Adventus Group

Remediating groundwater contaminated with chlorinated solvents - a Canadian perspective

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Courtesy of Adventus Group

Chlorinated solvent contamination of groundwater is a recognized barrier to both potable water use and brownfield site redevelopment in Canada. Several high-profile trichloroethene (TCE) contaminant issues such as those in Cambridge, Ontario, and in Shannon, Québec, have increased public awareness of this problem, and also stimulated the Canadian consulting community to consider the use of in situ chemical reduction (ISCR) technologies to address this type of contamination. In particular, zero-valent iron based ISCR remedies, while established worldwide since the mid 1990s, have only recently been recognized as a viable remedial alternative in the Canadian marketplace.

In the early 1990s, the use of granular zero-valent iron (ZVI) to degrade chlorinated organic compounds in goundwater was first suggested by researchers at the University of Waterloo (Gillham and O’Hannesin, 1992). Under highly reducing conditions and in the presence of metallic surfaces, certain dissolved chlorinated organic compounds in groundwater degrade to non-toxic products such as ethene, ethane and chloride via abiotic reductive dehalogenation. The iron metal serves to lower the solution redox potential (Eh) and as the electron source in the reaction...

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