Superfund Research Program
Implanted Membranes for Characterization and Monitoring
Project Leader: Daniel S. Engebretson
Grant Number: R43ES011876
Funding Period: Phase I: 2002-2004
More than 100,000 monitoring wells are installed each year to characterize sites with petroleum, solvent, and methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) contamination; for long-term and legacy monitoring; and for tracking the progress of remediation, among other uses. These wells are costly to install and develop. Further, because the water in the well is exposed to the atmosphere, volatile compounds are easily lost into the headspace over the water. Over the past several years, alternative methods such as the use of mini-wells, micropurging techniques, and diffusion samplers have grown in acceptance over traditional monitoring wells.
Dakota Technologies, Inc.'s research intends to offer a sampling method that requires far less operator involvement (and therefore less potential for operator error) than any of the aforementioned techniques. Project researchers aim to demonstrate that the proposed membrane samplers can be productively substituted for monitoring wells for the purposes of sampling volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in groundwater. These samplers are passive devices that can be easily deployed in the subsurface using either state-of-the-art direct push technology or conventional drilling.
During the first phase of this project, laboratory studies will be conducted to characterize permeation rate for various prototype samplers. Studies will also be performed to determine the ease of manufacture and installation of the samplers, repeatability of sampler performance, and long-term durability. Field data will also be collected to validate performance and costs relative to conventional approaches.