Ground-water contaminant plumes that are flowing toward or currently discharging to wetland areas present unique remediation problems because of the hydrologic connections between ground water and surface water and the sensitive habitats in wetlands. Because wetlands typically have a large diversity of microorganisms and redox conditions that could enhance biodegradation, they are ideal environments for natural attenuation of organic contaminants, which is a treatment method that would leave the ecosystem largely undisturbed and be cost effective. During 1992-97, the U.S. Geological Survey investigated the natural attenuation of chlorinated volatile organic compounds (VOC's) in a contaminant plume that discharges from a sand aquifer to a freshwater tidal wetland along the West Branch Canal Creek at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Characterization of the hydrogeology and geochemistry along flowpaths in the wetland area and determination of the occurrence and rates of biodegradation and sorption show that natural attenuation could be a feasible remediation method for the contaminant plume that extends along the West Branch Canal Creek.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Natural attenuation of chlorinated volatile organic compounds in a freshwater tidal wetland, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland
Water-Resources Investigations Report
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