The U.S. Geological Survey and the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast investigated natural and engineered remediation of chlorinated volatile organic compound (VOC) groundwater contamination at Solid Waste Management Unit 12 at the Naval Weapons Station Charleston, North Charleston, South Carolina, beginning in 2000. The primary contaminants of interest in the study are tetrachloroethene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, trichloroethene, cis-1,2-dichloroethene, vinyl chloride, 1,1-dichloroethane, and 1,1-dichloroethene. Engineered remediation aspects at the site consist of a zero-valent-iron permeable reactive barrier (PRB) installed in December 2002 intercepting the contamination plume and a phytoremediation test stand of loblolly pine trees planted in the source area in May 2003. The U.S. Geological Survey planted an additional phytoremediation test stand of loblolly pine trees on the upgradient side of the southern end of the PRB in February 2008. At least once during the summer, however, the trees were inadvertently mowed during lawn cutting activity.
The PRB along the main axis of the contaminant plume appears to be actively removing contamination. In contrast to the central area of the PRB, the data from the southern end of the PRB indicate that contaminants are moving around the PRB.
Concentrations in wells upgradient from the PRB showed a general decrease in VOC concentrations. VOC concentrations in some wells in the forest downgradient from the PRB showed a sharp increase in 2005, followed by a decrease in 2006. Farther downgradient in the forest, the VOC concentrations began to increase in 2007 and continued to increase into 2008. The VOC-concentration changes in groundwater beneath the forest appear to indicate movement of a groundwater-contaminant pulse through the forest. It also is possible that the data may represent lateral shifting of the plume in response to changes in groundwater-flow direction.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Investigation of Contaminated Groundwater at Solid Waste Management Unit 12, Naval Weapons Station Charleston, North Charleston, South Carolina, 2008