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Field Demonstration/Validation of Electrolytic Barriers for Energetic Compounds at Pueblo Chemical Depot

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Final rept.

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This report documents the results from the third field demonstration of a novel electrolytic reactive barrier technology referred to as e-barriers that treats contaminants in groundwater. Field efforts have been complemented by numerous laboratory-scale studies. Collectively, these efforts have led to advances in the e-barrier technology, with this field demonstration reflecting the highest evolution of the technology. Funding for e-barrier development has come from industry and government. This project was wholly funded by government through ESTCP. The technology is founded upon the concept of a permeable reactive barrier PRB. Contaminants are carried through the reactive barrier via the natural flow of groundwater. Within the barrier, contaminants are degraded as they pass through titanium screen electrodes charged with low voltage DC current. Contaminants are sequentially exposed to electrolytic oxidation - reduction - oxidation - reduction. The primary appeal of e-barriers has been the low power cost centsdaym2 and the potential to address contaminants that might otherwise be difficult to treat with existing technologies. This demonstration was conducted at Pueblo Chemical Depot PCD, located 15 miles east of Pueblo, Colorado. Built during World War II, PCD served as an ammunition and material storage and shipping center. Activity at PCD included demilitarization of expired munitions via washout operations conducted at Solid Waste Management Unit 17 SWMU-17. Former washout ponds associated with SWMU-17 created groundwater plumes more than a mile in length containing elevated concentrations of RDX and other energetic compounds. In 1998, sediments associated with the former washout ponds were removed by excavation. Despite source excavation, the remaining soils are sustaining concentrations of RDX, HMX, 2,4-DNT, 2,4,6-TNT, and 1,3,5-TNB in groundwater.

Subject Categories:

  • Physical Chemistry
  • Ammunition and Explosives
  • Solid Wastes and Pollution and Control
  • Water Pollution and Control

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