Arresting a Toxic Plume

by Allen Morrison, Asst. Ed.; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1983, Vol. 53, Issue 8, Pg. 35-37

Document Type: Feature article


At an abandoned gravel pit in New Hampshire turned into a dump site for hazardous liquid chemical wastes (as well as drummed solid waste), engineers had to race against the clock to stem a rapidly advancing tide of contaminated groundwater. The toxic plume was headed for a suburban stream which feeds into a river used for water supply. When an initial site assessment was done in December 1980, dangerous levels of contaminants were already reaching the stream, so emergency action had to be instituted. The hydrological consultant found a way to intercept the leading edge of the plume by the use of a recirculation system, avoiding much greater expense and unacceptable delays that would result from setting up a temporary treatment plant. The system halted the plume's progress while a slurry containment wall could be built. Ultimately, the contaminated water will be pumped out of the containment area, treated, and reinjected.

Subject Headings: Chemical wastes | Toxicity | Plumes | Groundwater pollution | Occupational safety | Solid wastes | Rivers and streams | Gravels | New Hampshire | United States

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