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The detection and mapping of buried waste

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Abstract. Determining the exact location of buried waste trenches is an important step in the characterization and remediation of certain hazardous waste sites. Remotely sensed data offers a rich source of information for accomplishing this task. This paper presents an investigation of buried waste trenches located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) using thermal remote sensing. A comparison of historical aerial photography and recently collected thermal imagery reveals a thermal signature which coincides with the precise locations of buried waste trenches. Statistical analysis of extensive ground measurements shows a clear thermal difference between the trench and control areas, with the trenches exhibiting cooler temperatures and greater soil moisture. By incorporating the imagery-derived information into site remediation plans, ORNL realized a cost avoidance of more than U.S. $5 000 000. Similar benefits can be anticipated at other DOE waste sites.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 10, 1997

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