Time-lapse electrical geophysical monitoring of amendment-based biostimulation

Ground Water
By: , and 



Biostimulation is increasingly used to accelerate microbial remediation of recalcitrant groundwater contaminants. Effective application of biostimulation requires successful emplacement of amendment in the contaminant target zone. Verification of remediation performance requires postemplacement assessment and contaminant monitoring. Sampling-based approaches are expensive and provide low-density spatial and temporal information. Time-lapse electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) is an effective geophysical method for determining temporal changes in subsurface electrical conductivity. Because remedial amendments and biostimulation-related biogeochemical processes often change subsurface electrical conductivity, ERT can complement and enhance sampling-based approaches for assessing emplacement and monitoring biostimulation-based remediation.

Field studies demonstrating the ability of time-lapse ERT to monitor amendment emplacement and behavior were performed during a biostimulation remediation effort conducted at the Department of Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office (DRMO) Yard, in Brandywine, Maryland, United States. Geochemical fluid sampling was used to calibrate a petrophysical relation in order to predict groundwater indicators of amendment distribution. The petrophysical relations were field validated by comparing predictions to sequestered fluid sample results, thus demonstrating the potential of electrical geophysics for quantitative assessment of amendment-related geochemical properties. Crosshole radar zero-offset profile and borehole geophysical logging were also performed to augment the data set and validate interpretation.

In addition to delineating amendment transport in the first 10 months after emplacement, the time-lapse ERT results show later changes in bulk electrical properties interpreted as mineral precipitation. Results support the use of more cost-effective surface-based ERT in conjunction with limited field sampling to improve spatial and temporal monitoring of amendment emplacement and remediation performance.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Time-lapse electrical geophysical monitoring of amendment-based biostimulation
Series title Ground Water
DOI 10.1111/gwat.12291
Volume 53
Issue 6
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher National Groundwater Association
Contributing office(s) OGW Branch of Geophysics, Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 13 p.
First page 920
Last page 932
Country United States
State Maryland
City Brandywine
Other Geospatial Department of Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office (DRMO) Yard
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