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Chemosphere. 2014 Sep;111:243-59. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.03.112. Epub 2014 May 8.

An overview of permeable reactive barriers for in situ sustainable groundwater remediation.

Author information

1
Hydrogeotechnika Sp z oo, Department of Environmental Protection and Cartography, ul. Sciegiennego 262A, 25-112, Kielce, Poland.
2
AGH University of Science and Technology, Department of Hydrogeology and Engineering Geology, Al. Mickiewicza 30, 30-059, Kraków, Poland. Electronic address: jgrajales@geol.agh.edu.pl.
3
AGH University of Science and Technology, Department of Hydrogeology and Engineering Geology, Al. Mickiewicza 30, 30-059, Kraków, Poland.

Abstract

Permeable reactive barriers (PRBs) are one of the innovative technologies widely accepted as an alternative to the 'pump and treat' (P&T) for sustainable in situ remediation of contaminated groundwater. The concept of the technology involves the emplacement of a permeable barrier containing reactive materials across the flow path of the contaminated groundwater to intercept and treat the contaminants as the plume flows through it under the influence of the natural hydraulic gradient. Since the invention of PRBs in the early 1990s, a variety of materials has been employed to remove contaminants including heavy metals, chlorinated solvents, aromatic hydrocarbons, and pesticides. Contaminant removal is usually accomplished via processes such as adsorption, precipitation, denitrification and biodegradation. Despite wide acknowledgment, there are still unresolved issues about long term-performance of PRBs, which have somewhat affected their acceptability and full-scale implementation. The current paper presents an overview of the PRB technology, which includes the state of art, the merits and limitations, the reactive media used so far, and the mechanisms employed to transform or immobilize contaminants. The paper also looks at the design, construction and the long-term performance of PRBs.

KEYWORDS:

Groundwater contamination; In situ remediation; Permeable reactive barriers; Reactive materials

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