Superfund Research Program
Functional Nanostructures of Groundwater Remediation
Project Leader: Thomas J. Pinnavaia
Grant Number: P42ES004911
Funding Period: 2000 - 2006
Project Summary (2000-2006)
The remediation of contaminated aquifers is often limited by the performance properties of the materials that are available for adsorbing and converting the contaminant components. The objective of this project is to design nanostructured oxides and sulfides with exceptional reactivity and specificity for potential use in advanced remediation schemes. Nanostructures are materials in which the structural elements occur on a length scale between 1.0 and 50 nm, including the mesoscopic 2.0 to 50 nm length scale. Researchers are designing materials to surpass the performance properties of conventional oxides, ion exchange resins and activated carbons. The targeted contaminants include chlorinated hydrocarbons commonly found in Superfund sites (e.g., trichloroethylene, dichloroethylene), and cationic and anionic forms of metals that are both Superfund contaminants and members of the top 20 EPA hazardous substances (e.g., arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium, and chromium). Project investigators are also evaluating materials used in remediation schemes for aquifers contaminated with mixtures of contaminants including mixtures of organic and inorganic pollutants. These studies will lead to improved abiotic approaches to ground water remediation, as well as to improved microbial remediation by reducing the levels of aquifer contaminants that are toxic to microbes.