Contaminated Sediments: A Technology Demonstration Project
Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Palo Alto, CA. Project 3002005216, 1086 pp, 2014

As an alternative to dredging and capping sediments affected by historical MGP operations, a pilot demonstration was performed to determine if in situ solidification (ISS) and support equipment contained on a barge could solidify tar-contaminated sediments through a column of water using readily available grout components while meeting U.S. EPA performance goals. Project elements included the control of turbidity, pH, and sheen using a dual-turbidity curtain system, and results showed that rigid controls such as steel sheet piling may not be required for good performance. The report covers the site characterization and treatability study of the pilot area; permitting and mobilization; ISS operations in December 2013; sampling and testing; monitoring; and pilot and estimated full-scale costs. The primary result of the project was proof of concept that ISS of submerged sediments is achievable and is ready to be tested at a larger scale. Additional information: Connecticut River ISS update by Jansen et al. in Remediation Journal 26(2):25-49(2016)

Adobe PDF LogoIn Situ Treatment at PCB Contaminated Sediment Sites
Blackman, T., M. Martin, G. Braun, S. Ozkan, and E. Ashley.
Lockheed Martin Middle River Complex Feasibility Study Team, Project Note 2, 92 pp, 2013

Research and pilot studies on the in situ treatment of sediments by activated carbon application and its effectiveness for PCBs, PAHs, and metals stabilization indicate that in situ AC treatment is 75-95% effective for reducing PCBs and PAHs bioavailability. To provide background for future sediment remediation at the Middle River Complex site, located in Maryland , this project note presents a general description of in situ treatments, a brief review of ongoing research, and descriptions of projects and pilot studies where in situ treatments have been applied.

Adobe PDF LogoIn Situ Wetland Restoration Demonstration: ESTCP Cost and Performance Report
Ruiz, N., J. Bleiler, K. Gardner, M. Johnson, T. Estes, D. Anders, and D. Barclift.
ESTCP Project ER-200825, 55 pp, 2014

The field demonstration was performed at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, to evaluate the ability of activated carbon (AC) to reduce PCB bioavailability and associated risks in Canal Creek wetland habitats using a variety of AC delivery systems: Powder-activated carbon slurry and two pelletized AC products, AquaBlok® and SediMite. An engineered manufactured soil cover system provided the control. Each sequestration agent was mechanically deployed over the surface of a wetland and allowed to integrate into the surface layer of the hydric soil through natural mixing processes. The goal of this approach was risk reduction, not mass removal; however, while the findings of the overall program suggest that AC addition can sequester PCBs, the field demonstration findings were not conclusive in demonstrating effective reductions in bioavailability. Additional information: Project Summary Presentation

Adobe PDF LogoMass Balance, Beneficial Use Products, and Cost Comparisons of Four Sediment Treatment Technologies near Commercialization
Estes, T.J., V.S. Magar, D.E. Averett, N.E. Soler, T.E. Myers, E.J. Glisch, and D.A. Acevedo.
ERDC/EL TR-11-1, 286 pp, 2011

This report covers the technical status of 4 sediment treatment technologies: JCI/Upcycle rotary kiln thermal treatment/light-weight aggregate (LWA); Cement-Lock® technology/cement; Minergy® glass furnace technology/glass aggregate; and BioGenesisSM sediment washing process/manufactured soil. The report describes the process efficiency in terms of mass balance, gives pre- and post-treatment processing requirements, and estimates full-scale implementation costs at a scale compatible with a dredging operation.

Adobe PDF LogoPredicting and Validating the Field Performance of Novel Sorbent-Amended Sediment Caps
Lowry, G.V., J.L. Fairey, D.A. Dzombak, and J.M. VanBriesen.
Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology, 36 pp, 2009

This paper contains an evaluation of the performance of thin-layer (1.25 cm) activated carbon (AC)-amended sand sediment caps as a tool for in situ remediation of PCB-contaminated sediments. The investigators developed the fundamental understanding of the physicochemical processes affecting the transport of PCBs through the AC layer and measured isotherms parameters for nine PCBs onto AC under sediment conditions. Addition of a thin layer of AC to a sand cap significantly improves the ability of the cap to retard transport of PCBs from the underlying sediment to the overlying benthic community and water column. The AC layer is added to the sediment cap using a reactive core mat, consisting of a geotextile filled with AC. These mats are commercially available from companies identified in the report.

