Cleanup Solution--Conflict Resolution

by George F. Pinder, Dean; College of Engineering and Mathematics, Univ. of Vermont, Burlington, VT,
David P. Ahlfield, Assoc. Prof.; Civil Environ. Engrg., Univ. of Connecticut,
Roger H. Page, Sr. Engrg. Advisor; ENVIRON Corp., Princeton, NJ,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1995, Vol. 65, Issue 3, Pg. 59-61

Document Type: Feature article


Distrust and misinformation often prevent timely resolution of ground-water contamination problems. In Toms River, N.J., engineers used a computer-generated model of the cleanup site in conjunction with management software to reconcile the physical imperatives of remediation with the concerns of citizens groups and government officials. Constructed in 1950 and operational since 1952, the Toms River, N.J. chemical-manufacturing plant produced dyestuffs and epoxy resins, generated both liquid and solid wastes during the manufacturing processes, and disposed of these wastes on-site. Inadvertent spills of chemicals on the plant site contaminated the soil and leached into the ground water. Eventually several plumes of contaminated ground water migrated from their respective sources toward the Toms River. The success of the strategy we proposed hinged on the skillful application of ground-water simulation models in combination with least-cost management models. Fortunately, a carefully calibrated simulation model of ground-water flow had been constructed for the site by ENVIRON, Princeton, N.J., using the MODFLOW and MODPATH programs developed by the U.S. Geological Survey. This model figured prominently in the preparation of containment design based on ground-water withdrawal only. Thus this key design tool was available to the technical team at the outset of the investigation. Effective plume containment demanded a least-cost management model that ensured ground water along the periphery of the plume would move toward the contaminant source. The generation of inward ground-water flow along the entire plume perimeter, including its base, would contain the plume areally and vertically. Consequently, the newly established technical team had to design a well withdrawal-and-recharge system that would result in the total reinfiltration of all treated water while guaranteeing the flow modification needed for plume containment.

Subject Headings: Groundwater pollution | Hydrologic models | Plumes | Groundwater flow | Groundwater management | Simulation models | Rivers and streams | Chemical wastes

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