Previous investigations indicated that natural attenuation and biodegradation of chlorinated volatile organic compounds (CVOCs) are substantial in shallow ground water beneath the 9-acre former landfill at Operable Unit 1 (OU 1), Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC), Division Keyport, Washington. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has continued to monitor ground-water geochemistry to assure that conditions remain favorable for contaminant biodegradation. This report presents the geochemical and selected CVOC data for ground water at OU 1, collected by the USGS during June 10-14, 2002, in support of long-term monitoring for natural attenuation.
Overall, the geochemical data for June 2002 indicate that redox conditions in the upper-aquifer water remain favorable for reductive dechlorination of chlorinated VOCs because strongly reducing conditions persisted beneath much of the former landfill. Redox conditions in the intermediate aquifer downgradient of the landfill also remained favorable for reductive dechlorination, although the 2002 dissolved hydrogen (H2) concentration from well MW1-28 is questionable. Changes in redox conditions were observed at certain wells during 2002, but a longer monitoring period and more thorough interpretation are needed to ascertain if phytoremediation activities are affecting redox conditions and if biodegradation processes are changing over time. The Navy intends to complete a more thorough interpretation in preparation for the 5-year review of OU 1 scheduled for 2004.
There were a few substantial differences between the 2002 concentrations and previously observed concentrations of volatile organic compounds. Total CVOC concentrations in 2002 samples decreased substantially in all piezometers sampled in the northern plantation, and the largest percentages of decrease were for the compounds trichloroethene (TCE) and cis-1,2-dichloroethene (cis-DCE). Changes in total CVOC concentrations in the southern plantation were less consistent. Historically high concentrations were observed in samples from three piezometers, with particularly substantial increases in TCE and cis-DCE concentrations, and historically low concentrations were observed in two piezometers, with particularly substantial decreases in TCE and cis-DCE concentrations. Similarly to the redox chemistry, a longer monitoring period and more thorough interpretation are needed to ascertain if phytoremediation activities are affecting CVOC concentrations and if biodegradation processes are changing over time.
No changes in monitoring plans are proposed for June 2003, although the practice of deploying a data sonde downhole while purging the wells will be discontinued. Downhole monitoring added uncertainty to selected measured dissolved H2 concentrations because of the possibility that the sonde and cable created a bridge that resulted in non-equilibrium dissolved H2 concentrations at the wells.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Selected natural attenuation monitoring data, Operable Unit 1, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Division Keyport, Washington, June 2002