Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Systems tool new resource to aid groundwater cleanup

20.05.2003


After almost 50 years of nuclear materials production at the 586-square-mile Hanford Site in southeastern Washington, there are more than 700 waste sites with the potential to release contaminants to the soil and groundwater. These sites vary significantly in their inventories of radioactive and chemical contaminants and potential for contaminants to migrate through the soil to the groundwater and the Columbia River. Understanding which waste sites have the most significant impact and the cumulative effect of all the waste sites is important as decision makers investigate options for cleanup and closure of Hanford.



Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have developed a comprehensive new tool that will provide federal and state regulators with some of the critical information they need to help protect people, the environment and the Columbia River.

The System Assessment Capability, or SAC, is an integrated system of computer models and databases that predicts the movement and fate of contaminants through the vadose zone, the groundwater and to the Columbia River. The vadose zone is the soil above the groundwater. SAC also assesses the impact of contaminants on human health, animals and the environment.


Instead of showing each waste site in isolation as has been done in the past, SAC shows each site in context. “It looks at all the waste sites at Hanford in relationship to each other and how they contribute to future impact,” said Bob Bryce, SAC project manager for PNNL. “Using SAC, we can see which waste sites are making the greatest contribution to future impact and clean them up first.”

A 14-member team of scientists in fields ranging from civil engineering to zoology created the two sets of computer models that are at the heart of SAC. One set simulates how contaminants move through the environment. The second set estimates risk and impact from those contaminants.

The environmental model is based on a comprehensive inventory of potential contaminants from Hanford operations as far back as 1944. With information about the quantity and concentration of contaminants at a site, SAC determines how the contaminant will behave. SAC models how the contaminant will discharge to the soil and move to the groundwater, discharge into the groundwater and, finally, enter the Columbia River.

SAC models these types of scenarios based on data about the geology, chemistry and hydrology of the site. It also predicts the consequences of these scenarios on the environment and the impact of various cleanup options. “These capabilities will be an important information source to aid decision makers in prioritizing cleanup of contaminated sites and putting limited funding to best use,” Bryce said.

Scientists have tested the validity of SAC by comparing SAC results to known plume migrations at the Hanford Site over time. Researchers are preparing to conduct a composite analysis of the future impacts of remaining waste at Hanford. The results of this study will be considered as future waste disposal decisions are made at the site. SAC is an integrated part of DOE’s Groundwater Protection Project.


Business inquiries on SAC should be directed to Kathryn Lang at (509) 375-3837. Business inquiries on other PNNL research and technologies should be directed to 1-888-375-PNNL or inquiry@pnl.gov .


PNNL is a DOE Office of Science research facility and delivers breakthrough science and technology in areas of environment, energy, health, fundamental sciences and national security. Battelle, based in Columbus, Ohio, has operated PNNL for DOE since 1965.

Geoff Harvey | PNNL
Further information:
http://www.pnl.gov/news/2003/03-17.htm

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>