Adobe PDF LogoReactive Capping Mat Development and Evaluation for Sequestering Contaminants in Sediment
Hawkins, A.L., G.A. Tracey, J.J. Swanko, K.H. Gardner, and J.S. Melton.
TR-2366-ENV, SERDP Project ER-1493, 163 pp, 2011

In April 2008, a prototype reactive geotextile mat system was deployed in Cottonwood Bay in Grand Prairie, Texas, in four 25 ft x 25 ft test arrangements (bare single-layer geotextile, single-layer geotextile with sand cap, bare double-layer geotextile, sand cap only) and an undisturbed control. Results indicated that the selected implementation method, including mat with sand cover, is recommended as an effective technology to sequester contaminants in sediments while preventing uplift due to gas accumulation. Additional information: AppendicesAdobe PDF Logo

Adobe PDF LogoSediment Management Methods to Reduce Dredging, Part 2: Sediment Collector Technology
Thomas, R.C., J. McArthur, D. Braatz, and T.L. Welp.
ERDC TN-DOER-T13, 11 pp, 2017

This technical note presents an evaluation of sediment collector technology, a new device that may help to manage sediments and reduce traditional dredging requirements. The installation of sediment collector technology in Fountain Creek, Pueblo, Colorado, demonstrated that the technology worked with coarse sediments in a shallow unidirectional flow environment; had minimal maintenance costs over a 1-yr deployment; survived record floods with minimal damage; was capable of producing up to 100 yd3 per hour with a single 30-ft collector; and was relatively inexpensive and easy to deploy without specialized equipment. U.S. EPA funded the demonstration project. Additional information: 12 slides Adobe PDF Logo

Adobe PDF LogoSediment Remediation Through Activated Carbon Amendment: Long-Term Monitoring of a Field Pilot in Trondheim Harbour
Cornelissen, G., J. Gunnarsson, G. Samuelsson, and U. Ghosh.
Norwegian Research Council, Project 185032, NGI report no. 20081057-1, 20 pp, 2011

Activated carbon (AC) amendment was applied as a novel remediation technique in a pilot project in Trondheim Harbour in 2008. The project consisted of thin-layer in situ capping with AC implemented using three different methods: AC only, AC covered by a thin layer of sand, and AC mixed with clay. This report describes the establishment of the novel pilot testing fields and their long-term follow-up and monitoring.

Strategic Selection of an Optimal Sorbent Mixture for In-Situ Remediation of Heavy Metal Contaminated Sediments: Framework and Case Study
Chiang, Y.W., R.M. Santos, K. Ghyselbrecht, V. Cappuyns, J.A. Martens, R. Swennen, T. Van Gerven, and B. Meesschaert.
Journal of Environmental Management 105:1-11(2012)

This paper outlines a strategic framework designed to address the development of an in situ sediment remediation solution systematically through assessment, feasibility, and performance studies. The decision-making tools and the experimental procedures needed to identify optimum sorbent mixtures are detailed, with emphasis on the utilization and combination of commercially available and waste-derived sorbents. An application of the proposed framework is illustrated in a case study of a contaminated sediment site in Northern Belgium with high levels of As, Cd, Pb, and Zn originating from historical non-ferrous smelting. Longer abstract

Adobe PDF LogoUse of Amendments for In Situ Remediation at Superfund Sediment Sites
U.S. EPA, Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation.
OSWER Directive 9200.2-128FS, 61 pp, 2013

This document introduces the most promising amendments for in situ remediation of sediments and summarizes information from three case studies of sites where activated carbon, organoclay, phosphates, bauxite, and/or ZVI have been employed for sediments contaminated with PCBs or PAHs.

Other Sediments Remediation Topics: